Toyota RAV4 hybrid heats up competition among all-wheel SUVs

The latest addition to all-wheel SUVs, see how the Toyota RAV4 hybrid squares up

DESIGN

The Exterior

  • A perfect blend of sportiness and athletics
  • The headlight unit is very decent, all LED with DRLs, reducing issues with projections during night-time
  • The Wheel arch guards remind us of JEEP Grand Cherokee with no rounded edges and a boxy wheel arch

Cabin style and Interiors

  • The interior is tidy with black or beige leather seats. The steering wheel is wrapped in leather and the soft material stitching on the dashboard lends the car a premium feel
  • The seating position is ergonomic and comfortable, a huge plus for the driver
  • Several practical features offered such as wireless charging, 2 big cupholders, ample space in the bin beneath the armrest with 2 fast charging USB ports
  • Backseat too offers plenty of space, indicative of the RAV4 being the bigger SUV in its class
  • Intelligently packaged! A 6-foot-tall person would still have a lot of headroom and leg space left. Can easily accommodate a 5th person sitting in the car because the traditional transmission tunnel (the big hump on the floor) doesn’t exist
  • 2 air vents in the rear, excellent for the hot climes of the UAE
  • The rear passengers have their own armrest with cupholders and reclinable seats, so one can either sit upright or settle back for a longer road trip

EFFICIENCY AND MECHANICS

Engine

  • A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired to an electric motor with a continuously variable automatic transmission
  • A second electric motor powering the rear wheels
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Altogether, the hybrid powertrain makes 219 horsepower

Strong acceleration

  • RAV4 Prime skipped to 90 mph in just 5.6 seconds
  • All the features grant the driver ample confidence when it comes to overtaking and weaving in and out of traffic

Fuel economy/ hybrid characteristics

  • About 17 km/l in combined city/highway driving, which is an impressive real-world economy, more than making up for the slight price mark-up compared to the regular (non-hybrid) RAV4

TECH AND INFOTAINMENT

  • The 8-inch infotainment system is crisp and bright, and it supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa
  • The integrated navigation is efficient
  • An analogue Instrument Cluster with a screen in the middle giving us a digital speedometer and other trip computer information with a power gauge. (The tachometer is not analogue)
  • A slew of technology excellent for motor enthusiasts, such as blind spot monitoring and a 360-degree parking camera

X-FACTOR

  • Spunky electrically assisted acceleration, taut suspension and decent off-road capability make the RAV4 Hybrid a solid all-around driver

SAFETY

  • Toyota adherence of driver-assistance features makes the car the Top Safety Pick for 2020
  • Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  • Standard adaptive cruise control

GREEN FEATURES   (environmental sustainability)

  • Rav4 is a parallel hybrid, which means it can run just on battery, or just on the internal combustion engine or use both in unison.
  • The fuel savings offered due to efficiency are great for cutting down on emissions

FLAWS/ MISSES

  • If you love listening to music and prefer good audio, going in for the RAV4 Cruiser (rather than the Hybrid) might seem advantageous, as it comes equipped with the JBL Speakers
  • The Instrument Cluster too has a bigger digital unit in the ‘Cruiser’ variant
  • Functionality foibles such as rubbery steering, numb braking and an engine that drones under high load do negate some of its top qualities

NEMESIS   (top competitor of the model we’re covering and why)

  • Ford Escape Hybrid and Honda CR-V Hybrid are recent launches but they are pretty evenly matched with the RAV4 Hybrid

PRICE POINT

(top car trim + if any options available for this)

$37,330 or AED 1,37,120 is the MSRP of the RAV4 Hybrid Limited trim

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