More hybrids as Toyota launches the gorgeous Corolla hatch Hybrid
For those who haven’t caught on yet, Hybrid cars are the stepping stone towards fully electric cars. Brands like Toyota are being intentional with bridging the gap between the internal combustion engine we know and love, and electric vehicles. With that, the Japanese brand has beefed up its local hybrid range by introducing a Corolla Hatch Hybrid, and potentially a Rav4 Plug-in Hybrid.
Corolla Hatch Hybrid
This has always been an eye-catching model, and along with the current Corolla Sedan, broke the mould for Toyota’s design ethos giving the model much-needed youthful appeal. In the hatch variant, Toyota has done some nipping and tucking here and there. The result is a facelifted Corolla Hatch with minor tweaks to its LED headlamps and bumpers, enhancing its cultured look.
This isn’t all the brand has done. The new Corolla Hatch Hybrid now does away with the 1.2-litre petrol unit previously in use, taking up the brand's 1.8-litre Hybrid. In conjunction with the electric motor, there’s been a 14% increase in output in this new setup. Should you opt for the non-hybrid Corolla hatch, it will be powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine. Toyota claims an average fuel consumption of 3.9-litres per 100km in its Corolla Hatch Hybrid, which surprisingly, we managed to achieve during our time with the car during its launch. This only proves the saving benefits of hybrid cars.
Rav4 Plug-in Hybrid
While sampling the new Corolla Hatch and its existing Sedan variants, Toyota’s representatives had a surprise lined up. Two Rav4 Plug-in Hybrids - part of the first batch to hit South African soil. Now before you get too excited about the prospect of a Rav4 Plug-in Hybrid, even though a total of eight units have landed on local soil, this variant isn’t going on sale just yet. The purpose of this shipment is to test the waters. Toyota will be using them to educate the public on Plug-in Hybrid technology and its benefits, as well as using these vehicles for research purposes. One of the things they need to determine is whether there will be adequate charging infrastructure to introduce this variant at full scale.
Should things go well, the Rav4 Plug-in Hybrid will be available for purchase with a 2.5-litre petrol engine. What makes Plug-in Hybrids attractive is the greater range that they have to offer, in this instance, the Rav4 PHEV will be able to give you 80km of pure electric range in EV mode. This is enough for most people to cover their daily commute to work. With Toyota’s 4th Generation Hybrid System, the battery will provide 18.1 kW of power, while the internal combustion engine will produce 136 kW and 227 Nm. Should there not be a charging station nearby, simply slip the Rav4 into Charging Mode, and it will use the petrol engine to recharge its battery. It will be sold with a wall socket charging cable, as well as a charging cable compatible with most charging stations. Battery power alone should offer an additional 174 kW and 391 Nm.
Until the brand determines whether or not our country is ready for its Plug-in Hybrid Rav4, details on pricing remain a top Toyota secret. What we do know is that the starting price for the new Corolla Hatch 1.8 Xs Hybrid is R481 300.
Words: Gugu Masuku