Why the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid could be the answer we are looking for
We live in a time where petrol has become extremely expensive but thankfully automotive manufacturers have been fast-tracking their alternative energy development. We have seen a flurry of all-electric cars enter our market in recent years however could the good old hybrid be our one true saving grace? Toyota has been a believer in hybrid technology for years. Could the latest RAV4 hybrid be the answer that we need? Here are our thoughts.
The RAV4 has benefited from a long and very successful history and the latest model is better than ever. The hybrid offering was first made available in South Africa last year in front-wheel drive GX-trim. This model was well received by customers looking for a practical, fuel-efficient compact SUV.
In terms of character, the GX-R delivers a stylish yet rugged exterior with prominent black cladding, black over-fenders, and a silver bumper protector. A large trapezoidal grille, with two parallel cross-bars, and wide-set fog lamps frame the blue-hued Toyota insignia - a hybrid exclusive. The interior on the GX-R features leather trim, as well as striking orange detailing on the stitching, seatback and console surround areas - adding a dash of flair to the cabin.
The GX-R features LED headlamps and daytime running lights, aforementioned fog lamps, roof rails, rear spoiler and new smoked 18" alloy wheels. Convenience specification is ample with auto air-conditioning, rain-sensing wipers, smart entry, a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, five USB ports, a wireless charger, reverse camera, rear park distance control (PDC) and cruise control. Both seat heating and ventilation are on offer, as well as power seat adjustment for the driver.
RAV4 Hybrid models employ Toyota's 4th-generation hybrid system which in RAV4 E-FOUR execution combines a 2.5-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor - on the front axle while adding a rear-mounted electric motor. The petrol engine offers 131kW and 221Nm of torque while the total system output is around 163kW.
The duel-motor setup not only provides the vehicle with new energy credentials but adds on-demand AWD to the powertrain matrix. The electric E-Four system automatically optimizes the torque distribution ratio according to driving conditions, which can vary between 100% in the front, to a 20/80 front-rear split. Fuel efficiency remains one of the key hybrid credentials, with the RAV4 E-FOUR Hybrid being no exception. A combined cycle figure of 4.8 l/100 kilometres certainly validates this statement.
A few years ago we would have shunned the thought of this car, hybrids were boring, they were silly and annoying in a world filled with high-performance naturally aspirated sports cars. Now though we strongly believe that hybrids like this RAV4 are the answer to our problems here in South Africa. They offer electric drive when needed such as in traffic yet won’t see you stress about range when on that long family road-trip.