Ahead of the launch of the Toyota Corolla Cross that will become the first hybrid model to be manufactured in South Africa, Toyota South Africa is increasing its options with the introduction of the Corolla Hybrid and RAV4 Hybrid.
In the African context, hybrid is the way to go as a method of ‘greening’ the motoring pasture ahead of a comprehensive roll-out of an electric vehicle charging infrastructure – that also would be dependant on a stable power supply from Eskom.
In fleet management terms, hybrid makes a strong case considering the wildly escalating price of fuel with potential savings of hundreds of thousands of Rand for larger fleets – although this is somewhat mitigated by the (still way too high) pricing on hybrid derivatives.
This powertrain technology debuted in 1997 in the Toyota Prius. While the Prius has undoubtedly been the poster child for Hybrid, Toyota has recognised the need to expand this new energy technology to other mainstream model ranges – in pursuit of greater Hybrid adoption and wider market appeal.
The Corolla Hybrid
Based on the 11th-generation Corolla sedan, the Corolla Hybrid features Toyota’s latest generation 2ZR-FXE engine (shared with the Prius). This 1,8-litre, four-cylinder mill employs Atkinson-cycle technology to deliver a supplementary 53 kW and 163 Nm (at full capacity) – to boost overall system output to 90 kW.
The Hybrid powertrain also employs a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gearbox – which seamlessly integrates the two drive sources, feeding power to the front wheels. Toyota’s latest generation hybrid models utilise a ‘starting reduction gear’ to improve acceleration from standstill and provide a more direct-drive feeling when taking off. Drivers thus get the comfort and convenience of a ‘two-pedal’ arrangement while not sacrificing on driveability, performance or fuel economy.
The Corolla Hybrid is offered in the Xs spec level. This mid-tier grade 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 three-spoke leather steering wheel with steering switches.
The audio system comprises a 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 a claimed 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 1 200 km on a single tank.
Corolla Xs CVT Hybrid – R 419 900
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 as is an 8-year / 195 000 km Hybrid battery warranty.
The RAV4 Hybrid
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 Camry Hybrid.
It boasts many of the same technologies shared by the Corolla Hybrid, in a larger displacement fourcylinder 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 88 kW and 202 Nm (at maximum state of charge) to deliver a total system output of 160 kW. Power is transmitted to the front wheels via a CVT transmission.
The fuel consumption index is listed at 4,7 l/100 km with CO2 emissions registering 107 g/km.
The RAV4 Hybrid is offered in tweaked GX trim and boasts LED head and tail lamps complete with DRL’s up front, rain-sensing wipers, heated and power-operated side mirrors and keyless entry.
Occupants are catered for with dual-zone climate control, three 12-volt power outlets and multiple cupholders. Driver convenience is boosted by the fitment of Cruise Control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, multi-information display and a tilt & telescopic steering wheel finished in leather and incorporating steering switches.
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), anti-lock braking, EBD, VSC, Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Hill Assist Control (HAC) and Drive Mode Select (Eco/Normal/Power). A full complement of crash bags is present, including side and curtain variants, as well as an anti-theft system.
The RAV4 Hybrid rides on 17-inch alloy wheels with 225-65-R17 rubber joined by a full-size spare wheel. Roof rails, a rear spoiler, blue Toyota insignia, Hybrid badging and mud guards also form part of the standard repertoire.
RAV4 GX Hybrid CVT – R 555 300
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 with an 8-year / 195 000 km Hybrid battery warranty.