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Toyota bolsters the RAV4 Range with E-Four variants

Exciting times we live in as the world, yes, including South Africa, gets to grips with NEV (New Energy Vehicles), BEV (Battery Energy Vehicles) and the like. At their recent State of the Motoring Industry event, Toyota Motor Corporation made it clear that there will be many ways to tackle the move away from fossil fuel to electrified vehicles. But let me state straight away that Hybrid is just one way to go partly electric, as we still have to place reliance on ICE (Internally Combustible Engines) to work, side by side, with battery energy.
Source: Supplied
Source: Supplied

The media made our way from central Johannesburg through to Cullinan (yes the once-famous bustling diamond town), crisscrossing all sorts of road surfaces, from tar to gravel. The Rav4 did not disappoint. In fact, it was a pleasure to pull away from traffic lights, whilst in the city, ever so silently on battery power.

The engine did kick in at certain points, but you hardly notice the continual switch between battery and ICE power. Seamless and in tune with the needs of the modern customer. Launched in 2021, the RAV4 Hybrid in front-wheel-drive (FWD) GX-trim garnered widespread acclaim for its combination of practicality, fuel efficiency and performance. Now the RAV4 Hybrid line-up has been revised, with a new two-grade strategy comprising the familiar GX-R and VX.

Neat styling

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 (which extends to the steering wheel and shift lever), as well as striking orange detailing on the stitching, seatback and console surround areas - adding a dash of flair to the cabin. The VX variant adopts a stylish and sophisticated exterior package, with a unique front grille treatment, deeper apron and vertically-mounted fog lamp bezels. The leather interior is accompanied by blue interior illumination.

Source: Supplied
Source: Supplied

Plenty features

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 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. VX variants are further bolstered with power-seat adjustment for the front passenger with driver memory function (while foregoing seat ventilation), front and rear park distance control, auto high-beam functionality and auto-fold operation for the exterior mirrors.

A highlight of the VX model is the panoramic view monitor which is newly joined by a digital rear-view mirror. The digital rear-view mirror uses rear-facing cameras to project a wide angle image onto the mirror surface. This function is user selectable, allowing the driver to toggle between traditional and camera views, at the touch of a button.

Hybrid E-Four Power

All RAV4 Hybrid models employ Toyota's 4th-generation hybrid system which in RAV4 E-Four execution combines a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor (on the front axle) while adding a rear-mounted electric motor (MGR).

The power units are coupled to a CVT transmission to seamlessly integrate power sources and deliver smooth acceleration. This not only provides the vehicle with new energy credentials, but adds on-demand AWD to the powertrain matrix.

The electric motor is connected to a two-stage gear reduction mechanism, which utilise a parallel shaft to reduce gear engagement losses. This results in highly responsive power distribution between the front and rear wheels. The electric E-Four system automatically optimises the torque distribution ratio according to driving conditions, which can vary between 100% in the front, to a 20/80 front-rear split.

In terms of performance figures, the FXS engine delivers 131 kW and 221 Nm of Torque. The electric motors pitch in 88 and 40 kW. On our long open road and city drives, we achieved a combined cycle figure of 6.0 l/100 kilometres. A 55 litre fuel tank allows a theoretical range of 1145 km on a single tank.

Source: Supplied
Source: Supplied

Model line-up and pricing

• RAV4 2.0 GX-R CVT AWD – R606,600
• RAV4 2.5 GX-R CVT Hybrid E-Four – R 644,100
• RAV4 2.0 VX CVT 2WD – R 617,000
• RAV4 2.5 VX AT AWD – R 702,300
• RAV4 2.5 VX CVT Hybrid E-Four – R 723,200

Peace of Mind

A six-services or 90,000 km service plan is standard with service Intervals pegged at 15 000 km / 12- months. Toyota's standard three-year/100,000 km warranty is included and hybrid customers have the additional peace of mind of an eight-year/195,000 km Hybrid battery warranty. Service and warranty plan extensions can also be purchased from any Toyota dealer (220 outlets).

About Naresh Maharaj

Naresh Maharaj is a petrol head who loves cars and writing about them. He is also a Member of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists. Naresh is also an international sports correspondent and an acclaimed corporate MC and voice-over artist. Naresh is a sports/news producer for community radio stations and also an award-winning sports journalist. Contact Naresh on moc.liamg@123jarahamn.

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