WATCH: Here's why SA will only see the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid in a year or two

<i>Image: Press Association</i>
<i>Image: Press Association</i>

Earlier in January, Toyota unleashed its new RAV4 Hybrid in Barcelona, Spain. While it is not yet available for the local market, it will be confirmed for South Africa in the next year or two.

Yes, we have plenty of hybrid models in our local market but there's a reason the new RAV4 Hybrid will only arrive at a later stage.

Headed for SA?

South Africa will receive a five-model line-up comprising of two engines at launch: 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre petrol, at the local launch in March. There will be three grades available, namely GX (entry-level) GXR (Adventure) and VX (range-topper).

South Africa along with countries like Russia, Chile, and the US will also receive petrol engines while the majority of the global markets will receive the Hybrid model only.  

Toyota says the new RAV4 remains unique in its class in offering customers a self-charging, hybrid powertrain – the choice of an overwhelming majority of customers for the model in Western Europe (85% in 2018). And just like diesel models are being phased out in most of Europe and other parts of the world, it's still a very popular choice in South Africa.

The same applies to the Hybrids; just like 85% of Western Europe favours this technology in vehicles, locally we're just not there yet.

It's for this reason that Toyota South Africa has decided to introduce the Hybrid at a later stage as a top-of-the-range vehicle as customer demand lies heavily at the lower spectrum in the form of the 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre petrol variants. 

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post attended the international launch, so look out for her driving impression of the 2.0-litre petrol version later this week.

The new 2.5-litre petrol hybrid Dynamic Force, offering 160kW in front-wheel drive form and 163kW with all-wheel drive, will strengthen customer appeal, delivering step-changes in power, responsiveness and efficiency, with best-in-class fuel economy and emissions levels. 

At the same time, all-wheel drive systems have been comprehensively improved to achieve a "drive on any road" capability.

Toyota says the new RAV4 Hybrid’s electric AWD-i system has been re-engineered and enhanced to provide much stronger performance in challenging conditions and secure handling on slippery surfaces.

The automaker says it's also the first vehicle in its stable to benefit from additional Toyota Safety Sense features that extend the use of advanced technologies to help prevent accidents and provide greater driver assistance, including systems that introduce a degree of automated driving.

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