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Electric drives deliver awesome power at low RPMs so I wonder if anyone knows if the proposed hybrid RAV4 with its wimpy 4-banger and electrical help will make mountain driving more acceptable?
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I've been completely fine with the 4cyl in West Virginia mountains. The hybrid will probably drive very similar to the gas vehicle in the mountains. It is a very similar engine and the electric motors aren't really in their sweet spot at interstate speeds. They are mostly aiding in the eCVT at that point.

The hybrid will not do as well in "off road" scenarios as the regular model. The regular model can send as much as half of the power to the rear diff where the hybrid model has only a relatively small electric motor. It is an AWD system for poor weather rather than dirt/rock/mud.
 

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The Lexus RX AWD hybrid that I just sold, and that my current RAV replaced did fine on mountain roads. I live in the high desert north of the mountains in Los Angeles county and commute over the mountains through Angeles National Forest on my drive to work. Power is fine, response instantaneous, handling adequate. On the downgrades, I put the CVT transmission into "B" mode to give a bit of engine compression so I don't have to use the brakes so much.

The only thing a CVT hybrid looses in the 'fun factor' of using a manual transmission on twisty mountain roads. But then, the current edition of the RAV, (in the states), doesn't come with a stick shift. You guys in the rest of the world are lucky. You can still get manuals.
 

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The Lexus RX AWD hybrid that I just sold, and that my current RAV replaced did fine on mountain roads. I live in the high desert north of the mountains in Los Angeles county and commute over the mountains through Angeles National Forest on my drive to work. Power is fine, response instantaneous, handling adequate. On the downgrades, I put the CVT transmission into "B" mode to give a bit of engine compression so I don't have to use the brakes so much.

The only thing a CVT hybrid looses in the 'fun factor' of using a manual transmission on twisty mountain roads. But then, the current edition of the RAV, (in the states), doesn't come with a stick shift. You guys in the rest of the world are lucky. You can still get manuals.
The Prius has zero fun factor to drive, thought the RX would have a little more. I am hoping the RAV4 Hybrid will be better but not expecting miracles. Maybe the current Hybrid technology Toyota is using just doesn't allow for a pleasurable driving experience.

I stopped using "B" mode because I found out it doesn't recharge the Hybrid battery. I try to lightly apply the brakes when coasting down a long hill to get a small, trickle like charge. We have about 52,000 miles on our 2011 and the pads are like new.
 

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My wife rented a house at the top of a mountain in New Hampshire for xmas break -- my hybrid is supposed to come in on Dec 18. The road to the top up to the house is very steep with a lot of switchbacks, but less than a mile. Of course there could be snow and/or ice too. Do you see any issue with doing this road daily during the break-in period?
 

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My wife rented a house at the top of a mountain in New Hampshire for xmas break -- my hybrid is supposed to come in on Dec 18. The road to the top up to the house is very steep with a lot of switchbacks, but less than a mile. Of course there could be snow and/or ice too. Do you see any issue with doing this road daily during the break-in period?
Just don't try to set a speed/time record every time you climb the hill and you'll do fine. "Less than a mile"? No reason to hurry or push it hard. It would be a good idea to carry some chains.
 
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The Lexus RX AWD hybrid that I just sold, and that my current RAV replaced did fine on mountain roads. I live in the high desert north of the mountains in Los Angeles county and commute over the mountains through Angeles National Forest on my drive to work. Power is fine, response instantaneous, handling adequate. On the downgrades, I put the CVT transmission into "B" mode to give a bit of engine compression so I don't have to use the brakes so much.

The only thing a CVT hybrid looses in the 'fun factor' of using a manual transmission on twisty mountain roads. But then, the current edition of the RAV, (in the states), doesn't come with a stick shift. You guys in the rest of the world are lucky. You can still get manuals.
Is that Highway 2 (Angeles Crest Highway) you are coming across daily? I've bicycled it from the La Canada side but never gone all the way across.

I've now driven 2 XLE Rav hybrids on very short drives. My impression is that the acceleration off the line is noticeably better than the gas model. But punching it to pass while already doing 50 mph or thereabouts is not quite the same kind of acceleration.

I have forgotten to try any type of shifting but if I am not mistaken, there is no shift position marked "B" for the engine braking option. Is it possible the Rav hybrid does not offer the engine breaking feature?
 

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Is the hybrid RAV4 4WD?
From everything we've been told and know, yes, all RAV4 hybrids are AWD, (not 4WD).
 

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Is the hybrid RAV4 4WD?
Well they actually call it AWD, but it drives mainly in 2WD until the car senses you need the rear wheels. Then a dedicated rear electric motor with 67 hp kicks in to drive the rear wheels. The front and rear wheels have no connecting drive shaft.
 

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it is very interesting to me.
why the front and rear wheels do not have a connecting drive shaft?
The rear motor is electric, (and probably mechanically next to impossible or very energy inefficient to have a rotating drive shaft). There is no need for a drive shaft. In the front, there is the gasoline engine and another electric motor for the front wheels.

It is as JohnC88 says. Normally, starting from a stop, both electric motors are in use to get you moving, (provides the most torque). Very quickly, depending on the load/demand, the gasoline engine will start up, and usually at the same time, the rear motor will cease providing power.

Once moving, you'll usually be under gasoline engine power, (FWD), and when moving with minimal energy demand, just the front electric motor, (also FWD). If you place a large demand for energy on the car, (passing situations), both the front engine and motor will be running, (not the rear motor).

The only time the rear motor will be providing power to the rear wheels is on starts from a full stop, and when the car senses it needs 'all wheel drive', such on icy roads where you might slip a bit here and there.

It's a pretty cool system and works well. I predict that we will see more and more hybrids as the years go by.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So does the RAV4 use its typical 4 banger, or a piston driven Atkinson-cycle petrol engine? I know, the typical 4, but .... gosh knows what's in the pipeline. A rotary Atkinson?
 
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