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Car reviews - Toyota - RAV4 - GXL 2WD HYBRID


The RAV4 hybrid beats diesel for emissions, economy and grunt

23 Aug 2022

THERE is a RAV4 for almost everybody in an 11-model range that offers front- and all-wheel drive, hybrid petrol/electric and straight petrol powertrains. On test, we are looking at the mid-spec, front-wheel drive GXL hybrid that sells for $40,450 plus on-road costs.


RAV4 customers overwhelmingly choose hybrid variants for good reason… they’re cheap to run compared to ICE vehicles and have plenty of get-go. This particular RAV4 is good for around 4.5 – 5.0 litres per 100km economy if you try... Better than a diesel engine by a longshot and nearly half what the 2.5-litre petrol model is capable of.


Extrapolate that to the bowser and it means big weekly savings for the average family.


Hybrid powertrains might be considered a stop gap en-route to full electrification but the fact remains Toyota’s hybrid petrol electric vehicles are about as good as they get. And they’re not as inconvenient as half-baked plug-ins (PHEVs), thank goodness.


You just jump in, drive, and occasionally put in some (91 RON) petrol. No cables, no plugs, no waiting around, no worries.


Underneath is pretty much a direct lift from Camry hybrid which means a 2.5-litre, petrol four-cylinder Atkinson Cycle engine mated to an electric “motor generator” running through a CVT transmission to the front wheels.


Total output is a claimed 160kW, but Toyota is cagey about the powertrain’s total torque, which feels like 350Nm or more with both power sources operating at capacity.


The five-seat RAV4 rides on a conventional MacStrut front and multi-link rear suspension just like Camry and is roughly the same size obviously with more interior space due to the wagon body. It has a purposeful, some might say aggressive look, to its angular face and flanks that are pleasingly different to the generic rounded look of many competitors.


The GXL does well in terms of exterior kit with auto LED headlights, tail lights and daytime running lights, front fog lamps, heated and folding electric exterior mirrors, automatic rain-sensing windscreen wipers, rear window wiper, hatch-top spoiler, shark-fin antenna, roof rails, privacy glass, dual oval tailpipes, 18-inch alloy wheels (with a 17-inch temporary spare) and front and rear mudflaps.


Inside is similarly well catered with “premium” embossed fabric seats, a leather-accented steering wheel with steering wheel controls, leather-accented shift lever, auto-dimming rear view mirror, 60:40 folding rear seat back, rear armrest with integrated cup holders, two-level reversible (carpet one side/resin other) boot deck board (which is not available with full-size spare wheel option), sunglass storage, front and rear door bins with bottle holders, 4.2-inch Multi-Info Display (MID), Hybrid-specific indicator (Hybrid only), front 12V DC accessory socket.


From a safety perspective the RAV4 GXL scores with Toyota’s Safety Sense package that includes a reversing camera with guidance lines in GXL.


Comfort and convenience features include dual-zone climate control with rear vents, a Qi wireless phone charger and keyless ignition, while the infotainment system uses an 8.0-inch touchscreen incorporating, sat-nav with SUNA service, voice control, SIRI and ToyotaLink services.

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