Toyota Unveils 302-hp 2021 RAV4 Prime

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - November 20, 2019

When Toyota unveiled the all-new RAV4, the automaker confirmed an upcoming plug-in hybrid variant of the compact SUV. Last month, the automaker gave us some more information on the RAV4 plug-in hybrid, claiming that the SUV would be “the most powerful RAV4 yet” and raved about the vehicle’s performance. Well, the cat’s out of the bag as the Toyota RAV4 Prime was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show and it has 302 horsepower and can get from zero to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. That’s a whole lot of performance for a RAV4.

Toyota’s marketing the RAV4 Prime as a sport and efficient model, and we can see why. The plug-in hybrid uses the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder that’s found in the RAV4, but features an updated hybrid system and different tuning for more power. While the RAV4 Hybrid is rated at 219 hp, the RAV4 Prime has 302 hp. That figure makes the RAV4 Prime the most powerful RAV4 ever.

The powertrain also makes the RAV4 surprisingly quick, as Toyota claims it’s the second quickest vehicle in the brand’s lineup. Not only is the RAV4 Prime two whole seconds quicker to 60 mph than the RAV4 Hybrid, but it sits behind the Toyota Supra in the Toyota hierarchy of acceleration. When Toyota said the RAV4 plug-in hybrid would be powerful and athletic, we didn’t have this in mind.

Toyota Rav-4 Prime

Performance isn’t the only thing the plug-in hybrid powertrain brings, as the RAV4 Prime is also a fuel-efficient option. Toyota estimates that the SUV will get up to 90 MPGe, while all-electric range is rated at 39 miles. That’s more than Toyota’s other plug-in hybrid model, the Prius Prime, which has an electric range of 25 miles. The RAV4 Prime also allows for some regenerative braking through paddle shifters. Compared to other plug-in hybrids, the RAV4 Prime’s electric range makes it a competitive option.

Just like with the RAV4 Hybrid, the Prime comes with all-wheel drive thanks to a separate motor on the rear axle. The plug-has an off-road mode that hunts for traction on rugged terrain by shuffling power to a wheel with traction and applying the brakes to the wheel that’s spinning. Clearly, Toyota’s been keeping notes on how rugged plug-in hybrids can be from the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid.

In keeping with the sporty theme, the RAV4 Prime will be available in SE and XSE trims. Black exterior trim pieces, an exclusive grille design, 18- and 19-inch wheels, as well as a two-tone exterior paint job all help with the SUV’s athletic design. The RAV4 Prime is also backed by Toyota’s new battery warranty, which runs for 10 years or 150,000 miles.

The RAV4 Prime will go on sale in summer 2020 as a 2021 model with pricing set to be announced at a later time. The plug-in hybrid RAV4 will go up against the Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, Ford Escape, and Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid.

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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