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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
FWIW, we love our Bolt for a local everyday driver, but given the looong distances and cooold winters here on the northern frontier, we're not ready to rely on any EV for our road trips. We're considering a PHEV and could probably go with a late Volt, but AWD is a must.

I've looked at the Volvo XC60 Recharge, but the 19 mile EV range is barely enough to be qualify the EV designation and $70k for the good one may be a bridge too far.

The specifications of the Toyota RAV4 Prime look great on paper, but those car guys I respect who have driven one say it's a dog with fleas. Even Edmunds, who's usually pretty accurate says:
Cons
  • Very low handling capabilities
  • Longer-than-average braking distances
  • Disconnected steering feel
  • Uncomfortable front passenger seat
None of the Toyota dealers here have a demo for test drives, so I can't try one myself. Their attitude, "There's a waiting list for the Prime, give us a deposit and we'll call you when it comes. And yes, there's market price adjustment."

Those of you who have hands-on driving experience, are there any affordable AWD hybrids which are more fun-to drive than the RAV4 Prime?

jack vines
 

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FWIW, we love our Bolt for a local everyday driver, but given the looong distances and cooold winters here on the northern frontier, we're not ready to rely on any EV for our road trips. We're considering a PHEV and could probably go with a late Volt, but AWD is a must.

I've looked at the Volvo XC60 Recharge, but the 19 mile EV range is barely enough to be qualify the EV designation and $70k for the good one may be a bridge too far.

The specifications of the Toyota RAV4 Prime look great on paper, but those car guys I respect who have driven one say it's a dog with fleas. Even Edmunds, who's usually pretty accurate says:
Cons
  • Very low handling capabilities
  • Longer-than-average braking distances
  • Disconnected steering feel
  • Uncomfortable front passenger seat
None of the Toyota dealers here have a demo for test drives, so I can't try one myself. Their attitude, "There's a waiting list for the Prime, give us a deposit and we'll call you when it comes. And yes, there's market price adjustment."

Those of you who have hands-on driving experience, are there any affordable AWD hybrids which are more fun-to drive than the RAV4 Prime?

jack vines
Our used XC60 T8 actually makes a lot of sense. It has enough power to drive on EV in normal traffic, and even after that, it still acts as a hybrid, which means 40+ miles per gallon. We love it. Not the same as a Volt, but I was a skeptic and I actually find it pretty impressive. Plus, it's a NICE car.
 

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Any of the Jeep 4XE models coming out this year are probably your best bet.
 

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The RAV4 prime is for me kinda ugly. In fact most Toyotas and Japanese cars in general fit the ugly quotient. However RAV4 prime has the biggest battery and longest all electric range of anything available. Watch the Transport Evolved YouTube vid.
 

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It's all personal preference. What works for one, won't for another. Armed with the pros and cons, wait for a test drive and see if they apply to you. What is pro might be a con or vice versa.
 

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A lateral move from the ugly Rav4 would also be the coming (competitively ugly) Outlander PHEV with the 54-mile EV range. As much as I hate Nissan (who own Mitsubishi), that is a considerable amount of range for a large 7-seat AWD crossover. It's a figure that, I hope, will encourage more automakers to invest in similar offerings. And really, from the back and side, the Mitsu is not bad.

Even if we all drove cars with 40 or 50-mile EV range and used gas for the rest, our global emissions would still be HUGELY reduced. (My point being - if there is still resistance to pure EVs - a good plug-in hybrid can do almost as much good for most people.) Food for thought!
 
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Hyundai makes the Tucson Plug-in hybrid. It’s not quite as efficient, quick off the line and has less EV range as the RAV4 Prime but it’s cheaper, has more tech features and I’ve read gives a better driving experience.

So far, i don’t have any complaints regarding the handling of our Prime. But (knock on wood) we’ve been lucky enough to not have to test its limits. I have heard anecdotally on the Prime forum that switching out the OEM tires can make a pretty big difference in handling. While I felt the Volt seats were comfortable, I find the driver and passenger seats of the Prime better. My wife, on the other hand, (due to the headrest positioning) found/ finds the seats of both cars uncomfortable.
 

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but those car guys I respect
Who?

I ignore most online car reviewers nowadays.

Edmunds, KBB, Motortrend, etc. say the same things over & over, like "too much plastic", and "feels sluggish". I doubt their reviewers would like any PHEV. The Prime, for example, has "too much plastic" for them.

Doug D is detailed but really only impressed with SuperCars, like the Model S Plaid.

TFL guys have gone downhill. The only reviews I watch from them anymore is literally them driving downhill ... and uphill, aka. the Gauntlet (which is only for truck towing).

Alex on Autos might be an exception b/c he's a data nerd, but Alex is biased towards Toyota (he actually owned a '20 Rav4) and has thrown Volts under the bus in his vids.
 

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Cons
  • Very low handling capabilities
  • Longer-than-average braking distances
  • Disconnected steering feel
  • Uncomfortable front passenger seat
To be honest, this list describes, in my big-time sports car enthusiast terms, nearly every car available today, except for the seats.

Its a bit of the small details-itis. Things that you think are important right now, in application, end up not being important. If you are coming from a Bolt, well. Those don't handle well, and you love the car right?

I wouldn't really worry about those things. If you want handling and 95-105 foot 60-0 stopping distances, get a sports car.


There is a saying: Cheap, Fast, Reliable. Pick 2.

That will apply here as well. Affordable, PHEV/EV, AWD. You'll probably have to pick 2.

With that said, Affordable is subjective. Some people think $60,000 is affordable.

To be honest, a Volt with snow tires would probably do everything you need it to do. Its waaaaaay cheaper than the insane markup and MSRP on RAV4 Primes. Hell, I'd go with an e-awd Prius before paying that much for a RAV4 Prime. You can basically buy 2 slightly used e-awd Priii for a single new RAV4 Prime.
 

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Any of the Jeep 4XE models coming out this year are probably your best bet.
Maybe but maybe not. I have had horrible luck with the new Fiat-Chrysler jeeps, my wrangler had horrible electronic problems and steering shake in the cold and the car is not that old... With those stupid electric problems on the basic things I personally don't trust a PHEV from them, but that's just me.
 

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The specifications of the Toyota RAV4 Prime look great on paper, but those car guys I respect who have driven one say it's a dog with fleas. Even Edmunds, who's usually pretty accurate says:
Cons
  • Very low handling capabilities
  • Longer-than-average braking distances
  • Disconnected steering feel
  • Uncomfortable front passenger seat
None of the Toyota dealers here have a demo for test drives, so I can't try one myself. Their attitude, "There's a waiting list for the Prime, give us a deposit and we'll call you when it comes. And yes, there's market price adjustment."

Those of you who have hands-on driving experience, are there any affordable AWD hybrids which are more fun-to drive than the RAV4 Prime?

jack vines
Here’s what real RAV4 Prime owners are saying:

 

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Edmunds, KBB, Motortrend, etc. say the same things over & over, like "too much plastic", and "feels sluggish". I doubt their reviewers would like any PHEV. The Prime, for example, has "too much plastic" for them.
If I NEVER see another review scratching at a dashboard like it's a cat's head, it'll be still be too soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
To be honest, this list describes, in my big-time sports car enthusiast terms, nearly every car available today, except for the seats.

Its a bit of the small details-itis. Things that you think are important right now, in application, end up not being important. If you are coming from a Bolt, well. Those don't handle well, and you love the car right?

I wouldn't really worry about those things. If you want handling and 95-105 foot 60-0 stopping distances, get a sports car.
Agree, one wouldn't choose a Bolt as a track-day ride, however, JMHO, but within the performance envelope one can actually use on the street, the Bolt feels nimble, has accurate steering and quick, linear response.

My questions were based upon reading reviewers comments. The link to owners comments didn't give a feeling many car guys have bought the RAV4 Prime, but then how many enthusiasts buy anything from Toyota?

Bottom line - I've driven a few newer CUV/SUVs which feel like driving a video game. There's no direct connection between engine and throttle, between steering, braking and what's happening at the wheels. With the CVT, I'm concerned how the RAV4 Prime would feel after the battery is gone and it's depending on ICE.

jack vines
 

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I
If I NEVER see another review scratching at a dashboard like it's a cat's head, it'll be still be too soon.
I'm not sure about others, but I've never felt the need to fondle and caress my dash. Those who do seem to think plastic is bad. The preference seems to be cover it in leather, wood, fur... lol

Me, I like plastic. Easy to keep clean and damage resistant. I have zero issues with my Bolt's interior, zero with my Volt too. YMMV
 

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me,,I like alcantara.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
So far, i don’t have any complaints regarding the handling of our Prime. But (knock on wood) we’ve been lucky enough to not have to test its limits. I have heard anecdotally on the Prime forum that switching out the OEM tires can make a pretty big difference in handling.
The Prime directive would be for long road trips. How does it feel/perform after the EV is gone and it's running on ICE only? Enough power to effortlessly pull mountain passes?

Thinking about it, since the second car would sit most of the time while the Bolt does the daily chores and since long road trips in any hybrid would be on ICE, maybe a hybrid isn't the answer to this need and an ICE might be.

BTW, over on the Bolt forum, there are those who extol the virtues of having to stop and recharge; slow travel, stop and smell the roses, see the sights, stretch the legs. That's good for short haul east coasters, but here in the west, stop for a few recharges and that's another overnight stay. Today, a hotel stay and three additional meals anywhere we'd be comfortable adds $300 and there went any gas savings and a lot more.

Bottom line - tolerance for charging stops is sometimes distance-to-be-covered dependent. if one has the time for slow travel and the budget for additional overnights and sightseeing, then an EV is great. If the goal is to get to the destination in the minimum time and expense, not so much. Where is the best-of-both-worlds Volt when we need it?

jack vines
 

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me,,I like alcantara.
Plastic suede. I'm not against it but I think you hit the nail on the head. It's not that the reviewers are actually against plastic, they just prefer a different plastic. For me Alcantara is suitable for dash and door panels, but may want to avoid for steering wheels and seats as those heavy use areas might get worn down and shiny over time compared to leather. Adds about $1500 to $2500 or so to cost, about the same as leather if they were an option on the car.

Bottom line - tolerance for charging stops is sometimes distance-to-be-covered dependent. if one has the time for slow travel and the budget for additional overnights and sightseeing, then an EV is great. If the goal is to get to the destination in the minimum time and expense, not so much. Where is the best-of-both-worlds Volt when we need it?

jack vines
Yes, my family members who object to EV's are the drive without stopping kind. The only stops are refueling and bathroom. Otherwise it's 13 hours of straight driving. The goal is to get there as quickly as possible (without using a plane).
 

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The Prime’s traction battery is buffered similarly to the Volt (and I imagine, all the other PHEVs). So your chances of losing the full 302 hp should be about the same...pretty slim.

We haven’t experienced any drop-off in performance driving up mountain passes. Though admittedly, we always leave extra charge in the battery for local driving.

The Prime also has a “Charge Mode” which is similar to Mountain Mode except you can charge to, I think, 80% of capacity.
 

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Alcantara on the steering wheel sucks,,it mats down w/i a month or 2 of being cleaned.but it does come back nice and full.5 yrs and my steering wheel still looks mint.
 
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