Toyota RAV4 hybrid SUV revealed

A hybrid version of the Toyota RAV4 small SUV shown to public at New York Motor Show

A hybrid model is set to join the Toyota RAV4 range as the compact SUV is overhauled next year.

The new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has been unveiled at the New York Motor Show this month and is due to go on sale early next year. The new SUV will use a 2.5-litre petrol engine combined with an electric motor and will share its components with the Lexus NX SUV from the Japanese brand’s luxury arm.

The hybrid technology is the same as the set-up used in the famous Toyota Prius hybrid hatchback and Toyota Prius+ MPV. The engine in the new RAV4 Hybrid is also used in the American-market Camry saloon and it should ensure that the hybrid model is the flagship of the RAV4 range.

The new hybrid RAV4 will offer four-wheel-drive capability to help negotiate “low-grip surfaces” and is also confirmed to have a towing capacity of 1,650kg, which makes the new SUV capable of hauling a caravan.

Diesel power will remain the mainstay of the RAV4 range in the UK, where a revised version of the current car's 2.2-litre engine will be offered in both two and four-wheel-drive formats.

The images released by Toyota show a modern yet restrained facelift, as the front-end remains largely recognisable. The grille has shrunk to a crease that connects the headlights together, while the foglights have sunk further back into the bumper. The overall look is a lot more angular than the current model.

At the rear, the design changes remain subtle. The most notable change is the new tail-light design, which wraps around the rear quarters.

The new RAV4 is just one of several Toyota models to be updated recently, including the Avensis saloon and Auris hatchback.

Like those cars, the new RAV4 Hybrid will feature Toyota’s Safety Sense technology suite. This includes a pre-collision system (which helps with braking when it detects a potential crash) and lane-departure warning (which notifies you if you drifting out of your lane on the motorway). The RAV4 Hybrid will also feature adaptive cruise control, which can maintain a safe distance from the car in front.

Inside, occupants will be treated to an updated cockpit that comes equipped with a new full-colour TFT screen and a 360-degree Panoramic View Monitor, which helps you to spot any obstacles in your blind spots.

The RAV4 facelift will land in December this year, with the RAV4 Hybrid model following in early 2016. Prices are yet to be announced for the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, but more details will be available closer to the launch.

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