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(Pocket-lint) - Toyota has been getting some stick recently. Despite being the company that brought hybrid technology to the roads with the Prius - over 20 years ago - Toyota has seemingly been slow to move that on to plug-in hybrid technology, giving drivers more electric range than its "self-charging" alternative.

That's changing, however, and the launch of a plug-in hybrid version of the RAV4 is an important step, as it fleshes out the PHEV options in this popular compact SUV segment. Toyota tells us that the new RAV4 - announced in 2019 - has seen plenty of orders in Europe and that's set to continue. 

The key stat with this plug-in hybrid version is the claimed 60km (37 miles) of emission-free driving. Because you can plug the car in at home, you'll get longer electric range than the self-charging models that Toyota is known for, and you're not slaved to charging that battery only through regeneration or by using the petrol engine as a generator. 

That makes a plug-in hybrid a lot more attractive, as this figure means that you can do your commute, school run, shopping trips and so on without having to use the combustion engine at all - something the regular hybrids don't offer. 

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The range is also respectable too, because many of these plug-in models struggle to get 30 miles. Of course, we have no idea if the RAV4 will achieve that figure or not, but some plug-in hybrids barely make 20 miles before you're back to driving a petrol. The compromise is often overall range when it comes to motorway driving where plug-in models struggle to compete with diesels.

Toyota is also positioning the plug-in hybrid higher than its other model, because this becomes to most powerful RAV4 available. That will give you a 0-62 time of 6.2 seconds and a 302bhp output from this AWD SUV, which is impressive. 

The Toyota RAV4 PHEV will be available in the second half of 2020.

Writing by Chris Hall.