By Matt DeLorenzo
42 miles of pure EV range
Eligible for $7,500 tax credit
Most powerful RAV4 model
Limited off-road capability
Annoying warning tone when backing up
No leather upholstery option
What’s new this year?
Plug-in hybrid powertrain
302-horsepower total system output
Optional 9-inch infotainment screen
Additional sound deadening
People also ask:
What’s different about the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime from the standard hybrid?
The all-new 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime is a plug-in hybrid SUV that has a larger battery than the standard hybrid. The plug-in recharging and bigger pack allow the RAV4 Prime to travel up to 42 miles in pure electric mode, saving fuel. The RAV4 Prime is rated by the EPA at 94 MPGe as a result.
What are the benefits of owning a RAV4 Prime?
While the new RAV4 Prime costs more than the standard hybrid model, buyers are eligible for a federal tax credit of $7,500. In some places, the vehicle may be eligible for High Occupancy Lane (HOV) access as well as local incentives. This pure electric capability also helps provide an overall range of 600 miles between filling the tank and recharging the battery.
How much does the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime cost?
The base model of the RAV4 Prime is $38,100 for the SE trim plus $1,095 delivery. The top-line XSE starts at $41,425 plus destination.
Does the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime offer all-wheel drive?
All RAV4 Prime models come with all-wheel drive thanks to the two front and one rear electric motor. AWD meant to handle weather rather than enabling heavy-duty off-roading.
KBB editors’ overview
Since its last redesign, the Toyota RAV4 has come into its own as a multifaceted compact crossover SUV with surprising capabilities. The more rugged looks give it more traditional SUV flair. In addition to its standard model and conventional Hybrid, Toyota has also added off-road capability with its Adventure and TRD Pro packages.
But the most significant change comes with the 2021 RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid (PHEV). Its returned 4-cylinder engine combined with a more powerful lithium-ion battery pack and three motors (two on the front axle and one in the rear) makes AWD standard. Total system output is 302 horsepower, making the Prime that most powerful and quickest (0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds) of all the RAV4 models. It also boasts 42 miles of pure electric range and offers several available firsts for RAV4, including 19-inch wheels and a head-up display.
Driving the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime
The 2021 RAV4 Prime has a similar feel and responsiveness as the standard RAV4 Hybrid. The big difference here is the additional noticeable output from the powertrain, which makes 302 horsepower in total.
Toyota says the extra 83 horsepower over the hybrid is responsible for 0-60 mph acceleration of 5.7 seconds. The RAV4 steps quickly off the line in either its pure electric or hybrid mode and easily cruises at highway speeds without feeling winded.
While Toyota says the vehicle can travel 42 miles as an EV, we were able to wring nearly 46 miles out of a full-charge before the engine kicked in. The electric-assist power steering feels natural, and Toyota has figured out the interplay between regenerative braking and hydraulic-assist stopping power to provide a balanced and linear feel when you depress the brake pedal.
There’s a nice balance between the RAV4’s operation in both pure electric and hybrid mode that speaks well to Toyota’s commitment to refinement.
Plug-in hybrid powertrain: The new PHEV setup provides at least 42 miles of pure electric operation that blends smoothly with the vehicle’s conventional hybrid powertrain. If your commute is short enough and you recharge every night at home, theoretically, you’d never have to go to a gas station.
Head-up display: The RAV4 Prime boasts the first use of a full-color head-up display in a RAV4. The additional readout allows you to monitor vehicle speed and other information without taking your eyes off the road.
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime interior
Not much has changed on the interior of the 2021 RAV4. The layout is still the same, as are the seats and cloth upholstery. SofTex seating surfaces are on upper trims. However, there’s still no leather option available.
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On the upper-trim XSE, there’s a 9-inch infotainment touchscreen (an inch bigger than the standard screen), available paddle shifters to help engage regenerative braking, and additional readouts in the instrument cluster. The additional data pertains to the state of charge and range of the pure-electric capability.
One of our complaints of a noisy interior has been addressed on the Prime, which uses laminated side glass and additional sound deadening material to improve cabin isolation.
Other features to look for include the new head-up display and a height-adjustable power liftgate that offers a hands-free option.
2012 Toyota RAV4 Prime exterior
The overall shape and appearance of the RAV4 Prime are similar to the other models in the range. Among the distinguishing characteristics are different front lower and rear gloss black lower rear bumpers, a revised front grille with a painted insert, and front lower spoiler.
XSE models also sport a 2-tone paint scheme incorporating a black roof and 19-inch 2-tone alloy wheels. Redesigned in 2019, the RAV4 has a much more aggressive, SUV styling than its more carlike crossover predecessor. That look features a large grille, squared-off proportions and muscular wheel arches accented by black cladding.
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime standard features
Standard features on the RAV4 Prime include an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +1.28% CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +1.10% Alexa compatibility.
Also included are heated front cloth seats, 8-way power adjustment on the driver’s seat, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, 7-inch digital instrument cluster display, 120-volt charging cable, power height-adjustable rear liftgate.
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XSE models include a power moonroof, 19-inch alloy wheels, wireless phone charging, ambient lighting, vertical exterior LED lighting accents, black roof, SofTex upholstery, chrome inside handles, and an auto-dimming mirror with integrated garage door opener.
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime options
Options include a panoramic moonroof, dynamic navigation, destination assist, a 10-inch color head-up display, 5-door smart key system, 9-speaker JBL premium audio, perforated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a 4-way power front passenger seat, all-around view camera, rearview mirror camera, adaptive headlights, rain-sensing wipers, a heated steering wheel, and 6.6 kW enhanced charger.
2021 Toyota RAV4 engine
Power comes from an Atkinson cycle 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to a CVT and a trio of electric motors, two on the front that produce 179 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque and one in the rear rated at 53 horsepower and 89 lb-ft of torque. This all-wheel-drive setup produces a total system output of 302 horsepower.
It has a range of 42 miles in pure electric mode. Recharging the 18.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack takes 12 hours at 120 volts and 3.3 kW or 4.5 hours with 240 volts. An optional 6.6 kW charging setup at 240 volts drops the recharging time to 2.5 hours. The battery also includes a 10-year/150,000-mile warranty.
2.5-liter inline-4 PHEV + three motors
Engine: 177 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
165 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm
Front motors: 179 horsepower, 199 lb-ft of torque
Rear motor: 53 horsepower and 89 lb-ft of torque
Total system output: 302 horsepower
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 40/36 mpg, 94 MPGe
How much does the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime cost?
The base price for the RAV4 Prime starts at $38,100 for the SE model. The higher XSE trim, which includes 19-inch wheels, 2-tone paint, and other equipment, starts at $41,425. Prices exclude $1.095 delivery.
Pricing is higher than the current 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. That range starts at $28,350 for the LE, moves to $29,645 for the XLE, and then onto $34,300 for the XSE. The RAV4 Hybrid tops out at $36,880 for the Limited. The 2021 RAV4 Prime, however, is eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Toyota RAV4 also benefits from strong resale values and low operating costs.
Which model is right for me?
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime SE:
18-inch alloy wheels
Heated front seats
Leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/Amazon Alexa
8-way power-adjust driver’s seat
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE adds:
19-inch alloy wheels
Black SofTex upholstery
Wireless phone charging
Interior ambient lighting
Chrome door handles
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime safety technology
Toyota Safety Sense 2.0
Includes pre-collision system with pedestrian and bicyclist detection; lane departure alert with steering assist; lane tracing assist; automatic high beams; full-speed radar cruise control; road sign assist.
Hybrid model star safety system
Includes electronically controlled braking; vehicle dynamics integrated management; vehicle stability control; traction control; anti-lock brakes; electric brake force distribution; brake assist; smart stop technology.
All models come with blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
This story originally ran on KBB.com .