Hybrid SUV for longterm use
January 10, 2019
My 2018 RAV4 SE Hybrid Toyota was the least expensive "luxury feeling" SUV I could afford, and it's the only hybrid model in it's class. The interior is a bit cramped due to the battery, but overall there is enough space for 4 people to comfortably sit in. I haven't had any complaints from my front seat passengers. The "trunk" isn't as spacious as non-hybrids. A bicycle will fit in with a seat down and the front wheel off. The interior feels nicely put together. Some of the buttons are difficult to access, like the seat heaters. This 2018 has the same Entune system as other older models, it's not that well thought out, especially the nav unit, which doesn't anyways get you where you want to go. The premium stereo system sounds good. The air conditioner works ridiculously so much better than in the LE model I had previously, as does the phone (both the ac and the phone didn't have enough "bars" to blow out cool air, or hear phone conversations). Instead of leather, "leatherette" is used for the seating ("vegan" friendly, even Tesla is using this material now)- it seems to clean up well. Everything is power operated, including the hatch which is slow to open, I wish there was a pop up button in the car to open the hatch when I don't want to use the power lift. Cup holders aren't conveniently placed, and there aren't enough of them. More phone charging ability would also be welcomed. The driver's seat is very comfortable. It's easy to adjust the seat and steering wheel for optimal driving, for your height. The car isn't as zippy as the non-hybrid due to the weight of the battery, going up steep hills it's slow to reach full acceleration, and sounds like it's "lugging" it on the hills. The heaviness does make it feel stable on the freeway and while cornering. The RAV4 sits up higher off the ground which gives a secure feeling on the freeway. As with all trim levels of RAV4's, it has Toyota's standard safety features. On my SE there is true blind spot monitoring. So many other SUVs in this class make you pay extra for safety features that come standard on the RAV4, I'm very appreciative that Toyota doesn't charge more for these features (multiple air bags, lane departure warnings, sudden stopping of the car when a rear end accident is imminent, to name a few). Even with just 700 miles on the car, the car is getting an average of 30-32 mpg, a real improvement over the non-hybrids. Overall, the car is comfortable, easy to drive, looks good, and with care should last hopefully for many thousands of miles. For the money the RAV4 SE Hybrid was the most I could afford with the features I was looking for. I waited until the price came down as the 2019 RAV4's came in. The price was better and the dealer incentives available helped. All in all, I'm satisfied with the purchase. I think the gas savings and Toyota's well known reliability will make up for any negatives. The warranty seems pretty straightforward, the battery is under warranty for almost 100,000 miles. The RAV4 warranties aren't as good as the Kia or Hyundai models, but I feel Toyotas can last a long time with care. My dealer offers other incentives if you have maintenance done at their dealership, I'll take advantage of those offers. All in all I'm happy with my 2018 RAV4 SE. I'm happy with all the extra features that came with the SE model; power seats, windows, safety features, alloy wheels, AWD, etc. Those features make it a vehicle I plan on keeping for the long term. With Toyota's known reliability, if I take good care of the vehicle, it should last many thousands of miles. I'm satisfied.