IN this age of climate change wunderkind Greta Thunberg it is clear environmental priorities are increasingly uppermost in the minds of parents wanting to buy a car that leaves the planet intact for their children.
The difficulty is in finding a motor big enough to handle the rigours of family life but also boasting a small carbon footprint.
Step forward Toyota and its latest RAV4 mid-sized SUV which combines sharp good looks and large dimensions with hybrid-only power that not only has super-low carbon dioxide emissions but is also a fuel-saving choice.
The range-topping Dynamic version on show here comes with a price-tag just north of Â£37,000 - which initially looks a touch expensive.
But for that you get a four-wheel drive, self-charging hybrid - no need for leads and a wall socket - that's packed full of goodies as well as being a practical and comfortable home for you and yours.
In the UK market, power is solely provided by an all-new hybrid powertrain consisting of a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine in cahoots with two electric motors and an automatic CVT transmission giving 219bhp.
Different driving modes can be accessed called Eco, Normal and Sport that alter the performance to do exactly what they say on the tin, along with an electric-only EV mode that can operate at motorway speeds but is ideal when you're stuck in heavy traffic with zero emissions and fuel consumption.
Using full hybrid power progress is smooth wth 62mph reached from a standing start in a shade over eight seconds - topping out at 112 - providing the necessary get up and go around town while motorway cruising is a refined experience. With all-wheel drive the RAV4 is also a reasonable performer off-road - benefiting from Toyota's electric AWD-i system and Trail mode for extra grip when faced with difficult terrain. For those who are less adventurous front-wheel drive versions are also available.
Fuel economy is good with the digital display on the instrument binnacle not dipping below 40mpg at any point in my week of mixed motoring while emissions of 103g/km ensure low vehicle excise duty and benefit-in-kind taxation for company car drivers - as well as limiting the impact on the environment.
So far so sensible, but where the fifth generation of the RAV4 is a little more daring is with an exterior representing the model's boldest look yet.
Natty 18-inch allloy wheels, aerodynamic styling with sharp edges and muscular wheelarches, plus a two-tone colour scheme make an immediate impact on the eye - Toyota ensuring that 25 years after the introduction of its game-changing SUV it is once more impossible to ignore.
The five-door model's cabin majors on practicality and space - no surprise considering its target market - with all versions well equipped.
There's plenty of room front and back thanks to a new platform that extends the wheelbase giving rear passengers more width to spread out as well as boosting legroom so even your tallest pals can sit comfortably.
It also boosts a cave-like boot space with the 580 litres available with all the seats up easily swallowing your golf bag and trolley, while 1,690 litres become available when the split-folding rear seats are folded flat. The tailgate is powered easing the problem of getting it open when loaded down with ‘bags for life' from the supermarket. The rear doors also open nice and wide - a real help for those needing to access child seats.
The cherry on the RAV4 cake is a host of goodies with Toyota's Touch 2 Go system featuring an eight-inch multimedia touchscreen giving access to delights such as DAB radio, sat nav, while heated seats boasting full leather upholstery and automatic dual zone climate control guarantee comfort.
Front and rear parking sensors and a rear view camera make accessing tight spots a doddle while safety systems include Toyota Safety Sense - a pre-collision system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure alert, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beam/dipped beam headlights. The speed camera warning and distance countdown system is particularly useful.