Toyota wrought a decisive change in the motoring landscape 20 years ago with the launch of the original RAV4, a new kind of recreational vehicle that helped pioneer today’s popular compact SUV market. Now it has opened a new chapter in RAV4’s story with the unveiling of the first Toyota RAV4 Hybrid at the New York International Auto Show.
The new RAV4 Hybrid AWD represents the next dimension in Toyota’s application of full hybrid technology. Its smooth and efficient powertrain combines a 2.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, with an additional motor powering the rear axle to deliver electronic all-wheel drive.
The AWD capability provides greater safety and stability when negotiating low-grip surfaces, It also provides a towing capacity of 1,650kg, with Toyota’s Trailer Sway Control system providing added security and peace of mind.
The unveiling of the hybrid coincides with the announcement of the new RAV4 range which features new exterior styling, improved cabin quality and further deployment of advanced technology and safety features. While the hybrid will not join the local line-up, a select number of upgrades will be incorporated into the South African range within the next year.
RAV4’s new frontal design generates a stronger road presence and includes full LED headlights for the first time. To the side, there is a new rocker panel that creates a more flowing look, and at the rear the combination lamps and bumper have been reworked, adding yet more emphasis to the car’s road stance.
The sensory quality of the cabin has been raised significantly with the adoption of new combination meters, a full colour TFT screen and soft-touch materials throughout.
New technology features include Toyota’s 360-degree Panoramic View Monitor, which gives the driver sight of obstacles that would remain hidden in blind spots when using conventional front and rear cameras, making for safer and easier manoeuvring.
RAV4’s safety specification is significantly improved with the addition of the new Toyota Safety Sense suite of features. In addition to the Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam and Road Sign Assist features that will also be included in the package for new Avensis and Auris, RAV4 will further benefit from Adaptive Cruise Control and two significant enhancements to the basic Pre-Collision System functions.
Firstly, for potential collisions with vehicles, PCS operates at an expanded relative speed range of between 10 km/h and the vehicle’s top speed, and can reduce speed by approximately 40 km/h. Secondly, the system is also able to detect potential collisions with pedestrians, in the event of which automated braking operates at relative speeds of between 10 to 80 km/h, and can reduce vehicle speed by approximately 30 km/h.
SA specifications and further details will be announced closer to the on-sale date.