Home Compact SUV Crossover 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime: A Fast and Practical Plug-in Hybrid

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime: A Fast and Practical Plug-in Hybrid

  • New RAV4 Prime is the first-ever RAV4 plug-in hybrid
  • Goes 39 miles on electricity, then transitions to gas-electric hybrid mode
  • 302 horsepower(!) delivers 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds
  • 10-year, 150,000-mile battery warranty 
  • 2020 RAV4 lineup is ranked #1 in Compact SUVs
  • Price should start in the low $30,000 range
  • RAV4 Prime goes on sale Summer 2020

Toyota’s RAV4 lineup will be expanding next year when the 2021 RAV4 Prime PHEV goes on sale. The plug-in hybrid version of Toyota’s popular compact crossover SUV will be the quickest, most powerful AND most fuel-efficient RAV4 ever. With total system output of 302 horsepower. The company says the vehicle will accelerate to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, much faster than the 7.8 seconds for the current hybrid model.

In addition to the being the quickest RAV4 ever, the Prime also has up to 39 miles of pure electric range from its lithium ion battery pack.

How much does the RAV4 Prime cost?

Pricing hasn’t been announced, but we expect the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime to start in the low $30,000 range. For reference, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid starts at $28,100 plus $1,120 delivery.

When does it go on sale?

Toyota says the RAV4 Prime will begin arriving at dealerships in the summer of 2020.

Proven powertrain

The RAV4 Prime is equipped with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine similar to the current engine. While it also produces 176 horsepower, it is tuned differently to better match the output of the new electric motors, one on each axle, to provide all-wheel drive and the 302 horsepower.

Range and fuel economy

Toyota says the RAV4 Prime can travel up to 39 all-electric miles on a full charge of its lithium ion battery pack, and achieve the equivalent of 90 mpg while doing it (90 mpge). Total range and hybrid-mode fuel economy have yet to be announced, but for reference the RAV4 Hybrid is rated to deliver 40 combined mpg and 580 miles per tank.

Toyota RAV4 Prime SE

As a result of its high performance, Toyota is offering the 2021 RAV4 Prime in its sportier SE and XSE  trim levels. While the standard hybrid is available only in higher XSE trim, the RAV4 Prime will have the new SE trim level which features 18-inch wheels, distinctive grille design and lower front spoiler along with piano black exterior accents.

The SE also includes such standard features as heated front seats, 8-way power adjust on the driver’s bucket, blind spot monitoring, leather covered steering wheel and shift knob, power liftgate, 8.0-inch infotainment display and 7.0-inch driver information screen.

Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE

XSE models benefit from a 2-tone exterior paint treatment with a black roof offsetting select colors, 19-inch wheels, LED accent lights and on the interior features that include paddle shifters, moonroof, SofTex upholstery, wireless smartphone charging, and a 9.0-inch infotainment screen with navigation.

Extended battery warranty

In conjunction with the RAV4 Prime announcement Toyota also said it is extending the battery warranty on all 2020 model year and later electrified vehicles. The new warranty covers batteries in hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and fuel cell electric vehicles, which will now be guaranteed for 10 years or 150,000 miles rather than 8 years and 100,000 miles.

The RAV4 is Toyota’s most popular vehicle, with 324,622 units sold through September. Of those, 62,881 were hybrid models, far eclipsing sales of the Prius, Toyota’s long-time hybrid leader, which accounted for just 50,258 in the first three quarters of the year.

Other choices

Adding a plug-in hybrid to the RAV4 lineup keeps it a step ahead of the Honda CR-V lineup, which is just adding its first hybrid. And while the new Ford Escape will also be available in plug-in hybrid form, efficiency-minded leadfoots should know the Escape plug-in promises only 209 horsepower.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Gallery: Inside and Out


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