2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition: Our Teen Daughter’s First Ride

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins and Kaiyana Rawlins

So we’ve been going back and forth on what our teen daughter’s first car will be. Safety is the number one parameter, followed by fuel efficiency and then capability to keep Kaiyana, aka Aya, out of dicey situations. After thorough research and comparative test drives, the family settled on the 2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition in Calvary Blue with 18” bronze alloy rims. She loves the vibrant color combo and rugged edginess of the hybrid crossover, which had her friends in awe during school drop-offs and pickups.

Since this will become Aya’s senior ride, I had her study the fifth-generation RAV4, first introduced in 2019, to provide feedback from her perspective, similar to a high school case study. There is a wide range of RAV4s to choose from including a RAV4 TRD Off-Road model and the RAV4 Prime PHEV. Woodland’s Toyota Hybrid System II operates in tandem with its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Dynamic Force engine, which is both punchy and efficient. More importantly, the RAV4 comes with complimentary ToyotaCare that covers your vehicle’s scheduled maintenance for two years and provides two years of Roadside Assistance to comfort any parent.

With an MSRP of $33,025, other reasons we settled on the Woodland Edition included its hybrid powertrain to help the crossover achieve 37 combined mpg, electronic all-wheel drive system (AWD), a slightly raised TRD-tuned suspension, Falken WILDPEAK all-terrain tires, and black body cladding outlining the lower front bumper, wheel wells, rear bumper, and lower door panels. Kids love playing bumper cars during their first few years of driving, so the vinyl package will protect the RAV4’s metal panels. Equally, teens are always getting stuck off pavement; therefore, the grippy tires and AWD will offer increased traction and ensure they make it home in time for dinner. Consequently, I will show Aya how to set the Woodland in Trail mode.

Inside the comfortable interior, Toyota added thick, custom Woodland all-weather floor and cargo mats, large knobby dials, large diameter cup holders for oversized water bottles, cloth mesh seats, and an AC 120V plug in the rear. Aya plays three sports and incorporates a nature-based lifestyle into her daily habits, so the mats will protect the cabin from dirty recreational gear and outside elements that track inside your ride. The 8″ Toyota Audio Multimedia was small Aya said, but wireless Apple CarPlay made up for it. For safety, the RAV4 is blessed with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5, consisting of an array of advanced protection such as a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection.

Now let me allow Aya to speak directly about her experience.

Hello everyone, I have tested out this car with my dad to see how it operates, to get a feel of its personality, and to see if the Woodland is a good pick for me. Prepare yourself because we’re about to go on a wild ride. The Woodland drove smoothly while absorbing bumps to keep it from bouncing everywhere. I certainly don’t want to lose control on the road when I receive mines in the fall. My dad said everyone eventually drifts over the line, but this Toyota will keep you in check with lane technology. The tires are designed to drive in any weather condition, which is favorable for rain, snow, and to help prevent accidents. My eventual RAV4 Hybrid has AWD that provides stability in icy conditions or any type of road, matter of fact. Numerous details benefit me or any parent who buys the Woodland for their kids.

I prefer crossovers since they can comfortably accommodate five or more friends, meaning I can drive my volleyball teammates to practice and games. The rear seats can also fold 60/40 flat to provide even more space. Upfront, the panel screen alerted us to the speed limit when we passed through different areas and showed the settings for audio, navigation, driver assistance, driving data, and more. Apple CarPlay was included, so it was an advantage since I don’t listen to the radio much, and it pairs with a good sound system.

I am very organized and love being able to find where everything is located easily. That’s why I prefer the RAV4 because there are many little spaces to store things, and the big buttons and controls are simple to find and operate. Toyota also adds plenty of fine details, such as dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilting and telescoping steering wheel, and a height-adjustable floor in the cargo area. Also, there are five drive modes depending on your daily needs: Normal, EV, Eco, Trail, and Power. But when you first start your RAV4 Hybrid, it will default to Normal drive mode, which combines the efficient use of the gas engine and electric motors. EV mode is where the car is powered by the battery only during city driving. Power mode is for my sister Mika who thinks she’s Dom from Fast and Furious. It gives the RAV4 Hybrid a boost in acceleration. The hybrid is the sweet spot for many drivers because the more horsepower the engine stores, the faster the vehicle will fly. Lastly, if you are a person that prefers road trips, this car is definitely the one for you since it can typically travel 572 miles on a full gas tank. Wow!

Sold in three colors: Midnight Black Metallic, Cavalry Blue, and Ice Cap, this utility will not disappoint. Yes, I know it may be over budget for your teen, but since the RAV4 has some of the newest features and high technology and is appropriately built since it’s Japanese, it will last longer and won’t force you to buy another vehicle in the same period. Hey, I’m also half Japanese and travel to Japan often to see my grandparents and everything there is made with innovation, including their toilets!

Well, that is a wrap. But, of course, if there is anything else you want to know about the 2023 RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition, Toyota offers plenty of information on its website. I hope this benefited everyone and provided enough information for you to consider buying one. Enjoy!

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