TOYOTA RAV4

The new Toyota Rav4, which we have already been able to drive, improves its predecessor in virtually all aspects, especially in interior space, luggage compartment, dynamic behavior and efficiency of the hybrid system. Available with front and integral traction, offers 218 or 222 horses and part of 31,800 euros with launch discount included. The Toyota Rav4 is an average SUV, one of the most sold in the world, and has released its fifth generation with distinctive features that allow it to greatly exceed the previous. It is only offered with hybrid mechanics , now with a 2.5-liter petrol engine and a combined power that oscillates between the 218 horses -if you choose with front-wheel drive, with an electric motor- or 222 -in versions with all-wheel drive, equipped with a second electric motor to move the rear axle when necessary.

The chassis of the Rav4 2019 is different from its predecessor, and is much more closely related to that of its little brother , the C-HR . This is the platform called TNGA, in its K variant, which allows the new Toyota SUV to gain three centimeters of wheelbase, one centimeter wide and increase 1.5 centimeters of ground clearance despite losing that same amount of space. Total height. It is also very lightly shorter than its predecessor, to stand at 4.6 meters in length, and achieves a decrease in the center of gravity of 1 centimeter with respect to its predecessor. As for its efficiency, the Rav4 launches a new evolution of Toyota’s hybrid system , what they call their fourth generation. The 2.5-liter petrol engine and the Atkinson cycle combine direct and indirect injection and achieve an energy efficiency of 41%. The thermal engine is complemented by an electric motor that, according to the brand, is capable of turning faster than its predecessor, and a nickel-metal hydride battery, described by Toyota as lighter and better used than ever . Unlike what happened with the Prius , they have not opted for a lithium battery and its energy is around 1.5 kilowatt-hours. The choice of material is due, according to the brand, to the need for mass supply that could only be guaranteed by a supplier of its more traditional technology. As for battery power, the Rav4 is charged and discharged quickly, as energy is recovered by using the thermal engine as a generator or simply by inverting the electric motor best travel trailer covers.

For the philosophy of the car, as a non-plug-in hybrid, using a larger battery would not necessarily imply greater efficiency, since it also implies greater weight. The battery used allows the known electric range of about two kilometers in Toyota hybrids; unlike the previous one, now it allows an exclusively electric use at speeds of up to 120 kilometers / hour , although for a short time. As we pointed out when knowing the Honda CR-V Hybrid, the optimization of the most well-known systems can be interesting in front of the adoption of new ones, with great potential but little development. The fourth-generation Toyota hybrid system is completed by the planetary gear transmission, which has not undergone substantial changes, but which, in combination with all the above factors, translates into a more pleasant feeling of use. In most circumstances,  the ‘variator effect’ does not occur that was habitual in the previous generations of the Prius, for example. During most of the time we can drive with very little load on the thermal engine, so that it can turn to low regimes and maintain a mechanical sound very contained in the cabin. Only in very intense accelerations -incorporations to fast roads from very low speed, overtaking with steep slopes- is that monotonous and unpleasant tone typical of CVT changes perceived. The jump with respect to the previous Rav4 is frankly remarkable.

Regarding efficiency, before speaking of our experience, it is worth noting that it approves a gasoline consumption of 4.5 liters at 100 and emissions of 100 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer , in a correlated NEDC cycle -127 in WLTP pure, although the data lacks value due to lack of direct comparative-, with meager variations depending on the traction system and the equipment of tires and tires chosen. It does not pay registration tax and, of course, it has the Eco label of the DGT which, for example, allows to travel through Madrid Centro in any of the five planned scenarios of traffic restriction and only prevents parking in regulated parking areas in scenario 5. Throughout our test, we observe the evolution of consumption according to use. In a strictly urban environment, in the middle of morning rush hour in Barcelona and with an average slope clearly ascending along the route, it marked 11.8 liters per 100 kilometers of average consumption on the on-board computer. However, on open roads and at cruising speeds between 90 and 110 kilometers per hour, we recorded 7.7 liters at 100, numbers very similar to those we obtained with the Honda CR-V Hybrid.

INSIDE

The passenger compartment of Rav4 2019 is another of the aspects that Toyota has considered key for this new generation of which they are attributed as the first SUV in history. If that playful crossover of 25 years ago was the first SUV or not can admit discussion, but that the passenger compartment of his fifth generation has improved ostensibly to his predecessor is a fact. First in terms of dimensions, since, especially the rear seats are wider and have more space for the knees thanks to the increase in the battle and second, by the improvement in the choice of materials used in both the trim of the doors as in the central piece of furniture and the dashboard. The multimedia screen is not very integrated in the centerconsole , but it is perfectly within reach of the driver’s hand and offers a good tactile response with an operating system that is only slow during the boot process. To facilitate ergonomics, Toyota has combined the aforementioned screen with buttons on both sides of the display and two roulettes for the volume and tuning of the radio. The basic functions of the dual-zone climate control also offer simple operation. The quality of completion is high, although the materials used in the lower part of the passenger compartment are a simpler point than those of the Honda CR-V. There are five USB outlets , four of them with a current intensity of 2.1 amps, and two located in the rear seats, where you can also find two vents on the floor and two in the center console. It is especially worthy in the case of the rear central square where, in addition, the height to the roof is not a problem even for passengers over 2 meters tall.

DYNAMIC BEHAVIOR

It is difficult to know in depth the dynamic skills of a car in a single day of contact, but Toyota set out a frankly complete journey that allowed us to know quite well the reactions of Rav4 2019. The progress with respect to the previous generation is very noticeable; the new platform TNGA-K and a weight 100 kilos inferior -now weighs 1,665 kilos in 4×2 configuration- are key; obviously we are not facing a sports car and another in an SUV with center necessarily high gravity and longer wheelbase than before, but it ‘s nice to drive without exaggerated body movements , and electric steering provides a correct gear ratio on the road. Nor does it fail in linear stability or in rapid curve, with the logical limits of its own conception. A good delivery of torque complemented with the electric assistance and the sensation of lower slippage of the transmission with the revised hybrid system complete the positive sensations. The same correction can be attributed to the braking team, specific to Europe “because here it goes faster than in the rest of the world,” according to a manager of Toyota Europe. Both axes have ventilated discs, 328 and 317 millimeters in diameter for the front and rear, respectively.

INTEGRAL TRACTION

After half a day of testing with the 4×2 version, we jump to another unit equipped with the AWD-i all-wheel drive . The ability to generate rear axle torque does not depend on a mechanical link – transmission axle or differential – with the front or with the engines located under the bonnet, but a second electric motor located in the rear train, capable of generating a 30 % more power than in the previous generation and which, depending on the traction needs, can electronically distribute 80% of the instantaneous torque to the rear axle. It offers three modes of operation for this total traction: Eco, Normal and Sport , but above all it also launches the so-called Trail Mode , which is selected by a button located above the wheel located in the center console. Basically acts as a stability control with self-blocking function, so that in case of putting one or two wheels in the air in a difficulty of route, brakes the free wheel so that the torque is transmitted entirely to the wheels that are in the soil and must generate movement.

TOYOTA SAFETY SENSE

The Rav4 offers a series of safety and assistance systems called Toyota Safety Sense in all its versions . It is not new in the range of the Japanese house, but for this model it improves the adaptive ‘cruise control’ , which now allows its use from standstill at unlimited speed and that works very well, with a system of emergency braking that is not intrusive as others tested. It also adds an improvement to the maintenance assistant in the lane , which now has centering capability within the mentioned lane, and which works correctly when the road lines are well painted, when the curves are not very steep or when you follow another car – the car’s cameras and radars take data from the previous car to imitate its trajectory. The brand refers to it as almost semi-autonomous driving ; our sensation has been more earthy, but it can be useful in the event of the driver’s mistrust.

COMPOSITION OF RANGE

Since the Rav4 is only offered with a motorization in Spain, its range is short and easy to explain in broad strokes, distributed in five finishes . The basic is the Business , which starts at 29,950 euros, whose sales will be concentrated mainly in the fleets. It includes as standard the 17-inch wheels and has a simpler multimedia system than in the rest of the range, with a central screen of 7 inches and another 4 located in the center of the control panel.

Toyota Rav4 2019 with Luxury finish

The next step is called Advance Plus and adds to the previous one, for 33,600 euros, elements such as the synthetic leather upholstery, the keyless entry system, the electric tailgate and the front parking sensors. Finally, the Luxury finish adds to all the previous ones -although without the two-tone paint- elements such as the integral leather upholstery, the electrically adjustable seats, the opening of the tailgate with the passage of the leg through the lower part of the back , the navigator with advanced functions and a series of elements that complement the Toyota Safety Sense, such as the 360   degree vision system, blind spot monitor, the rear cross traffic alert and the intelligent rear-view mirror , the latter without a doubt a claim of sale for this Rav4, although it was difficult to get used to calculate the true distance between our back and the front of the car that chases us. The Rav4 Luxury costs 37,800 euros.

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