Toyota's popular RAV4 crossover utility vehicle will gain a new entry-level hybrid trim for the 2018 model year, offering a remarkably good price against a gasoline-only RAV4 crossover.

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid LE trim lets buyers choose the greater fuel efficiency of a hybrid powertrain for only $1,325 more than an equivalent gas-powered RAV4 LE with AWD.

The LE version of the RAV4 Hybrid bundles hybrid power, additional amenities, and all-wheel drive at a starting price of $28,130.

DON'T MISS: 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: Gas Mileage Review

News of the hybrid crossover's release came from a bulletin sent to dealerships, which described the entry-level model using the hybrid powertrain and some additional features over the gas-only RAV4 LE.

CarsDirect reported on the bulletin, which describes differences such as dual-zone automatic climate control, heated exterior mirrors, roof rails, and a 4.2-inch display in the instrument cluster.

The RAV4 Hybrid LE also includes a driving mode selector for Eco, Sport, and EV options, and a Smart Key System—all for a slightly higher price than the RAV4 LE.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Feb 2016

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Feb 2016

The crossover's hybrid system pairs a 2.5-liter inline-4 engine with the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system for a combined output of 194 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque.

Even with the lower starting price, the RAV4 Hybrid LE boasts identical power and fuel economy ratings.

The RAV4 Hybrid LE will return an EPA-estimated 34 miles per gallon city, 30 mpg highway, and 32 mpg combined.

READ THIS: 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Price To Start At $29,270

Our first drive of the Toyota's hybrid compact crossover brought an average 30.4 mpg during balmy summer temperatures.

At the time, we suggested milder temperatures would likely warrant perhaps a 10-percent increase in efficiency for 33 mpg combined on a test route.

Previously, the RAV4 Hybrid came only in XLE and Limited trims, which ran $1,895 and $6,380 more than the new entry-level Hybrid LE trim respectively.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Feb 2016

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Feb 2016

The introduction of the entry-level trim follows a decision to slash the base price of its NX 300h hybrid crossover, which shares underpinnings with the RAV4 Hybrid.

For 2018, the luxury brand's compact crossover will start at $39,330, a price reduction of $1,385 from the 2017 model.

CHECK OUT: 2018 Lexus NX Hybrid gets more safety equipment at lower price

With the price cut, Lexus also added more standard equipment to the NX 300h, in the form of Lexus's Safety System+ as standard.

The current generation of the RAV4 is approaching the end of its life, and the high-selling crossover will likely be replaced for or during 2019.


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