There has been huge interest in Toyota’s first fully electric car, the bZ4X which is due in Irish car showrooms in June.
The car was on display at Dundrum Shopping Centre in South Dublin for a few days before the St Patrick’s weekend and apparently around 2,000 prospective customers registered their interest online. We are told that the entry level version of the bZ4X will be capable of doing up to 515km on a single charge.
I didn’t get to see the new car in Dundrum, but last week I did have the pleasure of driving Toyota’s new RAV4 plug-in hybrid. Apart from some new charge points at Junction 14 near Monasterevin, I haven’t see many new charge points being installed around the country, so for me Hybrid or plug-in Hybrid means less range anxiety.
Toyota has given their popular RAV4 a make-over and the company who specialise in Hybrid cars, now give us their first plug-in hybrid version. The big change with a plug-in hybrid is that you can now get up you 75km in fully electric and maybe a few kilometres more with careful driving in urban driving.
This chunky-looking SUV has been with us since 1994 and my test car was a face-lifted version of the fifth generation of the RAV4.
Toyota, who stopped making cars with diesel engines in 2018, claim that one litre of petrol will allow you to travel 100km. But to achieve that target you would need to keep the battery charged.
The new version of the RAV4 is fitted with a 18kw/h battery pack and married to Toyota’s 2.5-litre petrol engine, its combined output of 306 horse power is greater than many rivals in the Irish market.
It’s also one of the quicker plug-in crossovers around, delivering a zero to 100km/h in six seconds flat. It’s certainly sturdy and has a really high driving position. You get a good view of everything around you from that commanding driving position.
Overall there is very tidy look to the dash and Toyota now embraces Android and Apple CarPlay facilities.
I drove a pearl red coloured car with a black roof. I noticed that the Sport version is also available in Pearl White, Silver, Ash Grey or Midnight Blue. Inside the black leather seats had red stitching which certainly brightened up the interior décor.
To accommodate the larger battery pack the boot space has been reduced by 60 litres to 500 litres. But it’s still massive and it was a pleasant surprise to find a ‘mini’ spare wheel in that spacious boot.
Six years ago after complaints from other car manufacturers Toyota had to withdraw their ads which said that they were ‘the best built cars in the world,’ but it was such a strong and catchy strap line that every time I see a Toyota I think of the ad. However, I think Toyota are allowed to say that they make the ‘best built mass produced cars in the world.’
Prices start at €51,890 for the Sol version, while the Sport version that I drove, will cost you €53,735. Road tax is €140. It’s a massive motor, so quiet on the road and so easy to manoeuvre.
Incidentally the vehicle’s name, RAV4, is an abbreviation of ‘Recreational Active Vehicle’ with 4-wheel drive.’