Forgive me Father for it has been 7+ years since I last drove an SUV! The last SUV my wife actually owned was for a very short period of time. It was horrible in the New England snow, and it averaged about 15mpg.
So fast forward to 2016, I attended the New England International Auto Show in Boston back in January. I was invited to the Toyota display to view the new 2016 Prius. I arrived a little early and while walking through the Toyota vehicles came across the Rav4 Hybrid. I have been a hybrid driver for the past several years as my daily commute takes me from New Hampshire to Boston, so I was intrigued by the Rav4 hybrid. There are several times my wife and I are at Lowes or BJ Wholesale Club when we are looking at something wondering if it will fit in our car and talking about the benefits of an SUV. So the first thing I did was open up the back to check how much room there was, then I had to see how many MPGs it was rated for. I knew I had to test drive this vehicle and find out for myself.
I test drove the Rav4 Hybrid Limited edition for a period of one week. Over that week, I put about 500 miles in various conditions. I want to preface this by saying, I do not drive a hybrid trying to get every mile I can out of it, actually chances are I will be passing you on the highway in the high speed lane. Over the course of the 500 miles, I averaged 34mpg. When looking at a hybrid, I try to justify if the extra mileage is worth a higher MSRP. In this case the difference between a Rav4 Limited (MSRP $32,910) and a Rav4 Limited Hybrid (MSRP 33,610) is only $700 so I would say, “YES!” With an average of about 10mpg it wouldn’t take you that long to make up the $700 difference. Most hybrid models are significantly more than their gas only counterpart.
So let’s talk about the ride. The hybrid 2.5L 4 cylinder engine had plenty of power pulling into traffic or getting onto the highway. When you hit the gas, you might forget you are driving a hybrid. I found the ride to be extremely smooth, even when I was having some fun in the snow and mud. With the “intelligence” AWD (AWD-i) I always felt like I was in control even when the conditions were not the greatest. As a matter of fact, we had a little snow, so I took the Rav4 Hybrid off road to try to get a true feel of how the AWD would react. I sped up, hit the brakes hard as well as cut the wheel hard and the Rav4 Hybrid was able to handle everything I threw at it.
Being a “Gadget Guy” I love to see what’s new year after year for technology. I will start with one of the simplest items, but one of my favorites in the Rav4 Hybrid was the headlights. The “projector-beam LED headlights” were amazingly bright and also had an automatic high beam feature. They are at the perfect angle that even though they are extremely bright, they don’t tick off drivers coming in the opposite direction. The auto high beams are quick to shut off when you come into a bright area or another vehicle is approaching. For the sound, the hybrid limited comes with SiriusXM Satellite Radio, a 4.2″ multi-informational display featuring Entune Premium audio with navigation and App Suite. This test model was upgraded to the JBL speaker system giving the audio a little better sound. Entune is Toyota’s app that allows you to stream apps from your phone such as Pandora, iHeart Radio and also integrates with your phone to check local traffic or weather. I found the touch screen easy to navigate through for radio, satellite and navigation. I do however wish the integration with the iPhone was a little better. You have the ability to read texts, but if you want to reply you need to use the “hey Siri” feature to voice reply to text messages.
As far as “conveniences” the Rav4 Hybrid Limited edition comes with plenty of features. Standard features include integrated backup camera, roof rails, height-adjustable power liftgate, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (highly recommended for an SUV), power driver’s seat with memory function, smart key with push button start, dual climate control, moonroof, and soft leather seats.
Overall I was extremely pleased with the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid Limited. Toyota is the first name I think of when I talk about hybrid vehicles and it should be yours too. Check out the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid and the entire Toyota line-up at www.toyota.com. Toyota’s slogan is, “Let’s Go Places” well with the Rav4 Hybrid, I can think of plenty of places I would like to go!