TOYOTA chose the New York show to unveil the first RAV4 Hybrid.
It’s 20 years since the motoring landscape was changed with the launch of the original RAV4, a new kind of recreational vehicle that pioneered today’s highly popular compact SUV market.
Toyota says the new RAV4 Hybrid AWD represents “the next dimension in Toyota’s application of full hybrid technology”.
Its 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.
The unveiling of the hybrid coincided 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.
The new front has been designed for 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.
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”.
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.
Safety is significantly improved with the addition of the new Toyota Safety Sense suite of features. In addition to the Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam and Road Sign Assist features that will also be included in the package for new Avensis and Auris this summer, the RAV4 will further benefit from Adaptive Cruise Control and two significant enhancements to the basic Pre-Collision System functions.
Firstly, the PCS will operate at an extended relative speed range – from 6 mph up to the vehicle’s maximum speed – and will be able to reduce speed through automated braking by about 24 mph. Secondly, the system will be able to detect potential collisions with pedestrians, in the event of which automated braking will operate at relative speeds between 6 mph and 50 mph and be able to reduce vehicle speed by about 19 mph.
The new RAV4 will go on sale in December, with the RAV4 Hybrid AWD model arriving in Europe early in 2016.