2024 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition – Review by David Colman +VIDEO
A stunning endorsement for hybrid engineering
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition reporting for 2024 Duty Sir! Fresh as a new recruit, with under a hundred miles showing on its odometer, Toyota's latest take on the RAV4 arrived in our driveway this week. Appropriately finished in $500 Two-Tone "Army Green" with a "Midnight Roof," the no-nonsense Woodland Edition marks something of a departure from Toyota's ever more luxurious RAV4 model line. Instead of outlining what the Woodland does have to offer, let me first mention what it does without: no seat heaters, no steering wheel heater, no remote liftgate control, in fact, no motorized liftgate period. Also, no sunroof or moonroof - just a fixed roof. So what's to celebrate about all these deletions? The price! Where plusher RAV4 Hybrids like the Limited are priced well into the $40,000 range, the semi-stripped Woodland Edition comes to market with an all-inclusive tag of $36,545.
This value package is specifically outfitted to appeal to the outdoor enthusiast. Toyota Racing Development (TRD) tuned the Woodland's all-wheel drive "integrated management suspension" for off-road competence by raising ride height to 8.1 inches. This revision enables a more generous approach angle of 19 degrees and a departure angle of 21 degrees. Each Woodland is fitted with six-spoke, bronze colored TRD "flow-formed" alloy rims shod with Falken WILDPEAK all-terrain tires (225/60R18).
The Woodland's appealing interior is protected by a full set of all-weather floor mats featuring tall trees plus the Woodland name in green. The easy-to-clean format extends to the fabric-trimmed seats which look sharp thanks to silver embossed polygonal inserts. Lift the tailgate and you discover a height adjustable rear cargo area deck board. Particularly clever is the center console between the front seats which incorporates a covered storage compartment and two cup holders, as well as a Drive Mode button, a Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) knob, and best of all a real stick shift with a conventional PRNDL pattern. Drive Modes offered are SPORT, Eco, NORMAL, EV and TRAIL.
The Woodland's 2.5 liter inline-4 cylinder internal combustion engine produces 176hp @5300rpm. It derives added boost from front and rear electric motors which up combined horsepower to 219hp. A sealed nickel-metal hydride battery provides 244.8V of juice which is parceled out to all four wheels by an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (ECVT). Driving this rig on paved roads proved effortless. With a curb weight of just 3,775 pounds, the RAV4 Hybrid is quick enough to cope with all the challenges you're likely to encounter on your daily drive. Acceleration numbers prove the point: 0-60mph takes 7.4 seconds while the standing start quarter mile is achieved in 15.7 seconds at 91mph. When you stomp the throttle this RAV4 Hybrid jumps forward while the driveline emits a faintly ethereal whine. The ECVT transmission requires no management from the driver to extract maximum thrust from the engine compartment. Handling on back roads is predictable, but due to the Woodland's 8.1 inch ride height bump, it feels a bit top-heavy when transitioning through S-bends. While the front seats are quite supportive for freeway runs, we found they lacked lateral support for the quick transitions of backroad driving. Around town, however, the extra height is a bonus which allows you better vision in traffic and better sightlines when parking. With its abundant storage space (30.5 cubic feet) and its 60/40 split rear bench seat, the RAV4 Hybrid affords a multiplicity of interior configurations that are thankfully simple to achieve.
We really enjoyed our week with this newest offering from Toyota. Although we never got a shot at taking it off-road, its uprated terrain-challenging specifications indicate it would be a winner in the outback. When it arrived with a full tank of fuel, the RAV4 hybrid's projected driving range was a stunning 550 miles. That's more than twice the projected range of the last two EVs combined that we've reviewed. The Woodland Edition provides ample new ammunition for endorsing the practicality of hybrid engineering.
2024 TOYOTA RAV4 HYBRID WOODLAND EDITION
• ENGINE: 2.5 liter inline-4 cylinder gas combustion engine plus front and rear electric motors and 244.8V metal hydride battery
• HORSEPOWER: 217hp (combined)
• FUEL CONSUMPTION: 38MPG City/35MPG Highway
• PRICE AS TESTED: $36,545
HYPES: Stealth Looks, Stripper Value, Off-Road Chops
GRIPES: Missed the Hot Seat on Cold Mornings
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10
©2023 David E Colman
DAVID E COLMAN
Dad jumpstarted my automotive career by taking me to the Indy 500 ten years in a row. During that decade he generously bought me a trio of new cars to drive: a C1 Corvette followed by two XKE roadsters. By 1970, I purchased my first new Porsche, a 911S Targa. The Porsche immersion has continued with a succession of newer models: 1970 914-6GT, 1983 944, 1987 944T, 2003 911 Turbo X50 Aerokit, 2011 911 GT3 RS and 2016 Cayman GT4. This "buy your own press fleet" exposure helped launch my literary career when I co-founded Excellence Magazine in 1987. I have written hundreds of reviews and profiles for Excellence over the past three decades.
I also covered motorsports for The Wheel, SCCA's San Francisco Region newspaper, as well as racing events for the Marin Independent Journal. Other outlets over the years have been The San Francisco Chronicle, Autoweek, Bimmer, Forza and Sports Car International. I started a weekly new car review in 1986 at the Marin IJ and subsequently continued it with the San Francisco Examiner. I am currently a Senior Writer for Vintage Motorsports magazine, and have written numerous race reports and feature articles for that publication.
My weekly reviews first hit the internet at CarReview.com and play today only on TheAutoChannel.com. I was a co-founder of the Western Automotive Journalists (WAJ), a press group formed to track-test vehicles at local road racing circuits. Since 1986, I have driven and evaluated a manufacturer-provided new vehicle just about every week of every year.
I have also been a long time competitor in Porsche Club and SCCA track and autocross events. I was sponsored by BF Goodrich tires for a number of years, and later by Yokohama Tires. My record book at the SCCA's annual Solo 2 National Championship event shows ten consecutive years of entries and trophy successes in a variety of classes. I also earned Top Time of Day at the Porsche Club of America's annual Parade Driving Event in my one owner 914-6GT.
I learned to write proper English in Sidney Eaton's English class at the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts. Later, I majored in American Literature at Middlebury College (AB) and subsequently earned two Master of Art Degrees from the University of California: English (UC Santa Barbara); History of Art (UC Berkeley). So I'm a pump jockey and a word jockey.