Toyota Rav4 EV Forum

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 Post subject: Ride Quality
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:41 am 
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Posts: 129
First of all, I'd like to state that I'm thoroughly looking forward to the delivery of our new RAV4EV this coming weekend when we return home from vacation. While on vacation in Sacramento, we borrowed a RAV4EV for an extended test drive to get a concrete impression of the car to make sure we're making the right decision for ourselves.

It about ticks all the right boxes for my wife and I. It will be her new daily driver and weekend family runabout with 2 small children.

Now onto ride quality. My impression is that the car rides a bit choppy or flinty over rough or corrugated roads. Not a bad ride by any means, but it was enough for me to question how they went about tuning the suspension on the vehicle. The RAV4 does have a shorter wheelbase, but it's not terribly short at 104.7". Nor is it exactly a sprightly econobox, which I expect to have a flinty ride, at over 4k lbs.

Now I'm not exactly unfamiliar with suspension tuning or performance oriented suspension with my 400hp Lexus IS300 with full coilovers and TRD high durometer bushings. In some ways, that cars rides a bit smoother under the same conditions, but it obviously has much higher spring rates.

I didn't go so far as to check the tire pressures, so it could be as easy as that.

My real question is if there's anyone who has had an ICE RAV4 to compare rides? My theory is that the drivers seating position is closer to one axle of the vehicle, rather than just about between as in most sedans. This has the disadvantage of not being able to 'average' vertical motions at each axle, translating that motion more to the drivers seat position.

The RAV4EV drives light and agile and really hides its 4k lb heft well. The suspension tuning is a good match for the instant torque of the EV drivetrain. I will say that I was rather impressed and had fun squirting the car around with its instant torque. A pleasant surprise for such a guilt free vehicle.


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 Post subject: Re: Ride Quality
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:24 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:50 pm
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Location: San Diego
Welcome to the Tesla inspired grin :mrgreen:

I never drove an oil burner Rav4, and I'm not sure it matters, unless you decide to throw 700 pounds of extra weight in there for comparison.

I don't like my ride either, so I'll probably change to another tire. Then different shocks second. I'm really too lazy to pull out the springs :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: Ride Quality
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:02 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:47 am
Posts: 17
I agree, the RAV4 EV does have a bouncy ride. I know the RAV4 EV has and inch or two less ground clearance. I doubt they redesigned the entire suspension. They probably put in stiffer springs or shocks to eliminate some of the suspension travel.

Just an idea.

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Ride Quality
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:05 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:51 am
Posts: 129
I'm not bothered by it enough to do any modifications. Just that I was somewhat surprised by firm ride. I'll have to evaluate further once I get my own and check the tire pressures.

That said, I don't believe Toyota modified anything at all in the suspension for this EV application. The lowered ground clearance is likely the battery pack strapped to its belly. And they more than likely picked existing part numbers from the RAV4 bin to fit this application.

From what I understand, there are trim specific spring/shock combinations for the RAV4 4cyl base/limited, 4cyl sport, 6cyl base/limited, 6cyl sport, rear springs for added 3rd row models.

My guess is that they would have gone with the highest spring rate sport units for the heavier EV model.

Can anyone confirm if the shocks are black in color or tokico/blue shocks which would imply they are similar/same as the RAV4 Sport units.


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 Post subject: Re: Ride Quality
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:27 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:51 am
Posts: 129
So now that we've taken delivery of our very own RAV4 EV, and have given it a good couple days workout around town on familiar roads...

I will say my initial concerns are unfounded!

The ride is taut, but not overly so. It's been a great around town ride that is quiet, surefooted, and comfortable. Just to give you some perspective, I usually ferry my family around in our '06 Lexus LX470 which is a very fine and plush cruiser, with a ravenous taste for gas. The RAV4 is not as plush, but it holds it's own for comfort, and is spacious in it's own right. It's obviously more agile which is appreciated. I don't miss the torque of the V8 bruiser as this little guy has some brawn of its own. Where I'm very pleasantly surprised is that the RAV4 is quiet and peppy on the highway. I don't like flinty tin can econo-cars and I was willing to accept a little bit of that from the RAV4, but I didn't have to at all.

Lastly, I appreciate that its got the heft of a real car which is normally atypical for an eco-minded vehicle which I avoid like the plague - especially for a family run-about. That's because when push comes to shove in an accident, the vehicle with higher mass will typically come out ahead. Obviously there's other safety measures and factors. Though I rather stack the odds on my side and loose out on some efficiency than completely trade the odds against my favor to be in a tin-can with an air bag.

All-in-all, really enjoying the car. :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Ride Quality
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:14 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:03 pm
Posts: 69
Location: Sacramento, CA
Your review pretty much sums up why I ultimately pulled the trigger on this car. To me, this is one heck of a fun, practical and economical SUV (for around town).

Now, if I could just get my 'mileage' up from 2.2 mi/kWh...

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 Post subject: Re: Ride Quality
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:51 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:50 am
Posts: 1213
Location: San Jose, CA
Jscifres wrote:
Now, if I could just get my 'mileage' up from 2.2 mi/kWh...

Try resetting your Driving Efficiency gauge by pressing and holding the "DISPLAY" button on the right side of the steering wheel.

Welcome all you new owners to the official RAV4 EV fan club! It IS a great car which only a handful of Californians will be lucky enough to find out. And double congrats to those of you who got yours in December at a really GREAT price!!! :mrgreen:

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