Nothing Official So Far...Nothing is official so far, but the Toyta Deputy Chief Engineer in charge of the RAV4, Yoshikazu Saeki, has told British magazine AutoExpress that making a RAV4 hybrid would “would not be difficult to do", and that they are watching the market: "After introducing the new RAV4 we will see. There will be a possibility of introducing a hybrid RAV4 and we will respond to what the market wants.” If we bust out the decoder ring and decode this, there's a good chance that it actually means that we should expect a RAV4 hybrid relatively soon. It would certainly fit Toyota's long-term strategy of rolling out hybrid versions of most of its models -- in fact, it would be more surprising if we didn't see a hybrid RAV4.
More Fuel-Efficient Choices is a Good ThingRumors of a next gen RAV4 hybrid aren't quite as interesting as the Toyota-Tesla collaboration on the RAV4 EV, but it's always nice to see best selling models being offered in hybrid versions. If people are going to be driving a RAV4, they might as well have the option to drive one that burns less gas and has cleaner tailpipe emissions (though ideally they'd go bike or take transit or go fully electric...).
It would offer a hybrid option to those who need more space but don't want to go as big as a Toyota Highlander Hybrid. A RAV4 hybrid might be faced with tough competition from the C-MAX hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, though. It's not quite the same type of package, but for many people it might meet the same needs.