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PeteB last won the day on June 5

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About PeteB

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    Hybrid & EV nerd (I mean evangelist)

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    RAV4 AWD Excel
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  1. Dog lovers may appreciate this review of the RAV4 😁
  2. I do like my RAV4, but if it hadn't been for the low floor/seating of my Gen 4 Prius having such a detrimental effect on my hips I wouldn't have given it a second glance. I really hated giving up the Head Up Display I've enjoyed for 7 years and almost 100,000 miles in the Gen 3 & 4 Prius. and if it had a spare wheel I'd have defected to the Honda C-RV Hybrid, because it had most of what I wanted and a HUD. The Honda Hybrid system has always been a cheaper, arguably inferior system to the Toyota one, but in their latest guise have finally caught up, being able to do petrol only, electric only and combined drive. Some recent comparisons between the latest Insight Hybrid (not available in the UK) and the Gen 4 Prius have put the Honda ahead. However, I wanted something that drives like the Toyota Hybrids all do, had as many as possible of the features I don't wish to compromise on but did have a spare wheel - and of course is easier to enter and exit! An unexpected bonus with the RAV4 is that there is room under the boot floor for a full size spare without any modification of the trim or loss of storage of the tools, and I've ordered a matching alloy wheel and tyre. A pleasant surprise also is the fact the cruise control can be set down to 18 mph (28 in previous Toyotas), making it truly useful in the growing number of 20 limited zones. The Panoramic Camera system is truly awesome, and one thing that I couldn't have had on the Prius. It almost makes up for the fact my Excel Prius had a very impressive self parking feature (that also gets out of a tight space too), which my more expensive, newer Excel RAV4 does not (along with a number of other things including the HUD, rain repellent front windows, laminated front windows and more ergonomic swicthes for windows and door mirrors).
  3. I thought a few years ago my next car (before the last one) would be an EV. I tried the BMW i3 with Range Extender (which I believe is no longer sold in the UK due to tax changes), but what scuppered it for me was my irrational, unshakeable insistence on having a spare wheel. Plus, it wouldn't have worked for me because the Range Extender bit was really only for emergency use and would be impractical for long journeys. I actively considered a Tesla Model 3, which with the largest battery was supposed to manage 300 odd miles (this was 4 years ago, and the lack of spare wheel could be cured by buying a full size one and storing it in the front trunk, leaving the main boot free for luggage). What mainly scuppered it was the lack of charging in the East of England, where I make most of my longer journeys, sometimes doing a 500 mile trip in a single day, or occasionally with an overnight stay. For a common trip from the Norfolk Suffolk border to Hull, I found no charging stations on my route (by observation on a couple of trips, and using the locations maps available at the time. There were no Tesla Supercharging stations this side of the A1, although there is now just one half way to Bedford (another regular trip). The latter are really desirable for a car with such a large battery, because a domestic power point would result in a 20-25 hour charge time to return from Hull! Plus the 300 mile range somewhat evaporated with keen acceleration, speeds above 55 mph and use of heating or A/C. At the time, I couldn't find a single hotel near Hull with charging facilities. Which brings me back to Plug-In Hybrids. I would argue they are the best compromise right now, expect in my case I couldn't find any with a spare wheel - a price for larger batteries of course. Even a first Gen Plug In Prius would have been brilliant for me, because most days I could manage on little or no petrol. So last Friday I took delivery of my latest Hybrid, and in all probability this will be my last car. I do so love that my last Prius and my current car can manage 600+ miles on a single tank, so every journey I make can be achieved without refuelling away from home.
  4. Firstly, Prius are known for having low capacity 12V batteries that can flatten quite easily. This is because they don't have to do the heavy job of starting an engine - the High Voltage battery does that. Every since my early Gen 1 Prius days I kept a tiny jump starter in the seat back pocket (no use in boot, because it's hard to get to if the battery's flat, especially if you deadlocked the car). This sort of thing: Secondly, why not try turning the switch off on the boot light? If it still goes flat, then you've got some more investigation to do.
  5. Yes, I've got that impression too. It also seems to know when the national speed limit sign means 60 (single carriageway) and 70 (dual carriageway). I find it hard to believe the camera 'sees' whether it's a dual carriageway or not. I must say the RSA also seems much more reliable than the version 1 I had in my 2016 Prius until last Friday (in fact, I switch RSA off as it was inaccurate at least 30% of the time, and most other owners I conversed with did the same).
  6. Not exactly. B mode is primarily to give additional control, as Tony said, like down-changing with a conventional gearbox. It's another 'tool in the box' for choosing how to use the car. The software makes sure the battery cannot overcharge anyway. However, one myth that prevailed when the original Prius came out almost 20 years ago was that B mode increases economy, whereas in fact it does the opposite. This wasn't helped by the manual using a description something like "more aggressive regeneration". Selecting B mode forces the petrol engine to run but without injecting any fuel, so that the pumping compression in the cylinders gives addition braking effect. That means the Motor/Generator has less to do, so puts a little less energy back into the battery. Normally, depending on the speed, the engine will be stopped anyway, or at higher speeds turning but the the timing heavily altered to minimise compression. The one time it makes no difference to economy is when the HV battery is so full (aka 'maxed out') it cannot accept any more regenerated energy. Most drivers will rarely, if ever, encounter that condition. You'd need a very long, steep hill, and it happens quite a while after all bars are lit on the battery gauge. When the battery is 'maxed out', in reality it is only about 80% full (conversely if the gauge ever showed empty it;s about 40% full). This, along with charge rate and cell temperature management are part of the reason the Hybrid batteries have been so much more reliable than the pundits predicted in the early Prius days. It's been reported that since the 3rd Generation Prius with the 1.8 litre engine came out in 2009 that the software had been updated to effectively operate B mode whenever the battery had 'maxed out'. I've not had a full battery to check that since I got my 3rd and 4th Generation Prius (over some 90,000 miles). B mode might help avoid using the friction bakes on a very steep hill, but you get the most out of the regenerative system just using the normal brake pedal as long as the Hybrid System Indicator is within the CHG area. At the very end of the CHG area you're getting maximum regen, press the pedal any harder then you get extra friction braking as well. My only experience of a truly maxed out Hybrid battery (and that's in over 320,000 miles in all four generations of Prius) was on a Gen 1 Prius (the least powerful) on a couple of holidays in Scotland over 10 years ago. Even on 20% gradient hills lasting some 5-6 miles the car could climb at 60 mph on Cruise Control without assistance from the battery or particularly high revs, and going down it took at least 4 miles to max out the battery. Even on these hills, the service brakes were sufficient to control speed using regenerative braking alone until the maxed out state was reached. At that point, the car only used friction brakes and B mode helped reduce the wear and heat on them, although there was no sign of overheating. The car felt subtly different once the battery maxed out, but the software managed the braking such that no extra pressure was needed on the brake pedal.
  7. That's right, although in a few models it also increases the weighting of the steering to give a bit more 'feel'. Not sure if the Auris is one of them. My new RAV4 is reputed to do that, but I must say if it does it's too subtle for me to notice on the few times I've experimented with it. Conversely, ECO mode also dulls the effectiveness of heating (to use the engine a bit less) and a/c to save a tiny bit of fuel & emissions. All three modes will give full power if the pedal is floored. The attached diagram shows roughly what going on depending on how far the accelerator is pressed. For Hybrids from the introduction of the 4th Generation Prius (like the C-HR, new RAV4 and probably new Corolla) which have Radar Adaptive Cruise Control, the mode also affects how rapidly the car accelerates when resume is used or a slower vehicle in front has got out of the way.
  8. PeteB

    Cruise control

    I don't think so from a re-read of the relevant section of the manual, but I'll double check next time I'm in the car.
  9. To be fair, once inside, the Gen 4 was supremely comfortable and had almost the most comfortable ride of any version of Prius (although original 2000-2003 Gen 1 was best by a whisker). Gen 2, though still comfortable, had the firmest ride and seats. Gen 3 was better (especially on 15" wheels), and Gen 4 almost tied in first place with the Gen 1. I couldn't have the Gen 4 seat at the top of its height range though, because it put my head too far into the roof ( I could sit comfortably, but couldn't fold myself enough to get in or out), but I did keep it about three quarters of the way up.
  10. And if you add the Nav/infotainment manual, it goes to over 1,000 pages!
  11. PeteB

    Cruise control

    A good question and one that I've often pondered for the same reason. I've found no way around it, but my last car, a 2016 Gen 4 Prius, at least had a speed limiter as well that could operate down to 20 mph (but again, why not lower still - there are plenty of business parks and country estates with 10 or 15 mph limits - I once got told off by the Hyde Park wardens for doing 11 mph in a 10 limit!). However, there's good news on the horizon with the latest cars (at least the RAV4, and I'd be surprised if the new Corolla didn't follow suit). On the 5th Generation RAV4 that I collected last Friday, the Cruise Control can be set down to 18 mph (the manual says "about 20 mph"). It is indeed very welcome in some of the longer and fairly straight 20 mph zones. Oddly, the Speed Limiter still only works down to 20 mph, but it is useful where traffic conditions or twisty road layouts make using CC impractical. On earlier Toyotas before the Adaptive (Radar) Cruise Control the CC could be set down to 25 mph, but this still didn't help in 20 zones. It's a shame Toyota don't update their software during the life of a vehicle like some other companies now do, as this would be an ideal candidate for change and presumably is just a number in a table somewhere.
  12. Then you'll certainly notice the lower ride height!
  13. The Gen 3 is almost as low, and the Gen 2 slightly higher still. The Gen 1 was very high. To some extent the height adjustment on the driver's seat can help, but it was still too low for me. Wouldn't have been 20 years ago, but one of the joys of getting older. Not everyone has the problem, there are plenty of people my age who get on the them just fine. Just make sure they're ok for you.
  14. I would agree with all said above. The Gen 3 Prius was great, but once I had a Gen 4 I wouldn't swap back. My Gen 4 also routinely got about 100 miles (160 km) more out of each full tank of petrol, despite the Gen 4 having a slightly smaller (2 litre smaller) tank. What set the Gen 4 apart though was the handling, ride quality (especially on 15" wheels) and the safety equipment (assuming they have the same specification in your country). The only thing to watch is if you are likely to have problems because of the low floor of the car (a byproduct of the really excellent low drag factor). I was planning to keep my Gen 4 for as long as I can keep driving, but less than a year after getting it my hips starting giving problems which got so severe I had to change to a taller car (which I got last Friday, a Hybrid RAV4). I'm gutted though, I wish I could have kept the Prius.
  15. Thanks, but I'm guessing the spare will still be an issue, because it will have to be mounted on the wheel for one side or the other which will determine which side of the car the wheel could be fitted without removing and refitting the tyre? I've had a long relationship my the staff at my dealership and not too worried about looking foolish - they know me well enough by now! 😄