Friday, January 8, 2016


Toyota created the smaller hybrid SUV section with the 1996 RAV4. From that point forward, the RAV4 has been a solid merchant, in spite of the fact that it has just driven the section in American deals in its initial two years. By 1998, the Honda CR-V (which was presented in 1997) assumed control yearly deals initiative, a crown it has lost just five times to the Ford Escape, which was conceived in 2000.In 2015, every one of the three machines likely will every offer more than 300,000 units, making reduced SUVs the biggest business sector fragment in the nation. What's more, with the blockbuster in the bundle likewise being the top rated SUV by and large, Toyota that it recover deals administration. To that end, the organization will be expanding fabricating limit of the RAV4 from around 300,000  plus units for each year by 2019, by extending yield at its Cambridge, Ontario, plant.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Shoppers, of course, will have something to say about that, so Toyota is giving this fourth-generation RAV4, which was introduced in 2013, an extensive mid-cycle upgrade. In addition to several interior and exterior changes, the company has added a new SE model, as well as brought hybrid power to the RAV4 line, creating Toyota’s eighth hybrid product (including the four Prius variants).

All  new 2016 RAV4s sport a new front end with a higher hoodline, a more unified grille, and pseudo skid plates on all models. The general impression is a higher, wider-looking, more trucklike appearance, which apparently remains appealing even to compact-crossover buyers. In the rear, the bumper is more distinct and has less black cladding in general.Of course the big news is the addition of the hybrid, which is available only in two of the RAV’s four available trim levels—XLE and Limited. The hybrid powertrain is essentially carried over from the recently introduced Lexus NX300h; predictably, the NX is based on the RAV4.

Hybrid RAV4s will come only with all-wheel drive, so there’s a 150-hp, 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder up front, coupled to a 141-hp, permanent-magnet electric motor using the traditional Toyota CVT automatic. This combination powers the front wheels. The rear wheels are powered by a 67-hp electric motor that has no mechanical connection to the front wheels. This system is called AWD-i, and it allows a great degree of flexibility in the front-to-rear power split. As in most such systems, the RAV4 drives its front wheels most of the time, but Toyota says that the system looks at the driver demands and the steering-wheel position to anticipate wheelspin and engage the rear wheels before the fronts even start to slip.

The hybrid all-wheel-drive system also allows greater regenerative braking because it can capture electrical energy through all four wheels rather than just the two driven ones as in most hybrids. The system achieves EPA fuel economy of 34 mpg city and 31 highway, each 1 mpg better than the NX, most likely because the RAV is at least 230 pounds lighter. More importantly, the RAV4 hybrid’s EPA combined mpg of 33 is 8 mpg higher than the RAV4 AWD with conventional power. And the hybrid’s claimed 8.1-second zero-to-60-mph time is nearly a full second quicker than what Toyota states for the conventional model.                                                                                                   We weren’t able to evaluate these mileage claims during a brief test drive, but the hybrid model exhibits the refinement you’d expect given Toyota’s extensive experience with this sort of powertrain. Acceleration is linear and sufficient for any circumstances short of drag racing, although you do feel some of the usual CVT “rubber-band” effect as the engine rpm and actual vehicle speed seem occasionally disconnected.

Similarly, brake feel lacks the regular RAV’s linear response thanks to the difficulty of blending the regenerative braking with the hydraulic portion of the system. However, these brakes are improving with every new Toyota hybrid and you can still drive the RAV4 smoothly.

Otherwise, the RAV4 hybrid is comfortable and capable, albeit not at all sporting. The ride is smooth and well controlled, but if you start urging it quickly on a twisty road, you feel the hybrid powertrain’s additional 320 pounds and might prefer a little less body roll. The same goes for the steering, which lacks the direct feel of the Mazda CX-5’s—or the new RAV4 SE’s, for that matter. The modified inside falls off well, with valuable data in the new focal presentation on the group and perceptibly plusher feel at the different touch focuses. In true utilization, the RAV4 is somewhat more tightly in the rearward sitting arrangement than a few of its rivals, yet gear volume is tolerable at 36 cubic feet behind the back column and 71 cubic feet with it collapsed. That is just around three cubic feet not exactly the nonhybrid model. Furthermore, the liftover stature in the back payload zone is amazingly low.                                                                                                   Sometimes price increment for the hybrid powertrain is only $700. That means $29,2775for the XLE and $34,500 for the Limited. Astute RAV4 shoppers might notice that baked into the XLE price is an increase of another $1000 or so from the nonhybrid 2015 model, but at least some of that is offset by a higher level of standard equipment for the refreshed version. For example, Toyota’s Entune Audio Plus infotainment system with a high-res LCD screen and Connected Navigation now is standard on the XLE, along with a power liftgate, halogen projector-beam headlights, and proximity access and ignition.

All new RAV4 Limited has jumped in price more than $3000 to make room for the new SE model. It also has a few more standard features than before. For those who can face life without Toyota’s SofTex faux leather upholstery and LED lights, we’d reckon that the XLE hybrid is the better value.              

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