Toyota’s New Hybrid SUV Is Landing In Dealerships Around The World – Could It Disrupt The SUV Market?

Toyota’s much anticipated RAV4 Hybrid SUV is finally hitting dealerships across the world, and the company is hoping it will disrupt the automotive markets that Toyota itself defined.

Toyota has been the gas-electric hybrid sales leader in the U.S. since 2000, selling more than 3.5 million hybrids worldwide and helping drive the industry toward hybridization.

The 2016 RAV4 is Toyota’s eighth hybrid model, and uses Toyota’s full hybrid powertrain technology, which combines a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine with an electric motor.

The 2016 RAV4 Hybrid is available in front- and all-wheel drive models. The front-wheel drive runs a 2.0-litre turbodiesel with manual transmission, develops 105 kW/143 hp and 320 Nm of torque, and targets CO2 emissions of only 123 g/km.

A second, rear-mounted electric motor equips the RAV4 Hybrid all wheel-drive to aid acceleration and traction on slippery road surfaces. Cargo space is only marginally impacted, with 70.6 cubic feet on hybrids versus 73.4 cubic feet for non-hybrid RAV4s.

The all-wheel drive runs a 2.0 litre petrol unit offered with a choice of manual or CVT transmissions, combines 111 kW/151 DIN hp and 195 Nm of torque, and targets CO2 emissions from 149 g/km. The E-Four electronic all-wheel drive has a 1,650 kg towing capacity without a central prop shaft.

2016 RAV4 Hybrid
The 2016 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid’s unveiling at the New York International Auto Show on April 2, 2015. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The 2016 RAV4 also features the Toyota Safety Sense system, a new set of safety technologies. These include a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Automatic High Beams.

A restyled interior comes with the enhanced functionality of both a 4.2” Multi-information Display screen and a 7” full-colour centre console screen which incorporates the Toyota Touch® 2 multimedia system. The Panoramic View Monitor gives a 360 degree, bird’s-eye view of the vehicle’s immediate surroundings to assist parking and slow-speed maneuvering.

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 hybrid model offers best-in-class MPG and better performance than the traditional RAV4. The best compact SUV fuel efficiency, also comes with better performance, a zero-to-60 time of 8.1 seconds versus 9 seconds for non-hybrid RAV4s.

Toyota has also launched an ad campaign for the new RAV4 Hybrid which stars actor James Marsden of X-Men fame, and in two further ads, the RAV4 will be depicted, thrown into extreme scenarios, one surrounded by a pack of wolves and the other an encounter with an Amazon tribe.

2016 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid
The 2016 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid’s headlight. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Toyota is hoping the launch of two fleet-specific editions of its new RAV4 will more than triple the manufacturer’s company car registrations in the SUV sector according to motor fleet insurance expert Craig Long. The model will be available in both Business Edition and Business Edition Plus trim levels.

The Business Edition is based on the entry-level Active grade but is fitted with cruise control, DAB radio, dual-zone air conditioning, and a reversing camera as standard. The Plus comes with LED front and rear lights, a power tailgate and keyless entry. Satellite navigation is also standard on both business models but is a option on the rest of the range.

The 2016 RAV4 was on stage at the Boston 2016 New England International Auto Show, held January 14-18 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, a region that logged record Toyota sales in October, November and December. The region sold more light trucks in 2015 than ever. In all, the Boston region posted 2015 sales of 104,106 Toyota and Scion vehicles.

George Brenner, General Manager of Toyota’s Boston Region, said “2015 was a historic year for the auto industry and a great year for us here in New England, we look to continue the momentum in 2016 with new products like the RAV4.”

[Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]

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