Toyota’s crossover SUV electric vehicle, the Toyota RAV4-EV, is a stylish ride with an amenities list that would make other manufacturers blush. With a fully electric motor and a 103 mile range, it is the perfect vehicle for suburban families. A normal drive mode and an unbridled Sport mode make this electric vehicle versatile, and adds a bit of variety for drivers. Toyota designed the automobile, but partnered with Tesla to manufacture all electric and power train components. This team has developed a safe, reliable, powerful electric vehicle. Unfortunately, Toyota has “unplugged” the project, saying that they will not be making the RAV4 EV past this model year of 2014 and will end their two-year deal with Tesla. However, if you are able to snag one now, you and your family will not be disappointed.
Upon first glance, the 2014 RAV4-EV is in the same boat with all of the modern crossover/SUVs on the market today. With a closer eye, drivers will enjoy spiffy body lines and LED lights all around. Projector low beam LED headlights and halogen head beams with piano black bezels, paired with LED daytime running lights, accent the front of the vehicle nicely. Floating chrome accents deliver a punch against a very unique front fascia. Body lines are accented with a rear spoiler and rear bumper guard. The back is accented nicely with LEDs as well. Standard 17″ 6-spoke alloy wheels add a look of tough quality, and P225/65R17 101H tires compliment the wheels and vehicle stance well. Aerodynamic heated power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators and a power-folding feature add a level of luxurious functionality and increase driver awareness and safety.
Refined luxury drips from the RAV4 EV. The 5.7″ touch screen module commands the dual zone climate control with auto ECO modes. Premium Navigation is included, with Entune App Suite and EV Applications on an 8-in. high-resolution, responsive touch-screen. The screen has split-screen capability and integrated backup camera display, AM/FM/SiriusXM/HD Radio with iTunes Tagging, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port with iPod connectivity and control. The screen module also provides vehicle information, including an Energy Monitor, Charge Summary, Charging and Pre-Climate Setup, Range Map and Extended Range Mode settings. Hands-free phone capabilities, along with advanced voice recognition and music streaming via Bluetooth continue the theme of modern vehicle technology.
The instrument cluster includes a stunning 3.5-in. TFT EV Multi-Information Display. Information on this display includes driving range, an efficiency monitor, ECO Coach, CO2 reduction, auxiliary power monitor, navigation with turn-by-turn directions, opening welcome animation during power-on and trip summary when powering off. The instrument cluster also offers blue-illuminated speedometer edges, which turn red in Sport Mode. The RAV4 EV comes standard with SofTex-trimmed heated front seats with fabric inserts. The driver’s seat is 6-way adjustable. On the passenger’s side, a 4-way adjustable seat is present. Second row seating is comfortable, with a center armrest and reclining sliding seats, but handy as well with 60/40 split flat-fold functionality. Capacity for storage is 36.4 cubic feet, but with the seats folded, storage capacity increases to 73 cubic feet. Steering wheel controls with a leather-wrapped, telescoping wheel add a level of driver connectivity and comfort for long trips. Ten cup holders throughout the vehicle round out a comfortable passenger experience.
With a Tesla-designed and built power train and engine, the Toyota RAV4-EV has two drive modes: Normal and Sport. The Sport mode adds access to the power train’s full torque complement, which sets it apart from other crossovers on the highway. A single speed transmission with front-wheel drive is supplied power by Tesla’s 154 hp motor that develops a max torque of 273 ft-lbs. In Normal mode, the max torque is 218 ft-lbs. and conquers 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds with a top speed of 85 mph. Sport mode handles 0-60 mph in 7 seconds, with a top speed of 100 mph. The Tesla battery is rated at 35 kWh in standard charge mode, and 41.8 in extended charge mode. The lithium-ion battery’s 845lb weight contributes to the over 400lb difference in vehicle weight between 6-cylinder RAV4 and the EV. Equipped with an independent MacPherson strut front suspension with stabilizer bar and hydraulic shock absorbers, the driver will notice a smooth ride. A double-wishbone rear suspension with coil springs, trailing arms, stabilizer bar and hydraulic shock absorbers continues the theme of comfort from behind the wheel and in the passenger cabin. Electronic power steering and power-assisted rack and pinion keep the driver in control in all driving situations.
Safety, as always, is a Toyota priority, and the RAV4-EV is a powerhouse of passenger care. Power-assisted ventilated front disc brakes and solid rear disc brakes complement driver control. Behind the wheel with Toyota’s Star Safety System, the driver is prepared for anything. Toyota’s Star Safety System includes six safety features: Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-lock Brake System, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, and Smart Stop Technology. When all six come together, they add a level of safety and vehicle control that is unrivaled. The RAV4 EV also comes standard with six airbags for added peace of mind. Active headrests for the driver and passenger, LATCH child seat anchoring system, a Vehicle Proximity Notification System, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Driver Unit Immobilizer, and Hill Start Assist Control are all standard safety features, designed with passenger safety at the forefront of importance.
With a starting tag of $49,800, you won’t have to pay any more than you would for other gas powered luxury SUVs. Buyers, however, are reluctant to pay this much for an SUV of this trim level, as reflected in the sales numbers. No matter the numbers, the RAV4-EV’s design and features are great for families living the city or the suburbs alike. Plenty of safety options that go above and beyond will keep a driver and all passengers safe, while technology and comfort will also keep them in the lap of functional beauty.
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