When the new RAV4 arrives in a few months, it will see the debut of Toyota’s first hybrid-powered SUV.

The hybrid version features the option of a newly developed electric all-wheel drive system that provides maximum traction with high-level fuel efficiency.

Non-hybrid models get a mechanical all-wheel drive system, updated with Toyota’s first dynamic torque vectoring system that apportions torque between the left and right rear wheels as well as between the front and rear axles.

Due in local dealerships during the second quarter of 2019, the fifth-generation RAV4 will be offered with three new four-cylinder direct-injection engines.

There’s a 2.0-litre petrol with front-wheel-drive (FWD), 2.5-litre hybrid (FWD or electric AWD) and 2.5-litre petrol (mechanical AWD).

Highlighting the performance credentials of Toyota’s hybrid technology, the most powerful yet most fuel-efficient RAV4 variants will be equipped with 2.5-litre hybrid technology delivering total system output of 155kW.

Buyers choosing the non-hybrid version of this new 2.5-litre engine will have 152kW and 243Nm on tap — almost 15.2 per cent more power and 4.3 per cent more torque than the current engine of similar capacity.

It will be mated exclusively to a new 8-speed automatic transmission, including a lower first gear for enhanced start-off performance and a much wider ratio spread than the 6-speed it replaces.

toyota's first hybrid suv coming - Toyota RAV4 2 - Toyota’s first hybrid SUV comingRAV4 can also be equipped with a new 2.0-litre engine that delivers thermal efficiency of up to 40 per cent. Maximum power has been increased by 18.7 per cent to 127kW and peak torque by 8.6 per cent to 203Nm.

It will come with the choice of a CVT or an intelligent six-speed manual gearbox that provides rev-matching control for smoother and more responsive gear shifts. This new CVT features an innovative launch gear for sporty driving with impressive fuel efficiency.

Toyota’s Sean Hanley said the new drivelines and AWD systems will add to the RAV4’s spirit of adventure and driving pleasure by delivering enhanced performance, capability and control.

“All-new RAV4 will offer even greater appeal for people looking to re-energise in comfort and luxury, whether on the everyday commute or while enjoying weekend trips away,” he said.

“The new drivetrains deliver confidence-inspiring performance and agility and will result in a new perception of hybrid with electric AWD capability that enhances driving pleasure.”

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.