RAV4 GXL HYBRID – Best of Both Worlds

If you’re not ready to go “full EV” and are worried about “Range Anxiety”, then the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid could be the vehicle for you. RAV4 owner Any Kennedy talks about the positives and minuses of his vehicle. Range, Interior, engine and space are all covered.


If you’re looking to ease yourself into the world of EVs, then this could be the vehicle for you.
In this episode I’m talking to Andy Kennedy, owner of a Toyota hybrid, RAV4. I’m Adrian
Maidment. And this is EV Quest.

Hi. I’m Andy Kennedy, and I’d like to tell you about my RAV4, 2020 RAV4 hybrid. Now, I
haven’t gone out and bought a full battery electric vehicle because, due to the price for the
range factor.

So I went to the middle ground and bought a hybrid instead. Luckily Toyota New Zealand
has a range of hybrids of every model, so there isn’t much difference in price compared to
petrol models. This particular model was actually the fastest EV in the range in New
Zealand, and it suited what I wanted.

What I like about this vehicle is the easy access in and out of the vehicle and the upright
seating position. As with most SUVs and other features a quiet operation when driving
around compared to a petrol powered one.

One of the main reasons why I got this vehicle is at the rear. Good rear accommodation.
That’s quite spacious actually. Yeah. I’ve got the seat as far back as it can go.
Yeah, it’s a bit tight because you’re 6- 3. I’m about the same. So heaps of headroom. Yep. I
wouldn’t want to be here for too long , but it’s fine.

2 USB ports. A fan. And this can move back can’t it? No. Headroom is good. Leg room is good. USB ports. Fan. feel comfortable. I feel comfortable.

What I like about this vehicle is the size of the cargo space. And underneath here is a full
size rear wheel. Which is a lot more reassuring than the wheelbarrow type of space saver
you get in a lot of vehicles.

One of the features of this is the energy distribution diagram. To the motor or to the battery
or from the engine power to there So when you drive you adapt your driving to get the best
economy from the vehicle and currently without doing anything different and to get 5.4 litres
per 100 K is pretty good for a 2.5 litre engine.

These are a bit easier to handle as there is split, dual split heating, so you can have different
temperatures side to side and also heating to go to the rear. I find this screen here a little bit
intruding. I’d rather have it set or integrated more into the dish.
Now, down here you have an EV mode, so you can actually drive around under electric
vehicles if you want to be silent on your arrival, departure or just moving the car out to wash
it. So you don’t have a cold start and a trail function to give you increased traction when off
road or slippery conditions.

So when you start it up, is it in the engine or is it…it’s started now. it’s going now you can tell
it is going because it is ready. And one of the problems of these is not turning the engine off
when you go out and they won’t lock because it’s still turned on.

Like the normal electric vehicles, the high voltage is underneath the orange cables. This is
the dynamic force engine, and this is the inverters, and electric motor under here. Now the
RAV4 has one 2.5 litre petrol engine, 14 to 1 compression ratio, which is amazing for a petrol
engine using 91 fuel.

And this is it uses an Atkinson Cycle Valve system which gives extremely high thermal
efficiency, one of the highest in the world, around about 40%, which is not much when you
compare to electric, but petrol is pretty good and it’s on the TNGA platform here in your

So with this 2.5 and the electric drive motor in the front, an electric drive motor for the rear
axle performance is quite adequate and makes it better than most. The battery is a
nickel metal hydride which suits hybrids that are lower cost and lithium ion and easier to
recycle, I’m told.

And one feature you have to be careful of, I’ll show you is covering the cooling vent. This is
down there to keep the air flow through here and cools the batteries.
Now, don’t cover that up. You don’t put on a seat covering. They remove the safety plug that
disables the battery to stay on underneath here and is quite easy access. Luckily, there is a
cover to stop children from popping it off and disabling the vehicle. For a hybrid has got a
quite a high rating. Tow rating has 1500 capacity to rating which is pretty good.

Any problems or things that are irritating you about the car?

There’s not many things that irritate me. The handling and driving is adequate, not exciting.
The worst thing is the engine noise under heavy acceleration is more prominent, but
probably exaggerated because the car is so quiet. When you drive normally it’s very quiet, but under heavy load is quite a bit of engine noise.

One of the reasons for that is that when I’m driving around, the computer will set the engine
up to the most efficient range and you don’t have too much control over. And so the noise is quite intrusive, I think. What about starting to get the CVT gearbox now? The CVT gearbox is not a normal one with a belt. It’s an amazing planetary gear system. It’s very simple. It controls as controls.

They drive output through the engine. One generator and another generator all linked
through a simple planetary system. The system has no belts and is very good at distributing
power with its electric only or under power in electric or braking and regenerating and
recharging the battery.

It doesn’t have a conventional starter motor that uses one of the generators to seamlessly
start the engine without any starter motor noises, which is perfect for commuting. So what’s
the longest trip you’ve had? Driven on down to Wellington. I had five and a half hours driving
because when I fill it up it’s just under a thousand K range of the range is a 55 litre tank, so
we put just under 50 litres and it gives me the range just under a thousand kilometres. So
you’ve got no range anxiety. No range anxiety is gone.

One thing I like is when you come to a stop, you can hear the electric motors regenerating,
recharging the battery. So I try to do more. Braking is more gradual so as not to wear the
brake pads and just recharge the battery for the free.
So the saved energy regeneration. So the brakes are lasting longer and longer to use this

Summing it all up?
I think that’s a good solution for the situation we’re in at the moment, as in the transition to
full battery or hydrogen powered vehicles with a compromise, of course, and suits me quite
well because it takes away
the whole range anxiety sort of thing. And I’m pretty happy with it. Excellent. Thank you. A
big thanks to Andy for the tour and drive of his Toyota Rav4 hybrid. If it’s a topic you’d like
me to cover in a future video, let me know in the comments below and please like and
subscribe to this channel.

It helps. It really helps.

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