Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE 2021 Review, Price, And Other Things You Need To Know About This Product

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Toyota encased eco-friendly technology in extroverted styling with the hybrid Prius and plug-in hybrid Prius Prime, using design to flaunt its accomplishments. The Toyota RAV4 Prime for 2021 adopts a different strategy.

The Prime resembles a standard RAV4, which is Toyota’s best-selling vehicle. But the RAV4 Prime is a plug-in hybrid, just like the Prius Prime, and it gets better gas mileage than the current RAV4 Hybrid model. The Prime isn’t just the most economical RAV4, though. Additionally, it is the fastest-accelerating and most potent RAV4.
There are two trim levels for the RAV4 Prime. The XSE models like our test car start at $42,500, while the SE starts at $39,195. Accordingly, the base SE starts about $2,000 more expensive than the most expensive RAV4 Hybrid. Toyota anticipates the Prime to be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit based on the size of its battery pack, which should cancel out that difference.

Interior and exterior

The RAV4 Prime appears like any other RAV4, in contrast to the Prius Prime, which features style that is noticeably different from that of the normal Prius. The only distinguishing features of the Prime are its black exterior trim, a distinctive grille, model-specific wheels, and badging. Although the RAV4 is built on the same Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform as vehicles like the Corolla and Camry, it is designed to look like a tough off-roader.

Additionally, the interior has hardly changed, which is not a bad thing. The interior has hefty knobs and cleverly placed rubber grips that give it a robust appearance while improving usage. Although it is simple to use from the driver’s position, the freestanding infotainment touchscreen is a bit of a reach for front-seat occupants. The bottom cushions of the back seats were flat and unsupportive, but the front seats were reasonably comfy.

The interior has hefty knobs and cleverly placed rubber grips that give it a robust appearance while improving usage.

Toyota excelled at design, but the quality of the interior materials lagged. The RAV4 Prime is the top model, yet the inside didn’t feel any better than that of less priced variants. The trim pieces appeared to have been purchased from Rubbermaid, and the leatherette seats looked like they had been taken out of a taxi.

According to Toyota, the battery pack, which is installed under the floor, has no negative effects on interior space. However, given that the RAV4 previously lagged behind most rivals, this does not result in segment-leading interior capacity. Compared to the Ford Escape and Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrids, the RAV4 Prime has more rear headroom, but the Escape has more rear legroom because of a sliding second-row seat. Additionally, the Toyota has larger cargo room than the Ford and Mitsubishi. Additionally, the RAV4 and Outlander offer 120-volt outlets in their cargo spaces for tools, camping gear, and other items you might need to plug in while on the go.

Driver assistance, tech, and infotainment

A built-in Wi-Fi hotspot and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included in the base RAV4 Prime SE model. The largest touchscreen offered in any RAV4 is found in the XSE trim level and measures 9.0 inches. A head-up display is included in the XSE’s optional Premium Package. On a RAV4, there is no other way to acquire such function.

The backup analog controls for the majority of key functions help make the infotainment system simple to use. Anyone who has driven a Toyota hybrid before will be familiar with the digital instrument cluster display. Although there is a lot of information packed into a little area, it is simple to get used to. Overall, the infotainment experience isn’t very unique but accomplishes the job as expected.

The backup analog controls for the majority of key functions help make the infotainment system simple to use.

Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes autonomous emergency braking (with pedestrian and cyclist detection), road sign recognition, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and Lane Tracing Assist—a feature that gently steers the vehicle back and forth to keep it in its lane—is standard equipment on the RAV4 Prime.

Although Lane Tracing Assist shouldn’t be confused with the more assertive steering-assist features offered by companies like Ford, Nissan, and Subaru, the standard package of driver aids is comparable to other mainstream brands. The Toyota version is less of a true steering aid and more of an improved lane keep assist feature.

Driving knowledge

Performance and efficiency are two very different areas where the RAV4 Prime aims to excel. The RAV4 Hybrid powertrain is upgraded to enable it to achieve some remarkable numbers.

The 2.5-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine continues to provide 176 horsepower, but the addition of two electric motors boosts the system’s overall output to 302 hp. That is significantly more horsepower than the Ford Escape or Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrids, and it is 83 horsepower more than the RAV4 Hybrid. The two Japanese cars have all-wheel drive, whereas the Escape only has front-wheel drive.

According to Toyota, the RAV4 Prime can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, a time previously reserved for sports cars. Consequently, the RAV4 Prime is the fastest four-door Toyota currently available for purchase in the United States (only the Supra sports car is quicker).

The hybrid all-wheel-drive system is comparable to that in other Toyota automobiles. Without any mechanical connection to the front wheels, it powers the rear wheels only with an electric motor. Similar to the RAV4 Hybrid, this vehicle’s rear motor is employed for torque vectoring, which shifts power from one side to the other to enhance on-road handling and boost grip on slick terrain. Additionally, a “trail” driving option aids in the latter.

The fastest four-door Toyota currently offered for sale in the US is the RAV4 Prime.

The RAV4 Prime felt as swift as the numbers suggest when driving. Not only was there more power, but it was also given in a different way. When the right foot was pressed, the Prime immediately surged with torque, giving the impression of being an electric vehicle. Regardless of the battery’s level of charge, this swift, urgent acceleration happened. The only sign that the gasoline engine was running was a faint hum.

The RAV4 Prime, like the Mitsubishi Outlander, has paddle shifters that may be used to modify the amount of regenerative braking, assisting in slowing the vehicle without applying the brakes and even recovering some energy. To obtain those paddles, you have to go from the SE to the XSE, and the effect didn’t feel as dramatic in the Toyota as it did in the Mitsubishi.

In an effort to give the Prime greater refinement than other RAV4 models, Toyota gave it different suspension tuning, thicker laminated glass, and additional soundproofing. The Prime did feel noticeably quieter and more comfortable than previous RAV4 models, but perhaps Toyota should have taken a sportier suspension arrangement instead. The chassis can’t make use of the 302 horsepower as is.

Electric range, gas mileage, and safety

The RAV4 Prime demonstrates that efficiency need not be sacrificed for power. Toyota claims an electric range of 42 miles and a 94 MPGe efficiency rating. With an identical efficiency rating, that is more electric range than a Chevrolet Volt from the first generation. It is amazing to see such numbers in a regular crossover as the Volt was a purpose-built car regarded to be General Motors’ “moonshot” when it made its debut in 2010. Despite having a substantially lower efficiency, the RAV4 Prime also has a roughly double the electric range of the Toyota Prius Prime.

The Ford Escape and Mitsubishi Outlander are outperformed by the Prime in terms of electric range, despite the Ford being 100 MPGe more efficient. Toyota did not offer gasoline fuel economy numbers at the time of publishing, however the trip computer of the vehicle indicated that we averaged 42.5 mpg.

For the normal 3.3-kilowatt onboard charger, a full charge from a 120-volt household outlet takes 12 hours, while a 240-volt Level 2 charging station takes 4.5 hours. The XSE trim level offers a 6.6-kW charger that reduces the Level 2 charging time to 2.5 hours. The Mitsubishi Outlander comes standard with DC fast charging, although Toyota doesn’t offer it for the RAV4 Prime.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the conventional RAV4 a “Top Safety Pick” certification, missing out on the highest rating owing to subpar lighting. Safety ratings for the Prime are not yet available. The basic RAV4 received a five-star rating overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Toyota provides free planned maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles in addition to a three-year, 36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Other hybrid system components are covered by an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty, while the Prime’s battery pack gets a 10-year, 150,000-mile warranty of its own. The RAV4 has a solid reputation for dependability generally, and many hybrid models can easily withstand demanding taxi service.

How DT would set up this vehicle

The RAV4 Prime’s XSE with the optional Premium Package is the most technologically advanced model. The base SE trim level lacks some technological features, like as a larger 9.0-inch touchscreen and Qi wireless phone charging, which are included in the XSE trim level. The head-up display, 6.6-kW onboard charger, cargo area power outlet, video rearview mirror, 360-degree camera system, and park assist with front and rear automated brakes are all included in the premium package, which costs $3,765.

The Prime is the top-tier RAV4. The RAV4 Prime adds performance to this crossover’s record along with even higher efficiency, just as the RAV4 Hybrid outperforms the gasoline model in terms of power and refinement as well as fuel economy. If you have the extra money, the Prime turns the RAV4 from a decent car to a contender.

Our view

The Toyota RAV4 Prime from 2021 demonstrates that the future need not be mysterious. By being commonplace, this plug-in hybrid creates new ground. The Prime integrates green technology into a vehicle that people are already purchasing rather than aiming to be just a fashion statement. The RAV4 Prime proves that the future need not be dull with its 302 horsepower.

Additionally, in its (albeit short) sector of fierce competition, the RAV4 Prime is the best. It offers additional technological features while outperforming the Mitsubishi Outlander in terms of cargo capacity, performance, and efficiency. The RAV4 Prime has a longer electric range than the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid, but it is more efficient. The Ford is also less expensive than the Toyota, with prices beginning at about $35,000. The plug-in hybrid doesn’t have all-wheel drive, and the Escape itself isn’t our favorite small crossover.

The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid and Kia Niro PHEV, which are alternatives to SUVs, are unable to compete with the Toyota’s trifecta of power, electric range, and cargo room. All-wheel drive is not an option for the Kia either.

Do you need one?

Yes. The RAV4 Prime is an excellent all-around vehicle.

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About the author


Autofot is a website that blogs on the importance of taking good care of our automobiles. Little things that are ignored matter the most, hence we try to educate car owners and other different auto owners on how to go about taking care of their cars with little or no cost.

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