Toyota’s RAV4 Hybrid is versatile, well equipped
If you are shopping for a small crossover utility vehicle that delivers remarkable fuel economy, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is very impressive.
With a fuel economy rating of 34/30 mpg city/highway, the 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is great for driving around town, and it offers a driving range of about 474 miles, depending on your driving habits.
Plus, choosing the RAV4 Hybrid over its non-hybrid counterpart nets you more combined horsepower and faster acceleration. You might be surprised to know that 0–60 mph happens about one second more quickly with the hybrid version.
Additionally, all RAV4 Hybrid models come standard with all-wheel drive, featuring a rear electric motor that delivers instant torque to the rear wheels whenever extra traction is needed.
The RAV4 Hybrid debuted last year. In its sophomore year, Toyota has added a new sporty SE trim level that fits in between the XLE and Limited trims.
Also, all 2017 RAV4 models now include a suite of safety features referred to as Toyota Safety Sense P. This safety suite includes forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic braking, lane departure warning with intervention, adaptive cruise control and automatic high-beam control.
The 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid’s advanced powertrain includes a 2.5-liter gasoline engine, two electric traction motors, a 244.8-volt nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) high-voltage battery pack and an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The RAV4 Hybrid’s 2.5-liter engine is rated at 150 horsepower, but its hybrid system delivers up to 194 combined horsepower.
Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system definitely sets the bar high for seamless performance and impressive efficiency.
The system varies power between the gas engine and electric motor, or combines both as needed. The electric motors also become generators to recharge the high-voltage battery pack during braking.
A third electric motor can be called upon to recharge the high-voltage battery pack during acceleration and cruising.
The transitions from engine on-off and off-on are exceptionally smooth and almost imperceptible. When power is needed, the RAV4 Hybrid accelerates quickly and effortlessly.
The RAV4 Hybrid driver can help to conserve fuel by selecting either ECO or EV mode. Choosing ECO mode optimizes throttle responsiveness and air conditioning output to help prioritize fuel economy.
In EV mode, under certain conditions, the RAV4 Hybrid can operate using only the electric motor for up to 0.6 miles at lower speeds (below 25 mph).
The high-voltage battery pack does eat up some of the RAV4 Hybrid’s cargo area, but not as much as you might expect. Cargo volume behind the second row only drops to 35.6 cubic feet from 38.4 cubic feet (non-hybrid).
The 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is offered in three trim levels: XLE ($29,030), SE ($32,185) and Limited ($34,030).
While the RAV4 Hybrid costs a bit more than a non-hybrid, I believe it is worth it, especially for those who drive in city traffic or are otherwise looking for improved fuel efficiency.