The Hamilton Spectator

2024 Toyota RAV4

Hybrid Review

- By Jay Kana

I’m rolling along congested urban streets. The RAV4 hybrid is barely whispering. The speedomete­r tells me I’m moving at 50 km/h and the battery is doing the engine’s work quietly and efficientl­y.

It’s getting warm, and, without me looking for the control, my right arm knows where the large temperatur­e dial and fan speed button are. My mother calls and the infotainme­nt screen lets me accept the call through Apple CarPlay. I keep driving and passing gas stations with confidence, knowing that I can squeeze nearly 1,000 km per tank here. After ending the call with my mom, it’s now too quiet in here. In a quirky turn of events, my Spotify daily mix offers up Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence.”

A Hybrid is the best option for an alternativ­e fuel vehicle in the modern market. This is thanks to the selfchargi­ng hybrid technology that drives the front wheels through the engine and hybrid motor. When the rear wheels are needed, accessed via the ondemand all-wheel drive, they rely on their own motor to spin them.

There’s no plugging in; simply start the car and drive!

Here, there’s a monitor that lets you know just where and how the power is being distribute­d.

What does that mean for you? More time in motion and lower fuel costs.

The RAV4 is Canada’s bestsellin­g non-pickup truck.


Let’s start with the remarkable fuel economy figures, as measured by Natural Resources Canada in its average of litres used per 100 km driven; 5.8 in the city, 6.3 on the highway, and six combined, with a 55-litre fuel tank running on regular 87 octane fuel.

What does that mean for you? Nearly 1,000 km of driving between gas station visits. Only the 2024 Ford Escape hybrid matches these figures.

All RAV4 hybrids feature standard all-wheel drive for added traction in inclement weather.

A 2.5-litre, four-cylinder engine keeps the RAV4 hybrid in motion. It produces a healthy 219 horsepower. Reaching highway speeds is done quickly and having the extra oomph beneath your right foot can help avoid a collision. Both city and highway driving are comfortabl­e and the hybrid system allows you to drive with battery-only power at lower speeds, which saves you fuel. The car is good for long and short drives thanks to comfortabl­e, supportive seats.

The tradeoff is the use of an electronic continuous variable transmissi­on, which contribute­s to efficiency but can be slightly droning at higher speeds. The vehicle boasts a large cargo area of up to 1,977 l, with the rear seats down, and a spacious 1,059 with the rear seats up.

Practicali­ty is a theme here and it continues in the cabin. As several automakers migrate to larger screens, haptic touch controls and futuristic designs, Toyota’s 2024 RAV4 hybrid remains as a balance of modern and traditiona­l throughout.

When you first sit down in the driver’s seat, you’ll notice large dials and buttons for the temperatur­e controls, easy-to-see-and-use steering wheel controls, an equally simple-toread instrument cluster and an oldschool gear lever. It almost feels old by current design.

Heated seats, five USB charging ports, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and dual-zone climate controls come standard. My tester was the XLE trim, second from the bottom of the range, and it provided the morethan-adequate standard seven-inch instrument cluster (there’s a 12.3-inch digital offering on higher trims) and the standard eight-inch infotainme­nt screen. Higher trims feature a slightly larger 10.5-inch screen. All the screen sizes are more than enough for daily driving.

The climate controls are oh-so-easyto-use with large dials, clearly labelled buttons and an easy-to-read screen. The only oddity is the heated steering wheel button, above your left knee.

The top “Limited” trim features ventilated seats, heated rear seats and a power passenger seat, while all but the base trim feature a large sunroof, power tailgate, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and push-button start. Toyota has packaged the RAV4 hybrid well, so there’s something for nearly every buyer in this segment.

If standard safety ranks high on your list, the RAV4 hybrid includes the following: right- and left-turn, oncoming pedestrian detection and braking; lane-tracing assist; leftturn, oncoming vehicle detection and braking; automatic high beams; lanedepart­ure alert with steering assist; pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, cyclist detection and night time pedestrian detection; a blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert.

The price ranges from $35,950 for the LE and caps out at $46,950 for the Limited. Add in freight, predeliver­y inspection and other fees, and, of course, provincial taxes, and the Toyota RAV4 hybrid is competitiv­ely priced.

Compact crossovers are popular and the new leader in the segment blends style, substance and sips fuel, which makes it a great choice for those looking for a hybrid.

 ?? ?? A simple interior design balances rightsized screens with traditiona­l touchpoint­s and ease of use for the driver.
A simple interior design balances rightsized screens with traditiona­l touchpoint­s and ease of use for the driver.
 ?? ?? The exterior of the 2024 Toyota RAV4 has aged well over the past six years, keeping its modern, stylish shape.
The exterior of the 2024 Toyota RAV4 has aged well over the past six years, keeping its modern, stylish shape.

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