The latest generation RAV4 was launched in 2019, but initially just as a ‘self-charging’ hybrid, without the facility to recharge from a mains supply. So the new RAV4 Plug-In is a significant addition to the line-up, offering improved mpg and reduced CO2 emissions plus a lot more power with an all-wheel drive powertrain.
Apart from the charging flap, there’s little to distinguish the new PHEV version of RAV4 from its stablemates. It’s a distinctive design, with an assertive grille and angular lines. The squared-off wheel arches with their contrast finish and the body’s sculpted surfaces convey an impression of strength and authentic SUV capability, according to Toyota. Inside, there are lots of soft-touch surfaces to enjoy, plenty of space and a symmetrical dashboard topped by a large central touchscreen. With all seats up there’s 580 litres of boot space, extending to 1,189 litres with the seats down and luggage up to the height of the tonneau cover. Fill it to the roof, and that figure grows to 1,690 litres.
The new RAV4 PHEV has the same engine as its stablemate, a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine. The difference comes with the addition of powerful electric motors front and rear and a hefty 18kWh lithium-ion battery pack. This gives a maximum combined output of 302hp, a 0-62mph time of 6.2 seconds and – impressively – an electric-only driving range of 46 miles, which Toyota claims to be best in class. Quoting official mpg and CO2 figures is always contentious because it’s based on a set distance and fully charged battery, but it still makes a big difference to company car tax liability. For the record the PHEV RAV4 will return up to 282.5mpg on the WLTP combined cycle, while emitting only 22g/km of CO2.
Toyota has a reputation for making safety a high priority and the RAV4 is no exception, whether in PHEV form or standard self-charging hybrid. The Toyota Safety Sense package includes a Pre-Collision System with night/daytime pedestrian detection and daytime cyclist detection, along with Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam, Road Sign Assist, Lane Trace Assist, intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control and eCall emergency system. All as standard.
The RAV4 Plug-In is also the flagship of the range, so it’s offered with a high level of equipment as standard and has the most powerful drivetrain, with a genuinely impressive turn of speed. Interior materials quality and comfort is excellent, it offers the reassurance of all-wheel drive for when the going gets tough and it delivers up to 46-miles in zero-emissions, electric mode. Looks like going green doesn’t have to mean going without.