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I'm looking for some guidance here on whether I should stick with an awd hybrid or wait it out for the adventure package? I drive 55 miles twice daily for work. I commute from southern maine to lawrence Massachusetts. I need something g ultra reliable, good on gas and has excellent snow and ice capabilities. This has led me to the little rav4 hybrid and upon further research the adventure release for my commute. I just moved up here from Texas and I'm using my 2016 tundra crew tss offroad for my commute.

I'm hoping the rav4 will allow me to get out of my 400ft long private driveway in 3-6in snow conditions without having to plow. How capable in snow conditions are the hybrid awd vs non hybrid awd platforms? I know suburu are very popular and they have great awd systems but I don't trust their reliability factor like I do with toyota or honda.

Are there lift kits out there for the hybrid rav4? We just sold our 4 runner trail edition before we came up here to new England and it was quite an offroad performer but it was got bad mileage and wouldn't have made a good 110 mile daily commuter vehicle.

Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated from those in the know or from those who fare the winters up here yearly.
 

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I'm hoping the rav4 will allow me to get out of my 400ft long private driveway in 3-6in snow conditions without having to plow. How capable in snow conditions are the hybrid awd vs non hybrid awd platforms? .
The HV is just a tad heavier and more powerful than the gas model, so in theory it should do a tad better in snow. But in the real world they should be much the same, and either should handle 6" of snow pretty well.
The x factors are driver and tires. Either needs to be driven to its best advantage, and the HV is a little different in that regard. As with most cars, as long as you maintain forward momentum you will be fine.
 

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If not ever getting stuck is important I would get a Subaru Forester with X-mode option, it's slightly higher also. The RAV4 hybrid awd is quite good for what it is especially considering the fuel consumption. It's possible to get stuck and it doesn't handle neutral while cornering.


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Hi petro,
I'll take a stab at addressing snow covered driveways, from a guy living in S/W Ontario, Canada.
Being from TX and relocating to Maine, I'll give you some new things to really consider:

Water is water = same specific gravity & density.
Relative density, or specific gravity, is the ratio of the density (mass of a unit volume) of a substance to the density of a given reference material. Specific gravity usually means relative density with respect to water.

Therefore ALL snow, is not equal:
- light fluffy white stuff, very easy to drive through
- excess moisture in the air, while snowing...snow is much heavier and compacts more
- heavy & wet snow is the worst, to plow through with the front wheels / got to keep speed up, to avoid getting stuck
- now add black ice, under the snow layer & reduced traction occurs

A new RAV4 hybird has traction control but I'm guessing not a 4x4 having a transfer case.
Wife's 2008 RAV4 Limited v6-3.5L 4x4 is literately a tank in snow with excellent traction.
- she can commute through several inches of snow, without fail...her 4x4 works under 25 mph, unlike your former 4runner
- snow blows are running while a blizzard is dumping snow, so road conditions are always in a state of change

Snow plows can dump 1 foot deep of very heavy wet snow, at the end of our driveway, 3-4 feet wide.
- it takes a calculated run, to get onto the highway
- I'll make a few initial tracks onto the roadway first / using my 1998 Silverado 4x4 or 2000 4runner 4x4
- she has gotten out of our driveway, with snow drifts up to the bottom of her rocker panels/doors
- our driveway end is lower than the road top, so the incline needs some speed to overcome
- but my 3/4 ton Chev. truck sits high, so a few initial passes from me, making tire tracks help...under worst case storm
- but we likely get significantly more snow fall, than you will normally experience

^^ Just really educate yourself fully, between gas only vs Hybrid traction...RAV's can be different.
- we run winter tires from Dec. to April
- Cooper Arctic Claw is a top performer & slower to wear out
- will be our next tire & not over priced
http://www.1010tires.com/Tires/WinterClaw/Arctic+Claw+Winter+XSI

More good RAV4 info. here (traction system video, 2" lift & Subaru): http://www.rav4world.com/forums/96-4-3-general/263905-its-all-downhill-after-4-3-a-3.html
 

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If I may.

Between the two choices you stated, I would get the Adventure with a cold weather pkg. That said, I am taking delivery of the Hybrid version this week...but our needs in North Texas are not the same as yours. :wink

RAV4 Adventure
The active lifestyle-inspired RAV4 Adventure will be available in front-wheel drive with an Automatic Limited-Slip Differential, or with Dynamic Torque Control all-wheel-drive. Both versions feature a standard Tow Prep Package that includes an upgraded radiator and supplemental engine oil and transmission fluid coolers, as well as a suspension system with a higher ride height. As with all RAV4 models, the Adventure grade will come standard with Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), and TSS-P. Exterior styling features exclusive to the RAV4 Adventure includes:
Large overfender flares
18-inch five-spoke black alloy wheels with 235/55R18 tires
Lower body guards
Black headlight bezels
Black fog lamp surround, roof racks and Adventure badging
The RAV4 Adventure will be available in five exterior colors including Black, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Silver Sky Metallic, Super White, and one new color for RAV4 models, Ruby Flare Pearl.

The sporty exterior features of the RAV4 Adventure are mated to exclusive interior features that include:
Unique interior trim panels
Leather-wrapped shift knob
120V/100W power outlet in the cargo area
Adventure door sill protectors
All-weather mats floor and cargo mats with Adventure logo
Additional features new for 2018 in select RAV4 models include optional heat/power fabric front row seats, heated steering wheel, and wiper de-icer as part of a new Cold Weather Package.

The 2018 RAV4 Adventure grade along with the Tundra and Sequoia TRD Sport grades will begin arriving in dealer showrooms in September.
 

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I would strongly agree with Beaumont67's assessment. The key is the tires. New England has higher humidity, therefore heavier and stickier snow. You will need winter rated tires that can self clean very well, yet are still good on ice. That will be a more important choice no matter which vehicle you choose.

The other factor is the cost of the commute. I get 37 to 41 mpg highway with the Hybrid - that's a 15 to 20% reduction in fuel costs. If the driving is done in stop and go or urban speeds, you will save even more on fuel.

The other bonus is the regenerative braking will probable extend brake life about 300%. That cuts maintenance costs considerably.
 

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I live in QUebec (Canada) and we have a second house up north where it's really cold (-20/-30 Celcius, so about -22 Fahrenhiet - yes, I have a block heater!) and where we get a lot of snow, and ice. We are doing alpin skiing everyday during the weekend (good or bad conditions), so don't need to tell you that higher groud clearance and AWD is a must.

I bought the RAV4 Hybrid last may, so I am not able to give you a full feedback, but I drove one last winter for 2 days during heavy condition with "all-seasons" tires (snow, ice, hills...) and I decided to go with the Hybrid. With good winter tires (I always by Nokian winter tires), it will be perfect. It's not a real AWD like the gas version, it's more like a traction car, but I don't see how I could get stuck with the i-AWD, nokian tires and traction control off.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If I may.

Between the two choices you stated, I would get the Adventure with a cold weather pkg. That said, I am taking delivery of the Hybrid version this week...but our needs in North Texas are not the same as yours. :wink

RAV4 Adventure
The active lifestyle-inspired RAV4 Adventure will be available in front-wheel drive with an Automatic Limited-Slip Differential, or with Dynamic Torque Control all-wheel-drive. Both versions feature a standard Tow Prep Package that includes an upgraded radiator and supplemental engine oil and transmission fluid coolers, as well as a suspension system with a higher ride height. As with all RAV4 models, the Adventure grade will come standard with Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), and TSS-P. Exterior styling features exclusive to the RAV4 Adventure includes:
Large overfender flares
18-inch five-spoke black alloy wheels with 235/55R18 tires
Lower body guards
Black headlight bezels
Black fog lamp surround, roof racks and Adventure badging
The RAV4 Adventure will be available in five exterior colors including Black, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Silver Sky Metallic, Super White, and one new color for RAV4 models, Ruby Flare Pearl.

The sporty exterior features of the RAV4 Adventure are mated to exclusive interior features that include:
Unique interior trim panels
Leather-wrapped shift knob
120V/100W power outlet in the cargo area
Adventure door sill protectors
All-weather mats floor and cargo mats with Adventure logo
Additional features new for 2018 in select RAV4 models include optional heat/power fabric front row seats, heated steering wheel, and wiper de-icer as part of a new Cold Weather Package.

The 2018 RAV4 Adventure grade along with the Tundra and Sequoia TRD Sport grades will begin arriving in dealer showrooms in September.
Im not sure I really see anything in the adventure specs that make it appealing as an offroader ... It all just seems like badging and non-sense. no locking differentials, crawl control, kdss suspension or anything like what the 4runner or land cruisers come equipped with for offroad. i imagine its basically the a non hybrid awd system. are these non hybrid awd systems superior to the hybrids?

I live in QUebec (Canada) and we have a second house up north where it's really cold (-20/-30 Celcius, so about -22 Fahrenhiet - yes, I have a block heater!) and where we get a lot of snow, and ice. We are doing alpin skiing everyday during the weekend (good or bad conditions), so don't need to tell you that higher groud clearance and AWD is a must.

I bought the RAV4 Hybrid last may, so I am not able to give you a full feedback, but I drove one last winter for 2 days during heavy condition with "all-seasons" tires (snow, ice, hills...) and I decided to go with the Hybrid. With good winter tires (I always by Nokian winter tires), it will be perfect. It's not a real AWD like the gas version, it's more like a traction car, but I don't see how I could get stuck with the i-AWD, nokian tires and traction control off.
would you say the non hybrid is more capable offroad or in heavy snow than the hybrid?


Do you guys know if anyone makes a lift kit for the hybrid awd??
 

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Toyota offers two different AWD systems on the 2017/2018 RAV4s. The "Adventure" will have Dynamic Torque Control AWD (unless you just want limited slip auto FWD only) which has a transfer case, driveshaft and additional "center" differential. The center differential varies front to back like a rear differential does left to right. The Hybrid's AWD-i system has no mechanical connection between the front and back. Instead it has an electric motor in the rear that is powered by the hybrid battery and controlled by two computers. Essentially the are both FWD until demand requires proportional AWD for loose or slippery conditions and is completely automatic. As to the Adventure being "my choice" if I was in Petro's shoes...upgraded radiator and supplemental engine oil and transmission fluid coolers...suspension system with a higher ride height...larger fender flares...cold weather package with heated steering wheel that also offers heated "cloth" seats. :shrug:

For the record I have 2 Prii as well, so trying to save gas money is not an issue for me. :wink
 

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would you say the non hybrid is more capable offroad or in heavy snow than the hybrid?


Do you guys know if anyone makes a lift kit for the hybrid awd??

The only aspect of the Hybrid as far as offroad capability is it has a little more ground clearance than the gas model(7" vs 6.3", the Hybrid doesn't have the hang down exhaust header pipe) but a mild lift would solve that, CMR makes a small lift for 4.3 and 4.4 Rav4s, I don't think the suspension of the Hybrid is much if any different than the gas model, rear springs are a bit stouter to account for the traction battery I suspect.


Toyota RAV4 2006-2017
 

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Discussion Starter #12
id prefer the highway mileage gain of the hybrid over the non hybrid. ive seen real world mileage on the hybrid over the 30mpg epa estimate for highway travel. my commute will be 110 miles of mostly highway commuting every day. But i wouldnt want the additional mileage gain at a big expense of snow and ice capability.
 

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id prefer the highway mileage gain of the hybrid over the non hybrid. ive seen real world mileage on the hybrid over the 30mpg epa estimate for highway travel. my commute will be 110 miles of mostly highway commuting every day. But i wouldnt want the additional mileage gain at a big expense of snow and ice capability.
Hello Petro,

You will not be sacrificing anything IMO by getting the hybrid. I have an extreme commute as well with 160 miles a day. I've driven both of our RAV4's in bad weather and they are both capable. You get both great gas mileage and snow capabilities. I have to climb hills to get home and the hybrid handled them all very well in snow covered roads in winter. I've done pretty well with the OEM tires, but I plan on switching to Michelins when the OEM's wear out.:smile
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think im pretty squared away on getting the hybrid awd and maybe adding a 1" lift in the future after bumping up tire size a tad i would have better ground clearance than the adventure and hopefully not throw off mileage/reliability too much with an added 1" lift.
 

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-- I'd also say the RAV4 Hybrid is a better fit for your situation. I've got a 2011 RAV4 and a 2016 RAV4 Hybrid. Significantly better mpg with my hybrid. I easily get 35+ in the city, while only 20 in my 2011. 2018 Adventure is rated 23 city 30 highway.

-- I prefer 17" wheels instead of 18" for better winter traction. Super dependability - I've had mine a year, and only an oil change, tire rotation.

-- And definitely dedicated winter tires are a help. TireRack has $80 rebates on various snows from now thru Sept 25.

--Just my few cents..
 

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Petro, speaking as one originally from New England, now living in MinneSnowta, a lift is not necessary. Snow traction for the RAV4 is all about the tires. Seriously.

Best of luck.

(Funny but we have a couple members here moving from West to New England. Am I missing some kind of employment trend? :))
 

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I'm looking for some guidance here on whether I should stick with an awd hybrid or wait it out for the adventure package? I drive 55 miles twice daily for work. I commute from southern maine to lawrence Massachusetts. I need something g ultra reliable, good on gas and has excellent snow and ice capabilities. This has led me to the little rav4 hybrid and upon further research the adventure release for my commute. I just moved up here from Texas and I'm using my 2016 tundra crew tss offroad for my commute.

I'm hoping the rav4 will allow me to get out of my 400ft long private driveway in 3-6in snow conditions without having to plow. How capable in snow conditions are the hybrid awd vs non hybrid awd platforms? .
I just bought my RAV Hybrid last month so do not have any winter experience with it yet. However, I do have some experience with the area you are concerned about as I live in Lawrence, and often drive up past Portland on my way to the lakes region where I snowmobile. Once you are on the highway it is a straight shot from Portland down Rt 95 to Rt 495 to Lawrence. Probably the trickiest thing in really bad conditions would be the very high bridge over the Piscataqua River as you enter NH from ME as it could get icy and there can be fierce wind blasts. A heavier vehicle with a low center of gravity is good; chalk one up for the hybrid. You should know that Maine has a system to change the speed limit on the highway to 45 mph in adverse conditions, and does so fairly readily in the winter for even light snow storms, so you may not be moving too fast in the white stuff. I generally find the surface roads in Maine to be well plowed in the winter, but I can't speak to specific areas, and given the many miles of back roads I assume it can take a while to get to them or they may wait out the storm so they only have to do them once. Lawrence on the other hand is HORRIBLE in the winter. The side streets are narrow and hilly and despite parking bans people park all over them, making it challenging for the plows to do an adequate job. Also, many people seem to have cars and/or tires that are not up to winter duty with the result that they get stuck on the hills, backing traffic up in a grid lock. My advice, stay on the main streets, you may move slowly but will move. The Adventure seems to be a regular gas RAV with a few amenities. Historically gas RAVs have had good 4/AWD systems, and besides a mechanical coupling of front to rear, they also have an automatic limited slip differential. The hybrid has no mechanical connection front to rear and no auto LSD, but does have it's own dedicated electric motor for the rear wheels. How well does it work? I am anxious to find out myself as I probably will be towing a two up snowmobile trailer in snowy conditions. My online research yielded a mixed bag in terms of opinions and experiments (with one guy having to take several runs at a light snowbank to get through). However, I am optimistic.

Below are 3 links: a supposedly independent research company that shows the RAV H doing better on ice and snow tests than major competitors.

A blurb from Outside Mag (online) about a RAV H in a storm in Colorado.
https://www.outsideonline.com/2065601/toyotas-rav4-hybrid-all-wheel-drive-beast

And a RAV H UTuber who videoed himself driving around in a snow storm.

For what its worth the RAV H is more powerful, faster, and some reviewers say it handles better (because the low battery placement makes for a lower center of gravity) than the gas version, and these qualities may help in the snow as well.
 

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Historically gas RAVs have had good 4/AWD systems, and besides a mechanical coupling of front to rear, they also have an automatic limited slip differential.

The AWD Rav4 doesn't have Auto limited slip differential, although it would be nice, only the FWD model does, it actually just applies the brake to the wheel with no traction, been the same since at 2006 AFAIK.


Upping the Ante: 2017 RAV4 Gains Two New Grades and Standard Toyota Safety Senseâ„¢ P | Toyota


High-Traction Action
With standard front-drive
, the RAV4 gas model has a special traction helper called Automatic Limited Slip Differential (Auto LSD). Essentially a second layer of computer logic in the Traction Control system, Auto LSD can be engaged at speeds below 25 mph to provide the function of a mechanical limited-slip differential. Unlike Traction Control, it doesn’t cut into engine power. This helps give the driver control and distributes power where it’s most effective.




 

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I think im pretty squared away on getting the hybrid awd and maybe adding a 1" lift in the future after bumping up tire size a tad i would have better ground clearance than the adventure and hopefully not throw off mileage/reliability too much with an added 1" lift.
Petro - do a google search like I did, for the Maine area...your moving to.
- like to see the extent of snow fall, in your new area

a) I think the 1" lift is totally unnecessary.
b) Larger diameter Tires are not very practical or effective either.
- the RAV4 wheel arch clearances, are not opened up (with clearances) like a big truck or Jeep
- during Ice storms, slush will freeze to bottom of fenders and can rub on tire rubber
- on these vehicles, OEM tire sizes work best
- the edges of the 2008 Limited fender flares to stock tire rubber, are on average +/-3"
- a gab that should not be reduced, with larger tires

Total amount of snow in a year on average - Southwestern Ontario
- snow days = 60
- in London, ON
- 76.5" annually
https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/Canada/Ontario/snowfall-annual-average.php
 

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Petro -

From one Texan to another listen to these folks advice that live in the cold snowy climates. Lift & larger tires might be fine for a Texas F-150 but it's just not called for in this situation. For what it's worth the Hybrid would be my choice with the proper winter tires and ugly wheels to mount them on. Good luck.
 
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