New Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Thinks Big.

The all-new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid was built to be driven, and designed to stand out. Pairing the robust looks of a fully fledged SUV with sharp, dynamic styling, the RAV4 displays a sleek, urban edge. The result is a supremely capable 5-seat SUV in which you can go anywhere in safety and style. Its innovative self-charging hybrid powertrain ensures you’ll enjoy all the benefits of electric power, without inconvenience. And with an interior that is as comfortable as it is spacious, you can glide through the city in extreme safety and comfort, while leaving compromise behind.

New TNGA Platform;

The new RAV4 Hybrid may look like a formidable SUV, however it’s suprisingly nimble with excellent visibility and impressive maneuverability. With a total length of 4.6 metres and a full turning circle of only 11 metres, no road is too narrow, no turn too tight. Under the skin, the new RAV4 rides on the TNGA platform that forms the basis of many recent Toyota’s – namely the Prius, Corolla and C-HR. This allows the use of both traditional combustion-engined layouts and a petrol-electric hybrid system. While some markets get both versions, Irish-spec RAV4’s will only be offered with the latter option.

Toyota Safety Sense;

‘Toyota Safety Sense’ technology helps keep potentially dangerous situations at bay, and occupants secure. Toyota Safety Sense has been enhanced with even more intelligent features, which means the new RAV4 can now do even more to help you – providing occupants with peace of mind in all driving situations. For example, the Pre-Collision System can now detect cyclists during the day, as well as pedestrians during night-time. Other features include Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam, Road Sign Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control which will keep the car at a minimum preset distance from the vehicle in front. Thanks to all these active safety systems, Toyota Safety Sense contributes to the reduction of collision risks, which results in both a possible lower insurance premium and a safer driving experience.

Trim & Drivetrain Options;

Five trim levels are available in the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid – Aura, Luna, Sol, Sport, and Platinum. Entry-level Aura specification is only available in 2WD format, while all other models can be specificed in either 2WD or 4WD guises. Powering all models across the new RAV4 line-up is a 2.5-litre (2,487cc) Hybrid Dynamic Force, 4-cylinder, 16-valve turbo-petrol (VVTI) engine, which is mated to 2 electric motors and produces 218bhp (2WD), or 222bhp (4WD) along with a hefty 221Nm’s of torque. Capable of a top speed of 180km/h (where permitted), the new RAV4 Hybrid can sprint from 0-100km/h in just 8.4-seconds, and consume as little as 4.4-litres of petrol for every 100km’s driven on a combined driving cycle. Ventilated brake discs on all four wheels ensure that the car stops every bit as well as it goes, while MacPherson struts at the front, and double wishbone suspension at the rear endow the new RAV4 with premium-like levels of comfort and composure.

Test Car;

My test car was a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid ‘Sol’ 2WD and looked very stylish in Tokyo Red Pearlescent paintwork with contrasting black wheel-arch and body mouldings. While all trim-levels come very well equipped, specification highlights in my test car included 18” 5-spoke silver alloy wheels, temporary spare wheel, rear privacy glass, smart entry & start system, automatic lights & wipers, powered tailgate door, drive mode selector, dual exhaust pipes, LED daytime running-lights, LED multi-reflector headlamps, LED rear lights, 8” multimedia display, satellite navigation, rear camera, front & rear parking sensors, heated front seats, and dual-zone climate control, along with a whole host of additional comfort, convenience, and safety features. With the rear seats in place, the deep boot in the new RAV4 has a capacity of 580-litres, while up to 1,690-litres of space is available when Toyota’s Easy-Flat rear seats are folded.

Driving Dynamics;

I found that driving the new RAV4 Hybrid was a very pleasurable and un-complicated task, with a traditional-style automatic gear-lever taking pride-of-place in the centre console. This electronically-controlled, single-speed Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is standard across the range, and its ease-of-use adds to the overall sense of serenity within the cabin of the car. Thanks to excellent driving dynamics, and supreme ride quality, occupants are insulated well from the road below, with the car suppressing the sound of bumps impressively, while the most audible sound at motorway speed is the faint rumble from the tyres. A sharp and precise steering set-up makes the new RAV4 easy to place on the road, while proving itself to be light at parking speeds.

Enviable Reputation;

Toyota’s self-charging Hybrids can save motorists up to 30% on fuel (compared to traditional internal combustion engines), reduce harmful NOx emissions by up to 90%, and can recharge their batteries without needing to be plugged in. With Toyota’s history of self-charging Hybrids dating back to the pioneering Prius in 1997, it is fair to say that Toyota are at the leading-edge in terms of Hybrid technology, while still maintaining their enviable reputation for reliability and durability.

Pricing & Warranty;

The all-new Toyota RAV4 comes with a 3-year/100,000km warranty and a standard 5-year/100,000km warranty for Hybrid parts. The battery in Toyota’s Hybrid car range is designed to last the life of the vehicle, while annual road tax for the car I drove is just €190. Prices for the new RAV4 start at just €35,900, with my test car specification priced from €39,590. With an uncompromising balance of style, safety and capability, the new Toyota RAV4 offers a new dimension in Hybrid technology.

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