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Discussion Starter #1
For those who have had their Hybrid through a cold winter, your experience please.
Has the cold affected mpg and if so how much approx.?
How was the awd? How was your experience on icy or snowy roads, driveways?
Live in Anchorage, AK. Thinking about a replacement for our 07 Rav V6 coming up to 10yrs old next March.
Thanks.
 

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In extreme cold, the hybrid offers almost no advantage over a normal gas model. (but no worse) Once its fully warmed up on an extended trip, you'll save a few MPG. Short trips are very bad, just like any other car. Cold weather drivers usually employ a block heater and/or other vehicle heating systems to help out, but of course those use energy too.

The AWD-I system works very well but don't expect to use it to plow snow.
 

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I have some very limited experience. The AWD-i system seems very competent I stopped uphill and started again on snow/ice several times. You can go very slow and smooth in a controlled manner.

If you turn slightly and give a lot of throttle then it will behave FWD and loose traction and jump sideways with the front wheels.

The heat seems very good and the de-icer has a generous surface area that keeps the wiper blades free from ice/snow.

This car gets up to temp very fast somehow but offcourse you will take a slight mpg hit.

I recommend block and cabin heater, I use my block heater all year round and it helps with mpg even during summer (less engine wear too I guess..)


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We haven't seen those weather conditions here, in some years, but glad to hear, the RAV4 Hybrid is so competent. I agree the heater/defroster works very well. I also believe the air-condition is excellent, and have had people comment on its robust cooling. I always tell people, the A/C works so well, I have to turn on the seat warmers, when I use it :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
A block heater would be a given, if you buy locally it comes pre-installed. Do the new ones have a traction disable switch? So far my only complaint about the 07 awd is the traction control fights you when you get in deep snow and need to "rock" your way out of a stuck. yea, there is a secret, pain in the but thing you can do to disable traction control but it resets when you turn your vehicle on again. Later models got a switch to turn off traction control temporarily.
If you are driving "fast" and need awd does the new ones stay in fwd or does the rear kick in? Haven't been able to find any tests of the awd system in the hybrid to see how it does all around.
 

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Yes there is a traction control switch near the hazard switch.

AWD will engage even while driving fast. I can play abit more at high speeds if there is snow tomorrow.


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Stupid block heater installation where I have to pop the hood open.

When I complained why they made it inaccessible, I was told that is the specification Toyota Canada has. Oh well, it's not like I always have to pop the hood open in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, unless it's forecasted to drop below 15C overnight.


How long should this 450-500 W block heater be plugged in the morning? Electricity isn't that cheap in Ontario anymore.
 

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Now that the weather has started to get cooler (not below freezing yet, but into low single digit °C) I have noticed a significant drop in my start from cold fuel economy, to approx RAV4 gas model rated city rating. I park my car outside so it is exposed to ambient temp, I drive relatively short city distances and mostly low speed (30/40/50km speed limits). I would expect slightly worse mileage when there are true sub zero temps, although I think & hope I am experiencing most of the hit to fuel economy that one gets in real cold weather as the gas engine is already running virtually all the time (including stopped), so the gas engine can't really run that much more. Shot of mileage from this morning attached, 10.3 L/100km. In warmer weather same trip would use 7 L/100km or less.

Supposedly Ontario now has the highest electricity rates in North America (no thanks to our Liberal govt, but I guess we did ditch all our coal generated electricity...) so I think there is limited economic savings for me with a block heater.
 

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Just got my Rav4 Hybrid last week and it hit mid 70's here in Wisconsin, for November! So I haven't been able to do anything in cold weather or snow, but I know it's on the way. I will update this as the snow flies...
 

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I think there is limited economic savings for me with a block heater.
This is partly true. Mainly the block heater is good only for comfort. After the first few minutes the engine is warmed. But there are things you can do to improve MPG in cold weather. Use ECO mode exclusively and when you're sitting at a stop light turn the heater off. You'll be surprised how often the ICE is only running because the HVAC is calling for heat.
 

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Stupid block heater installation where I have to pop the hood open.

When I complained why they made it inaccessible, I was told that is the specification Toyota Canada has. Oh well, it's not like I always have to pop the hood open in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, unless it's forecasted to drop below 15C overnight.


How long should this 450-500 W block heater be plugged in the morning? Electricity isn't that cheap in Ontario anymore.


I paid about 1000$ for labor+block heater+cabin heater which is pricey (but so are the parts) My Toyota dealer then installed it as below super convenient. ( I noticed my front was slightly misaligned which i fixed myself that indicates they popped the entire front just for this, so go figure why they make a sub-par install in Canada (labor intensive)




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This is partly true. Mainly the block heater is good only for comfort. After the first few minutes the engine is warmed. But there are things you can do to improve MPG in cold weather. Use ECO mode exclusively and when you're sitting at a stop light turn the heater off. You'll be surprised how often the ICE is only running because the HVAC is calling for heat.
What if a/c was off, does that not result in the gasoline engine from coming to life?
 

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A/C on or off has nothing to do with the ICE running.
Reread your comment and it all now makes sense. I guess it will matter during the months outside winter when we are not calling for heat.


"You'll be surprised how often the ICE is only running because the HVAC is calling for heat."
 

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Update on the AWD-i system;

Good: Traction seems excellent when going slow. I dont mind at all stopping uphill on ice and then start again. It crawls forward very smooth.

The ESP systems seems very good i took a huge roundabout in 35mph on ice/snow and the car skidded very controllable when i pushed beyond grip limit. It doesn't interfere with driving it helps driving.

Bad: I wanted to see if I could initiate a steering-lock/opposite lock. Basically if you mash the throttle the car reverts to an almost pure FWD car. The car plows straight ahead in corners and virtually 100% of the steering is suddently lost. It doesnt handle berms in the middle of lanes well either when cornering.

The S mode doesn't seems to matter.


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Torque, are you suggesting we cannot drive this car with reckless abandon in twisty roads? :) How fast were you going and did you disable VSC for the BAD scenario?
 

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20-35mph while trying to go sideways. I only managed to disable traction control and that made things worse. I drove 55-80mph on a two lane highway without playing it handles normal driving quite well.

Its alright I guess just wished it handled neutral when cornering.

Iam on non-studded real winter tires btw


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20-35mph while trying to go sideways. I only managed to disable traction control and that made things worse. I drove 55-80mph on a two lane highway without playing it handles normal driving quite well.

Its alright I guess just wished it handled neutral when cornering.

Iam on non-studded real winter tires btw


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My 2013 had horrible understeer in winter. I'd hoped that with the extra weight of the battery in the back it might have evened that out a bit. Sounds like it maybe hasn't.
 
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