LOS ANGELES - Ever since pioneering the cute ute segment in the early nineties, the Toyota Rav4 has been a lot of things to a lot of people, while morphing into a relatively premium family-sized ride. But one thing it has never been is a full-blown performance SUV. Until now that is…

Toyota has just pulled the covers off the new Rav4 Prime in prototype form at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and it’s a plug-in hybrid performance model with an estimated system output of 225kW. Claiming to usher in a new chapter of fast Toyota SUVs, the Rav4 Prime is set to hit global markets during the course of 2020. However Toyota South Africa said the new model has not been confirmed for our market, which is neither a yes nor a no in our book.

How fast is it, then? 

Toyota is estimating a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.8 seconds for the Rav4 Prime, making it the second quickest Toyota in the line-up, but the other big selling point is that it will apparently be able to cover around 63km on battery power alone.

At its heart is a 2.5-litre normally aspirated petrol engine and powerful motor generators, which are also fed by a high-capacity lithium ion battery and booster converter. Splitting the torque between the wheels is the same Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel-Drive system that's fitted to the regular Rav4 Hybrid model. It also has a driver-selectable Trail Mode, which comes to the rescue of drivers stuck with a wheel in the air by sending torque to the grounded rim.

Setting the Rav4 Prime apart from its humbler family members is a sport-tuned suspension system and a number of unique design features. Depending on the model grade chosen, this vehicle is fitted with either 18-inch or 19-inch alloy wheels.

Would you like to see this one on South African shores?

IOL Motoring