Toyota is the pioneer of hybrid cars. They first invented the hybrid technology around 2000 with the Toyota Prius. Since then, they have perfected this hybrid technology and expanded the hybrid lineup. Moreover, Toyota makes the most reliable hybrid cars in the vehicle industry.
Toyota sells two models of RAV4. The traditional RAV4 and Hybrid RAV4. In this article, we talk only about the RAV4 Hybrid.
Saving on Gasoline Cost:
On Average, the RAV4 Hybrid is $2,000 extra compared to the traditional RAV4. However, you can recoup this cost within the first 37,000 miles of driving or 24 months. Here’s the price breakdown.
The traditional RAV4 gets about 26 mpg in the real world, whereas the RAV4 Hybrid gets 40 mpg.
To travel 37,000 miles in a traditional RAV4, one needs 37,000 miles / 26 mpg = 1,423 gallons of gasoline. At $4.0/gallon, total costs to drive 37,000 miles is 1423 x $4 = $5,692.
On the contrary, to travel 37,000 miles on the RAV4 Hybrid, one needs 37,000/40 = 925 gallons of gasoline. At $4 per gallon, total costs to travel 37,000 miles is 925 x $4 = $3,700.
Therefore, the extra an owner pays for the RAV4 Hybrid will break even at 37,000 miles. After that, the savings on gasoline will add up. Here’s the breakdown.
If you plan to keep your RAV4 Hybrid for 10 Years or 150,000 miles, total gasoline cost to drive this high mileage is 150,000 miles / 40mpg = 3,750 gallons x $4/gallon = $15,000.
Whereas, for the traditional RAV4 costs would come upto 150,000 miles / 26mpg = 5,769 gallons x $4/gallon = $23,077.
So, you save $23,077 – $15,000 = $8,077 (minus $2,000 extra for the hybrid model) by buying a RAV4 Hybrid rather than a traditional RAV4. over the lifetime of your vehicle.
RAV4 Hybrid Warranty:
One of the critical concerns for Toyota RAV4 Hybrid owners is the high voltage (HV) battery reliability and longevity.
As an owner, one doesn’t need to fret over this. Every RAV4 Hybrid comes with 150,000 miles and 10 Year High Voltage battery warranty. Moreover, Toyota gives a 100,000 miles and 8 Years warranty on the Hybrid electric system.
Therefore, over the lifetime of RAV4 Hybrid ownership, everything is covered under Toyota ownership, and you don’t need to worry about any failure or costs.
Minimal and Low-Cost Maintenance:
Toyota makes the most reliable engine, powertrain, and transmission in the industry. But the RAV4 Hybrid takes this reliability to another level.
A Toyota gasoline vehicle comes with either an automatic or CVT transmission (tranny). Whereas every Hybrid comes with an eCVT transmission.
The CVT and eCVT are entirely different types of tranny. Unlike the CVT; the eCVT doesn’t have any torque converter, drive belt, clutch, cones, or belt. It’s an entirely new type of tranny. It’s simple in design, easy to maintain, and lasts far longer than Automatic or CVT transmission.
In the RAV4 Hybrid, there’s no serpentine belt, alternator, or starter motor. Therefore, fewer parts can break, making the RAV4 Hybrid more reliable.
Toyota is the first company that invented regenerative braking for cars. The RAV4 Hybrid also comes with regenerative braking technology. It’s an ingenious way to brake a vehicle and harvest electrical energy.
When a driver brakes on a RAV4 Hybrid, the SUV uses the vehicle’s kinetic energy to drive the motor connected to the drive train to generate electricity. It generates electricity, recharges the HV battery, and slows down the vehicle. As a result, the brake pads and rotors are rarely used. Thus, the RAV4 Hybrid rotor and pads can last up to 100,000 miles. In comparison, a traditional RAV4 Rotor and Pads will hardly go up to 20,000 miles.
Every RAV4 Hybrid is AWD. But it is an electric motor-driven AWD; there’s no mechanical differential that powers the rear wheel from the engine. As a result, the design and maintenance are easy and last longer than other types of AWD vehicles.
The High Voltage battery requires no maintenance. The HV battery on RAV4 is not used all the time like a Tesla. Therefore, there’s no liquid cooling. Toyota uses a fan to air-cool the HV battery. There’s an air filter. An owner only needs to clean the air filter from time to time. It only takes 8-10 minutes for a DIY owner and costs nothing. Other than that, the RAV4 Hybrid HV battery requires no maintenance.
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is one of the most reliable vehicles on the market. If an owner does the following maintenance, the RAV4 Hybrid will last 250,000 miles or more without any issue.
- Engine Oil Change every 5,000/10,000 miles (depending on car use) or 6 months with Oil Filter.
- Transmission Oil Change every 60,000 miles with ATF WS fluid. There’s no transmission oil filter in RAV4 Hybrid as it’s not required.
- Cabin Air Filter Change.
- Engine Air Filter Change.
- High Voltage battery filter cleaning at regular intervals.
- 12V Battery replacement every 3 years.
- Brake pad and rotor inspection and replacement if necessary. It can last up to 100,000 miles.
- Tire Rotation every 5,000 to 10,000 miles.
- Tire replacement if the tire tread depth is low.
- Spark Plug Change every 120,000 miles. Always replace with a genuine Toyota iridium spark plug. Amazon is teeming with fake spark plugs.
- Engine Coolant drain and refill every 5 Years. It’s necessary because, over time, the coolant becomes acidic and can cause damage to rubber hoses.
- Brake fluid drain and refill every 5 years or if the fluid absorbs 3% or more moisture. (The brake fluid color isn’t an indicator of whether it’s good or bad, the moisture content is.)
The RAV4 Hybrid uses electronic power steering. So, there’s no maintenance.
The RAV4 Hybrid has expansive cargo space. Two people can sleep comfortably in this car. Thus, it’s a perfect vehicle for camping and cross-country road trips.
For DIY maintenance, the RAV4 Hybrid is an excellent vehicle. The ground clearance is more than 8 inches; therefore, even if an owner does not want to use a ramp, a 4-inch high cinder block is enough to raise the vehicle for most under-vehicle maintenance.
The transmission oil change on RAV4 Hybrid is the most straightforward and easiest in all Toyota cars. There’s no need to measure the transmission fluid temperature to top off the fluid level. Just drain the transmission fluid, and refill the transmission from the refill plug until it overflows. That’s it.
Even though the Toyota user manual says that the transmission oil doesn’t need to be changed in the vehicle’s lifetime, it’s not entirely accurate.
Toyota provides a 60 months or 60,000 miles powertrain warranty. At this time, the transmission oil doesn’t need any change. However, if an owner wants to keep the vehicle running smoothly for 200,000 – 250,000 miles, a transmission oil change every 60,000 miles is crucial.
Toyota has robust parts websites – https://parts.toyota.com/. Easy-to-follow repair diagrams and spare parts are readily available on the website for online purchase.
Which Model To Buy?
The RAV4 Hybrid comes with various trims. These are
- XLE Limited
There’s almost no difference between the RAV4 Hybrid LE, XLE, SE, or XSE models. Buying the Limited edition is nothing but a waste of money. You can use the official Toyota comparison tool here to compare different makes and models of vehicles.
We suggest you buy the RAV4 Hybrid LE edition and save thousands of dollars. If you wish for a leather seat, an aftermarket leather seat cover is sufficient for RAV4 and costs only a few hundred dollars on Amazon.
Make Your RAV4 Hybrid a Self-Driving Car:
Many don’t know this. You can transform your RAV4 Hybrid into a full-self-driving car. A third-party driving kit from Comma AI will do this effortlessly.
You don’t need to buy a Tesla and pay $12,000 for the self-driving technology. This Comma AI hardware and software do almost everything a self-driving Tesla does but at a fraction of the price.
Even though the Comma AI still can’t drive on city streets; however, it can navigate 100% effortlessly on the highway. It definitely will make a cross-country road trip a pleasurable experience.