The fourth-generation Toyota RAV4 has been face lifted and in order to add some spice to the tale, Toyota is offering an optional hybrid powertrain borrowed from the RAV4’s upmarket cousin, the Lexus NX300h.
Both these vehicles draw power from a four-cylinder 2.5-liter petrol engine along with a front-mounted electric motor for the front-wheel drive variant along with a rear-mounted electric motor on the all-wheel drive variant.
Toyota claims that the overall power output on both the motors is 194BHP,thanks to the CVT transmission system on the ride. The Toyota RAV4 accelerates from 0 – 60 MPH within 8.4 seconds,which is a lot quicker than either the 2.0-liter diesel or the petrol engine on the last generation model.
This is a phenomenal achievement since the RAV4 Hybrid is weight down by an additional 105 kg in the form of a front-wheel drive system and an additional 65 kg thanks to the four-wheel drive system.
While Toyota has focused extensively on recreating the front portion of the RAV4, some major improvements have been made to the interior of the vehicle too. Some of the basic improvements include a revised instrument cluster with a 4.2-inch info display alongside the 7.0-inch primary touchscreen.
Despite the major improvements to the interior, the cabin still feels low-rent. The cabin has a lot of plastic bits, alongside the leather trim, along with thin padded surfaces and impromptu stiches. The four-way electrically adjustable front seats are well bolstered, comfortable and firm,although, it is not the best suited for tall drivers, since, they will struggle to get a clear view from above the steering wheel.
The rear seats feature manually adjustable backrests, although, that is not the end of the story. Even though two tall individuals can sit perfectly, accommodating a third would be quite a challenge, especially due to the lack of sufficient shoulder space.
Due to the additional space requirements of the Hybrid, Toyota has raised the rear cargo compartment of the vehicle, hence, reducing the overall storage volume by close to 50 liters. Even though you can make up for some of that lost space by folding up the rear seats partially, but, the same volume is never returned.
The Hybrid EV stature of the Toyota RAV4 allows the vehicle to run solely on battery power when travelling below 30MPH. In reality, however, it is very difficult to stop the petrol engine from taking over, every once in a while, although, the entire journey is somewhat quiet.
However, refinement is a serious issue and this can be felt while driving over rough ridges or potholes. The regenerative brakes are a problem, especially since the brakes work their best right at the end of the entire travel range of the plate. Toyota should consider enhancing the braking, since, it kills a lot of potential that the vehicle has.
If you want to drive the Toyota RAV4 over soft road conditions, be prepared to feel the jolts. The vehicle suffers from major body roll, which is also a problem.
The wooly steering system does not inspire confidence at high speeds and the suspension does little to make the driver’s job any easier.
The CVT transmission also makes the petrol engine noisy when revved hard. 18-inch rims on the vehicle does its job fairly well and the ground clearance is sufficiently high, aiding off road performance. If you are an off road enthusiast and love the old school feel, the 2016 Toyota RAV4 is a vehicle the you’ll cherish.