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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.


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


karlsdad (not verified)    April 13, 2015 - 7:24PM

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.

Thomas Rowley (not verified)    September 6, 2017 - 4:45PM

In reply to by karlsdad (not verified)

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.

Leah (not verified)    December 15, 2019 - 11:30AM

In reply to by Thomas Rowley (not verified)

Keep it, it's just a baby. My RAV 4 has 165k miles. I went to Toyota service for a small repair. In discussion, I was musing about upgrading because of the mileage. The representative was adamant I retain my car. He said he services cars well into the high 2-300k , even has one that comes in with 620k. He said as long as one practices regular maintenance you can keep going

Patti (not verified)    August 25, 2020 - 8:14PM

In reply to by Thomas Rowley (not verified)

I too old a RAV4 V6 2006 first one that came out in the city it was black I finally traded it in for a 2016 what a disappointment it had 326,000 miles on it and still running perfect I would keep it if you like it because when you trade it in you’ll get a little more for that reason

June (not verified)    December 6, 2020 - 3:45PM

In reply to by Thomas Rowley (not verified)

I would definitely keep it I would not sell it and be like a collector's item down the road soccer shows I'm trying to look for one and I can't find the car anywhere so keep it

Mark Day (not verified)    April 13, 2015 - 9:12PM

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).

Soakee (not verified)    April 14, 2015 - 10:57AM

In reply to by Mark Day (not verified)

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.

Don't be silly (not verified)    April 14, 2015 - 2:19PM

In reply to by Soakee (not verified)

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.

Soakee (not verified)    April 14, 2015 - 3:06PM

In reply to by Don't be silly (not verified)

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?

mj ack (not verified)    July 5, 2021 - 2:31AM

In reply to by Don't be silly (not verified)

Did you come up with that $7.50 amount using an equation on your own or are you just talking out of your a_s like all of the other people that think they are smarter than those who they disagree with. S T F U Don't be silly!

Steve C (not verified)    February 21, 2019 - 3:37PM

In reply to by Soakee (not verified)

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?

John Goreham    April 14, 2015 - 1:23PM

In reply to by Soakee (not verified)

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.

BC (not verified)    May 27, 2015 - 10:10PM

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.

Dave Jablonsky (not verified)    April 5, 2019 - 1:27PM

In reply to by BC (not verified)

Yep, it's a shame. I own a RAV4 with a 4-cylinder and I like the car but I don't like my car shifting down and sounding like a pissed-off weed-wacker every time I'm on cruise control and I start going up even a little hill. It's annoying. You have to watch it because it'll redline your engine, I don't know why the cruise control doesn't kick out. I rented a Chevy Impala with a V6 this weekend and that's when I realized how much I miss a V6. I'll never do another 4-banger. It's too bad because I love the RAV for tooling around town but it sucks on a road trip, no acceleration and bogs down badly on hills. That's no good in Utah where speed limits are routinely 80 MPH and there's lot of mountainous terrain. Funny thing is, the Impala with the V6 got gas mileage that is every bit as good as the RAV4, so they don't even have the gas-mileage excuse. Doing away with the V6 is flat-out communist.

Rob (not verified)    July 27, 2019 - 10:49AM

In reply to by Dave Jablonsky (not verified)

I agree. And my 08 gets terrible gas mileage and eats oil. And the I4 is absolutely gutless. I live in North Dakota where many times ot gets so windy because ot is flat and that thing struggles at 80 mph. Good luck trying to pass. Toyota sold a bunch of these things and nobody wanted the V6?

PC (not verified)    June 10, 2015 - 12:15AM

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.

RedSportsCar (not verified)    June 10, 2015 - 9:34PM

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.

Al (not verified)    August 17, 2015 - 10:24PM

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.

tim lagray (not verified)    November 1, 2015 - 3:52PM

will be looking for a crossover in a year and decided on a Toyota rav in v6 won't be buying a 4cyl Toyota

Nancy Buckland (not verified)    August 14, 2017 - 2:21PM

In reply to by tim lagray (not verified)

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

Belladonna (not verified)    September 5, 2020 - 11:46PM

In reply to by Nancy Buckland (not verified)

Same here. Plus 4WD, plus all the convenience features! plus the newer designs leave them looking just like every other crossover on the road. I love the way it it drives, roominess, and I’ve just got 143,000 miles on it. I keep thinking I want something else, but I can’t find anything with all that I already have in my powerful and beautiful RAV4!