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RAV4 Plugin vs alternatives (including EVs)


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Hi all,

I know this is a T forum, however, I hope we can have a decent (fairly unbiased) discussion about the Plugin RAV4 and alternatives.

My Auris HSD 2013 is coming towards the end of ownership and I definitely want part or full electric as my next car. I will be buying the next car probably around autumn 2021.

I test drove the Rav4 Plugin in town for half an hour and liked it. However, due to back problems, a second longer test drive will be needed to check out seating position on motorway and long distance (which for me means more than 100 Ks / 60 miles.

The electric range of the RAV4 suits my daily driving just fine. My parents live 65 miles from me to I'll need a bit of petrol going there twice every month. Same goes, of course, for longer trips across the country.

I've watched several videos indicating that at 60 miles/h the RAV, with a depleted Battery, is still capable of 51-56 mpg. In case of 56, a little less than my 2013 Auris TS HSD does - but with 30X BHP, almost 2 tonnes and a 2.5 liter engine.

Whilst, for my style of driving, EVs with bigger batteries have ranges  that seem decent and enough for "going out and coming back", the thought of having restricted access to charge stations (read: they are available but not as common as petrol stations) gives me sweaty palms.

Volkswagen has come out with the ID4 with a 77 KWH Battery, which, according to WLTP, is good for 310 miles. But I have seen videos of the ID4 "only" getting 255 miles on a mixture of A roads and motorway.

I read on a forum that VW is using LG batteries which have a history of catching fire every now and then?

I don't really like the instrument panel and the lack of physical buttons in the VW. The do offer free service for 5 years and 5 years of warranty though, which is good. And they are also cheaper with the wall box setup.

My family has been driving VW since 1994. The first was a VW Caravelle, which was great for several years but started being a money pit from 2010 and until it was sold in 2015.

From there, they had two Tourans (1.9 TDI and 1.4 150 TSI) with DSGs and no problems with either.

Thing is, the ID4 with loads of toys is cheaper than the RAV4 I'm considering It's the Danish H3 Premium, which, equipment wise, is pretty much the "Excel" vers. of the Normal HSD vers. in the UK.

As the car will be for me as a disabled driver, reliability is important but IS VW really that much worse than Toyota? The service cost of Toyota will be higher as the ID4 has free servicing for 5 years and Wolkswagen has an 8 year Battery warranty compared to Toyota's 10 year Hybrid one but the regular parts are only 3 years / 60.000 miles in Denmark.

One thing I really like with the RAV4 is its AWD. Not for race but for added safety is rain, ice and snow.

I considered the Kia E-Niro for a whilst but still am vary of Kia.

Any suggestions? Must be SUV style for easy entry due to back problems. Must be at least Plugin and AWD is a big plus. BHP is less important as I'm kind of a... cautious / slow driver, really.

I will be running the car for 8 years with no chance of replacement before the 8 years have passed.

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Electrification is all a bit new; the various manufacturer's offerings are not that comparable; and there won't be too many people who have real world experience of multiple electrified vehicles. So, having a decent discussion is going to be difficult even before you take bias into consideration.

Toyota have a pretty good track record with the so-called self-charging hybrid. It's fine, it works ... but all the energy comes from burning fossils fuels.

I really wanted a RAV4 Plugin (the electric range would suit me very well too) ... until I saw the price. Apart from being far more than I could afford, the economic pay-back just simply doesn't work. In the UK the premium for a plug-in as opposed to a self-charging hybrid RAV4 is around £9,000 - and at 45-50 mpg in a self-charging hybrid one can go quite a long way on £9,000 worth of fuel.

Beyond that, the RAV4 is now quite a large car to manoeuvre and some of my passengers have difficulty getting in and out ... it's just a little too high off the ground ...

Other makes and models are, of course, available.

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Hi Nicolai, if you could hang on for another 2 maybe 3 years I think the scene will have changed dramatically. You will definately have a greater choice, prices of electric vehicles should be falling, and at the same time more charging points available.

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15 minutes ago, philip42h said:

Electrification is all a bit new; the various manufacturer's offerings are not that comparable; and there won't be too many people who have real world experience of multiple electrified vehicles. So, having a decent discussion is going to be difficult even before you take bias into consideration.

Toyota have a pretty good track record with the so-called self-charging hybrid. It's fine, it works ... but all the energy comes from burning fossils fuels.

I really wanted a RAV4 Plugin (the electric range would suit me very well too) ... until I saw the price. Apart from being far more than I could afford, the economic pay-back just simply doesn't work. In the UK the premium for a plug-in as opposed to a self-charging hybrid RAV4 is around £9,000 - and at 45-50 mpg in a self-charging hybrid one can go quite a long way on £9,000 worth of fuel.

Beyond that, the RAV4 is now quite a large car to manoeuvre and some of my passengers have difficulty getting in and out ... it's just a little too high off the ground ...

Other makes and models are, of course, available.

@philip42h

Denmark is a very.... well, "less than ideal country" for car buyers as we have 180 per cent tax (yes, 180 - it's NOT a typo and shouldn't have read 18.0 😉 added on top of the vehicle price.

HOWEVER: car tax was recently allocated in order to promote EVs and Plugins over petrol and diesel only which means that in Denmark, you can get aa RAV4 Plugin for same or less money than the regular HSD vers.

In that respect, not choosing the Plugin would be... a strange choice.

Having a reduced walking ability due to cerebral palsy and a very troublesome back, the high entrance point of the RAV4 is actually a real winner for me.

I guess, what I'm after really is: RAV4 Plugin or Full (reliable) EV (ID4)?

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12 minutes ago, Catlover said:

Hi Nicolai, if you could han on for another 2 maybe 3 years I thik the scene will have changed dramatically. You will definately have a greater choice, prices of electric vehicles should be falling, and at the same time re charging points available.

Yes, changing cars now is really not optimal, I know. However, with an annual mileage of perhaps less than 8,000 a year, my costs for petrol would be bearable.

Once my application for a new car (for disabled driver) has been approved, I must have a signed buyer's contract within 6 months.

On the plus side, I can't wait to have Adaptive CC, LKA and blind spot monitoring. With all that, a car, practically, drives itself.

Before anyone suggests: I won't buy Tesla. I dislike the fact that everything is operated via the screen, most of their models are way to low and statistically, they have a lot of faults.

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Toyota are said to be previewing a concept Rav4 sized BEV for Europe in April 2021.

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23 minutes ago, FROSTYBALLS said:

Toyota are said to be previewing a concept Rav4 sized BEV for Europe in April 2021.

Yes, I know. But it's a long way from previewing to customers actually being able to buy one.

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2 hours ago, Nicolai said:

@philip42h

Denmark is a very.... well, "less than ideal country" for car buyers as we have 180 per cent tax (yes, 180 - it's NOT a typo and shouldn't have read 18.0 😉 added on top of the vehicle price.

HOWEVER: car tax was recently allocated in order to promote EVs and Plugins over petrol and diesel only which means that in Denmark, you can get aa RAV4 Plugin for same or less money than the regular HSD vers.

In that respect, not choosing the Plugin would be... a strange choice.

Having a reduced walking ability due to cerebral palsy and a very troublesome back, the high entrance point of the RAV4 is actually a real winner for me.

I guess, what I'm after really is: RAV4 Plugin or Full (reliable) EV (ID4)?

In that case it's a "no brainer". As you say "not choosing the Plugin would be... a [very] strange choice" - I'm tempted to move to Denmark ...

For a purchase "this year" I'd go hybrid (plug-in hybrid) rather than pure EV for precisely the reasons you give:

7 hours ago, Nicolai said:

the thought of having restricted access to charge stations (read: they are available but not as common as petrol stations) gives me sweaty palms.

The charging infrastructure isn't good enough today. Come 2030 things will (hopefully) be very different (though it might be hydrogen by then!). Or, at least, that was exactly my thinking when I made my purchase last year ...

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Has anyone tried the Plugin? based on reviews it seems quite "nose heavy and not too fond of going into bends?

I watched several reviews, some claiming that despite AWD it lacks traction. Others again seem to praise the capability of the I-AWD system?

I get that a fairly large SUV will never have the driving dynamics of a Porsche 911 or Audi R8 but i should be safe in bends.

Savagegeese on Youtube almost drove the Plugin off the road going down hill. See below:

Savagegeese steers the RAV4 Plugin of the road

Oh, and I take it the infamous "Moose / Elk Test" is not a problem anymore for the RAV4 Plugin?

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13 hours ago, Nicolai said:

Has anyone tried the Plugin? based on reviews it seems quite "nose heavy and not too fond of going into bends?

I watched several reviews, some claiming that despite AWD it lacks traction. Others again seem to praise the capability of the I-AWD system?

I get that a fairly large SUV will never have the driving dynamics of a Porsche 911 or Audi R8 but i should be safe in bends.

Savagegeese on Youtube almost drove the Plugin off the road going down hill. See below:

Savagegeese steers the RAV4 Plugin of the road

Oh, and I take it the infamous "Moose / Elk Test" is not a problem anymore for the RAV4 Plugin?

I suspect that you will have to make up your own mind based on an extended test drive. I find the AWD hybrid to be well balanced, stable on the road, have good traction, and very happy to 'power' around corners - it's a very nice  car to drive. The plug-in will be heavier but that extra weight will be well behind the front wheels so I just can't see it being "heavier at the nose".

You need to take the "Moose Test" headlines with a large pinch of salt. The test requires that the car is driven (by a professional) through a set course of cones at increasing speed until it is unable to get through without hitting the cones. Every car passes up to a certain speed and and then 'fails' the test - so every car 'fails' in the end. The performance of the RAV4.5 is comparable with similar vehicles - neither the best nor the worst of the bunch. The video evidence shows that it gets pretty 'ugly' at the limit - so, if you want to drive at the limit get a "Porsche 911 or Audi R8". The RAV4.5 is perfectly safe and comfortable in bends. I doubt that Toyota have 'fixed' it as such - tweaked the software maybe but no mechanical redesign to make it more Moose friendly ...

The AWDi system provides traction to all four wheel (more specifically to the front and rear axles). Actual traction on the road surface will be dependent upon the tyres that are fitted. In the UK (and North America) the cars come fitted with [summer] tyres with a low rolling resistance that give a good fuel consumption and high mileage (Dunlop Grandtreks typically). I've no idea what you might get in Denmark - but the car will ride, handle and grip better on more compliant tyres. You may well find the you want to fit all season tyres that are well suited to the conditions you are likely to encounter in your travels in Denmark. (Mine's on Michelin Cross Climates).

The Savagegeese video is too long for me to bother to watch ... 😉 ... but it is safe to say that the RAV4.5 won't compete favourably with a purpose built off-roader - it's a road car with good traction in slippery conditions etc. and capable of light "off-road" use. It is perhaps worth noting that in the US the Adventure model is a straight petrol engined car fitted with a torque converter automatic and all wheel drive. I have seen a reviewer who tipped his 4.5 over a brow and onto a steep downhill section "assuming" that the car was equipped with hill descent control and panicked when he discovered that it doesn't - what an idiot! (My diesel powered 4.4 auto did and the system works very well once you've set it up and understood how it works. That feature is available on the US Adventure model but is absent from the hybrids.)

Beware of reviews other than your own! 🙂

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31 minutes ago, philip42h said:

I suspect that you will have to make up your own mind based on an extended test drive. I find the AWD hybrid to be well balanced, stable on the road, have good traction, and very happy to 'power' around corners - it's a very nice  car to drive. The plug-in will be heavier but that extra weight will be well behind the front wheels so I just can't see it being "heavier at the nose".

You need to take the "Moose Test" headlines with a large pinch of salt. The test requires that the car is driven (by a professional) through a set course of cones at increasing speed until it is unable to get through without hitting the cones. Every car passes up to a certain speed and and then 'fails' the test - so every car 'fails' in the end. The performance of the RAV4.5 is comparable with similar vehicles - neither the best nor the worst of the bunch. The video evidence shows that it gets pretty 'ugly' at the limit - so, if you want to drive at the limit get a "Porsche 911 or Audi R8". The RAV4.5 is perfectly safe and comfortable in bends. I doubt that Toyota have 'fixed' it as such - tweaked the software maybe but no mechanical redesign to make it more Moose friendly ...

The AWDi system provides traction to all four wheel (more specifically to the front and rear axles). Actual traction on the road surface will be dependent upon the tyres that are fitted. In the UK (and North America) the cars come fitted with [summer] tyres with a low rolling resistance that give a good fuel consumption and high mileage (Dunlop Grandtreks typically). I've no idea what you might get in Denmark - but the car will ride, handle and grip better on more compliant tyres. You may well find the you want to fit all season tyres that are well suited to the conditions you are likely to encounter in your travels in Denmark. (Mine's on Michelin Cross Climates).

The Savagegeese video is too long for me to bother to watch ... 😉 ... but it is safe to say that the RAV4.5 won't compete favourably with a purpose built off-roader - it's a road car with good traction in slippery conditions etc. and capable of light "off-road" use. It is perhaps worth noting that in the US the Adventure model is a straight petrol engined car fitted with a torque converter automatic and all wheel drive. I have seen a reviewer who tipped his 4.5 over a brow and onto a steep downhill section "assuming" that the car was equipped with hill descent control and panicked when he discovered that it doesn't - what an idiot! (My diesel powered 4.4 auto did and the system works very well once you've set it up and understood how it works. That feature is available on the US Adventure model but is absent from the hybrids.)

Beware of reviews other than your own! 🙂


Thank you very much for a good reply. I should perhaps have written "slow and not particular eager to change direction" instead of "nose heavy" - my bad.

As for the moose test, I read somewhere that Toyota re-positioned the batteries slightly in order to improve the balance of the car - and have since passed the moose test.

Sorry, the Geese is, indeed, a bit long-necked 😉 What I refer to happens here (I've now learned to link to time codes, yeah!): 

He does say: pure cruiser with a little off-road capabilities. And ends the video: if you need a comfortable, daily and motorway cruiser, damn, this thing is sweet!". Which is exactly what I'm looking for.

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29 minutes ago, Nicolai said:


Thank you very much for a good reply ...

He does say: pure cruiser with a little off-road capabilities. And ends the video: if you need a comfortable, daily and motorway cruiser, damn, this thing is sweet!". Which is exactly what I'm looking for.

OK, I've now watched the 'short' version and I'm inclined to agree with him ... but in slightly different words:

  • It's a hybrid (with a bigger Battery in the case of the plug-in) and works best when driven as a hybrid, in Normal mode
  • It ain't a sports car so don't drive it like one and stay away from the limits
  • The standard tyres aren't the best boots to use

All the best ... 🙂

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Thanks!

Who would actually drive an SUV like a sports car? I wouldn't.

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On 3/22/2021 at 3:49 PM, Nicolai said:

Yes, I know. But it's a long way from previewing to customers actually being able to buy one.

The BEV is a model year '22 vehicle, so I'd expect it to be available in Europe before December....

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If you have to keep it for 8 years I would try to go fully Battery.  The landscape will have changed a lot by then and I wonder just how much resale value a hybrid would have. Plus you mention reliability, think of how many moving parts a BEV is missing. 

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12 hours ago, Dippy said:

If you have to keep it for 8 years I would try to go fully battery.  The landscape will have changed a lot by then and I wonder just how much resale value a hybrid would have. Plus you mention reliability, think of how many moving parts a BEV is missing. 

Very true.  Take a look at the KIA SoulEV.  I am very partial to mine.  Seven years all-inclusive warranty, including the traction Battery.

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I'm vary as to Kia's reliability and their range for Niro, which is the one I'd consider, is merely 280 miles WLTP. What's more, Kia only guarantees 60 per cent Battery capacity over the course of 8 years. Which would mean that 168 miles would still be "within spec" and not liable for a Battery change. Honestly the only EVs with good enough range currently are probably Teslas (although I know they too drain fast if driven fast) and I'm not buying one of those.

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On 3/22/2021 at 10:18 AM, Nicolai said:

Any suggestions? Must be SUV style for easy entry due to back problems. Must be at least Plugin and AWD is a big plus. BHP is less important as I'm kind of a... cautious / slow driver, really.

Have you considered the BMW i3 with the range extender? It has an SUV like seating position, has small turning circle and is great around town. With the narrow tyres (155) it is better than most in the snow (especially with winter tyres). Even if the Battery reduces to 70% over 8 years, the range extender will still give you the same petrol distances.

One thing to consider is that most efficient EVs will give average around 4 miles per kWh in the summer and 3 kWh in the winter but, for me (i3 Rex owner), it went down to 2 miles per kWh for short journeys with pre-heating. If you are in slow traffic and it is very cold, this will reduce further - a 100kWh Battery with 30% degradation might only give you 70 miles in a bad case.

Sum-up, get a PHEV.

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16 hours ago, Dippy said:

Volvo XC40 too expensive?

In Denmark, the Base model XC40 Plugin is roughly the same price as the base model RAV4 Plugin. and the Volvo only does 30 miles on a charge compared to the RAV4's 46. And the Volvo "only" has 211 BHP and FWD vs. the 306 BHP and I-AWD of the RAV4. Between the two, I'd put my money towards the RAV4 for sure.

Also, I personally dislike the Chinese mentality of "steal, copy and deny everything" so ever since the Chinese bought their way in, I've not been that keen on Volvo. Furthermore, as the brand is considered a "Luxury Car" manufacturer in Denmark, the cars are way often out of my price range anyway.

Not trying to start a political fight as to "global economy" etc. Just my personal opinion.
 

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