Toyota’s Hybrid family seems to be growing all the time. As part of the brand’s quest to bring down their overall carbon footprint, it seems like there is a new model, or a familiar one, which gives buyers a new optional hybrid powertrain, or replaces the solely petrol option altogether. The incorporation in 2019 of Hybrid tech into that family favourite, the RAV4, was a given.
Being one of the most popular new cars to wear the Toyota emblem, the current RAV4 is still Toyota’s biggest seller after the Hilux. With the new generation selling close to 17,000 units since launch, 62 per cent of those have been hybrids. Now, Toyota have extended the hybrid powertrain to the revised Adventure and the new XSE grade launched this year.
On test here is the Adventure which at a Toyota Driveaway Price of $57,990, makes it the flagship RAV4 with hybrid tech. It still retains all the rugged square-jawed go anywhere stance of the petrol version, but incorporates a new projector LED headlight design. There is also a set of new LED fog lights to replace the old halogen bulbs. Aside from 19-inch alloys with dark matte-grey finishing and the Adventure only option of Safari Green paint, visually there have been minimal changes to the exterior.
Of course, the biggest change to the Adventure is that hybrid powertrain. This means a 2.5L four-cylinder petrol and hybrid electric combo producing a combined power output of 131kW/221Nm. With an E-CVT transmission and E-four-wheel drive, Toyota claim the Adventure is capable of 5.3L/100km and producing a mere 110g/km of CO2.
Being the range topper, the Adventure Hybrid has everything thrown at it. Standard kit for the revised RAV4 includes Toyota’s full Safety Sense suite which means all-speed dynamic radar cruise control, a pre-collision system with autonomous emergency braking, road sign assist, lane tracing assist, automatic high beam, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors.
The RAV4 flagship also gets a sunroof, dual zone climate control, wireless charging, heated and ventilated leather seats, an power boot lid, 19-inch blacked out alloys, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a very good JBL sound system, which I can safely testify is more than able to handle the “Handel.”
Oh, and did I mention the lashings of orange trim? From the cupholder surrounds to the hard touch shelves on the centre console and the orange stitching in between, the “orangey bits” dominate your surroundings. This might not be everyone’s thing but I kind of like the extra bit of edge to break up the grey and black.
Boot space is rated at 580L so there is considerable room for Rover to get comfortable. The boot floor could be a tad wider but overall, its not too bad. There are plenty of places to store things and front and rear head and legroom is quite generous.
Moving off and the Adventure Hybrid settles down into electric quiet. The 2.5L petrol engine usually wakes up at speeds between 30 to even 60km/h. Providing you give the go pedal the merest press is the only way to ensure those latter speeds are achieved with silent running. However, do so and it isn’t long before you averaging between 5.8 to 6.5L/100km which is pretty impressive for a five-seater SUV.
The RAV4 Adventure Hybrid has three tarmac focused drive modes, Eco, Normal and Sport. Changing between them results in a change of colour on the drive mode selector. Normal is blue, Eco is green, naturally, and Sport is Red. When in Sport, the Adventure Hybrid is actually surprisingly sprightly. There is a very linear deliver of power and torque so you can easily overtake or get up to speed with what you have on tap. Zero to 100km/h can be despatched in 8.5 seconds.
Steering is quite light but not entirely devoid of feedback. There is the merest suggestion of feel giving you an indication into much lock you are feeding in. Body roll is also minimal. Toyota’s TNGA underpinnings result in the RAV4 never feeling too underdamped. The addition of a comfortable ride is also worth mentioning and the Adventure’s Yokohama rubber leaves little to no tyre roar at all.
If you decide to venture off the beaten path, the Adventure Hybrid has Trail mode. It will help you on dirt roads, muddy trails and the odd steep unsealed in climb, but mud bogging is something you will have to forgo. Aside from a trip to the Mt Hutt Ski Field, most Adventure Hybrid’s will likely spend the majority of their time on the smooth stuff.
The medium SUV segment is literally bursting at the seems these days but the current RAV4 manages to hold its own to become one of the best all-rounders in this class. Throw in hybrid powertrains across the board and Toyota’s family favourite has become even more appealing for economy minded motorists. The flagship Adventure is no exception, and while some of its rugged appearance doesn’t completely reflect rugged off-road ability, it still serves as a great all-rounder for those who want nothing less than the ultimate RAV4.