While overall sales gains are tapering off, there are still a few fuel efficient sales highlights. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – April 3, 2017 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited AWD - $37,057 as driven incl. the $940 D&H Charge offers owners a solid 34/30/32 mpgUS city/highway/combined rating. From our review of the same this past January, the conclusions looked like this. There is a lot to like about the RAV4 Hybrid as there are in most modern fully loaded automobiles. The exterior looks good although I believe it could use a little more grill work up front, a chrome DLO, and a real character line. Maybe a B- imho. Inside it is comfortable, quiet, good looking – I still love that leather passenger side dash insert, and feature full. I do wish it had Android Auto – Apple CarPlay for those with iPhones – to round out the NAVI and an 8” to 12” display. $35k+ vehicles should not be hampered with just 7” screens. Toyota NAVI like most embedded NAVI’s still suck. A Garmin GUI or Googles Android Auto solution is just better. The smartphone tray is also poorly designed. Overall, a solid B+. Ride and Handling? The chassis is tuned for a sportier ride but I think Toyota may be moving away from their bread and butter soft ride despite the body roll at the limits. The low profile 18’s have little give causing a slightly harsh ride on bumpy roads. The 17’s would help here as I do not remember lower trim RAV4s having this harsh of a ride. Another B. And the efficiency… In the midsize CUV segment, nothing will touch it including the just released 2017 Rogue Hybrid. Especially in the city! A solid A-. If you are planning to buy a CUV in the next 12 months, I recommend the 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid over any other mid to full sized CUV/SUV available today. The caveat being the compact CUV 2017 Kia Niro. It is a smaller and is not quite as comfortable. However, a 60 percent improvement in efficiency and even more modern features – 8” central display, 3-level heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto – make it another good choice. Especially for a first time buyer with the large $ savings. Family that needs room, The RAV4 Hybrid makes a lot of sense. An overall solid B+ imho. And my near future speculation? With the 2018 Honda CR-V supposedly receiving the Accord Hybrids two-motor system and probably 43 to 45 mpg combined rating that may be the small to midsize CUV choice once it arrives. Similarly, the RAV4 Hybrid should soon receive the 2018 Camry Hybrids drivetrain with the Li-Ion, new MG1/MG2 layout and action, 40 percent efficient 2.5L I4 providing upwards of 45 to 47 mpg. That could arrive as early as 12-months from now making it the best choice for a growing family. We are living in a golden age of the automobile with spectacular efficiency, features mot even thought of just a decade ago and safety beyond anything previously available. The RAV4 Hybrid is at the tip of the spear in many cases but is showing its age with the quick pace of competitors change. As driven, our RAV4 Hybrid Limited AWD ($34,030) came in at $37,057 including the aforementioned Advanced Technology pkg. ($1,435), mats ($224), Tonneu Cover ($90), Mudgaurds ($129), Body side moldings ($209), and D&H ($940). 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Toyota March 2017 Sales Overview Toyota sold 215,224 vehicles in March, down 2.1 percent below the 219,842 sold in March of 2016. YTD sales of 532,611 are down an even more worrisome 6.4 percent below the 569,080 sold through the same period of 2016. In a year when the Hybrid drivetrain is being overlooked for far less fuel efficient choices, two Toyota hybrids showed they still have staying power. During March, the Highlander Hybrid achieved sales of 1,587 vehicles, up 222 percent over the 492 sold during March of 2016. YTD sales of 3,497 are up n almost as impressive 177 percent over the 1,263 sold through the same period of 2016. The RAV4 Hybrid continues to show it is a solid consumer choice within the still hot CUV/SUV segment. March sales of 3,497 is up 13.8 percent over the 3,073 sold in March of 2016. YTD sales of 9,475 is up an even more impressive 25.7 percent over the 7,535 sold though the same period of 2016. Items of Note: In January and now March, the Fusion Hybrid outsold Prius. YTD sales of the Prius (15,769) are still ahead of the Fusion Hybrid (15,660) by just 109 vehicles. This is turning out to be quite the horse race with both jockeying back and forth for the monthly sales lead. The Prius has not felt this kind of sales pressure ever. The Kia Niro, now in its second full month of sales reached 2,704 new owners and continues to be the 4th bestselling hybrid in the country. The sales totals appear to be accelerating over and above the 2,143 sold last month and I suspect it will top out near 3 to 3.5k/month mark with incentives beginning to be offered in earnest and for the first time in March. Ioniq is just now reaching Hyundai dealerships so we will be watching that one closely with April being its first full month of sales. U.S. March 2017 Sales vs. March 2016 Sales Ranks and Results for the top 18 Automobile Manufacturers GM March 2017 Sales Up 1.6% with 256,224 Vehicles sold Ford March 2017 Sales Down 7.2% with 236,250 Vehicles sold Toyota March 2017 Sales Down 2.1% with 215,224 Vehicles sold FCA March 2017 Sales Down 4.6% with 190,254 Vehicles sold Nissan March 2017 Sales Up 3.2% with 168,832 Vehicles sold Honda March 2017 Sales Down 0.7% with 137,227 Vehicles sold Hyundai March 2017 Sales were down 8.0% with 69,265 Vehicles sold Subaru March 2017 Sales Up 11.3% with 54,871 Vehicles sold Kia March 2017 Sales Down 15.2% with 49,429 Vehicles Sold BMW March 2017 Sales Up 3.5% with 36,002 Vehicles sold Mercedes-Benz March 2017 Sales Up 2.0% with 32,352 Vehicles Sold VW March 2017 Sales Up 2.7% with 27,635 Vehicles sold Mazda March 2017 Sales Up 4.9% with 24,549 Vehicles sold Audi March 2017 Sales Up 1.7% with 18,705 Vehicles sold Jaguar/Land Rover March 2017 Sales Up 18.9% with 12,918 Vehicles sold Mitsubishi March 2017 Sales Up 6.2% with 11,766 Vehicles sold Volvo March 2017 Sales Down 21.9% with 5,356 Vehicles sold Porsche March 2017 Sales Up 3.6% with 4,479 Vehicles sold In March, BMW moved up two spots to 10th ahead of both VW and MB. Jaguar/Land Rover moved ahead of Mitsubishi to take the 15th spot. In terms of Market Share, GM was a clear winner in March with a 0.9 percent gain over March of 2016. FCA was down 1.0 percent, Nissan was up 0.7 percent. Regarding segment sales totals, F-Series outsold GM’s Silverado, Sierra, Colorado, and Canyon combined. Ram also outsold Silverado. March light vehicle SAAR (seasonally-adjusted annual rate) was 14 million in March although March 2017 sales (1.54 million) were off 0.05 million vs. March of 2016 sales (1.59 million). The seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) for light vehicles was approximately 14.0 million vehicles. YTD industry sales of 4.00 million is down 0.05 million form the 4.05 million sold through the same period of 2016 with the same number of selling days. It is clear that short term sales have peaked. With incentives piling on across the industry, where we go from here is anyone’s guess.