Having a vehicle is pretty important for Port Carling’s Linda and Tim Bryant. Besides being a mode of transportation, they rely on it to travel to and from Toronto to meet their clients. The couple co-own and run Shamrock Lodge on Lake Rosseau Muskoka, a seasonal 24-unit traditional waterfront resort, which Tim and his brother took over from their parents. In operation since 1980, it’s one of the area’s last all-inclusive beach resorts and keeps the duo busy between May to October.
Having previously owned a Land Rover Discovery Sport – “a gas guzzler” that they lament could only be filled with premium gas – they looked for a solution that was better for the environment and less expensive. In fact, whenever they used the SUV, they always had it in ECO mode. So when it came time to look for a new vehicle, the Bryants were interested in an electric car, but decided on a hybrid as their first step away from a strictly gas-powered car.
Crediting Jason Kew of Burlington Toyota for helping them with all their questions and assisting them with their vehicle, the couple picked up their 2021 Toyota RAV 4 Hybrid XLE AWD in early September. They’ve been thrilled with the SUV since. Here, they tell us what they love most about their new vehicle.
“We primarily bought this car for low emissions,” said Tim. “It’s not a total green machine – it’s kind of got the fuel economy of a compact car – but we don’t have to go to the gas station very often. I can fill the car up and it could get me to Toronto and back on one tank of gas. So, there’s no anxiety felt at all with having to rush to the gas station. That’s a cool thing especially with the price of fuel right now and people are saying that it’s going to go up even more. We love it for its green nature, and apparently when you brake the car actually generates electricity to charge the battery, so that’s really neat.”
“Our goal is to go totally electric but we decided to go hybrid first,” said Linda. “It’s our hope that in the next two years the price of electric cars will drop a bit; and there’ll be more charging stations up here in Muskoka.”
When asked about their first impressions of driving a hybrid, the Bryants quickly chimed in that they enjoyed how quiet the vehicle is in electric mode.
“It’s like you’re floating,” said Linda. “It’s an amazing feeling. Even when you’re starting it and you push the button, you know it says on the screen it’s starting but you can’t tell because it’s that quiet.”
“I think the overall performance of the vehicle is excellent,” said Tim. “It’s a very smooth-running car, and when you need power, it’s got the power you’d need to make a pass.”
“Another reason we like it is that it’s an all-wheel drive,” said Linda. “Living up here in Muskoka, we do a lot of highway driving in the winter. So, it’s nice to know that it’s a lot safer for that kind of driving. It’s also very roomy, and it’s got a lot of cargo space which we like because we golf and it fits our golf clubs.”
“It’s a beautiful car that looks more like a higher priced SUV, like a Mercedes or BMW,” said Tim. “It’s the XLE but we got the XSE interior for it. So, that gives us a really nice-looking black interior with a light blue stitching. It’s very sharp and classy looking, and feels like you’re in a higher end SUV. I like the way the dash is set up – it’s a big screen and easy to access, [although] it doesn’t have leather seats.”
“But it’s got all the bells and whistles like heated seats and a heated [leather-wrapped] steering wheel,” said Linda.
“Overall it’s a great car. We’re very happy with it so far. I would recommend people to consider a Toyota RAV 4 hybrid. We’re looking forward to the winter; we want to see how it performs in the snow. I feel safe going back and forth to the city where most of our business clients are and just like the fact that I’m saving on [the cost of] gas.”
This article was edited for space and clarity. Want to be featured in Why I Love My Vehicle? email us at email@example.com.
Renée S. Suen is a Toronto-based lifestyle writer/photographer and a freelance contributor for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @rssuen
A CLOSER LOOK: 2021 Toyota RAV 4 Hybrid XLE AWD
DIGITAL DISPLAY REAR VIEW MIRROR
“It’s got a digital display rear-view mirror which is really cool,” said Linda. “It’s almost like a movie of what’s behind you.”
“Yeah, the rear-view mirror turns into a projection of the camera on the back of the car,” said Tim. “So, in other words, it totally eliminate any blind spots, which is pretty amazing.”
“As soon as I sit in the RAV 4, I feel safe because you do sit higher,” said Linda. “Just the comfort of it and knowing that I’m helping the environment more than I was before.”
“It feels very safe, and I like the fact that it’s a high riding vehicle,” said Tim.
“It’s a monthly payment of $600,” said Linda. “Compared to what we were paying before, this was better.”
“I think the vehicle is great value for money – the resale is apparently really good even after your lease is up,” said Tim. “We went with a four-year term, but also purchased the extended warranty. One reason is because many of these new vehicles have a lot of computers in them and I think they’re only covered for two years on regular driving. So it just gives us the peace of mind to know we are covered right up to the end of our lease.”
Linda and Tim Bryant have become big fans of the 2021 Toyota RAV 4 Hybrid XLE AWD on their quest to going green.
The Bryants love their car for its fuel savings and also the interior, which they say feels like a more expensive SUV.
Citing the digital display rear view mirror as a feature they really enjoy having because it helps them view their blind spots.