The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid was introduced here at the L.A. Auto Show, and although it doesn't have much in the way of visual differentiation, its spec sheets pops with eye-opening stat after another. Toyota's low-maintenance designs add to that value and Toyota's 10-year, 150,000 battery warranty also eliminates any concerns about expensive EV-system repairs over the vehicle's lifespan.
The Toyota RAV4 Prime, a 2021 model that will arrive in summer 2020, breaks ground as the most powerful and quickest RAV4 ever while also being the most fuel-efficient. It'll specifically gun for the upcoming Ford Escape plug-in hybrid, and Toyota's compact plug-in crossover will put up a fight. And, of course, thanks to the rear-mounted traction motor, the Prime offers Toyota's Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel-Drive system.
Like the RAV4 Hybrid, the RAV4 Prime is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-4 that makes 176 horsepower and 168 pound-feet alone. Toyota didn't specify the size of the batteries nor the power output of the electric motors. All of that power flows to all four wheels via standard all-wheel drive. This motor powers the rear wheels when the car's software deems it is necessary.
The Japanese automaker was incredibly keen to highlight that this isn't the RAV4 for those simply looking for efficiency. And, yes, it is more than the then-top-of-the-line 3.5-litre V6 Toyota offered in the RAV4 between 2006 and 2012. The SE features a unique grille, an aerodynamic front spoiler and piano black accents and 18-inch alloy wheels. Multi-Information Display, Blind Spot Monitor, a leather steering wheel and shift knob with red stitching, power liftgate, and Audio with 8-in. touch-screen and Amazon Alexa, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.
Besides the aforementioned equipment, the SE and XSE come equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assist systems.
Step up to the XSE trim and it unlocks two-tone exterior paint colors, 19-inch wheels and vertical LED daytime running lights to set the model apart. The XSE also features paddle-shifters (a first for the RAV4) that allow drivers to increase regenerative braking and transmission behavior, a sunroof, synthetic leather seats, wireless smartphone charging, ambient lighting, a 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, and premium JBL speakers, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, memory for the driver's seat, a hands-free power liftgate, and a surround-view camera system.
Ever since pioneering the cute ute segment in the early nineties, the Toyota Rav4 has been a lot of things to a lot of people, while morphing into a relatively premium family-sized ride. All but the high-performance Polestar are more efficient when the all-electric range runs out (as demonstrated by the RAV4 Prime's 90 MPGe estimate), but it's still exceptional for anything dubbed an SUV.