- 2​021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE in Supersonic Red with black roof

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid trounces the competition

T​his is the vehicle we've been waiting for.

9w ago

10.5K

Several years into the future, when solid state batteries for cars can be produced economically and in very large scale, driving ranges that are literally ten times that of the best current electric vehicles will likely relegate gas-powered vehicles to history, making them extinct like the dinosaurs that their fuel comes from.

Today, however, the new 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime decisively beats all competitors, thanks to its exceptional, uncompromising combination of ample electric range, generous cargo capacity, comprehensive active and passive safety features, standard all-wheel-drive high performance, economical operation, a wide range of standard and available comfort & convenience features, bold good looks, affordability and, of course, legendary Toyota quality control.

P​lenty of legroom and headroom

P​lenty of legroom and headroom

This is Toyota’s first-ever plug-in hybrid RAV4. It can be plugged in and charged to run on electricity alone (EV Priority Mode) for up to 42 miles (EPA-estimated 94 MPGe) on potentially clean, low-cost electricity...

T​he control switches for the various driving modes

T​he control switches for the various driving modes

E​V Priority Mode

E​V Priority Mode

... and it can also be driven for long distances in Hybrid Mode on a combination of electricity and quickly refilled gas, avoiding EV range anxiety and the necessity that EVs must make long stops – and potentially wait in line – to recharge. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 40/36/38 MPG (city/highway/combined) using 87-octane gas.

With EV and HV capabilities combined, the estimated total range is an impressive 600 miles!

E​CO Mode engaged

E​CO Mode engaged

Not only is the 2021 RAV4 Prime the most fuel-efficient RAV4, but with 302 combined net hp, it is also the most powerful RAV4 ever, and the second quickest vehicle that Toyota makes. Only the mighty Supra accelerates more quickly.

Foot-to-the-floor acceleration is quick (0-60 in 5.7 seconds), truly providing “a superior performance-oriented driving experience.” According to Toyota, “a recent Consumer research project showed the RAV4 Prime outperformed the Porsche Macan in key categories including: Acceleration, Engine Sound and Pedal Feel.” The ride is firm but not harsh, and the cornering inspires confidence.

S​PORT Mode engaged

S​PORT Mode engaged

For light off-road use there are over eight inches of ground clearance.

O​ver eight inches of ground clearance

O​ver eight inches of ground clearance

In Trail Mode, torque is automatically distributed to the tires and wheels to prioritize vehicle stability and traction.

T​rail Mode engaged

T​rail Mode engaged

Since electric range decreases when driving at high speeds, you can “save” the electricity for when you are driving more slowly.

RAV4 Prime can also recharge itself to 80% capacity, using its gas engine.

P​ress the HV/EV/CHG HOLD button to activate charging by the gas engine

P​ress the HV/EV/CHG HOLD button to activate charging by the gas engine

C​HG MODE engaged

C​HG MODE engaged

C​harge Mode will bring the battery up to 80% of capacity

C​harge Mode will bring the battery up to 80% of capacity

Unlike older generations of plug-in hybrid SUVs, whose cargo area was substantially reduced by a large, under-the-floor battery, the RAV4 Prime’s 18.1 kWh Lithium-ion battery is located forward and low, under the seats – without compromising the passenger volume.

T​he battery is located under the seats, leaving the cargo area free for cargo

T​he battery is located under the seats, leaving the cargo area free for cargo

That frees up the no-compromises cargo compartment for up to 63 cu. ft. of space with the second row of seats folded (33 cu. ft. with the seats up), and an under-floor temporary spare tire.

Major shopping trips can be tackled with confidence.

Active and passive safety are a high priority in the RAV4 Prime. The standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite includes Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control; Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, to help keep you in your lane; Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian and Bicyclist Detection, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Hill Start Assist Control, Trailer Sway Control, Traction Control and Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control.

V​arious sensors are at the front of the RAV4 Prime

V​arious sensors are at the front of the RAV4 Prime

Optionally available features include a Bird’s Eye View camera with curb view...

B​ird's Eye View camera

B​ird's Eye View camera

C​urb view lets you see where the front tires are

C​urb view lets you see where the front tires are

... Stolen Vehicle Locator and Automatic Collision Notification (by subscription, after the one-year free trial); Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automated Braking, windshield wipers with a de-icer function, adaptive front LED projector headlights...

... and an exceptionally convenient Color Head-Up Display that works in conjunction with the navigation system to help you keep your eyes on the road.

C​olor Head-up display also displays navigation directions

C​olor Head-up display also displays navigation directions

Inside the quiet interior, the long list of standard or available comfort and convenience features continues, including a tilting and sliding Panoramic moonroof that spans the optionally heated and ventilated front seats, and heated outboard rear seats – the backrests of which can be independently adjusted to either of two positions, for comfort...

The rear seatbacks can be individually adjusted to two positions

The rear seatbacks can be individually adjusted to two positions

... foot-activated power liftgate, Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging, 120V/1500 W AC power outlet in the cargo area...

... 11-speaker JBL Premium Audio with subwoofer and amplifier, nine-inch multimedia touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

A​pple CarPlay

A​pple CarPlay

Starting MSRP for the 2021 RAV4 Prime SE is $38,100. The XSE starts at $41,425. Government incentives, including rebates, may be available. Visit cleanvehiclerebate.org/eng and www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxevb.shtml

To learn more, visit: www.toyota.com

Copyright © 2020 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #651

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Comments (6)

  • If only the drivetrain was in a more attractive body style or a small pickup?

      1 month ago
    • I personally like this body style, but a pickup is certainly more useful for some needs.

        1 month ago
  • If only it didn’t have an upwards of $40k price tag.. oh well.

      2 months ago
    • Taylor,

      It is expensive but when I looked at a Tesla Model Y equipped the way I would want to get one, that was a lot more expensive. Factor in the terrible quality control (Google Tesla Model Y quality) and the Toyota looks pretty good in...

      Read more
        2 months ago
    • I’d wager that most of us on this app are well aware of the build quality of any Tesla, and yes they are much more expensive, I too if given the choice would have the Toyota. It just saddens me to watch the prices of ‘ordinary’ cars climb with no...

      Read more
        2 months ago
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