Toyota has been at the forefront of hybrid vehicles for a while and is starting to use the technology and green credentials from the Prius over more of its range. The new RAV4 has been given the hybrid touch and, along with all-wheel drive, could be right up our country lane.
The one we’re taking a look at is the Excel AWD edition, a higher spec version. First off, it looks a bit futuristic. There’s an element of Toyota’s sister company Lexus in the styling, which isn’t a bad thing. I’m a fan of the deep blue paintwork (or Obsidian blue to give its official title).
Though the RAV4 has some bold angles in places, it doesn’t look over the top and has the appearance of a higher-end SUV. I quite like the overall silhouette and it’s set off nicely by the 18in alloys. Admittedly it’s quite different from the original RAV4 but it’s not hard on the eye. The angular theme continues over the bonnet and front bumper. Combined with sleek yet bold headlamps and its big grille, it looks a bit beast-like.
The clearance of the front bumper suggests that it could be a limiting factor for off-piste excursions, but with a minimum clearance of 190mm it should be able to deal with a rut or two. No clearance worries at the back — plenty of room.
Most of the workhorse bits are draped in protective plastic, but there are a few glimpses of the independent suspension and AWD running gear with a few bits of electronic trickery.
One-touch of a button reveals a decent-sized boot. Plenty of room for four-legged companions and some kit. There are a couple of dog guards available as optional extras.
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