The Toyota RAV4 Prime is a new addition to the compact crossover’s lineup for 2021 that introduces the model’s first-ever plug-in hybrid (PHEV) drivetrain. It is based on the gas- and hybrid-powered RAV4 models that are covered in a separate buyer’s guide entry.
Toyota offers the RAV4 Prime in SE and XSE trims. Both use a 2.5L four-cylinder gas engine along with a battery that can be charged while the car is parked to provide up to 68 km of electric driving range. The RAV4 Prime also boasts nearly 50 percent more power than the regular RAV4 Hybrid; Toyota says that makes the PHEV RAV the company’s second-fastest vehicle after the Supra sports car.
RAV4 Prime is standard with a continuously variable transmission and AWD.
RAV4 Prime SE’s exterior comes with passive keyless entry, 18-inch alloy wheels, projector LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, heated side mirrors, chrome roof rails, and a sport-tuned suspension.
Inside, there’s an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, push-button engine start, five USB charging ports, a heated/leather-trimmed steering wheel, power driver’s seat, cloth upholstery, heated front and rear seats, power front-seat lumbar, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-trimmed shifter, and a 7.0-inch digital gauge display.
Also included is a full suite of advanced safety features comprising automatic high beams, radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, lane tracing assist, forward collision detection with automatic braking, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert.
XSE trim adds wireless smartphone charging, a power tailgate, a 9.0-inch touchscreen, audio plus with remote, satellite radio, mixed artificial leather upholstery, gloss black interior trim, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 19-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights and accent lighting, and a sunroof.
An XSE premium tech package adds navigation, a power front passenger seat, driver’s seat memory, auto-levelling adaptive headlights, ventilated front seats, a head-up driver display, parking sensors with rear cross traffic braking, panoramic sunroof, bird’s-eye view camera, hands-free tailgate, an 11-speaker stereo, full artificial leather seating, a camera-based rearview mirror, and a 110-volt power outlet.
As of this writing, Toyota has only published fuel consumption ratings for the RAV4 Prime’s hybrid drive function; those figures are 5.7/6.4 L/100 km (city/highway). We’ll update this article when Toyota releases energy consumption estimates for the car’s plug-in electric drive system.
The Toyota RAV4 Prime faces no direct competition in the compact crossover sphere. Hyundai makes an all-electric version of its smaller Kona, and there are pricier PHEV crossovers available from upscale brands. Next year, the RAV4 Prime will face off against a PHEV version of Hyundai’s next-generation Tucson.