A Brief History of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a small hybrid SUV that’s changing the way many consumers view hybrid vehicles. Japanese automaker Toyota has been developing hybrid technology for decades. The Toyota Prius may not be the most beloved Toyota hybrid, but it paved the way for models like the RAV4 Hybrid. Now, the automaker’s small hybrid SUV is one of the best values for families on the market today. What’s the story behind the hybrid version of America’s most popular small SUV?

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid was destined to succeed

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The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid first arrived as a 2016 model year. By the time the RAV4 Hybrid hit the scene, the RAV4 had already solidified itself as one of the most popular small SUVs in American history. Toyota’s small SUV is a staple in its vehicle segment. The RAV4’s position as the best small SUV is debatable, but no small SUV is touching Toyota’s model when it comes to sales.

Toyota’s decision to spinoff the popular nameplate by adding a hybrid powertrain to its design was hardly a shocker. The company made history in the late 90s by mass-producing one of the first hybrid cars on the market, the Toyota Prius. The Prius came to America as a 2001 model. Over a decade later, Toyota added a hybrid powertrain system to a version of its most popular nameplate.

The RAV4 Hybrid’s design language never deviated too far away from its predecessor’s design. Toyota knew that the best way to popularize the hybrid option was to keep it as close to the OG as possible.

The 2017 model year came with new standard safety features. It was completely redesigned for 2019. In 2021 Toyota offers gas, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid versions of the RAV4 following the success of the RAV4 Hybrid nameplate. As of 2022, the RAV4 Hybrid is the bestselling Toyota hybrid vehicle.

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is helping to reduce hybrid hate

The front of a gray 2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid small hybrid SUV.
The front of a 2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid | Toyota

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Consumers didn’t exactly roll out the red carpet for hybrid vehicles. The Toyota Prius has received plenty of hate over the years despite how innovative its design language is. Many consumers assume that hybrid vehicles will be underpowered and boring to drive.

The RAV4 Hybrid is helping to change the narrative that exists regarding hybrid vehicles. It’s affordable enough for consumers to consider it as an alternative to the OG RAV4. The hybrid version has a higher horsepower output. Its gas mileage is tough to hate on, even for the greatest skeptics.

Small hybrid SUVs are more popular than ever before

A blue 2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid small SUV is driving.
The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid | Toyota

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Toyota isn’t the only company that is making an impact on the small hybrid SUV space. The RAV4 Hybrid competes with the Honda CR-V Hybrid, Hyundai Tucson Hybrid, and Kia Sportage Hybrid.

Small hybrid SUVs are becoming popular because they save drivers big bucks at the pump. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid achieves 41 miles per gallon in the city and 38 miles per gallon on the highway. It gets over 572 miles of total driving range. Small hybrid SUVs have the potential to become more popular than small gas SUVs in the near future because of their fuel efficiency.

Read more about hybrid SUVs in the next article below.

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