TestDriveNow Auto Writer Steve Hammes Reviews the 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

The 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is the eighth hybrid model to join the automaker's lineup here in the U.S., but one of only a small handful of hybrid compact crossovers on the market. TestDriveNow auto writer Steve Hammes recently spent some time with the new RAV4 Hybrid and found it's exceptional fuel economy makes it a compelling choice for the eco-conscious crossover shopper.

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine along with two electric motors that together produce 194 net horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque. If you live in an area of the country that experiences rough winter weather, or you often have to navigate backcountry roads and trails, you'll definitely appreciate the RAV4 Hybrid's Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive with intelligence (AWD-i). While the RAV4 Hybrid normally cruises around in front-wheel drive mode, whenever the crossover senses the need for more traction, one of the two electric motors kicks in to deliver immediate torque to the rear wheels.

Fuel economy, as noted above, is indeed outstanding. The EPA rates the RAV4 Hybrid at 34 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, or 32 mpg combined. TestDriveNow's Hammes found those numbers to be spot-on. He also notes that the nickel-metal battery pack is quite compact and doesn't take away from the normal cargo space in any meaningful way. In fact, the RAV4 Hybrid's cargo area is quite generously sized for a compact crossover, offering 35.6 cubic feet behind the second row and 70.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded (versus 38.4 and 73.4 cubic feet, respectively, in the regular RAV4).

The RAV4 Hybrid also features a special instrument gauge cluster that allows the driver to monitor the Hybrid Synergy Drive® system, including available electric range and charging levels. Hammes recommends opting for the $2,000 Convenience package as an available option: it adds Blind-Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, front and rear parking sensors and the excellent Toyota Entune premium audio system with navigation. An impressive set of standard safety features, known as Toyota Safety Sense™ P, includes a Pre-Collison System with Pedestrian Detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert and automatic high beams.

We have a great selection of Toyota RAV4 models, including the 2017 RAV4 Hybrid, in stock here at DCH Freehold Toyota. Our experienced sales professionals know these vehicles inside out, and can help you compare trim levels and option packages and choose the RAV4 that best suits your lifestyle and your wallet. We're located at 4268 Rt. 9 South in Freehold, NJ, which is also an easy drive from Howell, Old Bridge, Englishtown and Matawan. Stop in today, or give us a call at (866) 413-2631 to schedule time for a test drive.

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