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Toyota RAV4 EV review

Pay no attention to the Toyota badge on the boot. This is Tesla’s first crossover, albeit one dressed in the sheet metal of Toyota’s last-generation compact SUV.

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV is the $60 million (£39 million) baby born from the marriage of the Japanese automaker and its Silicon Valley partner. It’s running Tesla software, it’s packing a Tesla-developed battery, and it’s powered by the same AC induction motor pulled from the Tesla Model S, but fitted with a different set of internal gears.

Musk and Co. don’t want you to do so, but think of the RAV4 EV as the Alpha version of the upcoming Model X, but with less range, less power, less space, and less personality. And since it’s a retrofit, it also means that the RAV4 EV is less expensive than Tesla’s forthcoming “falcon-winged” SUV, with a sticker starting just shy of $50,000 (£33,000) before any federal or state tax incentives. But if you’re in the market for an all-electric crossover, the pickings aren’t just slim, they’re otherwise non-existent. The RAV4 EV is the only show on the road. But it’s a pretty good show.

The RAV4 EV is quick, delivering a 0-60 mph time of seven seconds in “Sport” mode and topping out at 100 mph. It’s capable, with the same two cubic metres of storage capacity as its combustion-powered counterpart (with the rear seats folded down). And it’s got a usable range of around 160km thanks to a 41.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. But as always, your mileage may vary depending on the amount of lead in your right shoe.
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