Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in packs best-ever performance and efficiency
The RAV4 probably wouldn't be anyone's choice for most fun Toyota to drive (hello Supra and/or fully kitted Tacoma!), but today Toyota injects some serious thrill-making muscle into its venerable crossover, revealing the quickest, most powerful RAV4 ever. The 302-hp Prime is also Toyota's first-ever plug-in hybrid RAV4, hitting new levels of efficiency as it strings piece of pavement into quick, fun commutes. Buyers won't have to compromise on a thing when the RAV PHEV goes on sale next summer.
If you're thinking that the RAV4 Prime unveiled today at the LA Auto Show isn't actually the first plug-in RAV4, you're correct. Toyota also toyed with a RAV4 EV early on in the decade, a project developed with help from none other than Tesla. But that was a full-electric crossover, making the Prime the first RAV4 built around a PHEV powertrain.
To power the new PHEV, Toyota complements a retuned version of the non-plug-in RAV4 Hybrid's 176-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder with electric motors. All told, those drive units combine for 302 hp, an 83-hp leap that gives the Prime bragging rights as the most powerful in a long line of modern and historical RAV4s.
The Prime also becomes the quickest RAV4 of all time, sprinting from 0 to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in a projected 5.8 seconds, down a full two seconds from the RAV4 Hybrid. That's also quicker than a Porsche Macan (6.3 seconds) and an impressive amount of performance from a small SUV that can also deliver a 90 mpg-e fuel economy underpinned by 39 miles (63 km) of all-electric driving.
Helping deliver the Prime's quickness is an electronic on-demand AWD system shared with the non-plug-in RAV hybrid. That system kicks the rear motor in for all-wheel momentum when necessitated by acceleration or traction needs. The system also reduces understeer for more confident cornering and offers a Trail mode for help in tire-spinning off-road conditions.
Available paddle-shifting helps slow the crossover through descents while cranking up regenerative braking, while available Predictive Efficient Drive works with navigation data to optimize efficiency based on road conditions and driver patterns. The entire RAV4 Prime lineup will come with driver-assistance features including pre-collision with pedestrian detection, full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control, and lane departure with steering assist.
The RAV4 Prime will launch in Summer 2020 (Northern Hemisphere) as a 2021 model. It'll be available in SE trim with an 8-inch infotainment system, Amazon Alexa, leather steering wheel and shift knob, and power lift-gate. The XSE will include two-tone exterior paint, 19-in alloy wheels, paddle shifters, wireless smartphone charging, moonroof and 9-in Audio Plus multimedia system.
All models will benefit from Toyota's recently extended 10-year/150,000-mile battery warranty. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.