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I am interested if anyone has had the opportunity to drive the RAV4 Hybrid through the mountains. I am particularly interested in your experience in descending, and how much assistance the transmission provided in slowing the vehicle.
 

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I am interested if anyone has had the opportunity to drive the RAV4 Hybrid through the mountains. I am particularly interested in your experience in descending, and how much assistance the transmission provided in slowing the vehicle.
Same as any hybrid, its a matter of time and distance on a downhill grade. So the system behaves differently at different times for different reasons. It depends on your speed, the grade and the distance of the grade.

The "S 1-6" shifter does what its meant to do but is speed dependent. It applies a combination of regenerative braking and engine braking. Regen braking is only available until the traction battery is "full", then the system transitions to full engine braking.

All this is done in the system computer, there isn't actually any "transmission". It takes a bit of getting used to, and there are multiple ways to use it. You can leave it in D and use only the brake pedal, which is full regen braking unless you apply enough pressure on the pedal to trigger friction brakes. Once the battery is full, the brake pedal may also trigger engine braking.

Bottom line is that the computer is well programmed and the system works great. I recommend using the S shifter option if you're descending a long grade at 30-50 mph. This lessens/prolongs the charging cycle, and its just more fun. You can manage to avoid almost all friction braking except on the VERY long and steep grades.
 

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Bottom line is that the computer is well programmed and the system works great. I recommend using the S shifter option if you're descending a long grade at 30-50 mph. This lessens/prolongs the charging cycle, and its just more fun. You can manage to avoid almost all friction braking except on the VERY long and steep grades.[/QUOTE]

Thanks. I need to use the S shifter, and get more familiar with it.
 

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Had family of 4 visiting from the Tropics and was taking them sightseeing to the many ski hills in Lower Mainland B.C. Whistler/Blackcomb, Grouse Mountain, MT. Seymour. Hybrid perform extremely well uphill and down. Down hill I have to shift gear lever to "S" and have to apply brake occasionally to reduce speed but ride was comfortable and easy to control. Uphill, CVT does make some engine noise but not too intrusive.
 
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Had family of 4 visiting from the Tropics and was taking them sightseeing to the many ski hills in Lower Mainland B.C. Whistler/Blackcomb, Grouse Mountain, MT. Seymour. Hybrid perform extremely well uphill and down. Down hill I have to shift gear lever to "S" and have to apply brake occasionally to reduce speed but ride was comfortable and easy to control. Uphill, CVT does make some engine noise but not too intrusive.
Thanks. Glad hear about your experience. I have found the RAV4 Hybrid to be very well designed, up to this point, and anticipate no problems. I need to get familiar with the S shifter.
 

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We live in the Sierras near Lake Tahoe and this car works extremely well up and down grades. We use ECO Mode and simply leave the car in Drive and apply the brakes as needed. I am less concerned about heating up the disc brakes because of the hybrid system charging and slowing the vehicle when the brakes are applied. I have noticed zero black brake dust forming on the wheels which is a good indicator that the brake pad friction material is not being used much.
Time will tell, but I suspect I will not have to replace brake pads for a long time.
 

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We live in the Sierras near Lake Tahoe and this car works extremely well up and down grades. We use ECO Mode and simply leave the car in Drive and apply the brakes as needed. I am less concerned about heating up the disc brakes because of the hybrid system charging and slowing the vehicle when the brakes are applied. I have noticed zero black brake dust forming on the wheels which is a good indicator that the brake pad friction material is not being used much.
Time will tell, but I suspect I will not have to replace brake pads for a long time.
Thanks. I agree, had 60+K on my Prius, and I was told the brakes were still like new, when I let it go. I really liked my Prius, but this RAV4 is so much more fun to drive.
 

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Its described fairly well in the manual. There are 6 levels of braking, but all 6 are usually not available - based on speed. At 50mph you might have 4 levels available. That keeps you from over-revving the ICE.
Thanks. I did read that section, and think I will better understand the uniqueness of this system, after using it more.
 
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