Test Drive Results 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Electric SUV

Choosing the RAV4 Hybrid brings both added power and higher fuel efficiency – a sweet deal. Hybrid grades come equipped with an Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel-Drive System with intelligence (AWD-i) as standard. A second, independent electric motor drives the rear wheels when needed to help maintain optimal traction.

Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive sets the benchmark for seamless hybrid performance, high efficiency, and exemplary dependability. Drivers love the way it works, because they cannot feel it working, and that’s the point. The 2018 RAV4 Hybrid combines output from a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine and a small high-torque electric motor through its unique transaxle. RAV4 Hybrid delivers powerful performance from a combined 194 system horsepower. The versatile Hybrid is the quickest in the RAV4 line, with zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds.

The hybrid system varies power between the gas engine and electric motor, or combines both as needed, all seamlessly. Regenerative braking changes the electric motor to a generator that captures the kinetic energy of the still-turning wheels when the brake is applied, storing it in the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) hybrid battery pack. Choosing ECO mode optimizes throttle response and air conditioning output to help prioritize fuel economy. In EV mode, RAV4 Hybrid, under certain conditions, will run solely on the electric motor for up to 0.6 miles at speeds below approximately 25 mph. A Hybrid System Indicator and fuel consumption indicator, located in a 4.2-inch TFT screen, helps coach the driver to operate the vehicle as economically as possible. The 2018 RAV4 Hybrid received an EPA-estimated 34 mpg city/30 mpg highway/32 mpg combined. Our tests in all ECO with some Sport resulted in 38 MPG on average and 45 on the highway.

As US News and World Report added:

In the very competitive compact SUV class, the RAV4 Hybrid is a good SUV. It has spacious, supportive seats and fuel efficiency that you’d expect from a hybrid. It isn’t an athletic SUV, but the RAV4 Hybrid has composed road manners and standard all-wheel drive (a rarity in the class). Additionally, it has tons of driver assistance features and plenty of cargo room. However, its safety scores are lower than many competitors, and its cabin could use an update.

The sporty, upscale theme comes with SofTex-covered seats featuring a power-adjustable driver’s seat and contrast stitching, and a choice of two interior colors: Black or Black and Cinnamon, along with a black headliner, black A&B-pillar covers, sport floor mats, door sill protectors, and Gunmetal Gray trim. The SE’s instrument panel features twin dials with red illumination and red pointers, along with a standard 4.2-inch color TFT multi-information display. In the SE Hybrid, a Hybrid Gauge Cluster complements the multi-information display.

Platinum-Level Refinement

SofTex- trimmed seats, dash, and door panels; heated front seats; 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat; Smart Key System with push-button start; remote power liftgate; and a frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink.

The car came with Entune Premium JBL Audio with Integrated Navigation and that App Suite.

Also for Smart Tech it has a five-door Smart Key System, foot-activated hands-free power liftgate with jam protection, and Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan, Overhead 360 degree view in drive and reverse, and curb view.

The standard Entune Premium JBL Audio was sweet. It was with Integrated Navigation and App Suite system brings music to life with 576 watts (maximum) pumped through 11 JBL GreenEdge Technology speakers in seven locations, including a subwoofer.

Musically Inclined with Entune

The Entune Multimedia Bundle comprised of a 6.1-inch touch-screen display, AM/FM CD player, MP3/WMA playback capability, 6 speakers, auxiliary audio jack, USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control, advanced voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, phone book access, and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology with integrated backup camera display with projected path static lines.

Entune Premium JBL Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite is available on SE and Limited grades; it’s standard with the Platinum grade.

More Impressive Safety Technology

As Consumer Reports notes:

Two weak spots of the 2013-15 RAV4 were its overly firm ride and a somewhat loud cabin. Toyota addressed both issues with the freshening, and we welcome the change. The result is a RAV4 that feels more refined, mature, and substantial.

On the road, the RAV4 is responsive, with quick, well-weighted steering that transmits decent road feedback. When pushed to its handling limits, the RAV4 remains steady and predictable. Toyota tweaked the RAV4’s overly firm ride into something more cushioned, although at a slight sacrifice of handling precision. Toyota also quieted the din of road and engine noise that seeps into the cabin.

Yet MotorTrend adds:

The NHTSA gave the 2018 RAV4 Hybrid a five-star overall safety score (out of a possible five stars). The IIHS has yet to test a 2018 RAV4 Hybrid but the 2017 model received a Good score on all crash worthiness tests and Average on the headlights test (Good is the highest possible score). In the front crash prevention test, the RAV4 Hybrid received a Superior rating after it avoided 12-mph and 25-mph collisions (Superior is the highest possible score in the front crash prevention test). As a result, the IIHS gave the RAV4 Hybrid the 2017 Top Safety Pick+ award.

Standard on all 2018 RAV4 Hybrids is Toyota Safety-Sense-P, which bundles together automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, and automatic high beams. Blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert is standard on the SE and Limited trims and part of an optional package for the base XLE grade.

Limited Warranty

The hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for eight years/100,000 miles. In applicable states, hybrid-related component coverage is 15 years/150,000 miles with the exception of the hybrid battery, which is covered for 10 years/150,000 miles.

For an SUV hybrid fully loaded to come in at $29,734 with all the bells and whistles is something not to fret at. Not one bit!

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