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Toyota’s larger RAV4 with hybrid drive-train has quickly sold into short supply

 Official private Hybrid SUV sales for September were 432 – the lion share of those for the new Toyota RAV 4. Quite clearly, petrol/electric hybrid power has found favour with the buying public and Toyota is well placed to tap its popularity with a wide range of hybrid models. The new RAV comes in 11 models – 6 of which are hybrid they’ve quickly sold into short supply. I tested the mid-range RAV4 GXL Hybrid 2WD AT $38,140 – with 2.5-litre petrol engine coupled to an electric motor generator – it has a combined output of 160kW driving through a CVT automatic. The new RAV 4 offers much more interior room on a 30mm longer wheelbase and it’s a real plus for a small family. The styling is edgy, a little too edgy for my liking but it looks better in some colours. The hybrid driving experience first class – so quiet from rest, the transition from electric to petrol power barely perceptible. Great economy and I managed just 4.9L/100 without really trying to conserve fuel. The ride, steering and braking combined with fabulous seats really makes this latest model feel very polished. Under acceleration its very eager however with a heavy foot it can get noticeably raucous when the petrol motor kicks in, accentuated by the slip factor in the CVT automatic. But there’s so much to like about the RAV 4 hybrid and one can see why it’s a sure fire winner for Toyota –  the No 2 best seller in medium SUV’s.

I’m David Berthon.

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