Johannesburg – Just like Ford and Volkswagen are teaming up for certain future products such as bakkies and vans, Toyota and Suzuki have been flirting with their own joint ventures, although it’s worth noting that the former has a 4.9 percent stake in its Japanese counterpart’s business.
Nonetheless, the Toyzuki collaboration (or is it Suzota?) has already resulted in a badge-engineered Suzuki Baleno in India, which is called the Toyota Glanza, and a Suzuki-based compact SUV is also on the cards.
But Toyota will also be supplying some cars to Suzuki, and the first of these to see light of day is the new Suzuki Across, which is a mildly facelifted and rebadged Toyota Rav4.
While the side profile and rear styling continue almost unchanged, the Suzuki does at least receive unique frontal styling, with slimmer headlights and a more rectangular grille. It actually looks slightly neater in our opinion, although styling is always a subjective thing.
The cabin is also very much a badge-engineered affair, with Toyota’s 22.8cm touchscreen display dominating the central section of the dashboard.
At this stage it appears that the Suzuki Across is destined for Europe only, but we will provide an update if we find out that it’s also destined for South Africa.
Toyota has only announced one powertrain option and that comes in the form of an advanced plug-in hybrid system that mates a 136kW 2.5-litre normally aspirated petrol engine with a pair of electric motors, the front unit producing 134kW and the back one good for 40kW.
The electric motors form the basis of the four-wheel drive system, which can send 100 percent of the power to the front wheels or up to 80 percent to the back axle, depending on the driving conditions.
Drivers can choose from four drivetrain modes, including pure EV, and there’s also a Trail Mode which acts as an automatic limited-slip diﬀerential control feature to maximise grip in slippery conditions.