As the producer of one of Canada’s most popular compact SUVs as well as the world’s first mainstream hybrid vehicle, it is only logical that Toyota would eventually release a partially electric variant of the RAV4. And now it’s here — the brand’s seventh hybrid offering.
“With the joining of two pioneering concepts that changed the automotive landscape, we’ve created the ultimate RAV4 line-up,” said Toyota Canada vice president Larry Hutchinson in a news bulletin announcing the new model.
Toyota took its Hybrid Synergy Drive technology and adapted it specifically for the crossover. The powertrain consists of a 194-horsepower four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine, high-torque electric motors and a continuously variable transmission.
From an engineering standpoint, fuel efficiency was certainly a high priority, and the RAV4 Hybrid delivers with a combined consumption rating of 7.2 L/100 km in combined city and highway driving.
It is possible to use no gasoline at all (for speeds up to 40 km/h) by putting the vehicle into EV mode, one of four user-selectable settings that also include Eco, Sport and Normal. Depending on the choice, shift timing, throttle response and steering feel are all modified by the computer accordingly.
Safety is another big focal point of the electrified RAV4, which has standard an electric All-Wheel Drive with intelligence (AWD-i). Depending on the terrain encountered, an Active Torque Control system shifts power from two wheels to all four for maximum control.
The crossover is available in two grades: XLE ($34,715) that comes with a six-speaker Display Audio System with 6.1-inch screen, SIRI Eyes-Free connectivity, dual-zone automatic climate control and power moonroof; and Limited ($38,515) adding items like a bigger 7.1-inch monitor, navigation, Softex leather seating, dynamic backup camera, and LED headlights.
Finally, Toyota Safety Sense, combining pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane departure alert, dynamic radar control, park assist and other safety features, is part of an optional $2,675 Technology Package.
The 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is available now.