2017 RAV4 Hybrid Limited AWD SUV

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Susan Frissell

Our 2017 Toyota RAV4 Electric Storm Blue was the talk of residents in my office building this week. They stood and looked it over, trying to decide if it was, indeed “blue,” or what exactly, was the color. AS with most press vehicles I park in front, my fellow office renters love to see what I am driving next.

This writer is beginning to become a convert for hybrid vehicles; at least in the Toyota lineup. The last few I’ve driven have become strong contenders in my next ‘to buy’ list. The 2017 RAV4 is sharp looking, with a few more angles and a redesigned up-to-date look.

The angled headlamps and creased bodywork give it a different look that stands out some. This is a very practical SUV, competing with a lot of other good choices, namely, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Jeep Cherokee, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, etc.

We did not experience any difficulty hopping onto the highway from the ramp. This hybrid performs and you forget it has but 194 horse under the hood. Our Electric Storm Blue stood out and the interior, in our words, decked out with a classy two-tone black/tan leather seats reminiscent of the 1970s Mercury Cougar offering. We weren’t sure the Blue matched with this interior seat color scheme. It’s different.

As expected when opting for a Hybrid vehicle, the RAV4 has a MSRP of $34,030. Our test vehicle, the Limited edition came equipped with a few extras, including a Tonneau cover ($90), carpet floor mats/cargo mat ($224), Mudguards ($129), and Body side moulding ($209). The Advanced Technology Package ($1,435), includes Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan, Entune, Premium JBL Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite, which includes the Entune Multimedia Bundle, 7-in. high resolution touch-screen with split screen display, AM/FM, 11 JBL GreenEdge speakers, including subwoofer, auxiliary audio jack and USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control, Advanced Voice Recognition, Hands-Free Phone Capability, Phone Book Access and Music Streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology, Siri Eyes Free, Entune App Suite, HD radio, HD radio predictive traffic and doppler weather overlay, AM/FM cache radio, Sirius XM Satellite Radio with 3-month complimentary access trial, Gracenote Album Cover Art and Integrated Backup Camera Display with projected path tonneau cover.

One of the first small SUV’s on the market in the mid-90s, the RAV4 is a favorite with female drivers. Now in its fourth generation, this style has been with us since 2012. A small car-based SUV with five seats (no third row), the RAV has a reputation for practicality, dependability, comfort and is very easy to maneuver. Having sold some 286,809 units, the RAV is a close second in sales to Honda’s CR-V.

As with all Toyota products, the 2017 RAV offers lots of safety equipment, including Toyota Safety Sense-P, forward-collision warning (which we felt today when trailing a little too close to the car in front of us), lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise and automatic high-beam headlights. The RAV comes in a top-of-the-line Platinum trim for 2017. New to the lineup, the Platinum carries a MSRP of $35,690 front front-wheel-drive; adding $1400 when opting for all-wheel-drive.

The Platinum model includes a monochromatic exterior and luxury features like hated steering wheel, 360-degree-view camera and power liftgate. Worth paying more for? We’re not sure. Standard equipment on the RAV4 Limited is quite plentiful.

The RAV is a spacious and comfortable SUV. One won’t tire of driving this in all kinds of conditions, road surfaces. It isn’t the heaviest SUV and can feel light when hitting a pothole or making a sharp turn.

Of course, rear seats fold flat, into the floor, making towing your stuff effortless. Even with the hybrid battery pack, you’re only giving up two cubic feet of cargo space.

SPECS

MSRP: $34,030; total vehicle price $37,057; destination. $940
Engine: Hybrid Synergy Drive System, 2.5-liter DOHC 4-cylinder w/VVT-1, 194 hp w/ECVT
Transmission: AWD intelligence, ECO, EV and Sport Modes
Wheelbase: 104.7 in.
Height: 65.9 in.
Width: 72.6 in.
Length: 183.5 in.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.8 gal.
503.2 miles on hybrid
Warranty: 8 yr/100,000-miles hybrid component; 2 yr/25,000-mile free maintenance; 3 yr/36,000-mile basic
Tires: P22/65R17 all-season
Wheels: 18-inch alloy

(Photography George Straton)

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