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. I test drove a hybrid RAV4 and also drive the electric RAV4 electric of old when working for the NY Power Authority.
However, the arrival of the first-ever RAV4 TRD Off-Road model was announced earlier this year. Then at the Los Angeles Auto Show Toyota debuts the new premium, fun-to-drive RAV4 performance model aka 302 hp. It’s ok, well get back to that!
Consequently, 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. Seems to be the second quickest acceleration time in the Toyota lineup. This one drives an estimated 39 miles on battery alone on a single charge. Then you get the hybrid. However that’s pretty hefty EV range for a PHEV SUV on the market.
So the RAV4 Prime also has a manufacturer-estimated 90 combined MPGe. We shall see when I test drive it.
The Toyota RAV4 Prime, a 2021 model that will arrive in summer 2020. It also breaks ground as the most powerful and quickest RAV4 ever. All the while also being the most fuel-efficient.
The Toyota RAV4 Prime builds on the RAV4 Hybrid. All which is currently the most powerful and most fuel-efficient RAV4 model in the line. That’s 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. Thereby reflecting Toyota’s 20+ years of hybrid vehicle leadership.
So with more powerful motor-generators and a newly developed high-capacity Lithium-Ion battery with a booster converter. Because the 2021 RAV4 Prime yields an 83-horsepower (hp) jump in total system output. That’s over the RAV4 Hybrid and has the most horsepower in its segment.
Therefore, 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. Also, Piano black exterior accents and a painted grille/diffuser to complete the premium look.
The SE’s equipment is quite comprehensive, with standard heated front seats. In addition an 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment. Then you get the 7-in. Multi-Information Display, Blind Spot Monitor and a leather steering wheel and shift knob with red stitching. Coupled with a power liftgate and Audio with 8-in. touch-screen. That’s including 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. Then heated rear outboard seats and windshield wiper de-icers. Finally and 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. Then also pairing a black roof with select colors. Even including the striking new- to-RAV4 Supersonic Red. In addition, it’s exclusive 19-in. alloy wheels. These are 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.