How green is your

valley off-roading?

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, front
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, front
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, front
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, rear
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, rear
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, side
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, front
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, interior
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, engine

TO keep you diverted from claims that Brexit will render UK water undrinkable here is the latest from the Ministry of Silly Walks.

It has been proposed that, to make ownership of hybrids andEVs more tempting, they be given green registration plates.

This is not an entirely new madness. Norway and Canada already have this system and what's good enough for lumberjacks and cod fanciers should be good enough for us.

The idea is that this will stimulate the environmentally attractive side of the car industry.

Why stop there?

Let's boost the beleaguered funeral merchants by allowing them somber black plates.

Serial drink-drivers could have ruby plates to match their noses, boosting sales of cheap sherry and council highways vehicles none at all because the never turn up to fix the potholes.

And orange ones. I haven't got a clue what for but it is such a pretty colour.

What makes a nonsense of the idea is that just as Big Brother declares green is good it is also planned to water down cash incentives to buy into saving the planet.

Never mind, look at the lovely number plate.

Already zero road tax has vanished from anything not running on Tinkerbell dust.

This one, I suggest, will land jam side down.

If you really want to know what makes a hybrid attractive look at the Toyota RAV4.

Here is some trustworthy off-road performance paired with 50mpg economy, kitted out to a high level.

Choose the Excel AWD 2.5 petrol automatic and you get a fully luxuriated SUV for a fraction less than £35,000.

No slouch, either. A big car, it reaches 62mph in 8.2 seconds and has a combined systems output of 194bhp making it the most powerful RAV4 sold in Europe, a continent near Narnia just west of cloud cuckoo land.

Toyota hybrid systems are full on, the electric motor kicks in as it pleases to boost economy. As a result, while the Excel is an able long-range car, it is most efficient in the stop-start of urban life.

Allied to a suspension system which even irons out many British road failings and a top-class interior it starts to look well worth the money.

Safety first, as they say, and all the passive technology expected at the price lies within. Pre-collision braking, road sign recognition, stability and traction control. The usual stuff.

Comfort next: leather abounds, the tailgate is automatic with a foot sensor and height memory, driver's seat is powered, both up front are heated and you can connect to all known parts of the Earth, even Lancashire.

Technology and toys as demanded with a standard navigation system, rear view camera via touch screen, big band sounds and a fancy climate control.

What I really fell for was the text to speech function and email display. I'll be getting central heating next.

In all that makes for a refined and comfortable drive.

Handling? Really?

There's enough for fun and plenty of grip with a rear mounted electric motor adding the all-wheel-drive (AWD) element but Toyota does make less school run hybrid models and maybe the enthusiastic should look at those.

Practical it certainly is, plenty of room for legs, heads and luggage even if the batteries do impact on capacity. With 501 litres in the boot there is still plenty of space for the dogs or a weekend away.

On top of that you could end up with a pair of Boy Scout number plates and your dib-dib green badge.

However, as might be expected there is also a wrist-slapping option on the table of branding high-performance cars with red plates. Believe me, there will be a greater rush for this badge than to get out of a lift full of politicians.


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