When Toyota announced the 2021 RAV4 plug-in hybrid, it promised the “most powerful RAV4 ever” but gave no specifics. It also left out key details about its design and one significant detail about its name. Today, this plug-in crossover debuted, showing off its stylistic updates, potent powertrain, and RAV4 Prime name. Here’s what to expect when it hits showrooms.
Visually, the 2021 RAV4 Prime won’t stray too far from its source material, but since it will be a more performance-oriented model with only two sporty trim levels, SE and XSE, it will have a few exclusive bits. On the SE trim, the Prime-exclusive exterior equipment will include 18-inch painted and machined wheels, a unique front grille and lower spoiler, and piano-black accents. The XSE will add a two-tone color scheme with a black roof, vertical LED accent lights, and adaptive headlights.
In the cabin, the RAV4 Prime will boast available blue ambient lighting to set it apart from its siblings. As for roominess, Toyota placed the lithium-ion low enough in the floor that it does not impact the RAV4 Prime’s seating and cargo room when compared to the standard hybrid model.
As for interior features, the base RAV4 Prime SE will come standard with heated front seats, an eight-way power driver’s seat, a 7-inch multi-information display, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob, red contrast stitching, an 8-inch touchscreen, Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and more.
The XSE trim will add to the SE with its paddle shifters, moonroof, leatherette upholstery, wireless phone charger, blue ambient lighting, auto-dimming rearview mirror, universal garage door opener, a 9-inch touchscreen, and more. Other than the key details listed here, the RAV4 Prime’s cabin is virtually identical to the standard RAV4’s interior.
Its powertrain is where the RAV4 Prime shoves a wedge between it and its siblings. Toyota touted the RAV4 Prime as the “most powerful RAV4,” and it will deliver with the RAV4 Prime’s 302-horsepower plug-in powertrain that combines a 176-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a pair of electric motors.
The dual-motor setup will give every RAV4 Prime standard all-wheel drive, but it will do more than enhance traction in slippery conditions. Toyota will tune it to improve acceleration and reduce understeer in the corners too.
Speaking of acceleration, the plug-in RAV4 will launch to 60 mph in a Toyota-estimated 5.8 seconds while delivering a manufacturer-estimated 39 miles of electric range.
As with virtually every Toyota model today, the 2021 RAV4 Prime will come loaded with tons of advanced safety features. These will include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning with steering assist, automatic high-beam headlights, lane-tracing assist, and road-sign assist. Buyers can also add rear cross-traffic braking and front and rear parking assist with automatic braking as a part of the XSE trim’s optional Premium Package.
There are no IIHS safety ratings for the RAV4 Prime, but its gasoline-sucking sibling pulled in a Top Safety Pick+ rating. We expect the same from this plug-in model.