One of the most undeniably important vehicles in Toyota’s lineup is the RAV4. And the loveable crossover gets even better for 2021 with the addition of the plug-in Prime model. Not only is the RAV4 Prime the most powerful version of the crossover to date, but also the most fuel-efficient version of the vehicle that Toyota has ever built.
Similar to the Prius, adding the word Prime designates plug-in capability in Toyota speak, and the RAV4 Prime offers some impressive numbers with the extra battery power. Horsepower improves to a very respectable 302 (225 kilowatts), up from the RAV4 hybrid’s 219 ponies (163 kW). This translates to a zero to 60 time of 5.8 seconds – the second quickest acceleration time in Toyota’s lineup, only behind the Supra.
Gallery: 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime
Live Images: Steven Pham / Motor1.com
Impressive as that is, the RAV4’s efficiency figures are still the biggest attention-grabber. The RAV4 Prime is projected to achieve 90 MPGe, and travel up to 39 miles on electric power alone. That’s a hearty improvement over the Prius Prime’s 25-mile EV range. That figure is also the best out of any PHEV SUV on the market.
Powering the RAV4 Prime is the same 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine found in the RAV4 Hybrid, in both cases making 176 hp (131 kW). However, the Prime uses a new high-capacity lithium-ion battery pack and booster converter, resulting in the 83 hp (62 kW) jump over the hybrid model. And if you’re wondering whether or not the bigger battery pack impedes on cargo space, Toyota says it’s mounted beneath the floor, resulting in no lost cargo space and a lower center of gravity. The RAV4 still has 37.6 cubic feet of room in the trunk.
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The 2021 RAV4 Prime goes on sale in the summer of next year and is available on SE and XSE trim levels. Toyota hasn’t announced pricing just yet, but we can expect it priced a bit higher than the RAV4 hybrid’s $28,100 asking MSRP. Depending on the starting price, the might be the most compelling case yet for Toyota’s star crossover.
Toyota Revs Up Lineup with New 302-Horsepower RAV4 Prime
• The Most Powerful and Quickest RAV4 Ever • The Most Fuel-Efficient RAV4 Ever • Projected 0-60 MPH in 5.8 Seconds and Estimated 90 MPGe • Available in SE and XSE Model Grades • Available Color Head-Up Display, a RAV4 First • Premium Design Features • New for Model Year 2021 and Available in Summer 2020
LOS ANGELES (Nov. 20, 2019) - The fifth-generation Toyota RAV4, on the market for barely a year, is going more places than it has ever gone before. The arrival of the first-ever RAV4 TRD Off-Road model was announced earlier this year, and today, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Toyota debuts a new premium, fun-to-drive RAV4 performance model with an estimated 302-horsepower, advanced all-wheel drive, sport-tuned suspension and exclusive design features. It just happens to also be the first-ever RAV4 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). And so, in addition to an ability to do 0-60 mph in a projected 5.8 seconds, which is the second quickest acceleration time in the Toyota lineup, it can drive an estimated 39 miles on battery alone on a single charge, which is the highest EV range of any PHEV SUV on the market. The RAV4 Prime also has a manufacturer-estimated 90 combined MPGe. Welcome to a new chapter of Toyota SUV performance.
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. The 2021 RAV4 Prime will be available in SE and XSE grades, both emphasizing athletic on-road performance and premium comfort and style. With its plug-in hybrid technology advancing, Toyota sees such vehicles as critical to an overall electrification strategy that will also include standard hybrids and battery electric vehicles (BEVs), along with fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) like the second-generation Mirai unveiled in October.
Think Faster The Toyota RAV4 Prime builds on the RAV4 Hybrid, which is currently the most powerful and most fuel-efficient model in the line with sales up 72% over last year and currently the best-selling hybrid vehicle on the market. The RAV4 Prime amplifies both performance and efficiency, reflecting Toyota’s 20+ years of hybrid vehicle leadership. With more powerful motor-generators, a newly developed high-capacity Lithium-Ion battery and a booster converter, the 2021 RAV4 Prime yields an 83-horsepower (hp) jump in total system output over the RAV4 Hybrid and has the most horsepower in its segment.
The resulting boost in performance is striking: Toyota projects 0-60 mph acceleration in 5.8 seconds which is quicker than the RAV4 Hybrid (7.8 sec.) and in a league with luxury/performance SUVs that come nowhere near this Toyota’s remarkable fuel economy. And, notably, the RAV4 Prime uses regular-grade gasoline -- just not much of it. A comparison with an older RAV4 offers a vivid illustration of the march of technology. The 2006-2012 RAV4 offered an optional 269-hp, 3.5-liter gas V6 engine that reached 0-60 mph in 6.3-seconds, which is a half-second slower than the RAV4 Prime. And, that model’s 21 combined MPG fuel economy rating simply pales in comparison.
Sporty and Sportier Toyota engineered the 2021 RAV4 Prime for the performance-oriented driver and is therefore offering it in the sporty SE and XSE grades. The SE grade is new for the RAV4 Prime, and the XSE is currently exclusive to the RAV4 Hybrid. The SE flaunts its sporty attitude with 18-in. painted and machined alloy wheels and an exclusive front grille design and front lower spoiler. Piano black exterior accents and a painted grille/diffuser complete the premium look. The SE’s equipment is quite comprehensive, with standard heated front seats, 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, 7-in. 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.
The available Weather & Moonroof Package lets in the sun, moon and stars while keeping the cold at bay with a heated steering wheel, heated rear outboard seats, and windshield wiper de-icer, while rain-sensing windshield wipers add to convenience.
As on the current RAV4 Hybrid XSE, the Prime version of this grade stands apart with a two-tone exterior paint scheme pairing a black roof with select colors, including the striking new-to-RAV4 Supersonic Red. Exclusive 19-in. alloy wheels, the largest ever offered on a hybrid RAV4, have a unique two-tone design. Vertical LED accent lights give the XSE a distinct look, while the optional Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) with headlamp auto-leveling partially aims the beams into turns as the driver steers.
Inside, XSE steps up the sport, luxury and tech with RAV4’s first-ever paddle shifters, along with moonroof, unique SofTex synthetic leather seat surfaces, wireless smartphone charging, ambient lighting, auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated garage door opener and the largest multimedia screen in any RAV4 ever. The standard Audio Plus system comes with a 9-in. touch-screen and there is an available Premium Audio that includes Dynamic Navigation and JBL speaker system. An available Premium Package pushes the RAV4 Prime XSE further with Premium Audio with Dynamic Navigation and JBL speakers, perforated and ventilated SofTex front seats, RAV4’s first head-up display, heated rear SofTex outboard seats, heated steering wheel, panoramic moonroof, digital rear-view mirror, memory driver’s seat, 4-way power passenger seat, 5-door SmartKey system, kick-type power rear liftgate, Bird’s Eye View Monitor and yes, more.
How Does It Do That? Toyota hybrids have for years demonstrated high performance with low fuel consumption, and now the 2021 RAV4 Prime makes one of the strongest cases yet. The RAV4 Prime uses a differently tuned version of the RAV4 Hybrid’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle gas engine. It produces the same projected 176 hp as in the hybrid, but paired with the electric motors, total system output equals 302 horsepower. The RAV4 Prime’s passenger space isn’t compromised by the larger Lithium-Ion battery, as it is mounted under the floor. The mounting position also gives the RAV4 Prime a low center of gravity and enhanced driving stability. The RAV4 Prime’s enhanced heat pump HVAC system, based on Prius Prime’s and tailored to fit RAV4 Prime, contributes to an increasing EV range, as energy consumption for cabin temperature control can significantly decrease EV driving range.
Electrified Traction The RAV4 Prime employs the same version of Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive (AWD) as the RAV4 Hybrid. In both models, a separate rear-mounted electric motor powers the rear wheels when needed, including proactively on acceleration startup and also in reduced-traction conditions. The AWD system also reduces understeer during cornering for enhanced steering stability.
Off-pavement, AWD enhances hill-climbing performance. A driver-selectable Trail mode makes it possible to get unstuck by braking a spinning wheel and sending torque to the grounding wheel. With available paddle shifters, the driver can “downshift” to increase the regenerative braking in steps, which fosters greater control when driving in hilly areas, for example.
As on the RAV4 Hybrid, the innovative Predictive Efficient Drive feature acts like an invisible “hyper-miler” co-driver. Using the available navigation system, Predictive Efficient Drive essentially reads the road and learns driver patterns to optimize hybrid battery charging and discharging operations based on driving conditions. The system accumulates data as the vehicle is driven and “remembers” road features such as hills and stoplights and adjusts the hybrid powertrain operation to maximize efficiency.
All Toyota RAV4 models come equipped with standard Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0), which groups a long roster of active-safety technologies and capabilities: • Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD) • Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA) • Automatic High Beam (AHB) • Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) • Road Sign Assist (RSA)
The XSE Premium Package adds Rear Cross Traffic Braking (RCTB) and Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automated Braking (PA w/AB). Starting with the 2020 model year, every Toyota Hybrid Battery Warranty has been increased from 8 years or 100,000 miles to 10 years from original date of first use, or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first.