It's a big step up in performance.
Expected to hit local dealerships in summer 2020, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime has been touted as both the quickest and most efficient version of Toyota's popular SUV. Known outside of the US simply as the RAV4 PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle), this range-topping model has now officially been launched in Japan.
Producing a total system output of 302 horsepower, the RAV4 PHEV is 38 percent more powerful than the current RAV4 Hybrid which manages 219 hp. The PHEV is comfortably quicker, too, hitting 62 mph in only six seconds. It's even more impressive considering Toyota's claim that a cruising range of over 800 miles is possible when hybrid mode is used.
According to Toyota, the BEV driving range of 59 miles is superior for the segment. The RAV4 PHEV utilizes the new Toyota Hybrid System (THS II) with front and rear electric motors paired with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine. A lithium-ion battery helps to lower the RAV4's center of gravity by being placed beneath the floor and in the middle. The E-Four electric 4WD system distributes power to all four wheels, providing both improved stability and better control in snowy or wet conditions.
Recently, it was discovered that the Tesla Model 3 was already set up for bidirectional charging, which could make EVs more convenient than ever. Similarly, the new RAV4 PHEV is equipped with an external power supply function (1,500 W) which can be used during blackouts or for various outdoor activities. With the regular, standard charger and a 200-volt outlet, a full charge takes five-and-a-half hours.
The fastest RAV4 has also been given enough visual tweaks to set it apart, such as an Emotional Red II color unique to this model, 19-inch alloy wheels, and a black treatment for the lower body, mirror caps, and roof. A black cabin with red accent stitching continues the sporty feel. There are synthetic leather sport seats, too.
The RAV4 PHEV has a nine-inch display screen and is equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense suite which includes pre-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and parking sensors. In the US, the RAV4 Prime will carry a starting MSRP of $38,100 for the SE and $41,425 for the XSE. Although pricier than many rivals, the RAV4 Prime's hot performance, superb economy, and the trusted Toyota badge combine for a formidable entry in this class. Rivals like the Honda CR-V Hybrid better watch out.