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Driving

What is it like to drive?

The driving experience of the RAV4 is, at best, innocuous. Which is as much one could hope for, really. There are a few different drive mode options, but they’re really there for specific use cases like loose dirt or snow.

An eco mode in the Hybrid does its darnedest to use the battery more often as opposed to the generously labeled ‘sport’ mode that favors the i-4 engine. Hybrids and Prime RAV4’s have an EV mode, though it proved to be useless in our test of the Hybrid.

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Ouch. How so?

The RAV4 Hybrid can be quite obtuse when it comes to how it goes about its electrified business. For one, there isn’t a clear indicator of the battery percentage included anywhere. There’s that graphic included in most hybrids that illustrates the power flow, and this gives you something of a battery meter, but it’s obfuscated enough that it feels like you’re not meant to know. Not for any malicious reasons, it’s just not something the RAV4 wants you to be concerned with.

With that said, the prominent EV Mode button might just be there to actively discourage any driver intervention. Use it from a standstill, and the mode disengages with any pedal press heavier than a deck of cards. Maybe at highway speeds? Nope. After several attempts of driving with the light touch of a safecracker and continuing to kick the engine on, we abandoned any further EV Mode use.

Well, what’s the use of getting the Hybrid then?

Oh the hybrid stuff is fine, it’s just the EV mode that bites. Like we said, it’s best to let the RAV4 take care of business, and to that end, it’s quite fine. Once you accept what can’t be changed, the mild hybrid system works quietly to stretch out the fuel savings and smooth out the ride from stops.

We managed to get an average of about 33mpg with it, shy of its estimated 37mpg combined but better than what the non-hybrid RAV4 can muster.

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Highlights from the range

the fastest

2.5 PHEV GR Sport 5dr CVT [Bi-Tone/Pan Roof]
  • 0-626s
  • CO2
  • BHP301.7
  • MPG
  • Price£50,255

the cheapest

2.5 VVT-i Hybrid Design 5dr CVT 2WD
  • 0-628.1s
  • CO2105.0g/km
  • BHP214.6
  • MPG51.1
  • Price£31,000

the greenest

2.5 VVT-i Hybrid Design 5dr CVT
  • 0-628.4s
  • CO2101.0g/km
  • BHP218.6
  • MPG64.2
  • Price£33,240

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