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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


GrizHunter (not verified)    February 7, 2016 - 11:10PM

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.

Jeremy (not verified)    May 26, 2016 - 4:00AM

In reply to by GrizHunter (not verified)

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

Ed (not verified)    March 7, 2016 - 11:39AM

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 (not verified)    March 21, 2016 - 6:26PM

In reply to by Lynn (not verified)

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!

Aussiegirl (not verified)    March 27, 2017 - 9:17PM

In reply to by Ed (not verified)

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.

mark (not verified)    March 13, 2016 - 10:07PM

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.

Grant (not verified)    March 21, 2016 - 2:24PM

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

Jim l (not verified)    March 24, 2016 - 9:51PM

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.

Debra (not verified)    April 7, 2016 - 4:01PM

Have a 2008 Rav4 6 Cylinder, It is the best, engine, so quick.
Rented a 4 cylinder when travelling, it couldn't get out of its own way...pathetic.
Whoever drives a 4 clylinder must not use the highway.
Looking for a like car with a 6 cylinder engine.

Sam (not verified)    April 20, 2016 - 12:47PM

A couple of years ago we bought a used 2010 RAV4 6 cyl to replace my wifes aged Lexus RX 300 that had almost 200,000 miles. What a pleasant surprise. What a fun car to drive. She loves it and wants to keep it for a long time. Why would Toyota kill such a wonderful car?

Luis (not verified)    May 14, 2016 - 2:01AM

The 6 cyl is what sold me to buy mine. I test drove a 2007 4-cyl and said "NO" right away. The salesman asked if I wanted to test drive a 6 cyl and I was hesitant, but he talked me into it. Right when I hit the gas, I was sold! I would NEVER have bought a RAV4 if it only had a 4-cyl engine! NEVER! I'm a "car guy", so I love driving this thing! Yes, it's an SUV, but I've punked mustangs in this thing! Trust me, unless you're a soccer mom that is just worried about those extra 3 miles per gallon that you're gonna get in a 4-cyl and don't care about "power", then you're gonna want the 6-cyl.....GUARANTEED!!!

Heather (not verified)    May 18, 2016 - 12:29AM

Bought my 2008 RAV 4 Sport Model V6 new and plan to keep it, indefinitely. It hauls kayaks, my 16 foot camper trailer and has never let me down. I never hesitate to go on a road trip and have travelled across Canada and US several times, and many other shorter trips. I won't be buying another new vehicle unless, there is another every bit as versatile and ready to go! I love my RAV 4 V6

Jim (not verified)    May 23, 2016 - 11:40PM

Wanted a small SUV that was reliable, but had poweer. I looked at the CRV and the RAV4. The CRV is not available with a v6. So, I said no to Honda. Went with the RAV4 and have been happy. The four banger RAVs are known for being gutless wonders when you get a few people in there of even a bunch of stuff in the back. The 6 just keeps pulling. With only a advertised 1 mile per gallon difference who in the heck would get a 4 cylinder? I read review after review praising the six and disappointment after disappointment for the lack luster acceleration of the 4 banger by owners. Anyway I bought the 2011 rav4 with the v6 and have not been disappointed. .

Paul Whitney (not verified)    June 2, 2016 - 3:11PM

I am a owner of a 2007 rav limited with the 3.5 v6.. with just shy of 78K miles on it...Man can this car accelarate... i wish it got better mpgs in town , but for a little roccket i cant complain.
I would never get one of these new 4 bangers....if anything id upgrade to a lexus suv with the v6

Jim Barlow (not verified)    July 20, 2016 - 10:44PM

I own a 2007 RAV4 V6 with 260K...and it still kicks ass! Water pump at 90K and cylinder #5 Coil at 150K are the ONLY things to go old...and no, it doesn't leak or burn oil. I have towed past the 3500lb limit, carried stuff on top, slept in it, lived in AZ with the heat, lived in LA with the traffic and now in Tahoe with the snow and ice.....25MPG whether I like it or not! I did add KYB rear shocks when I started towing (believe or not the front struts are original still) . I am currently looking for a 2012 RAV4 V6 Sport with the lift hatch with no spare on back....kind of rare but I have seen one. The new ones drive nice but are totally gutless....stock stereo is weak sauce as well!
My '07 is absolutely the best car I've ever owned...PERIOD!

Sam Longwell (not verified)    October 31, 2016 - 3:40AM

My wife bought a used 2012 RAV4 with a V-6 engine.
I had a chance to drive it on a trip to Las Vegas last month. I love that car. 100 mph - no problem. Gets about 25 mpg. It doesn't get any better than that. I neeeed one!

Sam Longwell (not verified)    November 14, 2016 - 2:41AM

My wife bought a 2012 V-6 RAV4. I would rather drive it than my Lexus 4cyl hybrid. So, I scouted the entire state trying to find a low mileage V-6. I found a 2011 with only 22,000 miles and bought it the same day. I Love it and will keep it till the wheels fall off. Great power and good mpg 24 mpg.
V-6 Lover

carrie koch (not verified)    January 24, 2017 - 4:59PM

I own a 2008 Toyota Rav 4 with 6 cyl. engine. I was planning on buying a newer one and discovered they no longer make that engine. I can't tell you how disappointed I am about that. I love that car but it's getting a lot of miles on it and my son has all but taken it over. I have to go back to the drawing board because it makes me so mad I won't buy another Toyota at all because of it. I'll be doing research for something else that is not so sloth-like as the 4 cyl.

Very unhappy Toyota customer

Jakester (not verified)    February 7, 2017 - 9:31AM

I own a 2009 3.5 V6 RAV4 sport appearance package, l liked it in the beginning but now l am not to fond of the AWD... I love the acceleration of the V6 and the gas mileage, but it doesnt do to well in snow especially up here in North Dakota!! I have paid it off and put over 130,xxx miles on it.... I might just keep it and buy a Tacoma 4x4 double cab off road and have both of them with the 3.5L V6 engine!!!

Caroline B Koch (not verified)    February 7, 2017 - 10:50AM

In reply to by Jakester (not verified)

Really? I love the awd system. I lived for 10 years in the far north panhandle of Idaho and we had tons of snow. My driveway was VERY steep and I had no issues. Previously I had a Subaru Outback which I also loved. I was skeptical about getting this new car, the Rav 4. Would it measure up to the Subaru? Well, I took the plunge and it worked every bit as well. So, I don't understand why it wouldn't work well for you. Maybe the car is too light weight for your purposes. (?) Anyhow, good luck for the future.