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Toyota RAV4 PHEV: Long-term test review


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Sometimes you get a long-term test car that just ticks all your requirements, and the RAV4 is doing it around the clock. I am struggling to find the error. It’s not cheap, close to £50k, but I can see how appealing it would be to corporate car pickers.

  • Mileage: 2.392
  • Economy: 65.3mpg

Late last year, my wife and I were able to go out and put some proper steps into our permanence Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid, with a week-long trip to Northumberland to visit family and stroll the beautiful coastal countryside.

Before I started, I charged PHEV using our newly installed 7kW home charging point. I don’t have a driveway, but can partially legally park on my tight London curb. That means it’s practical to run cables safely under a car hood.

So, with 46 miles of EV range in our RAV4 (after two and a half hours of charging) and a full 55-liter tank of gas, we set off on our 330-mile trip to the national park. I relied on the electric strip to get through regular stop-start traffic in London, also using Toyota’s one-touch option to temporarily mute the parking sensors when driving in heavy traffic.

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Once we used the M25, I pressed the EV/HV button next to it ToyotaAutomatic transmission to save energy remaining in the high voltage battery (20 mile range) and switch to hybrid drive at higher speeds. Using the simple adaptive cruise control buttons, we navigated long stretches of motorway, especially the 50 km/h stretches as we ascended the M1, with ANPR cameras monitoring our journey.

We weren’t in a hurry, so we spent most of our time in the inner lane. I can change the distance between us and the car ahead using the buttons on the handlebars while adjusting the speed up and down, so barely touching the gas pedal for long periods of time. I found the RAV4 particularly comfortable, with a high driving position and wide, high seats, nicely finished with red stitching on the mirrors on the dashboard and doors. The fully electrically controlled and adjustable lumbar support for the driver’s seat provided excellent support, even for my aging back.

Like the cruise control, the sat-nav is easy to use. We only really activated it after passing Newcastle, to direct us to the holiday home, but the combination of buttons and touchscreen worked well. Entering postcodes is child’s play, and the clear split-screen instructions on the junction exits are reflected by the anti-stupid arrows on the digital center of the watch face.

Honestly, the map and display are more functional than advanced and possibly refreshing, but personally I’d rather use the functionality on the touchscreen only in SEAT Leon e-Hybrid which I had before the Toyota.

Towards the end of the journey, I switched to using the EV Charge button by pressing and holding it. This will charge from higher speed driving and consume Toyota’s high voltage battery, so you have something to use when off the highway. I was amazed at how quickly my power range replenished. It drops right down after a couple of hours of steady driving in EV/HV mode, but quickly rises back up to more than 20 times more (though you have a slight assessment of fuel economy, of course).

Anyway, arriving after a 330-mile journey with a third of a tank of gas and more than 20 miles of electricity to play in the undulating hills of Northumberland National Park was a welcome surprise.

Once in place, we used the car daily and I found the Northumberland road to be an ideal fit for the RAV4. I didn’t notice much difference when using the trail button other than a slight change to the background of the dial screen. The RAV4 is all-wheel drive, so this mode will help the vehicle adapt better to gravel or loose surfaces, with individual power adjustments for each wheel.

In practice, however, we didn’t do much in the green; the view from the road was beautiful enough. So I’ve been driving steadily and have found that I put very little dent in the battery by plunging down steeper hills to help extend the range.

There are also several options for depositing. If I needed to, I was able to run the supplied tripod cable out through the window of the holiday home to recharge the batteries. However, a much better option is to use the free EV charging point at the Craster Quarry car park (lower right). We were able to park there for two hours for £3.00, then almost fully charge the RAV4 while walking to the stunning seaside Dunstanburgh Castle.

My mother-in-law’s dog, Alfie, can also run outside, as we easily fitted its cage in the back. The RAV4’s 520-litre trunk was more than enough for our holiday luggage and we could easily fit extra storage bins for our two grown sons if they wanted to join us. .

Toyota RAV4 PHEV: first report

Our man drops the Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid at the dealership

  • Mileage: 2.061
  • Economy: 54.5mpg

Back in late September when the UK was in the midst of a fuel panic, with long queues at petrol stations across the country, I was lucky enough to get a brand new car. Toyota RAV4 PHEV.

A few days later, most of the garages were dry, so with a full 46-mile EV charge and half a tank of fuel, I started ToyotaMotorline Gatwick dealer for details on how to get the most out of plug-in hybrids. I met Parminder Randhawa, Motorline’s general manager, who, unsurprisingly, was passionate about the RAV4.

“With my current car, I have 1,800 miles on it and only filled it up once, with about a quarter of the tank still left,” he said. It turns out that Parminder’s commute is ideal for getting the most out of the RAV4. His home in Kent is 45 miles from the agent and he can charge at either end of the journey.

Those numbers sound promising. Looking around at the dealership, I’ve certainly found clear infographics explaining how hybrid systems work. However, I was after a more personal tour of our Toyota, so I asked sales manager Martin Sears to show me around the RAV4 and point out some of its technology and conveniences. First, I asked about batteries, and it turns out that the RAV4 comes in three varieties: standard 12V, plus a smaller hybrid set under the back seat that works like a regular hybrid, regenerating power through umbrella movement. Bowl. Finally, there is a high voltage battery that is charged by plugging it in.

I asked about the two EV buttons next to the gearbox. The automatic EV/HV button uses both the high-voltage battery and the gasoline engine, while the pure EV button, as you might expect, switches to electric.

However, there are other options. EV charge can be kept by switching to EV/HV and long pressing the PURE EV button can actually charge the high voltage battery. This works best when driving over long distances, so you’ll get some EV miles around town when the speed limit drops, and it’s more useful.

Martin also explains the power and drive modes. Standard and eco are self-explanatory, with throttle variants, but if you mount it in the Sport with the automatic EV/HV button, it boasts 305bhp AWD of power with a 0-60mph time of under six seconds. .

I’ve found the RAV4’s traditional display, display, and dial to be easy to follow, although the graphics look a bit dated compared to the competition. I like the simplicity and the touch screen and sat-nav that require no additional lessons and most of the technology is common sense. I enjoyed Martin’s explanation of Toyota’s safety sensors and automatic emergency braking with lane-tracking assist. Adaptive cruise control seemed simple enough, with simple steering wheel controls that would have boosted my fuel economy on some of the longer highway journeys near Christmas.

The 46-mile range takes 2.5 hours to charge using the 7.5kWh fast-charge cable and 7.5 hours with the three-pin power cable (both included). That’s one reason why I took the bullet and installed a 7.5 kWh charger at my home (below). Find out how I proceed in the next report.

Charging at home

Like many urban dwellers, my London home has no driveway. But it has limited parking, which means I have to partially park on the curb on my narrow street.

So despite the lack of government subsidies (no driveway), I decided to buy a 7.5kWh Sync EV home charging case (£499). An electrician friend told me what extra parts to buy, then put them all together for the cost of one day (£250). The charger works with an app on my phone and the box is about 1.5 meters from my port.

For safety reasons, I ran the cable through a visor (£25, Amazon) to avoid tripping anyone passing, although I only charge during the day and my streets are very quiet. The total cost is £957 to protect the house in the future.

Paradigm: Toyota RAV4 PHEV Design 2.5 AWD-i automatic
On the fleet since: September 2021
New price: £46,495
Engine: 2.5 liter petrol-electric hybrid 4-cylinder, 302bhp
CO2 / tax: 22g/km/£0
Option: Not available
Insurrance*: Group: 36E Quote: £721
Mileage: 2.392
Miles/mpg: 65.3mpg
Any problems? Far-out

*Insurance quote for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, for three points.



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