Keeping pace with the times: testing the Toyota RAV4 hybrid
 

The Japanese crossover shows why it is the best-selling model in its class.

When it comes to hybrids, the first thing that comes to mind is Toyota... The Japanese are still at the forefront of this technology, and when it is combined with the proven qualities of the RAV4 crossover, it becomes clear why it is the best-selling model in its class in the world. In fact, it has long established itself as convenient, practical and reliable, and in recent years it has become high-tech.

Keeping pace with the times: testing the Toyota RAV4 hybrid

The fact is that Toyota is lagging behind its main competitors in infotainment and unmanned vehicles, and the lack of diesels in the lineup probably also, probably, does not suit many. Add to that the hefty price tag of Japanese cars and you can see why some people still prefer the competition.

Let's start with the price. The cost of the hybrid RAV4 starts at 65 leva, but the addition of various options and systems that are very useful increases this amount to almost 000 leva. At first glance, this seems like a lot, at least compared to most competitors in the market. On the other hand, if you are looking for an SUV of this size that is practical, comfortable, comfortable and of high quality, the Toyota RAV90 should be a serious contender for your attention.

 
Keeping pace with the times: testing the Toyota RAV4 hybrid

This is the fifth generation of the model, which is gradually emerging from the conservative style imposed by its predecessor. Yes, as for the design, everyone has their own opinion, but this time Toyota did its best, and most importantly - this car will not leave you indifferent. You might like it, it might repel, but in any case, it will cause some reaction.

In this case, we are testing a hybrid version of the RAV4, which is defined as a "self-loading vehicle". In other words, this hybrid cannot be plugged into an outlet, and its electric motor is charged by a gasoline engine. The propulsion system is called "Dynamic Force" and includes a 2,5-liter, four-cylinder Atkinson cycle gasoline engine that is paired with an electric motor. The total power of the hybrid unit is 222 horsepower, including the CVT transmission.

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Keeping pace with the times: testing the Toyota RAV4 hybrid

The powertrain is intended to help Toyota meet new environmental requirements that came into force in the EU this year. And it almost works - its CO2 emissions are 101 grams per kilometer, which is a perfectly acceptable result since this is a relatively large car with an all-wheel drive system.

 

At the heart of the RAV4 is another variation on the Toyota New Generation Architecture (TNGA) modular platform, which uses the same chassis components found on the C-HR, Prius and Corolla models. The suspension is also well known - McPherson at the front and double-beam at the rear - and it's strong enough to handle the car and tackle relatively difficult terrain.

Keeping pace with the times: testing the Toyota RAV4 hybrid

The "SUV" of the car also emphasizes the appearance, which in this generation is already much more impressive than in the previous one. The RAV4 now has a masculine and aggressive look. A bit annoying are the extra chrome elements, some of them definitely don't look out of place.

As a typical family car, this SUV should be spacious and just like that. The front seats are comfortable, heated and cooled at a high level of equipment, and the driver's seat is electrically adjustable. There is plenty of room in the back for three adults, and the trunk is also larger than other crossovers on the market. Well, if the tailgate could open and close faster would be great, but it's hardly a major issue.

Keeping pace with the times: testing the Toyota RAV4 hybrid

The cabin has five USB ports and a large induction pad for charging smartphones, which is very easy to connect to services and apps on the screen. The information is displayed in high resolution, and the driver has a choice of several layout options on the dashboard.

On the road, the RAV4 behaves like a large family car. Its power is enough for good acceleration, but you also need to change the way you drive, because it is still a hybrid. Moreover, it is heavier due to the additional electric motor and battery, and aggressive driving increases fuel consumption. So if you want to race, this is not your car. Yes, with the RAV4 you can overtake when you need to, but that's about it. If someone annoys you and you want to teach them a lesson, just change the car.

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Keeping pace with the times: testing the Toyota RAV4 hybrid

Otherwise, precise steering and good steering wheel feedback are impressed. They are associated with good steering settings that are combined with a low center of gravity. The car is very stable on the road and, which also cannot be overlooked, is completely quiet. In urban conditions, only the electric motor is turned on at low speeds, and then the fuel consumption is minimal.

 

In terms of fuel consumption, Toyota quotes around 4,5-5,0 liters per 100 kilometers. In urban conditions, this is more or less achievable, because the main role here is assigned to the electric motor. On a long journey, when driving on the highway and observing the speed limit (maximum 10-20 km higher), the RAV4 already spends at least 3 liters more.

Keeping pace with the times: testing the Toyota RAV4 hybrid

As already mentioned, the model received many safety systems, as well as driver assistants. There is, for example, an autonomous propulsion system of the second level, from which miracles should not be expected. If for some reason you leave the lane without a turn signal, it adjusts the direction of the front wheels to bring you back. In addition, you must hold the steering wheel with both hands, because otherwise the system will think that you are too tired and recommends that you stop to rest.

Off-road, the 4WD system provides good traction, but you shouldn't get carried away because this is not an off-road model. The ground clearance is 190mm, which should be enough for slightly more difficult terrain, and you also have a descent assist system. When it is activated, the driver does not feel very comfortable, but the safety of those sitting in the car is guaranteed.

Keeping pace with the times: testing the Toyota RAV4 hybrid

To summarize, the Toyota RAV4 is one of the vehicles that shows very accurately where the industry has been heading in recent years. SUVs are becoming popular family vans, with additional electric motors being installed to increase power, reduce consumption and comply with environmental regulations, all combined with the introduction of modern technology and safety systems.

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The world is clearly changing and we have no choice but to reconcile. Remember that the first generations of the RAV4 were created for young people who are accustomed to active lifestyles and looking for adventure. And the last typical family car is comfortable, modern and safe. Which does not prevent it from being the best-selling SUV in the world.

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