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Toyota RAV4 Hybrid (2016) in the test

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid under test
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D he fourth generation of the successful Japanese SUV put an end to cozy in 2013 at the latest Class higher, made a full-fledged travel steamer out of the former short-and-sweet curve robber. The Toyota Safety Sense System also gives the RAV4 high beam and traffic sign assistant, a lane change warning, adaptive cruise control and the pre-collision system, which initiates emergency braking in the event of an impending rear-end collision.

With the facelift for model year 2016, too the hybrid drive.

RAV4 Hybrid is developing into a best seller

That Toyota is relying on hybrid technology and diesel cars only offering it for the sake of the European public is not new. It is more likely that the diesel engine in the SUV sector is being bullied out of the showroom quite bluntly. With the facelift, Toyota limited the diesel offer to a single variant with 143 hp, manual transmission, front-wheel drive. If you want more power, all-wheel drive or automatic, you can opt for the two-liter gasoline engine (152 hp, from 27,990 euros) or the hybrid. The new part-time electrician relies on the technology that Toyota has already introduced in Germany with the Lexus NX300h: a 2.5-liter gasoline engine supported by an electric motor, both of which act on a continuously variable planetary gear. If the all-wheel drive option is ticked in the order list (which costs a generous 3,000 euros), another electric motor is added, which waits for the drive on the rear axle and works as a generator in push mode.

Better coordination than in the Lexus

The stepless planetary gear is for many an acoustic stumbling block, in order for oneWarm up toyota hybrid. The fact that at full throttle it makes the combustion engine cheer at a supposedly adventurous level contradicts the common experience of a regular multi-speed transmission. But actually this load condition is more the exception than the rule in everyday traffic.

This can be experienced with a cold start of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. After the car has been put down electrically from the parking space, the combustion engine is started, but it runs on idle and operates primarily as a generator and to heat the cooling water. The pure propulsion up to 50-60 km /h is largely done by the electric motor.

With the RAV4 Hybrid, Toyota has also adapted the transmission programming to counter the constant high-speed criticism. A higher load requirement is required to send the combustion engine towards the nominal speed.

The surround camera system is also new and helps with parking.

Quiet hybrid

The RAV4 Hybrid does its job pleasantly quietly in everyday life. Good noise insulation, a petrol engine that is seldom excited in day-to-day business, binding chassis. The dignified driving comfort is accompanied by comfortable, neatly contoured seats, only the steering could be a bit more realistic.

In contrast to other manufacturers, Toyota is absolutely convinced of hybrid technology without external plug-in charging options. This makes it possible to dispense with a large traction battery that is still very expensive and makes the RAV4 the cheapest hybrid SUV on the market with a cost price of around 30,000 euros (2WD). The experience with the Prius, in which the expensive plug-in variant has so far not met with much approval from customers, seems to confirm this. In any case, the Toyota technicians repeatedly emphasize that they are not interested in purely electric driving, but in the most effective possible interaction between the combustion engine and electric drive.

It is of course helpful that the RAV4 Hybrid is in comparison Compared to the Toyota hybrids that are used in this country, for example in Yaris or Auris, can draw more torque from the larger combustion engine and also with the two electric motors in the all-wheel drive modelcan also push if you want to move quickly.

Amazingly confident

This is particularly noticeable on the autobahn, where the RAV4 Hybrid acts much more confidently than you would otherwise from the The brand is used to hybrids. A cruising speed of 150, 160 km /h set by cruise control lets the combustion engine run at a whisper over long stretches; it only raises its voice on climbs. If you orient yourself to the recommended speed, you will be served a very cultivated and calm behavior. Nevertheless: Diesel consumption values ​​cannot be achieved on long journeys, you can count on 8-9 liters.

What is most surprising, however, is the power of the drive from one gasoline engine and two electric motors. You have to get used to the gasoline engine yodelling at full throttle at high revs, but the propulsion thanks to the electric-gasoline trio is quite considerable. Accelerate from speedometer 130 to 180 km /h, that's pretty quick and leaves many turbo diesel engines in the rearview mirror. This is also supported by our measured value in the standard 80-120 km /h rating. With 6.3 seconds for this typical overtaking sprint, the RAV4 Hybrid is impressive.

However, the long motorway stage beyond being a sales representative is more the exception than the rule. In everyday rural and urban traffic, the RAV4 Hybrid shows what experience Toyota has with this type of drive. It just works better, smoother than other manufacturers' hybrids. It sometimes sails through town through town on cross-country journeys for two kilometers purely electrically, the recuperation (power generation in push mode) works very effectively and without synthetic braking sensation, on a medium gradient of one or two kilometers the traction battery charges to the edge.

RAV4 Hybrid in everyday life

What the RAV4 in the hybrid all-wheel drive version can do even worse than before is operation away from paved roads. In addition to the limit due to the weak ground clearance, the electric motor on the rear axle is ultimately more of an auxiliary drive. He does what he can on slippery ground. But that's not enough to keep the front wheels from spinning wildly when fully engaged. The system does not replace a real permanent all-wheel drive.

With constantly repeated everyday routes, it is very easy to learn which accelerator pedal position the hybrid uses to switch to the more effective sailing mode without losing any significant speed, or the combustion engine runs unproductively. But above all, it shows directly on the consumption display when the city limits are reached. In the traffic light marathon, the previous overland consumption is reduced by one to two liters, the five before the decimal point is not an issue. And this is exactly where the hybrid shows the diesel's limits. From driving comfort through the quiet,Low-vibration combustion engine that is switched off as often as possible.

As the first Toyota hybrid, the RAV4 is allowed to haul properly, after all 1.65 tons are approved.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid as a towing vehicle

There is another topic where the RAV4 Hybrid is breaking new ground: as a towing vehicle. So far, the Toyota hybrid models have been excluded from this use, at best Alibi trailer hitches for mounting bicycle racks are available. The new Prius has recently been allowed to hook 725 kilos, but the RAV4 Hybrid as an all-wheel-drive model with two electric motors has been approved for trailers weighing up to 1.65 tons. This will appeal primarily to caravan owners, which is why we flanged one to the test vehicle. The compact caravan, packed ready for vacation, weighed around 1,000 kilos, went on a short but intensive test round: country road, big city across Munich in stop-and-go traffic, motorway stage, narrow mountain serpentines with a considerable incline up to 1,200 meters above sea level. So that everything is mapped that trailer drivers usually request.

The result is differentiated. What is noticeable: Even with a manageable vertical load, the trailer has a strong influence on the chassis, especially at low to medium speeds, clear nodding tendencies are initiated in the rear. The slower the speed and the worse the ground, the more clearly this is perceptible. The effect is less on the autobahn, the team runs quietly and inconspicuously.

Electric caravan

The result with regard to the gearbox adjustment is also ambiguous, here two to three km /h can be leveled with cruise control, make the difference. Between excessive speed and calm gliding. The rule-compliant 100 km /h work acceptable, if the 105 km /h limit is used, from which it becomes expensive in terms of fines, the gasoline engine swings up again and again into the high-speed range. A high-torque diesel can definitely do that better, more confidently. The consumption result of the test round with a caravan in tow: 12.7 liters. That's okay.

What is striking, however, is that even with the caravan on the hook, the RAV4 Hybrid drives in the lower oneSpeed ​​range quite often purely electric. And what the campground neighbors, who are highly critical of noises, are particularly amazed at the maneuvering of the caravan at walking pace. Because that happens with a quiet whine of the electric motors without motor hum. Electrically measure the entire campsite when searching for a parking space: works.


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