First Drives Of Toyota's 2021 RAV4 Prime - What Are Experts Saying?
Torque News is fortunate to have outstanding support from Toyota. Generally speaking, one of our staff, or occasionally multiple members of our staff, get to drive the newest and latest models as soon as media drives are available. However, with the recent social distancing measures and business slowdowns and closures, our flow was interrupted just as the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime was released.
Related Story: Toyota RAV4 Prime Will Costs Buyers About Half What A Tesla Model Y Will Cost
This is an important model, and we know readers want to hear if it is as good as the specs indicate. To help provide readers with what they need to know, we have lifted the "driving impressions" sections from multiple reviewers' first drive reports and pasted them below. We hope to provide our own full week of testing report soon. Without further delay, here is what experienced vehicle testers are saying about how the RAV4 Prime drives. Note that you can click each link to read that publication's full article.
Automobile - Connor Golden
"...the Prime feels impressively quick....the Prime is as exciting a crossover as you're going to find without a BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, or Alfa badge on the front snout...it handles and rides far better than anyone could ever ask of a non-premium SUV, period...it's composed, smooth, extremely quiet, and for daily plods around a very broken and bumpy Los Angeles, it retains fantastic suspension tuning."
Consumer Reports (Note that only members can view the report) - Reviewer is not named in the post
"Whether driven in full EV or Hybrid mode, the RAV4 Prime leaves the line with smooth and immediate electric power. EV mode—without any assist from the gas engine—has some gusto when accelerating at low speeds....In Hybrid mode—which constantly cycles between electric motor, gas engine, and a combination of the two—the RAV4 Prime has an extremely rich power delivery...But it’s the Prime’s relaxed nature that stood out the most for us. It always feels like it has good oomph in reserve, delivering its power with minimal noise or fuss most of the time...
Motor1 - Jeff Perez
"We can't say enough good things about the RAV4 (Prime)....the RAV4 Prime is genuinely quick – shockingly so...The Prime feels very much like a normal RAV in the turns, which is to say it’s fine...the steering is well-weighted and the suspension reacts nicely to tighter turns...the transition between gas and electric is totally seamless...it’s just very nice to drive."
CNET Road Show - Craig Cole
"With 302 horsepower on tap, it can zip from a standstill to 60 mph in as little as 5.7 seconds, a time that is legitimately swift. And thanks to ample low-end electric torque, it feels even fleeter...Driving the RAV4 Prime purely on electricity is a great experience. It's punchy, smooth and nearly silent...there's tons of low-end torque...This plug-in SUV's (brake) pedal has nice weight to it and is easy to modulate, with no discernible weirdness when transitioning from regenerative to friction braking....
We have primarily selected the statements from these stories that describe the tester's direct driving impressions of the RAV4 Prime. For a full overview, and a fair comparison to other vehicle options, watch for our upcoming full test report. If you are one of the RAV4 Prime's early adopters, please feel free to share your personal driving impressions below.
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career to chase his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on the Torque News Facebook Page, and view his credentials at Linkedin
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime image courtesy of Toyota media support