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The original remains a top-seller

It was the launch of Toyota's RAV4 20 years ago that first introduced to U.S. audiences the combination of a car-like platform and two-box profile with

a semblance of off-road capability. Although larger, more powerful and more refined than the original, the RAV4 continues to offer many of those original attributes, plus refreshed styling and a first-ever hybrid model for 2016. 

Driving It

"Of all the compact SUVs, Toyota's RAV4 crossover SUV for 2016 may just have the best combination of ride comfort, handling and fuel economy. Smooth without being too soft, the RAV4's ride is a pleasant contrast to that of the Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester. The RAV4's 2.5-liter 4-cylinder isn't the most powerful in this class, but it delivers acceptable levels of acceleration and fuel economy, able to move the RAV4 to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds." Find out more in our 2016 Toyota RAV4 full review.

Build and Price

Ordering a RAV4 remains a straightforward affair. There are four trim levels, two of which are offered with the hybrid powertrain. The entry-level LE begins at around $25,000, and the Limited Hybrid can cost upwards of $36,000. Build and price your own 2016 Toyota RAV4 to unlock this week's Fair Purchase Price, 5-Year Cost to Own and more.

RAV4 Hybrid

The eighth hybrid in the Toyota line, the RAV4 Hybrid uses a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and an electric motor, a combination that gives the AWD Hybrid fuel economy of 34 mpg city/31 mpg on the highway, compared to 23 and 30 with the standard gas 4-cylinder. The powertrain puts out 194 horsepower and gets the RAV4 to 60 mph from a stop in 8.1 seconds, which is a full second quicker than the RAV4 with the gas engine. Read our first review of the RAV Hybrid.

RAV4 SE

Also new for 2016 is the RAV4 SE, which has a sportier look and feel than the rest of the RAV4 line. It has a sport-tuned suspension, paddle shifters, SE-specific interior features, 18-inch wheels, and unique exterior styling with paint color schemes you can only get with the SE.

Comparison Test

The Toyota RAV4 was one of six compact SUVs we drove 800 roundtrip miles from Southern California to Phoenix, Arizona, as part of our most recent Compact SUV Comparison Test. While the RAV4 we tested there didn’t have the styling updates of the 2016, you can still get a good idea of what the RAV4 is all about.

Consumer Reviews

Dietcokedad bought a 2016 RAV4 XLE Hybrid, and has some advice for others who are considering buying this Toyota: "In the few short weeks of owning this rig it is everything and more. I am averaging 34.5 MPG's that is a combo of hwy and city. We got it with the convenience and tech package and so glad we did worth the money to add that. It is so quiet both in the hwy and city. It has the 7in display but, a heads up about the display, it will wash out badly when the sun is coming in from the back window." Read more Toyota RAV4 consumer reviews. 

More Compact SUVs

At one time the compact SUV field was composed of Honda, Toyota and "the rest." No more. The Toyota RAV4 is still a frontrunner, but be sure to visit our Compact SUV Buyer's Guide before coming to any conclusions.

Browse photography at Denver.Gallery.