Toyota Ireland has given Motorhub an early walk-around and briefing on its new RAV4 PHEV flagship. We first saw the prototype of the plug-in hybrid before the pandemic hit and back then it caught our eye. The PHEV RAV4 has the same petrol engine as the standard RAV4 hybrid but it also has two electric motors that power all four wheels.
Apart from an extra filler flap for the electric Type2 charging port there is not a lot of difference in the flesh from a regular RAV4. There is only a slight loss of boot capacity (down to 500 litres) but still plenty for a family and its towing capacity drops from 1,650 to 1,500kgs braked only slightly limiting caravan choice. At a press event at Toyota HQ this week we got up close and personal with the 306hp plug-in hybrid electric car – yes 306hp, a figure that delivers a 0-100km time of just 6 seconds. The PHEV has a low centre of gravity that should make this RAV4 the most sporty of all.
The standard RAV4 is a petrol hybrid, and one of the most efficient HEVs (hybrid electric vehicles) on the market. Toyota constantly quotes how high a percentage of time its hybrids run in electric mode over the engine in day to day driving. While in Toyota hybrids the car sorts how it powers itself automatically in the PHEV the driver can control when the car runs as a true EV (electric vehicle). From a full charge the RAV4 PHEV has a real world electric driving range of 75km. This means the driver can use the PHEV just as an EV day to day if they so wish and drive it appropriately. Toyota’s newest PHEV reflects the latest crop of plug-in hybrids that are coming on stream with truly usable electric only ranges. Early PHEVs often promised 50km and delivered 30km at best. Also, not all PHEV drivers would bother charging up the battery daily – if at all in some cases! But as the RAV4 PHEV can effortlessly do its 75km (WLTP) and even more in an urban environment owners would be mad not to charge up daily.
Toyota hasn’t come up with a magic formula to deliver the impressive electric range, rather they have finessed their own excellent technology and used a rechargeable battery that is very large for a PHEV at 18.1kWh. The pleasant reality for RAV4 PHEV users is that in day to day use it is quite possible to run only in EV mode and its petrol engine need never kick in!
At Motorhub we have always been fans of PHEVs. The RAV4 PHEV is a poster-boy for the type and shows how you can get the best of both worlds with a car that can be an urban EV and a longer range petrol/hybrid – with no need to seek out public car charge points. The RAV4 PHEV has a high price tag (€48,275 Sol & €49,390 Sport net of grants) but when you dig in to it, the car offers impressive value for money and should hold on to its used value well too. a minuscule CO2 of 22g/km and fuel consumption as low as 1L/100km (282mpg). The car lands in Irish showrooms in October for deliveries in January 2022. We’ll test and review it in full later this year.