Comparison between SXE suspension and Limited suspension - Page 2 - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Unread 04-10-2019, 09:31 PM
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I've test-driven a Limited gas model, a Hybrid LE, a Hybrid Limited, and as of today, an XSE. (Full disclosure: I have had an order in for an XSE since last week, so you should consider the potential for confirmation bias in this commentary.) Note also that I'll constantly use the terms "thought" and "felt" because this is a hugely subjective area. If you feel differently than me about these vehicles, cool! You like what you like, and that's as deep as I ever get.

For all these drives I've been doing speeds averaging 40 mph on generally flat, curvy back roads, mostly in Sport mode (when so equipped). There's one flat straight stretch where I can get it up to 65-70. All have been in sunny, mild weather.

Bottom Line Up Front: I found the XSE to be a noticeably better drive than either of the other two hybrids, primarily because of suspension, and miles above the gas version, primarily because of power.

Since the thread is about suspension, first things first: I thought the XSE had noticeably less roll entering curves. This, combined with what felt like more responsive steering input, made it feel like it was taking a more precise track. On bumps and potholes, I think it was noticeably stiffer than the other models, but did not transmit that through the frame and seats to my butt or spine. It just felt more solid. For the record, I love cars with firmer, sportier suspension. To date, my favorite driving car was a 2006 Jetta GLI (basically a GTI in sedan form). That one had very stiff suspension, felt like the car was muscling down over every rise, beating every bump and pothole edge into the asphalt. The XSE is nothing like that. It is still a very comfortable, easy ride, but feels much less springy than all the other RAV4 models I've driven. I think the suspension helps acceleration a bit, too. From a dead stop, it seems like the body doesn't rock its weight onto the rear wheels as much as in the softer systems, so there's less overcoming of momentum, and it seems to jump forward more eagerly.

Transmission/power: I was really wary of the CVT, but Toyota has sold me. The power is right there, especially with the XSE in Sport mode, pulls as soon as you step down on the pedal. I didn't mind the 8-speed in the gas model, either, but it wasn't nearly as responsive. Didn't feel any quicker off the line than my 176-hp 2010. For the record, I didn't experience any of the "rolling stop" tranny thunks in the Limited that have been discussed around here.

Noise: the hybrids are quiet. Under heavy 25-65 mph acceleration, I didn't even notice the intrusion of engine noise until the upper RPM range, and at that point, it had already gotten me up to 70 and it was time to come off the accelerator anyway. I haven't had a conversation with the salesperson affected in the least. No need to raise voices, even when the radio was playing, too. That being said, I didn't think the gas model was particularly loud, either.

Mirror shake: none of the models I've driven have had this. The XSE's VIN started with 2, so it was Canadian, wish I had thought to get VINs from the others.

Last random thought: the interiors of the XSE and Limited are beautiful. I wonder if there is additional sound dampening in higher trims, or if the harder plastics in the LE interior transmit more vibration, or some other pseudo-science-y explanation, but the nicer interiors made the XSE and Limiteds feel heavier and steadier. I know there's virtually no difference in curb weight, but it sure felt like they were more solid cars. Totally psychological but like I said, this is a seriously subjective area.

Now I really can't wait for that XSE to arrive.

2010 RAV4 base trim, 2.5L 4-cyl, AWD, Black exterior, Beige interior with highlights of melted ice cream/dog vomit , Third Row, Roof Rack, and not much else
125,000 miles, not one day off the road for mechanical stuff

New pads/rotors x2, new tires x3
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Unread Today, 10:33 AM
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I went for the hybrid limited for the reason that I wanted a more comfortable suspension even though I would be giving up the feel of control.when cornering and a stiffer more sporty suspension. I initially wanted an XSE but since my wife is expecting and I might be having a baby soon in the back I wanted something a bit more family friendly and comfortable to ride, and this SUV is just the balance of that. I feel for what I want (I'm a city boy with weekend warrior dreams/backpacking/outdoors) I needed the mpg for sitting in LA traffic while still abs ability to do light offroad trips on the weekends in the deserts or mountains.

The xse trim and its suspension might have been perfect if I were 10 years younger
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Unread Today, 11:26 AM
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It appears that the XSE is ONLY available with a black interior. That right there is a deal breaker for me. Too bad because I'd prefer the stiffer ride.

2016 Hybrid Limited with ATP.
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It appears that the XSE is ONLY available with a black interior. That right there is a deal breaker for me. Too bad because I'd prefer the stiffer ride.
Strange. We can order an optional leather interior... No problem!

Ordered a 2019 RAV4 Hybrid AWD (XSE HV Premium) in Black-and-Silver Sky Metallic!
For now my Black-and-Blue 2018 C-HR Hybrid Bi-tone Premium will do.
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It appears that the XSE is ONLY available with a black interior. That right there is a deal breaker for me. Too bad because I'd prefer the stiffer ride.
Strange. We can order an optional leather interior... No problem!
That’s interesting... I believe that in North America the XSE is only available in leather trimmed seats. Not full leather.
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Here its black Softex only in all packages and body colors. It might turn up in specific local areas with something else, but I wouldn't hold my breath for it. This is the only XSE interior available here:

2016 Hybrid Limited with ATP.
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Unread Today, 02:28 PM
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As rdgrimes posted above: this is what softex trimmed seats look like. The centre is fabric.
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The pic of the interior reminded me: for anyone who (like me) was initially concerned about the comfort of those thin rear seat cushions over the battery area, don't be.

I sat in the rear seats of all 3 Hybrid models, including a road test when my wife was behind the wheel of the Limited, and they're very comfortable. What I didn't realize initially is that the top of that battery compartment is open; it's not a hard plastic slab, and so the seats have room to depress for just enough give and support. You can see this easily in the LE if you pull up on the corner of the seat (the Softex in the other two appeared to be attached at more points, so it was harder to see.)

Those of you familiar with the earlier Hybrid may have already known this, but I was concerned for our 3 kids on long hauls. Anyway, hope that's helpful to anyone who's seen that interior view and questioned the 2-inch padding in the back!

-OVB

PS: One review I watched or read mentioned some cool air blowing out of the compartment on the legs of the right rear passenger; I didn't notice that but I was wearing jeans.

2010 RAV4 base trim, 2.5L 4-cyl, AWD, Black exterior, Beige interior with highlights of melted ice cream/dog vomit , Third Row, Roof Rack, and not much else
125,000 miles, not one day off the road for mechanical stuff

New pads/rotors x2, new tires x3
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PS: One review I watched or read mentioned some cool air blowing out of the compartment on the legs of the right rear passenger; I didn't notice that but I was wearing jeans.
I read that review. That guy was ignorant. That is an air intake. You might feel some breeze from air being sucked into it but no air blows out of it.
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I read that review. That guy was ignorant. That is an air intake. You might feel some breeze from air being sucked into it but no air blows out of it.
So, is that the air intake for the battery cooling fan? The manual stresses checking that fan's filter, under certain driving conditions, but my searches find no info on where that fan is located. If this is true, to where does the air exhaust?
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