Updated Toyota Rav4 to get hybrid power

Toyota Rav4 Hybrid

Toyota has confirmed that the updated version of its popular Rav4 SUV – which is due to be unveiled at next week's New York motor show – will be available as a hybrid for the first time.

The current generation Rav4 has only been on sale since 2013, but Toyota has seen fit to announce a refreshed model, in the face of newer competition such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which offers low running costs due to its ability to run for short distances on electricity alone.

Details are currently thin on the ground, with the Japanese brand only releasing the teaser image above. What it does show, however, is that the model will feature a revised LED tail-lamp design, which will be echoed by sharper front-end styling, as seen on the recently facelifted Auris and Avensis models.

The improvements will also extend to the cabin, where we can expect to see higher quality materials and a greater amount of technology, including a safety-enhancing collision mitigation system.

The engine range is also expected to be refreshed to include diesels from BMW, as part of it partnership with the Japanese brand, which will sit alongside the hybrid model and an expected turbocharged petrol version.

While the Rav4 is likely to share its hybrid system with other models in the Toyota range, there is no confirmation as to whether the car will have a plug-in capability - to let drivers charge up the batteries at home for electric-only driving - which would increase its appeal to urban drivers and company car users.

We'll bring you more information on the refreshed Toyota Rav4 following its unveiling in New York.