Features
25 nov 19

Toyota RAV4 goes plug-in hybrid, Lexus UX goes electric

Times are changing and not even the most hybrid OEM of them all can survive without switching to pluggable electrified vehicles. Toyota has long defended the principle of the ‘self-charging’ hybrid, i.e. a vehicle that cleverly and automatically switches between petrol and electricity with only kinetic energy (regenerative braking) to charge a small battery. In times where CO2 targets are tightened, such a constellation is no longer sufficient – the only way forward is bigger batteries and therefore an external plug.

Toyota RAV4 Prime: another plug-in hybrid compact crossover

2020 will be the year of the plug-in hybrid for many mainstream OEMs, especially in the compact and mid-sized SUV segment. Opel Grandland X, Peugeot 3008, Citroën C5 Aircross, Ford Kuga, Kia XCeed, Cupra Formentor: there is no lack of newcomers that dive below 50 g/km and offer compelling TCO numbers, especially in countries where tax benefits apply.

Toyota is entering the pluggable crossover scene as well, with the recently introduced RAV4. Beneath the bonnet lies a 2.5 petrol unit mated to a 62kW electric motor fed by a lithium-ion battery pack. The electric range is estimated at 60km, the CO2 emissions at 30g/km. Interestingly, the battery pack does not compromise the boot volume. Sales start in the first half of 2020, with deliveries commencing in Q3 or Q4 depending on the market.

Lexus UX300e: a premium electric crossover to fight the DS3 Crossback E-Tense

Whereas Toyota opts for PHEV, Lexus goes for EV. The C-HR-based Lexus UX becomes all-electric and goes by the name UX300e, featuring a 54.3kWh battery for roughly 400km of NEDC range, so expect the WLTP range to be around 300km. If there is one direct rival in this segment, it’s the DS3 Crossback E-Tense, which features similar specs. The Lexus is a lot more powerful, though: it puts 150kW on the front  wheels, compared to just 100kW in the case of the fancy Frenchman.

Another differentiator is the fact that the Japanese premium crossover has paddle shifters offering different levels of regenerative braking. Lexus also says it has worked hard to keep drag and wind noise at bay. The UX300e will be sold in Europe and China from 2020 onwards and in Japan in 2021.  

Authored by: Dieter Quartier