I tested the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid AWD. The new Rav4 improved its marketability by freezing the price even with the low center of gravity and lightweight TNGA platform, the E-Four all-wheel drive system driven by an electric motor, and the latest ADAS system. We looked at Rav 4, which is the number one sales in the North American market.
The Toyota Rav 4 is a model that represents the global SUV craze. In terms of sales volume in the U.S., the flagship market of the Rav 4, the sales of the mid-sized sedan Camry, which had traditionally ranked first, began three years ago, gradually widening the gap. In particular, the Rav 4 overwhelmed the competition in sales after the full change.
The new Rav 4 has an overall length of 4600mm, a width of 1855mm, a height of 1685mm, and a wheelbase of 2690mm, increasing the interior habitability by expanding the wheelbase and width compared to the previous model. It is located between the mid-sized SUV and the semi-mid-sized SUV, and it satisfies the space of a mid-sized SUV and the driving convenience of a semi-mid-sized SUV.
The new Rav 4 is characterized by a lower center of gravity, 57% reinforced body stiffness, and an empty vehicle weight reduced by 80kg by applying the TNGA platform. In addition, the minimum ground height was increased by 12.7mm and the front and rear overhangs were reduced to increase the approach and departure angles to increase the driving performance of rough roads, increasing the utilization compared to urban SUVs.
In addition, a new trail mode is applied to the hybrid AWD model, supporting an electronic LSD that prevents each wheel from spinning on rough roads. For consumers who are accustomed to urban SUVs, it has pioneered a new genre by adding the advantages of an authentic off-roader and the economy of a hybrid model.
The appearance of Rav 4 expresses the design of the personality evolved into an all-round player. Unlike the existing Rav4’s feminine image, it created a strong atmosphere through a large grill and sharp character lines. The trapezoidal wheelhouse or bold cladding gives off the Jeep or Land Rover vibe.
In the interior, the emphasis was placed on upgrading materials, expanding the sense of openness, and intuitive operation. The place where you can reach is enhanced by a soft leather finish. The lowered dashboard, wide front view through the A-pillar quarter glass, and the wide side mirror viewing angle are elements that even beginner drivers with poor driving experience are welcome.
The seat position has a considerable width that can be moved up and down. It is a setting that is also welcomed by female drivers with an open front view. Due to the nature of hybrid cars, the fact that there is no noise and vibration transmitted to the interior when stopping is also preferred, but it also satisfies consumers sensitive to noise and vibration.
With the change of interior design through full change, the comfort of the seat has improved. Basically, not only the first row of seats that are firm but with an emphasis on cushioning, but the second row has a wider cushion and supports reclining and full folding. The drive shaft in the lower part of the vehicle has been removed, providing excellent comfort in the second row.
The Rav4 Hybrid AWD uses an electronic all-wheel drive system (E-Four) that drives the rear wheels with an electric motor instead of the traditional mechanical four-wheel drive system. It is Toyota’s unique equipment among mass-produced cars excluding electric cars, and was previously used only in the Lexus SUV lineup.
By driving the four-wheel drive through an electric motor located on the rear axle, there is no drive shaft passing under the vehicle, thereby reducing weight and eliminating the cause of noise and vibration generated during driving. In addition, driving loss due to all-wheel drive equipment is reduced, so there is little difference in fuel efficiency from Rav4 Hybrid 2WD.
The recently released domestic hybrid SUV Kia Sorento Hybrid uses a mechanical four-wheel drive system, so the difference in fuel economy between the 4WD and 2WD models is rather large, and the Rav 4 is the dominant part. The Hyundai Tucson Hybrid does not provide a four-wheel drive system, making direct comparison difficult.
The Rav4 hybrid AWD combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder D4S gasoline engine with three electric motors. The gasoline engine has a maximum output of 178 hp, a maximum torque of 22.5 kgm, and the combined output is 2WD 218 hp and AWD 222 hp. The combined fuel economy of the AWD model is 15.5km/ℓ (City 16.2, High Speed 14.6).
The hybrid system of Rav4 Hybrid AWD is a series-parallel method that uses three electric motors. It is different from the parallel method of Hyundai-Kia Motors, and the Rav 4 method is charged even during active driving, so that the battery state of charge can be maintained above a certain level and the maximum power can be used.
In actual driving, these strengths of the Rav 4 are revealed. In a situation where acceleration/deceleration is repeated, the remaining battery power is steadily maintained compared to other hybrid models, so you can use as many outputs as you want. In recent years, similar efficiencies have been created by parallel method, but satisfaction is different.
In the sport mode, the power of the engine and electric motor are provided at all times and the powertrain responsiveness is enhanced. The power of the electric motor that draws the maximum torque at the same time of operation is sufficiently used to exhibit more than the output and torque according to specifications. It is a different feeling from diesel engines that draw out the power.
One of the major improvements in the new Rav 4 is stability when driving at high speeds. It is no exaggeration to say that there is no difference from the level of European cars now due to the obvious changes seen while applying the TNGA platform. Nevertheless, at medium and low speeds, the ride is comfortable through a smooth suspension setup.
The suspension of the Rav 4 is a unique setting among mass-produced cars, and it looks closer to the Lexus. The damper bouncing of each wheel is soft enough to feel soggy, while the left and right wheels strongly inhibit the roll when they move separately. This is why it satisfies both the low-speed and high-speed ride.
Along with the platform change, the operating logic of the hybrid system has also changed. Unlike the past setting to delay engine intervention as much as possible, engine intervention occurs frequently. With the D4S system and the enhancement of thermal efficiency, the actual fuel economy has rather improved despite the engine intervention. It maintains an average of 16km/ℓ even in extreme driving.
The new Rav4 is equipped with the latest ADAS system as standard. Lane Tracking Assist (LTA), a lane maintenance assist function, operates at a low speed of around 10km/h during cruise control operation. Even after adding a large number of the latest ADAS systems such as Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), the price was frozen.
The Rav4 Hybrid is characterized by having most of the elements expected of a family car. It has an appropriate body size, spacious interior space, quietness, and comfort, as well as economical efficiency through high fuel economy. With the price of domestic SUVs rising significantly, Rav 4, which has reinforced marketability, is worth noting.
Reporter Han-Seung Lee 〈Top Rider firstname.lastname@example.org〉