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2020 Rav4 questions

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Hi all, 

I am looking to buy a new car and the Rav4 appeals to me ( the 2.0 corolla ts does too) However I would like to pick your collective brains on a few things. 

Does it matter whether you have 2 or 4wd? I am unlikely to be towing but the reviews I have read seem to suggest that the 4wd version handles a bit better. Thoughts? 

Seats. To get any lumbar support you have to either order leather or the style selection trim level. Views on whether the standard seats are comfy ( my current car is an astra with the AGR seats which I find very comfortable, so I am apprehensive about these ones!!) Or should I accept that I will need to find a car with the optional ones. 

I did have a (short) test drive of a 4wd model with standard seats a few months ago. Performance/economy was good but I did notice the lack of lumbar! 

I live in Germany so we may have slightly different trim levels to UK. 

Looking forward to your thoughts. 

Cheers 

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If you like the Corolla and don't see the need for AWD why not go for the Corolla? ... 😉

For me the RAV4 is a 4WD - the clue is in the name. The RAV2 is for those who need the tax breaks offered by removing the rear motor ... The AWD system works very well - the car feels very composed. (I can't comment on the RAV2 having never driven one.)

I can't understand why Toyota produce a car in this price bracket without adjustable lumbar support. My previous car was a 2013 RAV 4.4 with 'standard seats (no lumbar support) and it was adequately comfortable. My 4.5 has adjustable lumbar support and is more comfortable. That said I had a Volvo a couple of cars before that and that had the most comfortable seats I've ever experienced. (And I did once have an Astra as a hire car that totally wreaked my back to the extent I've promised myself never to drive another one! But I suspect that they've improved the seating since then.)

At the end of the day, it all boils down to want you really want from your car / a RAV4 ... 🙂

 

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I had an initial 2-hour test drive in a 2WD RAV4.5, followed by a 2 day loan of the same car.  Three months later I took delivery of my AWD RAV4.

TBH, with my normal, sedate (and legal) driving style I noticed no discernible difference on ordinary wet or dry roads, both seemed equally competent.

However, I chose AWD because of the probability of better traction, braking and steering in snowy or icy conditions (especially on my all-season tyres).  I've yet to have an opportunity to test this set-up though, with just one mild winter so far.

The extra electric motor in the rear cannot produce as much torque as a mechanical, shaft linked AWD system like that in the Honda C-RV Hybrid, and many of the YouTube reports on off-road and wintery conditions suggest that mechanical systems are better and more sure-footed, but mostly agree that the RAV4 system is still very competent and good enough for everything except serious off-roading or extreme weather.

From the instruments I can see that it adds power to the rear wheels when accelerating at low speed, accelerating hard at higher speeds and when cornering, so I suspect as well as balancing the car it will aid longer tyres life.  It's also very satisfying to see on the Energy Monitor power being regenerated into the Battery from both ends of the car when lifted off the accelerator or braking.

BTW my Excel does have lumbar support adjustment, and I particularly like the electric driver seat with 2 memories, so that I can select an ideal position for getting in and out of the car and another for driving.

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We have both a 2wd and a 4wd and tbh I can't really tell the difference, I can't say they handle differently either, then again they aren't the type of car you push to the limits on the conrnering front!!. 

The only real difference is the dynamic is lower than the excel (with shorter stiffer springs I guess) so maybe you feel slightly lower on the road and it's ever so slightly more stiffer. 

If you don't live in snow covered areas all year  or dont fancy alot of mud plugging and don't need the extra towing ability then the 2wd is fine imo, also a decent winter tyre on either car would make it alot safer in the snow. 

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thanks for the replies, food for thought! 

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I have the 4wd, to be honest it still feels more like a front wheel drive most the time. The rear motor may help you get some traction going in snow or ice, but its no off roader, the rear motor is a quite weedy 53bhp unit in a heavyish car with a peak output of 219bhp total.

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1 hour ago, Rav Rob said:

I have the 4wd, to be honest it still feels more like a front wheel drive most the time. The rear motor may help you get some traction going in snow or ice, but its no off roader, the rear motor is a quite weedy 53bhp unit in a heavyish car with a peak output of 219bhp total.

I don't think that's quite the right comparison - the electric motors are there for torque rather than for power. The maximum toque from the front motor is 202 Nm while the rear motor delivers 121 Nm (according to the owners manual). And the electric motors deliver that torque from 0 rpm while the petrol engine is still having a kip ...

And, in keeping with the design of the last three generations of RAV4, it is a front wheel drive car at speeds over 25 mph (IIRC) give or take a spot of 'torque vectoring'. But I shall be very surprised and disappointed if it can't handle snow and ice every bit as well as my previous two RAVs ... I'm almost looking forward to the winter! 🙂

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I have RAV4 MK5 2wd and travelled from UK to Germany (Nuremberg) in December 2019. Had no issues at autobahn speeds and local roads, with temperatures up to -15 C and light snow / sleet. Agree, that AWD will help at low speed and off the line in slippery conditions, however 2wd will not be far behind with all season or summer / winter tyres.

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Although made a while ago, this is an interesting demonstration of winter tyres Vs summer on front wheel drive and 4WD:  https://youtu.be/mfuE00qdhLA

In the 1970s and 80s I was surprised how well the basic cars I had at the time coped in some very serious snow, but I suspect the narrower tyres that were in vogue at the time helped.  These days, being older, wiser (I hope - and retired, for that matter) I would stay at home if conditions were bad (even with my AWD - other people can still hit me! - and I was rear-ended twice years ago by people who didn't make allowances for slippery conditions).

Everyone will have their own idea about whether they need, or wish to have extra insurance against unforeseen weather events.  Me, I'll take any and everything I can get, especially after a scare I had about 10 years ago.

On that occasion we were perilously close  to spending the night in a car in the middle of the Bedfordshire/Hertfordshire countryside.  We left home on a Saturday morning to do a 17 mile, 25 minute journey.  The sky was overcast, no sign of snow, forecast was for slight possibility of a flake or two, nothing more.  Just after we arrived, we had the quickest dump of seriously large flakes I've ever seen (and I saw a fair few in the 1960s and 70s).  I called my partner back to the car and told her we needed to head home immediately.  The return journey took 5 or 6 hours, and as the main 7-mile dual carriageway to the town we lived in at the time was closed by the Police, we headed out on some country lanes.  We only kept going the the skin of our teeth, and one particular hill was a massive struggle to climb.  At times we were over 3 miles form the nearest main road or building, no one else around and no phone signal.  When we finally arrived home, the intense concentration for that length of time had left me exhausted.

 

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Hi All,

Always a good debate.

I went for a 2WD - have always reckoned that hauling the extra 4WD gubbins around that is seldom used doesn't make sense to me. This has been my philosophy when buying previous cars, although I accept they had conventional gearboxes and no electric motors.

I took the 4WD out for a test drive before selecting the 2WD variant, and in real world conditions, am happy with it. My plan is to move over to cross-climate tyres when I next swap the set. PeteB's video reinforces my view that the tyres are more important in the real world. If I had a need for serious off-roading, I'd have chosen a different car!

It must be said that the new model of the Excel comes with 19" wheels and no spare - a significant step backwards in my opinion.

The seats in mine have no complaints - I find them really supportive. As a 'fully proportioned gentleman', I usually have no problem wodging myself into seats, and this is no different!!

Hope this is helpful

Keith

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On 11/15/2020 at 9:22 PM, philip42h said:

...the design of the last three generations of RAV4, it is a front wheel drive car at speeds over 25 mph (IIRC) give or take a spot of 'torque vectoring'. But I shall be very surprised and disappointed if it can't handle snow and ice every bit as well as my previous two RAVs ...

On mine, the AWD and Energy Monitor displays show torque going to the rear wheels:

  • always up to 10 mph or so
  • under moderately heavy acceleration up to around 45 mph
  • at or near full throttle to over 70 on the clock (true 70 at 74 indicated)

There are plenty of US YouTube videos showing 2019/20 Hybrids doing very well in snow and loose surface situations, even if not quite as good as cars with mechanical 4WD/AWD.

 

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48 minutes ago, PeteB said:

On mine, the AWD and Energy Monitor displays show torque going to the rear wheels:

  • always up to 10 mph or so
  • under moderately heavy acceleration up to around 45 mph
  • at or near full throttle to over 70 on the clock (true 70 at 74 indicated)

There are plenty of US YouTube videos showing 2019/20 Hybrids doing very well in snow and loose surface situations, even if not quite as good as cars with mechanical 4WD/AWD.

 

... which is what I would expect / hope.

We live on a Welsh hillside (hence an AWD in the first place - the council neither grit nor clear). Our neighbours are farmers and have kindly covered the lane in soft clay - so my shiny new car needs a wash every time I come home!. On the way up the other day at 10-15 mph I noted the Energy monitor showing:

  • the engine driving the front wheels
  • the front motor / generator sending power to the Battery, and
  • the rear motor driving the rear wheels

The system seems to work quite nicely ... 🙂

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7 minutes ago, philip42h said:

The system seems to work quite nicely ... 🙂

Yes, I love it.  Also very satisfying to see regen power going to the Battery from both ends when off the accelerator or braking.  I'm sure that helps compensate for the extra weight and drag caused by having the rear motor.

Have you ooked at the AWD screen with PWR mode selected?  It adds a G-force indicator which is quite interesting, although I don't like being in PWR mode for very long.

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