In 1994, Toyota’s launch of the original RAV4 introduced a new kind of car to the world, one that combined the go-anywhere performance and rugged stance of an SUV with compact dimensions and handling more akin to a hatchback.
Now the fifth generation of the RAV4 has been launched based on what Toyota calls a TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform.
Toyota is claiming that a low centre of gravity and significantly increased body rigidity contributes to superior handling, ride comfort, a spacious interior, class-leading load space, lower roof and bonnet lines and higher ground clearance.
The powertrain is a 2.5 litre, 219bhp self-charging hybrid electric and the choice of an overwhelming majority of customers in Western Europe (85 per cent in 2018).
The RAV4’s all-wheel drive systems have been comprehensively improved to achieve a “drive on any road” capability. The new RAV4 Hybrid’s electric AWD system has been re-engineered and enhanced to provide a stronger performance in challenging conditions and secure handling on slippery surfaces.
A feature called AWD Integrated Management (AIM) automatically adjusts different vehicle systems – steering assist, brake and throttle control, shift pattern and drive torque distribution – according to the drive mode selected.
In the new RAV4 Hybrid, the driver can switch from Normal to Eco or Sport mode. When choosing Sport mode, AIM modifies the steering assist, throttle control shift schedule and drive torque distribution to gain better on-road performance.