After it made the Prius name as similar with words as Kleenex is to tissues, Toyota has been sedate to extend its technology to other Toyota-brand versions in the U.S. mart. The Highlander hybrid was introduced in 2005 and a hybrid version of the bestselling Camry introduced in 2006, but in the past decade the only other Toyota to get the hybrid work was the Avalon in 2012. (The Prius itself has also caused V and C deviations.) But now comes this hybrid RAV4, informed in simultaneity with a mid-cycle refresh for the 2016 version year. After experimenting this brand-new tight crossover, we can only astonishment why Toyota waited so long to transport it to mart. Blimpish Toyota certainly had little force to motion into this when few opponents in the successful tight-crossover part offer hybrids. Only two have existed, really, Ford vended a hybrid Escape through 2012, while Subaru informed the XV Crosstrek hybrid in 2014. Yet from a consumer’s position, the brand-new RAV4 makes abundance of awareness, supplying an epa fuel-economy evaluating of 33 mpg combined, or 8 mpg good than the nonhybrid. In our experimenting, the boundary over the grade RAV4 was even beamy than the EPA illustrations suggest. We saved 31 mpg from the RAV4 hybrid, or 12 mpg good than we got in the last nonhybrid, all-wheel-drive RAV4 we try-out. That’s gigantic, because it means that even with relatively debased fuel values , a RAV4 hybrid customer can reasonably expect to compensate the $700 premium for the RAV4 hybrid in fuel fund saving in just over a year, expecting 15,000 miles steered annually.
However, Toyota offers the RAV4 hybrid only in mid-grade XLE and top-of-the-line Limited trims, conveying the least you can disburse to tract one in your road is $29,270. Weight up a $34,510 Limited with the $1435 Advanced Technology collection—which includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen with navigation system and Toyota’s Entune multimedia system along with around-view camera and enough supplements and you can knocked the $38,000 value of our experiment car. You won’t get Apple CarPlay or Google’s Android Auto at any outgo, however, as Toyota does not aid either of the huge two smartphone-integration systems, instead liking to offer its own connectivity apps.
The large qualities between the hybrid trim stages are wheel magnitude, cloth covering in the XLE versus doctrine leather in the Limited and the elective sensor-based safety technology (blind-spot observing, cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beam lights, pre-collision stopping, lane-keeping assistance, and adaptive cruise regulate) that’s included in the Limited. In every RAV4 hybrid, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder fuel engine evaluated at 150 horsepower works in simultaneity with three electric engines to move energy to all four wheels. The design of this complicated powertrain is the same as in the Highlander hybrid, with two engines compounded into the front transaxle and one find in back to drive the rear wheels. Because the tight RAV4 is little than the three-row Highlander, its front conflict engine is evaluated at 141 horsepower rather than the 167 in the Highlander; however, its 67-hp rear engine is same. Whole system energy is 194 horsepower, which is less than the asset of the solo products, because maximum product for the gas and electric energy points happen at non-identical rotational accelerates.
While that’s 18 stallions high than the nonhybrid’s energy evaluating, this merit is somewhat equilibrium by the hybrid version’s extra weight. At 4003 pounds, the hybrid bags an extra 325 pounds of engines and artilleries, which is why we saw insufficient transformation in our zero-to-60-mph experiment. The RAV4 hybrid quantified 8.3 seconds, analyzed with the 8.4-second run we made in the grade all-wheel-drive RAV4. The hybrid’s extra energy is good entangled at high accelerates, where the electric engine provides a good flow of energy for passing.
Our experiment motorist stated that artillery energy was spent after three or four full-throttle acceleration runs, but that’s not a likely scenario in constant use. Wavelike energy transportation can make the RAV4 hybrid feel doubtful at times, especially under full-throttle acceleration. The hybrid doesn’t have a driveshaft thinking its front and rear shafts, so it depends on physics to equilibrium the energy arrangement. It doesn’t feel as creaseless and broadloom as the all-wheel-drive system in the grade version, which does have a driveshaft to the rear shaft. With its brushed mixture and considerable weight, the hybrid evidences lots of body motion both front and after, and it leans quite a bit during controlling.
On the Limited’s 18-inch wheels, we found that the hybrid also steers rather heavily for a little crossover, again because of its two-ton restrain weight. And, like many hybrids that mix regenerative stopping with the conflict restraint economy, the restraint ride feels soft and, more annoyingly, is inconsistent in dispatching deceleration proportionate to motorist effort registered. Effective stopping energy, with stops from 70 mph demanding 181 feet, is emblematic of two-ton crossovers. While some nonhybrid crossovers this magnitude can be mildly socializing when steered solid, the RAV4’s retiring 0.76 g of grasping and implacable understeer will disapprove such behavior. But given the payout in mileage, those seem like little cooperations for customers who don’t work a whit about sportiness or the better components of perfection in the driving experience.
Admirers of utility might be more wary of how much the hybrid’s nickel-metal-hydride artillery pack intrudes into the RAV4 hybrid’s merchandise space. The hybrid version has 2.8 fewer blockish feet behind its rear rooms than the constant version, and when the rooms are folded down in the hybrid they don’t go even. But the weight floor in the RAV4 hybrid remains conveniently debased, and the upward-sloping merchandise hold still is able of consuming a 29-inch-wheel mountain bike without removing the front wheel. The hybrid gets a little shock in maximum towing capability, although its 1750-pound maximum is still beautiful debased. The Highlander hybrid doesn’t turn from the grade version when it comes to styling, choosing the same news that other RAV4s get for 2016. A more battleful front fascia with squintier lights and more angular contours evaluation the RAV4 as an associate of the Toyota clan and perhaps the best-looking one. As Toyota continues to make its honor as the hybrid supplier of decision, this brand-new entry makes a bewitching pick on many stages.