As the undisputed king of hybrid cars, the Toyota Prius and its family of Prii dominate hybrid vehicle sales. Why Toyota even bothers building hybrid versions of its other cars like the Camry is beyond me. Yet it appears hybridization is contagious, as Toyota is saying that a hybrid version of the new 2013 Toyota RAV4 is a “possibility”.
Like many other automakers, Toyota is downsizing its engine offerings in the RAV4 to just four-cylinder options in the quest for greater fuel efficiency. While Toyota already has the Prius V aimed at those who need a hybrid vehicle with a bit more room and versatility, the 2013 RAV4 offers a bit more cargo space than the Prius (maximum of 67 cubic-feet vs 73 cubic-feet respectively).
With optional all-wheel drive, the RAV4 hybrid might be better suited for snowy climates than the Prius V. Also, some people just don’t want to be associated with the Prius brand, but still want a car with Toyota’s legacy for reliability. I can see why Toyota is sitting on the fence with the RAV4 hybrid though; Ford ditched the hybrid version of the new Escape, a RAV4 rival. It would also likely cannibalize sales from the Prius V. Oh, and also, there’s the whole Toyota RAV4 EV thing too…
Whatever choice Toyota makes, it will probably be the right one. That would mean nearly every vehicle in Toyota’s lineup would have a hybrid version, and including potentially the Toyota GT86/Scion FR-S. Do you think there’s demand for a small hybrid SUV? Or should Toyota focus its efforts elsewhere?