With the addition of an improved hybrid system brought with it by the fifth generation of one of Toyota’s most popular cars of all time, solid proof has emerged that gasoline-powered SUVs can be more economical than comparative diesel engines.
Time will tell if they made the decision too soon, but in Toyota they are slowly raising their hands from diesel engines instead of offering buyers of most of their models (as a great alternative) a hybrid powertrain that makes a smaller or larger atmospheric gasoline engine powered by an electric motor. Among the latest models that no longer have diesel options on offer is the fifth generation of the popular RAV4 SUV, which can now only be obtained in combination with a petrol or hybrid powertrain.
With Toyota’s years of experience in hybrid powertrains, it seems that there is no longer room for our eternal assertion that powerful (turbo) gasoline engines have nothing to look for in large SUVs because of the concept and tasks for which “credentials on wheels” are intended it always seemed pointless to squander gasoline in mediocrely driven cars with a pronounced floor-to-ground distance where it definitely sits too high. Whoever loves cars will understand what we mean.
And while for years everyone who asked us about big SUVs has always been told to choose the right diesel engine along with them, in Aichi Prefecture they have conceived and realized the latest hybrid combination with which the RAV4 is still small, manageable and moderately aerodynamic, but is an emphatically spacious and comfortable SUV with a fairly powerful 2.5-liter petrol engine that consumes drop-by-drop petrol.
The driver in this case does not matter at all how much time is driven only on electricity, how much on gasoline, and how much in combination. Crucially, the advanced hybrid system, which combined offers 218 horsepower and 221 Nm of peak torque, allows the RAV to travel 100 kilometers with just over six liters on average.
The lowest fuel consumption (below five liters per 100 kilometers) was achieved in congested urban conditions where most non-hybrid gas and diesel cars consume significantly more. With the capacity offered by the batteries and the ‘Eco’ operating program activated, the RAV4 (without pushing the accelerator pedal harder and speeds above 50 km / h) can be used for longer than expected time without the assistance of the internal combustion engine. The said engine is responsible for charging the batteries, as well as any use of brakes that convert kinetic energy into electrical energy. A painless and highly efficient solution that saves on fuel costs, it demonstrates best in a slow “stop / go” rhythm.
The story of a part of a hybrid system related to a four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine is marred by its pronounced noise as it accelerates and moves at a high speed appropriate on the highway, and the biggest fault lies in the lack of sound insulation between the engine and the passenger compartment. In addition to the noise, fans of the economy and environment will have to accept the automatic CVT transmission in this case, which, given the car’s defensive character, works well in most situations.
When we moved away from the benefits of Toyota’s hybrid technology and looked at the exterior of the fifth RAV, we thought that a recent statement by Toyota leaders stating that they no longer want to make boring cars has confirmation in the case of the Supra and the new Corolla, because the RAV body didn’t seem particularly interesting. The flavors are not discussed, and among the divided opinions of the environment we stayed somewhere in between, because we do not like the shape of the lower edges of the radiator grille, which reminds us of an angry face with lips whose ends are turned downwards, and we are not thrilled with the broken arches of the fender that resemble to individual SUVs from the FCA Group. On the other hand, we liked the two-tone body combination, but also the high trims that cover the sills and part of the door, making the sides of the car slimmer than they are. Wider,
Instead of the appearance of the body, it seems that much more important here is what the driver and his companions expect in an above-average spacious and in this case a richly equipped cabin. Toyota did their best to cover the cabin with comfortable and high-quality materials, and with the Style package, there is only one person missing who could possibly drive you. The level of ergonomics, which is less and less present in the cabs of today’s cars, is also excellent, and the seats whose design and adequate thickness in the offered wheelbase offer all the seats in all directions are extremely comfortable. The softer suspension of the car adds to the overall comfort, but it could be disturbed by the sensitive traveler to tilt the body bends in turns if the driver is in the mood for a more dynamic rhythm.
The RAV designation is an acronym for Recreational Activity Vehicle, and the number four in the appendix suggests drive across both axles. The latest hybrid edition can also be powered by both axles, which will make the driver less afraid of the low-adhesive pads, but the test case only had a front-axle drive. With excellent inlet and outlet corners behind the axles and considerable ground clearance (190 mm), it will be sufficient for recreational descents from asphalt to a variety of substrates, which are not too slippery on the climbs. For more serious off road adventures one has to choose the RAV4 (where the number next to the letter makes sense), but it seems to us that in the case of such needs, we might want to consider a diesel Land Cruiser (with adequate tires).
We are convinced that WLTP fuel efficiency standards are significantly more realistic than NEDC standards, but a successful fuel economy story can be spoiled by the fact that in most cases the hybrid RAV4 is much more expensive than the comparative version powered by a two-liter gasoline engine. However, with or without the support of a silent electric motor, we are absolutely certain that the fifth RAV4 will remain among the favorites in many markets around the world where it has sold more than 8.2 million units since its first generation (1994).
Test car information basic: Toyota RAV4 Style 2.5 VVT-i Hybrid 2WD
Basic model price (Toyota RAV4 Comfort 2.0 VVT-iE 2WD): 56.920 KM
Test model price: 82.270 KM
Engine: Front transverse, petrol, four cylinders, four valves per cylinder. Working volume 2,487 cc. Maximum combined power 160 kW – 218 hp at 5,500 rpm. Maximum torque 221 Nm from 3,600 to 5,200 rpm. Maximum electric motor power 88 kW – 120 hp.
Power transmission: Front axle drive, CVT automatic transmission, 18 inch wheels, tires 225/60 R18 100H (Dunlop Grandtrek PT30).
Suspension: Forward MacPherson with triangular transverse shoulders and stabilizer, back multilink, coil springs.
Performance and Fuel Consumption: Acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h – 8.4 s. Top speed – 180 km / h. Test average consumption – 6.2 l / 100 km. Factory declared average consumption – 4.6 l / 100 km. Average CO2 emissions – 105 g / km. 55 l is the volume of the tank.
Dimensions: Length – 4.600 mm. Width – 1.855 mm. Height – 1,685 mm. Wheelbase – 2.690 mm. Luggage compartment 580 to 1.690 liters. Curb weight – 1.675 kg. Gross Vehicle Weight – 2.135 kg.
Test Vehicle Standard Equipment:central sunroof, trunk light, illuminated entry system, leg room light, sun blinds and mirrors, 12V front socket, 12V trunk socket, cordless mobile phone charger, child lock in door, key reminder , 7-inch TFT multi-color color display, eco-driving indicator, hybrid system indicator, on / off switch automatic high beam (AHB), front shelf front passenger compartment, front passenger compartment with lock, front and rear bottle and cup holders, 1.5 liter bottle holder, sunglasses holder, front passenger seat back pocket, rear console compartment , luggage compartment cover, driver and front passenger carpets, seven airbags, front passenger airbag on / off switch, front and rear seat belt reminder,
Optional equipment on the test car: pearl color, navigation system, electric sunroof.
Warranties: five years without mileage restrictions, 10 years for batteries, 12 years for corrosion, three years for paint.