When the Electric Storm blue 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid SE AWD SUV pulled up into my driveway last month, I was so excited to get behind the wheel. The color just screamed exciting and yet calm and I knew our road trip was going to be both of those things. I am somewhat familiar with this car as it’s what my parents purchased the non-Hybrid version last year and I’ve had the chance to drive it around town a few times. Although sizewise (5-seater, no 3rd row) it is a bit snug for a family trip with our two adult-sized children and a third tween, luckily our road trip to Lake Tahoe was just going to be my husband and I this time.
Each and every time I started the car I had to take a quick scan at all the features to be sure it was actually on. It’s silent on the start before gears kick in the normal car sounds. I will admit I turned it off quite a few times after turning it on because I just wasn’t sure. The interior is a mix of black and orange-tan leather and it’s pretty stylish compared to a typical one note look. As I adjusted my seat I loved having the lumbar setting curving around my back. I feel like the seat adjusts to fit me perfectly and combine that with the heated seats in the 30 degree nights in Tahoe and I’m as snug as a bug in a rug!
The car comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense. Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert, Steering Assist, Auto High Beams, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. I appreciate the blind spot monitor as well, especially when driving a loaner car as even in parking lots you are alerted.
The added perspective on the back up camera is something we haven’t seen before called Bird’s Eye View with Perimeter Scan, this is an optional part of the Advanced Technology Package. With two teenage drivers now, we appreciate all the safety features new cars are offering.
Also in that optional package is the Universal Tablet Holder. Are the days of digital movie players added in cars gone thanks to accessibility of hand held devices? In this car, this is a practical piece of equipment that all five of our family members would use, even having two at a time in the car with headphones. Kids can use it for entertainment, and parents, giving up the front seat to an older teen, can work, check traffic, or watch the Netflix selection of their choice.
Second row seats recline and fold flat for 2-3 person travel or when you’re filling the car with Costco wares and what not. When the seats are up, there is ample leg room and head room with a fold-down arm rest in the center and there’s about 36 cubic feet of trunk space. Midway on our road trip, we’d traveled about 2.5 hours and suddenly the message on the screen popped up in the dashboard, see below!
It read our mind and yes, it was time to pull over and eat some lunch. Hey, I’m a mom and I love the littlest of details that will take into consideration our drive time and need for a break. Like the other safety features, I think of my 2 children now driving and often feeling invincible on the road. An extra kudos to Toyota!
When it comes to performance, I thought the 194 horsepower was fine for it’s smaller SUV size, not a whole lot of get up and go, but I personally don’t care about that. My husband comments that it isn’t a V6 or V8, so he didn’t expect anything more. We were impressed with the gas mileage, over 340 miles on a tank on our trip with a 34 mpg city/30 mpg highway average according to the EPA. Overall, we enjoyed the week with the 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. It certainly doesn’t have enough space as a family car for us (with our 3 children’s ages), but for a commuter car for my husband, a smaller family, or even a car for us as empty nesters in a few years it can be a great option. The price for the car we drove and it’s optional equipment is $36,833. For more information on this car and other Toyota vehicles, visit, toyota.com.
Car was offered on loan for one week, all opinions are 100% ours.