2016 Toyota RAV4
John Goreham's picture

Why the V6 Toyota RAV4 is never coming back

Toyota won't be bringing back the RAV4 with is excellent V6 and fans are not happy. Here's why.

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When the current-generation Toyota RAV4 debuted in 2013, it addressed pretty much every wish the crossover’s fans had. Unfortunately, it also ended the run of the excellent 3.5-liter V6 engine in the vehicle, leaving only the relatively low-powered four-cylinder as the only engine. Now that the 2016 RAV4 has been announced, we can read the tea leaves. The V6 is over forever in the RAV4. However, that does not mean the 2.5-liter four-banger will remain the only engine option going forward.

Why Toyota Killed the V6 RAV4
When the last generation RAV4 was fitted with the 3.5-liter engine and AWD, it was the company’s quickest vehicle to 60 MPH. That was pretty much an accident. Still, for those lucky owners that opted for the V6, it was a pleasant one. Not as pleasant, but also not the end of the world, was the RAV4’s V6 fuel economy. At 22 MPG combined the RAV4 was not good and not bad on fuel economy. It was middle of the road. However, time marches on.

Fuel economy is often one of the top criteria shoppers now consider when selecting a vehicle. Toyota’s competitors such as the Honda CRV do dramatically better than the old RAV4 V6 did. The new CRV AWD earns a 28 MPG estimate from the EPA now. The new Toyota RAV4 four-cylinder AWD is chasing that with a rating of 25 MPG.

Low sales volume was another reason Toyota ended the V6 RAV4. The percentage of takers was low and getting lower.

- So What New Crossovers Are a Good Replacement For The RAV4 V6?

New RAV4 Engines
Toyota’s new 2016 RAV4 will carry on with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, and Toyota’s sales are through the roof. Standardizing on a 4-cylinder engine bay keeps things simple. For those that want a smidge more power and also better fuel economy, the new 2016 RAV4 Hybrid might do. For those that want a Toyota-family of brands vehicle with more power the Lexus NX200t and its 2.0-liter turbo is also an option. One could argue that the RAV4 with a V6 might be better in some ways than either of these new choices, but the NX200t is also selling strongly. In fact, since it entered production it has outsold the BMW X3 every month.

Like many RAV4 owners I also own a 6-cylinder, compact Toyota crossover from that generation, mine being a Highlander. It is easy to understand why the owners of the older RAV4 V6 miss it, but based on what Toyota and Lexus are saying and doing, there is no evidence it is ever coming back. (More on Page 2)

Related Stories:
Toyota releases details on new 2016 RAV4 including new SE
Toyota's 2015 RAV4 has an important safety change
Toyota announces all-new RAV4 Hybrid – first photo

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I happen to be one of the few who did get a V6, in a 2010 Sport edition. My mixed use mileage is just under 23 mpg mixed use and have gotten 27.5 mpg on straight highway - driving from upstate NY to Washington, DC. I needed the V6 to haul a trailer for my boy scout troop and none of the other vehicles in the class, at the time, could haul 3,500 lbs. They all topped out at 2,000+/- Funny thing, the RAV4 I drove, a friend's, that got me to look at the car was a 2007, with the I4 engine that ate oil, and still got around the same mpg as my V6.
Imagine how good the fuel economy would have been with the 8-Speed locking torque converter form the Lexus line. Or if the direct injection system was used. Hmmm....
I own a 2010 Toyota Rav4 sport 3.5 6 cyl. and we love it. It has the power to move when you need to pass or going up hill. I would like to have a newer car but Toyota no longer produces the v6. Is this car worth moe than the blue book ? I have 72,000 miles on it. Should I just keep it. It is a great car. Should I sell it ?. It's Black and looks great.
Keep it, Keep it.
We're getting close for many vehicles: You can have any engine you'd like - as long as it's a 4-cylinder. Just like the Model A Ford (1927).
Blame the Obama Administration and the EPA and their ridiculous CAFE standards which should be repealed as socialistic thinking. Let the market decide what vehicles should be produced (whatever consumers actually want to buy). The U.S. is becoming less of a free-market society with each day.
Yes, that would work if consumers paid the true cost of gas, including damage to the environment and health costs due to pollution. That would put gas at about $7.50 a gallon.
Not necessarily true - they aren't paying it now even with the EPA. Frankly, I would rather pay that true cost than have the current socialistic administration forcing manufacturers to produce what the Feds specify. Question - how is what I'm saying NOT socialism?
Really? CAFE Standards & socialistic thinking? Blame Obama? Let the market decide? When did you last visit Beijing? A free for all where capitalist communism has run amok & no EPA protections exists. Yet, even Chinese need clean O2 to survive. But the government doesn't care. Thousands die everyday from respiratory illness from breathing polluted air, yes even little kids. Not interested in visiting Beijing, think Denver or LA in the mid to late 70's. Another socialistic thinking idea was seat belts. Our socialistic government, trying to save people who protested. It seemingly worked. You like 110 volts in your electrical outlets? More government regulation assuring you its safe and reliable. How about those paved roads you enjoy driving on? Just more socialistic thinking at work.... Do you blame Obama Administration for those hard black unsightly roads?
OK, so no V6. How about a manual transmission option?
Not a chance. However, if that is a big priority for you there is good news. Still available on the Mazda CX-5. I asked Mazda recently how many are sold. The manual is not available on all trim levels, but on those that it is the answer was "Under 5%." That means you may need to order or be patient. Or you could get lucky and find one at a dealer.
I own a 2011 RAV4 with a V6. I've gotten several invitations from my local Toyota dealership to trade it in for a new one, and every time I tell them I am not interested: I have no interest in driving gutless econo-boxes, and their insistence on turning the RAV into one ensures they'll never get another penny from me. It's a shame, too, because otherwise, IMO, the RAV is still the best crossover on the market. I think Tom Day is right, upthread: before too long we're all going to be forced into crappy four-bangers to satisfy consumers', automakers', and politicians' current infatuation with MPG-uber-alles rollerskates.
perhaps the best comment on the internet ever!!
Actually we will be forced into electric controlled vehicles where we punch in location and it drives itself.
I have a 7 yr old V6 Rav4 that I cannot stand to part with at this point. This engine kicks A**, and has gotten me out of a few sticky situations. I drive mostly freeway and get 25-27 mpg depending on how fast I'm going. The gutless 4 at the time only had 1 or 2 mpg less. I don't know what I'm going to do, I want another Toyota, but the other V6's are too big. I'll check out the Rav4 hybrid that is coming out this fall...I guess.
Own a 2012 RAV4 V6 and absolutely love it. Silky smooth engine, fast and effortlessly torquey. Five-speed automatic is great, doesn't endlessly 'hunt' and drops the revs very low on the highway. When passing on a two-lane, kicks down 1-2 gears, and you're from 50 to 80 in an eyeblink. Bought it so I could tow low-to-moderate weight trailer (snowmobile) while not having to have a larger pickup. Does the job very nicely. On snow tires (General Altimaxx Arctic) and wheels during the winter, is fantastic in the snow and ice.
The quickest vehicle Toyota offered when the RAV4 v6 was offered was actually the Camry v6. It ran a 0-60 in the same time as the same model year WRX. That car was the real sleeper. Unfortunately the handling was incredibly uninspiring.
I've owned both the V6 Camry, and my current rav4 ZR6. there is no comparison the rav 4 is noticeably faster, and blows away WRXs
will be looking for a crossover in a year and decided on a Toyota rav in v6 won't be buying a 4cyl Toyota
I will not stay with Rav4 if they don't have a 6 cylinder...I have 2012 Rav4 Limited 6 cylinder. planned on getting a new one later...but won't happen now
I'm looking at new small suvs right now to replace my 2007 RAV4 V6 AWD. I was disgusted to learn that the excellent V6 is no longer available in the RAV. What a stupid decision. Looks like I'll be buying an Acura RDX or an Infiniti QX50. So long Toyota.
I'm appalled by the choice of petrol engines on medium sized SUVs in Australia. In the US there are a number to choose from. Why aren't they available in Australia? Do you know whether it is possible to purchase an Acura RDX in Australia or will I have to import it from the US? Cheers
Unfortunately, nowadays, under the influence of women, safety, electronic gizmos, and mileage are the priorities! Power and ease of long distance driving have become an afterthought when it comes to small SUV's. Too bad!
Ed, THIS woman wants a standard transmission and a vehicle quick enough to save my caboose. Way to troll, hope this scratched your itch.
Touchy tuuuchy! Calm down. I do know men have their faults as well and I'm not referring to all women. ie. if you made the tired ol comment about men not asking directions I wouldn't degrade you.....probably!
I'm a woman. I own a V6. And i won't be buying less any time soon So take your misogynistic comments and blame someone else.
All women are not the same... This woman drove a 1987 Chevy Suburban for 12 years - got it before there were cross-overs & when the only SUV's were the Suburban, Blazer, & Bronco. Then a Volvo S80 twin turbo for nearly 13 years - loved & hated it. Loved the power & the comfort though the 1999/2000 S80 was the worst model & worst model year in Volvo's history. My husband passed so I now drive his Chevy Silverado King Cab 5.3 liter V8... it's 16 years old & I want/need a new small SUV with lots of power. Seems they are all crossovers now, not SUVs. I would buy a RAV 4 in a heartbeat if it came in a six cylinder - twin turbo would be a plus. Lexus NX is only 4 cylinder so it's out. Not really wanting to buy a BMW X3 but at least, as of 2016, they offered a V6 option. Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk has V6 option but a basic back-up. camera While 4 cyclinders are better than they were back in the day when I test drive a 4 cylinder I'm waiting fir the mice to spin up those little rubber bands. Fuel economy is very important but it doesn't generally make my top five requirements. 1. Safety, 2. Power, 3. Comfort, 4a. Birds-Eye back-up camera 4b. Latest Technology available (since I buy new & keep my vehicles for 12 plus years) 5. Fuel Efficiency.
That really blows, I have a v6 Rav 4 FWD though...dont really need AWD in Florida. I get around town 24mpg and on the hwy a easy 27mpg. I even ran it at the drag strip once and ran in the heat a 14.7 at 94 that is pretty quick for a little SUV.
I have a 2010 RAV4 V6 Limited. It's had it's fair share of problems which are un-Toyota like (mainly with suspension shocks/bearings), but now they're resolved out I am enjoying this vehicle. The V6 is probably my favourite feature, it's powerful, smooth and makes me smile every time I put my foot down. The 2013+ are competent but frankly rather dull and cater more toward drivers who are more concerned about gas mileage (even though it doesn't care an enormous amount more) and practicality than driving pleasure, they feel cheaper somehow too and look in my opinion more like a soccer-mom car. This will be my first and last RAV4, good thing that they're designed to last a long time
I have two V6 Ravs and a 4 cyl. On I95 the 4 cyl is dangerous. It can't even keep up with traffic. I am due for two more in 2018. But if there is no v6 I will buy some other brand. This would be our first non Toyota new vehicles ever. This is very shortsighted on Toyotas part but if they don't want my business I am sure someone else wants it.