Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid / Champion in consumption

Toyota has long been a leader in hybrid technology and its now legendary HSD (Hybrid Synergy Drive) system is by far the most efficient on the market. It may therefore seem strange that there were not many plug-in hybrids in the manufacturer’s offer yet. So far, basically only two have been available in our country, the Prius III. generation and Prius IV. generations that had their plug-in hybrid version. I had the opportunity to test the latter, and in terms of efficiency, so far no other plug-in hybrid has surpassed it. This time, however, I received a long-awaited new RAV4 plug-in hybrid. It is based on the 5th generation of the popular RAV4 and, in addition to the tested plug-in hybrid, also get a petrol or hybrid variant with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The plug-in hybrid is always only available with all-wheel drive in three trim levels.

The propulsion system consists of a classic hybrid system with a combination of a 2.5-liter atmospheric four-cylinder operating in the Atkinson cycle, with a pair of electric motors, which are connected to the motor by means of a double planetary power converter. He takes care of the drive of the front wheels, the rear wheels are driven by a separate electric motor. The power of the front electric motors is 134 kW and the rear 40 kW. The total system power is 225 kW and thanks to it, the vehicle can get from 0 to 100 km / h in 6 seconds, while it can reach a maximum speed of 180 km / h. The rear engine is designed primarily for starting and possible driving in terrain and degraded conditions and connects automatically depending on the conditions and the selected driving mode. The RAV4 is one of the few plug-in hybrids that, thanks to the sufficient power of the electric motors, handles most driving situations only on electricity, and the internal combustion engine comes into play only in limited situations. It allows electricity to be driven up to a speed of 135 km / h. The battery has a capacity of up to 18.1 kWh, which is also above average, and you will find more capacity only in plug-in hybrids BMW X5 Xdrive45e, Mercedes GLE 350de or Range Rover Defender P400e, for which, however, you pay almost twice as much. The only thing that can be blamed on Toyota is the use of only a single-phase charger with an output of 6.6 kW, which reduces the possibility of using charging, for example during the day for shopping and the like. It takes about 2.5 hours to fully charge. Satisfaction can be at least that the manufacturer will give you a wallbox worth about 750 euros straight to the car, which also counts.

The fact that Toyota is a leader in hybrid systems is also proven by the results of our tests. According to the WLTP methodology, the manufacturer states an electric range of up to 75 km per charge. During real rides of the district / city, we reached 65 – 72 km without any problems with the use of air conditioning and normal driving. In the test purely in districts without the use of air conditioning and a more gentle style, I managed to reach up to 86 (!) Km. I drove using commutes and recuperation without unnecessarily sharp acceleration or deceleration, but at normal prescribed speeds. After discharging, the battery is maintained at 13-18% in hybrid mode. This is where the biggest advantages of the hybrid HSD system are shown. The combined 340 km route, which I set off with a charged battery, with about 40% of which was the highway, ended with a consumption of 4.9 l / 100 km. With a clean highway without charging, you will reach 5.5-6.5 l / 100 km. The rest of the test I drove after a combination of districts and cities with regular recharging. At the end of the test, after almost 1,100 kilometers, consumption stabilized at 3.7 l / 100 km, which I have not been able to do with any plug-in hybrid yet, although, of course, the final consumption of plug-in hybrids always depends on their use, average length of driving and charging. Nevertheless, this indicates the great potential and sophistication of the technology.

However, the new plug-in hybrid RAV4 has other advantages. We got it in the highest Selection equipment, which also included a VIP package with a panoramic sunroof, a JBL audio system with 9 speakers and electrically adjustable leather front seats with ventilation and heating of the rear seats, as well as a color head-up display. The vehicle was in an additional white pearl color with a black roof. Basically, nothing more can be bought in the car. Most essential safety and assistance systems, including intelligent adaptive cruise control, are already included in the lower Comfort and Selection equipment, which complements them. It works very well, including lane keeping. The equipment also includes blind spot monitoring and operation behind the vehicle, a pre-crash safety system and much more. The dashboard has a quality workmanship and is dominated by a multimedia system display protruding from the center console like a tablet. Unfortunately, the resolution and graphics of the display do not fit the advanced rest of the vehicle at all and look as if taken from some older models. It’s functional, but not nice. I also missed the consumption overview a bit, it is in a rather strange form here and you can’t read much of it. The system only shows petrol consumption in some modes. The instrument panel, which is a combination of mechanical and electronic indicators, also looks a bit old-fashioned. The graphics are also a bit strange. It looks as if Toyota has fired developers who worked on the Prius or Mirai dashboards that were clear and with a decent design. On the other hand, I have to praise that Toyota does not resort to wild attempts at touch controls, and there are honest mechanical buttons for everything. The head-up display is also excellent, with beautiful and clear graphics with animated navigation elements. The equipment also includes a digital central rear-view mirror, which is, by the way, the highest quality I have ever seen. The image has high resolution and excellent sharpness even at night and has an even wider viewing angle than a classic mirror. If the display does not suit you, simply switch it to a classic mirror.

The center console carries the gear lever, which also has the option of sequential shifting. You can also do this with paddles under the steering wheel, but its meaning is quite questionable. The HSD power converter has no physical stages and the power change is continuous, so it is only a software toy. Well, someone might put up with it. Next to the gear lever there is also a control wheel for switching between Eco and Sport modes, by pressing you will get back to Normal. There is also a Trail button that turns on offroad mode. In front of the wheel are two more buttons for selecting the modes of the hybrid system. The Auto button switches the system to fully automatic mode, in which it also takes into account the planned route and manages the battery accordingly and switches between hybrid driving and battery driving. The HV / EV / Charge button allows you to switch to hybrid mode when priority is given to electricity, but in the event of greater acceleration or load, the internal combustion engine is automatically switched on to avoid unnecessarily discharging the battery. In the electric EV mode, only electric driving is preferred in its entirety, and only with kick-down does the internal combustion engine start. Holding down the button turns on the Charge mode, ie forced charging of the battery. This makes sense if you know that you are going to an emission-free zone (which is common abroad) or to mountainous terrain, where the help of electric motors can be useful for you. In the front part of the center console you will also find a place for wireless charging of the mobile phone, as well as USB connections and 12 V power supply. There is also a 230 V socket in the trunk.

The new RAV4 model drives very well and the cab is very soundproofed. The chassis handles unevenness well and is not surprised even by the occasional off-road trip, the performance is more than enough. And all this with very interesting consumption even in a purely hybrid mode. In terms of efficiency, it is the unrivaled and most economical plug-in hybrid SUV on the market.


In-line four-cylinder petrol engine, displacement in cm³: 2487, power in kW (k) 185, max. torque (Nm at rpm) 227 at 3200 – 3700, transmission: stepless automatic, electric motor power (kW): 134 + 40, system power (kW): 225, driven axle: 4 × 4, max. speed (km / h): 250, max. electric speed (km / h): 135, acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h (s): 5.1, battery capacity (kWh): 18.1, AC charger 1f 6.6 kW


+ Efficiency, power, equipment, processing, el. approach
– Underestimated infotainment graphics

Model price (EUR with VAT): 49 990 EUR, test vehicle: 58 590 EUR


• Consumption in the test for the first 100 km (l / 100 km) 1.5
• Consumption in hybrid mode (l / 100 km) 5.5
• Total combined consumption (l / 100 km) 3.7
• Electrical range in test (km) 86
• AC charging power on 11 kW 3f charger (kW): 7.4
• Max. DC charging power, charger 50 kW (kW)
• Charging time 10-80% (min)

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Source: Nextech by

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