— Is the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid gas tank size 14.5 gallons as advertised by the automaker? According to a class action lawsuit, the fuel tanks in 2019-2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrids cannot be filled to 14.5 gallons because Toyota made changes to the design of the tanks.
The plaintiffs allege a gas tank change to a saddle-shape design means the RAV4 Hybrids cannot achieve their advertised 580 miles on a full tank of gas.
The vehicles should get an estimated 41 mpg in city driving, 38 mpg highway and 40 miles per gallon city/highway combined. But when a driver can only safely fill the tank with less than 10 gallons of gas, owners are allegedly deprived of the SUVs that were advertised.
With the tank size that allegedly holds 14.5 gallons and a travel range of 580 miles, the plaintiffs say a driver can only travel about 400 miles on a “full” tank of gas. This allegedly forces drivers to make more stops to add fuel to the tanks and makes Toyota's mileage promises empty.
According to the lawsuit, Toyota hasn't offered to recall the vehicles and hasn't offered proper repairs or replacements of the gas tanks.
A Missouri owner of a 2019 RAV4 Hybrid says he believed the advertised gas tank capacity of 14.5 gallons and a travel range of more than 500 miles on a full tank of gas.
The plaintiff says he purchased a new 2019 RAV4 Hybrid on the assurance the SUV could travel more than 500 miles on a full tank of gas. But he says he's never been able to fill the gas tank to the advertised 14.5 gallon capacity.
The plaintiff says the tank will hold up to 10 gallons of gas and trying to add more causes the tank to overflow, even when the fuel light indicates the gas tank isn't full.
According to the plaintiff, he contacted the Toyota dealership and was told nothing could be done until the automaker released a solution to the problem. The plaintiff has allegedly had to refuel more frequently because the RAV4 Hybrid never achieves the advertised mileage range.
Toyota allegedly concealed the gas tank defect and is no closer to a real repair than when the tanks were installed. Even with hundreds of thousands of affected RAV4 Hybrids, Toyota allegedly can only recommend that owners refuel before or when the low fuel light illuminates to prevent running out of fuel.
The class action alleges Toyota has confirmed it's investigating a possible issue with the shape of the RAV4 Hybrid fuel tank that may prevent drivers from fully refilling the tanks by several gallons.
According to lawsuit documents, Toyota changed the RAV4 Hybrid gas tanks in 2019 to a new “latitudinal, saddleshaped design” from a “Native America papoose shape.” The lawsuit says it appears the new saddle-type gas tank fits over vehicle components in a way that limits how much fuel can be added to the tank.
The class action lawsuit references a November 2019 "Tech Tip" concerning a “Fuel Gauge Concern” because “[s]ome 2019 model year RAV4 H[ybrid] customers may be experiencing some concern related to fuel gauge[s] reading less than full.”
“The meter may display somewhere around 3/4 to 7/8 full at the time of gas station auto stop.” Toyota recommended “no repairs” at the time, stating that the “[c]oncern is under investigation,” and instructing technicians to “contact TAS for further assistance.” - Lawsuit
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid gas tank size lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California: Coleman, et al., v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
The plaintiffs are represented by Bleichmar Fonti & Auld LLP, and Kehoe Law Firm, P.C.