Superlatives cannot sufficiently describe the groundbreaking 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime – a plug-in hybrid SUV that was introduced in a stunning, surprise announcement during AUTOMOBILITY LA – the press days of the 2019 LA Auto Show.

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2​021 Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid revealed at AUTOMOBILITY LA -- press days for the 2019 LA Auto Show

According to Toyota, the fifth-generation RAV4 Hybrid, which was introduced barely a year ago, is already “the most powerful and most fuel-efficient” RAV4 ever, and it is “currently the best-selling hybrid vehicle on the market.” The RAV4 Prime looks set to elevate those already spectacular accomplishments to a much higher level.

The 2021 RAV4 Prime represents the culmination to date of Toyota’s 20+ years of hybrid vehicle technology and leadership. Since 2008 Toyota has sold more than 3.6 million hybrids, saving 7.6 million gallons of fuel and keeping 68 million tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. That is equivalent to taking 13.4 million vehicles off of the road for an entire year.

Incredibly, Toyota says the RAV4 Prime – packing 302-horsepower – is both the second quickest accelerating Toyota available and provides a manufacturer-estimated 90 combined MPGe. “It can drive an estimated 39 miles on battery alone, which happens to be the highest EV range of any PHEV SUV on the market.”

Got your attention? And that’s just for starters.

The RAV4 Prime will be high performance, fun-to-drive and confidence-inspiring. To produce its 302-hp it combines a specially tuned 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle gas engine with two powerful electric motors. Zero to 60 mph acceleration is projected to be 5.8 seconds – and it does all this using regular-grade gasoline.

According to Toyota, the RAV4 Prime’s all-wheel-drive system includes a separate rear-mounted electric motor that will power the rear wheels when needed, including proactively on acceleration startup and also in reduced-traction conditions.

P​lenty of cargo space

P​lenty of cargo space

I​t even has a spare tire!

I​t even has a spare tire!

In keeping with its emphasis on performance, the AWD system also reduces understeer during cornering for enhanced steering stability. Off-pavement, AWD enhances hill-climbing performance with a driver-selected Trail Mode that will brake a spinning wheel and send torque to the grounding wheel.

Available paddle shifters enable a driver to “downshift” to increase the regeneration braking in steps, for greater control when driving in hilly areas.

Beginning in 2020, the Toyota Hybrid Battery warranty has been increased to ten years from the date of first use, or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first.

The RAV4 Prime will be available in two premium grades. The SE will include 18-inch alloy wheels, an exclusive front grille design and front lower spoiler.

Inside, available equipment on the SE includes heated front seats, 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, 7-inch multi-information display, blind spot monitoring, leather steering wheel and shift knob with red stitching, power liftgate; audio with 8-inch touch-screen, Amazon Alexa, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility; a weather & moonroof package, heated steering wheel and rear outboard seats, windshield wiper de-icer and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Stepping up to the XSE exterior provides a two-tone exterior paint scheme, 19-inch alloy wheels, distinctive vertical LED accent lights, and an optional adaptive front lighting system (AFS) with headlamp auto-levelling and beams that turn into turns as the driver steers.

Inside the XSE are RAV4’s first-ever paddle shifter, a moonroof, wireless smartphone charging, ambient lighting, auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated garage door opener, and a large multimedia screen. The standard Audio Plus audio system includes a 9-inch touch-screen. Available will be Premium Audio that includes Dynamic Navigation and a JBL speaker system. Available features on the XSE Premium Package will include RAV4’s first head-up display, panoramic moonroof, digital rear-view mirror, memory driver’s seat, 4-way power passenger seat, kick-type power rear liftgate, Bird’s Eye View Monitor and more.

Using the available navigation system, Predictive Efficient Drive essentially reads the road and learns driver patterns to optimize hybrid battery charging and discharging, based on driving conditions.

All Toyota RAV4s are equipped with Toyota Safety Sense, which includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beam, Lane Tracing Assist and Road Sign Assist.

The XSE Premium Package adds Rear Cross Traffic Braking, and Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automated Braking.

The 2021 RAV4 Prime will arrive in summer 2020.

Copyright © 2019 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #618

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