2012 Toyota RAV4 EV: First Drive From Behind The Wheel (Video)

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The new 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV is quick, relatively fun to drive, and the only all-electric crossover utility vehicle on the market today.

It has a good, intuitive touchscreen display and instrument cluster that shows both the maximum possible range and a constantly updated range based on both the climate-control settings and its most recent usage and driving style.

Now we can show you on video what it's like from behind the wheel.

Just view the video above--it's a bit more than 3 minutes--to see what it's like inside the new electric RAV4.

For more details, you can read our complete RAV4 EV first drive report, which includes many more photos and details.

The unfortunate thing about the electric RAV4, from our point of view, is that it will only be sold in California for now.

Moreover, Toyota has said it plans to build only 2,600 of the cars over the next three years (through the 2014 model year).

With low sales figures coming in for both the Nissan Leaf and the newly available Ford Focus Electric, both five-door hatchbacks, Toyota may be justifiably cautious in limiting its production of a car that almost surely loses them money on each copy.

But if buyers materialize for an electric crossover, especially since it seems to offer a real-world range of 100 miles or more, we suspect Toyota may consider a successor vehicle down the road.

We should note that while the car's indicated range tracked well against the miles we actually logged, we drove a pair of RAV4 EVs about 65 miles in total during the day's test.

So we can't confirm from testing whether it does deliver a real 100 miles.

Still, the Toyota product engineers we spoke with seemed more certain about their range estimates than their counterparts at some other makers.

So we suspect that the 100-mile figure should be pretty close to the mark--at least in temperate southern California.

Give us your impressions of the 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, and of our video, by leaving your thoughts in the Comments below.


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