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Toyota RAV4 EV first drive

For a while, the modern eco-friendly vehicle had a familiar silhouette, and it was Prius shaped. Now, though, Toyota is branching out in not only its electric range but its types of drive, and so we have the RAV4 EV, eschewing gas and fuel-cells altogether in favor of what could be the most pious interpretation of green driving so far. Still, when your engine and battery are provided by Tesla, there’s probably more to the story than just making all-electric family-friendly. We clambered behind the wheel (and brought our heaviest right foot) to see if the RAV4 EV holds up to scrutiny.

toyota_rav4_ev_sg_1

It isn’t the most handsome SUV on the market, and some of Toyota’s aerodynamic aids don’t much help. Whereas the car helped kick-start the original city-SUV market in its first generation, by this point it has grown – or perhaps swollen – in all directions, gaining space for five and luggage in the process, but losing some of its agile charm. The blanked-off nose, proudly bearing a huge “Toyota EV” badge, helps with airflow but doesn’t look great, while the crease line on the side contributes to a somewhat pinched looking front-end when viewed in profile.

Still, it’s an eco-friendly vehicle that wouldn’t necessarily intimidate traditional SUV owners, though getting them to even consider adding an EV to their shortlist is providing to be Toyota’s primary challenge. On the face of it, the RAV4 EV falls between two demographics: the all-electric drive is viewed with suspicion by the traditional crowd, while the SUV form-factor perhaps isn’t what environmentally-conscious drivers would prefer.
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