The fifth generation RAV4 was launched officially here with a mix of on and yes some off-road driving through the Manawatu and middle of the North Island at the beginning of April. With close on 40,000 units sold since the launch of the then ground-breaking first-gen “crossover model back in 1995, Toyota claims that the RAV4 is New Zealand’s biggest-selling SUV by a long shot.
So, it’s fair to say that there is plenty riding on the on-going appeal of the new Gen 5 version, which with its larger overall footprint, sharper more angular styling and choice of hybrid drivetrains, represents the most revolutionary change in the popular model’s 24-year history.
Access all areas
For instance, in a first for Toyota New Zealand’s SUV line-up, a hybrid powertrain will be available across all three grades, GX, GXL and Limited, all in all-wheel drive. Two all-wheel drive petrol grades, GXL and Adventure, and three front-wheel drive petrol grades, GX, GXL and Limited complete the line-up.
The 2019 RAV4 comes in three powertrain options, including a 2.5-litre hybrid-electric petrol engine for the first time in a New Zealand-specified RAV4.
Primary power unit in the hybrid line-up is a new 131kW 2.5 Litre petrol engine mated to an electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission (E-CVT). Peak power increases to 163kW when combined with the hybrid system, one which produces a combined cycle fuel consumption of just 4.8L/100km with CO2 emissions as low as 112g/km.
New ‘electric’ AWD system
The new RAV4 Hybrid models are the first Toyotas here to include an E-Four AWD system which uses a dedicated electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed. The new system sends up to 50 percent of the torque to the rear axle and the differential can then send it in varying amounts to the individual wheels.
Operating independently from the hybrid system’s front electric motor and driving the rear wheels alone, E-Four smoothly switches the RAV4 Hybrid AWD to all-wheel-drive on slippery road surfaces and from stationary starts.
The new range-topping Adventure model justifies its nametag by featuring a Toyota first – a Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD system. All petrol all-wheel-drive models also offer a multi-terrain option if you head off-piste in one, with a Mud and Sand mode for beach driving or Rock & Dirt one for fire trials, etc. Using the Multi-Information Display (MID), the driver can also view torque allocation and slip control, which will fluctuate depending on driving conditions.
The Gen 5 RAV4 is built on the Toyota New Global Architecture platform which, with its low centre of gravity and significantly increased body rigidity, contributes to superior handling and ride comfort.