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RAV4 Prime
2021 toyota rav4-prime
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2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

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40 city / 36 hwy

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2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime
$493 / month
$569 / month
Based on 62% Residual Value : 12,000 Annual Miles
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Based on 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime SE 4dr All-wheel Drive - MSRP $39,275

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2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Overview

Anthony Sophinos
Automotive Editor

What's New

Toyota never intended the RAV4 to be a hot rod – it's a family crossover, after all. Speed should be left to the Toyota Supra and Toyota 86, right? It seems Toyota's engineers thought otherwise, even as they were turning the RAV4 into a plug-in hybrid.

The result of their double-pronged efforts is the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime. It looks and feels much like the standard Toyota RAV4, but the plug-in Prime leads the class in all-electric range while also holding the title of fastest four-door in Toyota's lineup.

Choosing Your Toyota RAV4 Prime

Toyota has limited the RAV4 Prime to just two trim levels: SE and XSE. Pricing begins at $39,220 including destination for an SE and climbs to $42,545 for the XSE.

Engine Choices

The Toyota RAV4 Prime is distinguished by its exclusive plug-in hybrid powertrain, which consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that's augmented by a pair of electric motors and an 18.1-kWh battery. The result of this setup is 302 total combined horsepower. That's 100 more hp than a base RAV4.

All-wheel drive is standard on the Prime. While conventional all-wheel-drive systems use mechanical linkage to send power rearward, the RAV4 Prime uses a dedicated electric motor to directly drive the back wheels. It only begins working during low traction conditions or hard acceleration; in most other instances, only the front wheels are driven.

The RAV4 Prime offers 42 miles of all-electric range, according to the EPA. It also gets 38 miles per gallon combined, or 94 miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent (MPGe) combined.

By contrast, the Prime's main competitor, the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid, is rated by the EPA for 100 MPGe combined and has 37 miles of all-electric range.

A 3.3-kW onboard charger is standard. This leads to a 12-hour charging time on 120 volts, or 4.5 hours with 240 volts. The XSE is available with a 6.6-kW onboard charger which reduces charge time to 2.5 hours using 240 volts.

Passenger and Cargo Capacity

Like the RAV4 its based on, the Prime is a four-door, five-passenger crossover. Overall passenger room matches that of its gas-powered sibling, which means 37.8 inches of rear leg room and nearly 40 inches of rear head room. Front passengers get a bit less head room but enjoy 41 inches of leg room.

Cargo capacity for the RAV4 Prime is 33.5 cubic feet with the rear seats in place and 69.8 with the rear seat backs folded. That's a bit short of what's available in the regular RAV4 models due to the Prime's battery pack being packaged beneath the cargo hold.

Safety Features

All Primes come with a comprehensive suite of active safety features. The long list includes automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.

Optional safety tech is limited to a surround-view camera and front and rear parking sensors with automated braking. The latter feature audibly alerts drivers when parking and can automatically halt the car if necessary. Both items are only available on the XSE.

The RAV4 Prime has not been crash tested yet, but the ordinary RAV4 was awarded a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. The IIHS likewise rated the RAV4's crashworthiness as "Good" across their full battery of crash tests, earning it Top Safety Pick Plus status.


Stick with the base RAV4 Prime SE and the standard infotainment system is an 8-inch affair with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Satellite radio, Bluetooth, Amazon Alexa compatibility, and five USB charge ports round out the setup.

Move up to the XSE and the screen grows to 9 inches, with the addition of wi-fi compatibility for those willing to pay the monthly subscription fee.

Optional connectivity features on the XSE include wireless charging, navigation, and a 10-inch head-up display.

SE - From $39,220

The base RAV4 Prime SE comes in at just under $40,000 to start. That money buys LED headlights and taillights, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver's seat, fabric upholstery, remote keyless entry, push button start, and a six-speaker audio system. The interior gets soft-touch materials with red accent stitching, while the exterior is adorned in color-keyed trim and set off by 18-inch wheels.

Options for the SE are all bundled into a single package: the Weather and Moonroof Package. Costing $1,665, it adds a moonroof, heated outboard rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and rain-sensing wipers with a de-icing function.

XSE - From $42,545

Moving into the XSE brings additional standard features, such as 19-inch wheels, leatherette upholstery, paddle shifters, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and ambient interior lighting. The moonroof that was optional on the SE is standard here as well. There's also red shock absorbers and black-painted mirrors for a more sporty appearance.

A few option packages are offered for the XSE. The most affordable upgrade is the $815 Weather Package, which adds all the goodies from the SE's Weather and Moonroof package as well as heated rear seats. The $2,435 Premium Audio Package includes an 11-speaker JBL audio system, navigation, and the contents of the Weather Package.

Those who want to go whole hog on the options sheet need the $5,760 Premium Package. It includes all the aforementioned options as well as a head-up display, surround-view camera, panoramic glass roof, heated and ventilated front seats, and parking sensors with automated braking.

Compare RAV4 Prime Trims Side-By-Side

CarsDirect Tip

The base 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime model is the best value. It gives up nothing in efficiency or comfort over the XSE yet costs over $3,000 less. We'd add the Moonroof and Weather Package and be on our way.

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