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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


Caroline B Koch (not verified)    February 7, 2017 - 10:24AM

The gas mileage is a ridiculous excuse! The difference is inconsequential imo. If someone can afford a car like that, I seriously doubt the gas mileage difference is going to break their bank.Good that your sales are "through the roof" but I won't be buying your sluggish, unresponsive 4 cyl little engine that can't...and I know of other people who won't either. There are plenty of other good cars out there to choose from.

bob rice (not verified)    February 24, 2017 - 1:14AM

I have an '08 RAV with V6 and about to buy new, but then leaned the V6 stopped at 2012. Well, guess I'll just keep this one. Too bad, but I will never go to a 4 cyl.

Caroline B Koch (not verified)    February 24, 2017 - 9:25AM

One don't have to push the gas pedal in as much to make it go. That ought to use less gas. Anyhow, I'll never buy another Rav 4 on account of not having a V6 anymore. I am keeping this one with 82,000 miles on it. But I wound up buying a Cadillac SRX with the bigger engine and AWD. Nice. More comfortable than the Rav too. Just not quite so peppy as the Rav V6 since it is heavier. But it's not as draggy as the 4 cyl. Well Bob, we'll have to take especially good care of our older Ravs since they're not making them anymore. HUGE mistake, huh.

Nick (not verified)    March 1, 2017 - 1:24AM

Toyota's quickest to 60?? I don't think so.
Some JDM Toyotas such as the Mark X and Crown have similar sized engines, and are even quicker than the RAV4 V6.
Have a look at the Mark X 350S on YouTube and judge for yourself.

carrie koch (not verified)    March 1, 2017 - 4:11PM

In reply to by Nick (not verified)

But those aren't SUVs. Sure, there are faster cars. But what's appealing about the Rav 4 with the 6cyl engine is that it's a AWD Suv with lots of zip...very quick. That's kind of unusual.

Deb (not verified)    March 21, 2017 - 7:26PM

I have a 2007 Rav4 with the 6-cylinder engine, and it is just as peppy and smooth at 173K miles as it was when it was new. I'm about to give it to my daughter because a driver totaled her (parked) Subaru. I am VERY disappointed to learn that Toyota is no longer offering the 6-cylinder model. I will be looking at other SUVs.

Mark 'Galassi (not verified)    April 10, 2017 - 5:09PM

I own a RAV=4 the last of the good models. It isn't bad enough that the company hogs the storage space inside the vehicle with a spare tire. Now they are too lazy to make a 6cylinder mode., Try pulling any kind of boat with the 4cyl and you will kick your self and cry, It just seems to be getting worse. I used to like Toyota but boy. Not good.

cliff (not verified)    April 13, 2017 - 10:49PM

2009 Rav4 v6 is almost 250,000. We would keep it until it craps out except it is not 4 wheel drive, the only regret we have. Lots of recalls, but replaced the exhaust system for free. Good utility & sport vehicle, but we need something more substantial for back roads, snow & hauling. a 4 cylinder just won't cut it.

Jim K (not verified)    May 3, 2017 - 8:54AM

I have a 2010 Rav4 6 CL and love the power. Mountains: Not a problem. What is a reasonable alternative? Have tested a Lexus NX turbo. It's a dog compared to Rav4 6. I kept wondering when I'd get enough speed to enter the freeway. What Crossover SUV's should I be looking at? MPG not a concern for me.

John Goreham    May 3, 2017 - 5:58PM

In reply to by Jim K (not verified)

You might think this is crazy, but I recently tested the Honda CR-V with the new 1.5L Turbo and CVT. LOVED that drivetrain. You would not have the same power that the 6-cylinder RAV4 had, but it is lots better than the RAV4 4-cylinder. Another interesting option is the RAV4 Hybrid. LOVED that too. Adds torque and MPG and price is reasonable. If you trust the quality (I don't), the new Equinox has some interesting new engines and the Ford Escape has some very powerful engines. Last, Forester XT can run with the old RAV4 V6. These are the affordable ones. In my testing, the premium compact crossovers don't add anything I value. Let us know what you get!

Eda Feyler (not verified)    June 30, 2017 - 2:32PM

I am the owner of a 2008 RAV4 Limited V6. I will not part with it. I get calls all the time to trade it in. I will never purchase a RAV4 with a 4-cyl or any car with a 4-cyl. It is extremely disappointing that the demand for theRAV4 V6 is ignored. It should remain an option if a customer wants it.

Ann Palmer (not verified)    July 23, 2017 - 1:36PM

Best I have ever driven @age 70 I've had various sets of wheels under me.plan to keep it till death!!due us part

Edwin Flotildes (not verified)    August 2, 2017 - 10:17AM

We have a 2011 Rav 4 V6 limited,real fast and fun to drive.We got another Rav 4 2017(could be much better with the V6) but fun to drive nonetheless,smoother ride and of course newer technology with regards to safety

J AULT (not verified)    September 10, 2017 - 12:46AM


William Todd (not verified)    November 10, 2017 - 8:29PM

2012 v6 recent, like, where have you been all my life. I can truly understand the cult status that this thing sustains.

A wolf in sheep's clothing that rises above the sea of mediocrity.

I'm on cloud 9 grappling with the old adage 'if its too good to be true, it probably is' situation.
And the reality is, this baby exceeds all of my expectations and then some.

Take yesterday for example:

Following a convoy led by some passive aggressive miser who wants everyone to enjoy a leisurely 55 on a designated 65 two way road with no opportunities to pass, we come to the base of a mile long steep hill that offers a passing zone....before the Rav, I would just stay in the back, simply because the Corolla I was driving just didn't have what it took to take the lead. The Rav did, and it overtook everyone in the pack with absolutely no protest. Enthusiasm would be more like it. This Rav wants to be pushed, whats more, the needle didn't even come close to the middle of the tac.

This car is fun to drive, its a go getter, and if you're on the fence about getting a v6, let me assure you, its worth the effort to find one.

Dave In PA (not verified)    November 12, 2017 - 4:04PM

I own a 2008 V6 Rav4 w/200k miles. Virtually no problems since bought new. I'll not purchase another Toyota and agree w/the comments here. I'm just going to keep it until it dies. Hoping to get past 300,000 miles. Why not? There is nothing out there on the market that is better.

John (not verified)    December 16, 2017 - 1:32AM

Have a Rav4 2016 . limited silver metallic as they say it was and still is one of the fastest cars out-its not bashful will take over the road-it"s so good bought vanity plate holder named her the SILVER BULLET I only use it's speed to get out of jams- now has 24000 miles on her- the power is unbelievable- see you on the road.

Werner Howald (not verified)    January 26, 2018 - 7:48PM

If only Toyota made a 8 cyl, that could fit in a compartment of Rav4, only then would I be a happy place.

JWinn (not verified)    January 28, 2018 - 12:12PM

Bigger engine more fun. V6 equal better haul/ more power. When I went shopping for an rav4 I picked the 2011 rav4 v6. Better drive and more power. Eco? I pay for the feeling of power when I step on the gas. The new model rav4 is fairly bad. No feeling no power. That is why I have the 2011 rav4 v6. Believe me if v6 came back you will own the market. Surprise your consumers. New model ugly.

Johnny (not verified)    September 11, 2018 - 10:16AM

I bought a 2007 Rav4 Limited V6. Right from the get go, it was a powerful drive, with a rather twitchy throttle - I basically had to feather the gas to make sure I didn't jack rabbit start from traffic lights. Now I am used to it - and drive quite smoothly. It is now 11 years old with about 149,000 Kilometres on the odometer. I have never had a car last longer than its 10th year before, and I am loath to part with this one as other than cracked leather on the driver's seat, weather striping around the windows that needs replacing and a strange clatter from the timing chain (yes, this car actually has a timing chain!) This car looks and performs like new. I looked at the new Rav4's and was VERY disappointed to see that there is no longer a V6 option. The power and responsiveness that I get while passing on the highway, accelerating to get to highway speeds and for carrying loads is unsurpassed. replacing this with another vehicle will be a challenge. Moving up to a Lexus is tempting, but then you enter into another whole world of maintenance costs (premium gas, expensive oil changes etc).

Toyota, you had a good thing going! I'm lucky - it's better to have loved and lost .

Julia (not verified)    December 28, 2018 - 11:47PM

I have a 2011 v6 and love it. Going in 210,000 miles and I want another but will never buy a 4 cylinder. So as much as I love Toyota, I am very disappointed in the fact I can’t get another v6.

Werner Howald (not verified)    January 3, 2019 - 11:23PM

If your interested, I look and see if the dealer or someone can rebuild or replace it, that's if the rest of your vehicle in good shape as well.

waynewal (not verified)    June 15, 2019 - 2:22PM

Just lost my 2010 Limited V6 RAV4 (Japanese made and assembled) to an accident - some young woman with a baby in the car (both okay) slammed into us while we were waiting in a line of traffic for the stoplight to change. She was probably on the phone. Said she 'couldnt get her foot on the brake) Yeah, right.
Anyway, the insurance company totalled as the rear pan for the truck was bent and estimated repairs at near 10K, Crooks are giving me 9800 for it. So off it goes to get parted out and I am stuck trying to choose another vehicle. NO V6 Rav4 and even though they look neat, am looking to pull a boat (14-16 foot metal one) and a 4 cyl wont cut it. Maybe graduate to the Tundra or a 2015 Highlander. Anyway loss of that car make me want to cry - it was great....

John Goreham    June 15, 2019 - 8:40PM

In reply to by waynewal (not verified)

If you want to stay in a 2-row crossover, give the Mazda CX-5 top 2 trims with the 2.5 Turbo gas engine a try. 310 lb-ft of torque. At 1,600 RPMs. Japanese made and assembled. And pulls like a train. Plus Android Auto if that is important to you.

Arlene Ober (not verified)    June 23, 2019 - 1:30AM

I have a 2003 rav4 with 210,000 miles and my biggest complaint is that it's a 4 cyl. I was looking for a newer model up to 2012 as I like this body style and get a 6 cyl, but my mechanic said that engine is to much power for the car and results in motor mount problems. Wondering if anyone has had such an issue with their 6 cyl rav 4 cars? Thanks

Sylvia (not verified)    November 6, 2019 - 10:39AM

I have a 2010 Rav4 Limited V6 and li have owned countless numbers of cars including a corvette and this Toyota is the FINEST AND MOST RELIABLE CAR I HAVE EVERY OWNED !!!. It presently has over 166,000 miles and still uses on oil and runs like a scalded dog (loves to have hemi pickups and v8 chevy trucks for lunch). Used to drive chevys and had nothing but constant major problems with everyone of them except for the vette. The only complaint about the Toyota is the seats seem rather hard

Kenny (not verified)    April 4, 2020 - 5:00PM

I own a 2011 V-6 Rav4 & plan to keep it forever. Found it on a Subaru Dealership lot. I was just looking for a Base Model but it was a Limited. They sold it to me below BB I guess just so it wasn't sitting in their Subaru selection. Thought of trading it in for a Tacoma one day but no..