Toyota’s 3.5-liter V6 battles its 2.5-liter plug-in hybrid setup.
Toyota continues to fill out its lineup, sprinkling performance parts on sedans and shoving batteries into crossovers. Strange times, indeed. In late 2018, Toyota introduced the Camry TRD, which included several upgrades over the standard sedan. The RAV4 Prime came a year later, a plug-in hybrid that’s now the brand’s second quickest vehicle only behind the Supra. They couldn’t be more dissimilar save for the Toyota badge, but The Fast Lane Car decided to drag race them anyway.
The Camry sports a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 301 horsepower (224 kilowatts). That power routes to the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The RAV4 Prime pairs a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with two electric motors for a combined output of 302 hp (225 kW). While similar in performance, there’s about a 1,000-pound (453-kilogram) difference between the two, which is a huge advantage for the Camry.
However, the RAV4 Prime’s instant torque from the electric motors is enough to propel the crossover out ahead of the Camry during the first drag race. The Camry had no chance to catch up to the RAV 4, which completed a sprint to 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) in 6.1 seconds, slower than the 5.7 seconds Toyota advertises, but the track the crew is at is a mile above sea level. A second drag race with traction control disabled garnered the same results.
Stylistically, it’s hard to discount the Camry TRD for anything other than what it is. The winglets, side skirts, unique wheels, and in-your-face wing make it easy to pick out from the crowd. The RAV4 Prime is a bit more subdued with some badging and accents to set it apart from normal RAV4s. For decades, Toyota has had the reputation of being a boring car company. It produced safe, reliable, efficient vehicles, but the Camry TRD and RAV4 Prime show Toyota is bucking that badge.
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