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Discussion Starter #1
With the seat backs down the hybrid cargo area ramps upward significantly, preventing the transport of larger objects. Has anyone tried taking out the rear seat bench? Is it easy to do? Does it allow the seat backs to then fold down far enough to flatten out the cargo space? It looks like the seat bench would fit behind the front seats with the seat backs folded down. I am curious if anyone has tried this.
 

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The bottom seat cushion just lifts out, much like the old Chevy back seats used to. Grab it on the center of each cushion and yank up. There's already a thread on this around somewhere, with photos.
 

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Thank you rdgrimes. I don't know how my search missed that. Netflyer did a great job of explaining that. I was hoping it was a simple lift out. Now I am off to the driveway to find out if it makes a significant difference in the cargo hauling capability and to see if the seat backs can fold that far down without any damage to the seat back positioning springs.
 

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Well, upon closer inspection, I noticed that there really would be nothing to gain by removing the bench because the rear floor of the cargo area slopes up well before the seats begin. However, if anyone is wondering, the seat backs have a stop that keeps them at the same folded position even with the bench removed.

It is nice to know that the bench comes out so easily. That would allow for handy deep cleaning of the bench without concern that moisture would get to the batteries in the event that the fabric got soiled.

In the next generation, it would be nice if the engineers came up with a design that provides a flatter cargo bed. That sloping floor is a real limiter for larger, rigid objects.
 

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The hybrid system was shoehorned into the existing Rav4 chassis with no major modifications. If they commit to a Rav4 hybrid maybe there will be changes with the next major re-design. The Prius models have the battery built into the floor pan, where the Rav4 has it sitting on top of the pan.
 
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