The new Rav4 Hybrid (left) and Corolla Hybrid. Picture: Supplied.
Japanese automaker Toyota has launched hybrid variants of two of its most popular passenger cars in South Africa – Corolla and RAV4.
"Both Corolla and RAV4 Hybrid are a first for South Africa, and combine all the virtues of their conventional namesakes with the added performance and fuel efficiency of Toyota’s proven hybrid system," the company said.
Hybrid is used to identify a dual-source powertrain combining a traditional internal combustion gasoline engine with a high-current electric motor.
Based on the 11th-generation Corolla sedan, the Corolla Hybrid features Toyota’s latest generation 2ZR-FXE engine. This 1.8-litre, four-cylinder mill employs Atkinson-cycle technology to deliver outstanding thermal efficiency, helping to deliver low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
As efficiency is the aim of the game, the petrol engine utilises many friction-reducing technologies under the skin, such as lightweight and coated connecting rods, low-friction timing chain and conical valve springs. The company said that special attention has also been paid to heat recovery using an improved Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system.
"It is boosted by the latest-generation electric motor and battery pairing – which deliver a more compact package that is lighter in weight and lower in cost and reflects significant advances in battery, electric motor and petrol engine technologies.
"The hybrid battery has a higher energy density, which means that even though its size was reduced by 10%, its power output remained the same. It can absorb 28% more energy in the same amount of time, for more rapid self-charging."
The electric motors themselves are smaller but also have an improved power-to-weight ratio. The electric motor provides a supplementary 53kW and 163Nm – to boost overall system output to 90 kW.
Toyota said that the hybrid powertrain also employs a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gearbox – which seamlessly integrates the two drive sources, feeding power to the front wheels.
The Corolla Hybrid is offered in the valued-minded Xs spec level. This mid-tier grade, Toyota said, combines all the key comfort and convenience features while keeping with the hybrid’s more pragmatic bias.
Standard specification includes LED head and taillamps with Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and automatic control, keyless entry, power-adjustable and heated side mirrors and full-colour coding. Other cabin niceties Include cruise control, climate control, a reverse camera, power windows all-round, multi-Information display (MID) and a three-spoke leather steering wheel with steering switches.
The audio system comprises touchscreen audio with bluetooth, USB and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality, playing through six speakers.
The Corolla Hybrid rides on bespoke 15-inch alloy wheels, shod with energy-saving 195-65-R15 tyres, which boast a low coefficient of friction.
The Corolla Hybrid offers buyers outstanding fuel efficiency, with an impressively low average fuel consumption figure of 3.5 l/100 km. CO2 emissions are equally low, registering 81 g/km. Combined with a 43-litre fuel tank, the Corolla Hybrid has a theoretical range of over 1200 km on a single tank.
- The Corolla Xs CVT Hybrid is priced at R419,900.
Customers can choose from seven exterior colours: Glacier White, Satin Silver, Dark Blue metallic, Moonlight Ocean metallic, Celestite Grey and Platinum White Pearl. The interior is finished off in classic black.
Based on Toyota’s angular 5th-generation sport utility, the RAV4 Hybrid combines a 2.5-litre hybrid powertrain with the TNGA-based 5-seater SUV. The A25A-FXS engine is shared with other global Toyota and Lexus stablemates, such as the Lexus ES and NX300h and the acclaimed Camry Hybrid.
It boasts many of the same technologies shared by the Corolla Hybrid in a larger displacement four-cylinder offering. Featuring an 'undersquare'design with Toyota D-4S port and direct injection, the Atkinson cycle engine generates 131 kW and 221 Nm in ‘ICE’ state.
The electric motor punches out 88kW and 202 Nm to deliver a total system output of 160kW. Power is transmitted to the front wheels via a CVT transmission, seamlessly integrating the two drive sources.
The hybrid pays dividends at the fuel pump, too, as the model’s fuel consumption index is listed at a mere 4.7 l/100 km, with CO2 emissions registering 107 g/km.
One Grade, One Spec
The RAV4 Hybrid is offered in tweaked GX trim. It boasts an LED head and taillamps complete with DRL’s upfront, rain-sensing wipers, heated and power-operated side mirrors and keyless entry.
The infotainment system centres around Toyota’s touchscreen interface, delivering sound output through six speakers while interfacing via 3 x USB inputs, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto mediums.
Driver support systems include Park Distance Control (PDC), ABS, EBD, VSC, Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Hill Assist Control (HAC) and Drive Mode Select (Eco/Normal/Power).
- The RAV4 GX Hybrid CVT is priced at R555,300.
A total of eight exterior hues are available; Glacier White, Pearl White, Chromium Silver, Graphite Grey, Caribbean Blue, Cinnabar Red, Urban Khaki and Moonlight Ocean metallic. The interior is finished off in a textured-black textile trim.
A six-services or 90,000 km service plan is standard with service Intervals pegged at 15,000 km / 12- months. Toyota’s standard 3-year/100 000 km warranty is included, and customers have the additional peace of mind of an 8-year / 195,000 km Hybrid battery warranty. Service and warranty plan extensions can also be purchased at their nearest Toyota dealer (220 outlets).