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Toyota's New RAV4 Prime Plug-In's Stunning 0-60 Time, Range, & MPGe Re-Sets the Bar

Toyota has just dropped the full specs on the new 2021 RAV4 Prime. The specifications are almost hard to believe.

Toyota dropped the full specification sheet for the 2021 RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) specs today. We almost cannot believe how far Toyota has just raised the bar. Here are the bullet points that we will explore more fully in our story below:

- 0-60 MPH Acceleration time of 5.8 seconds - a full half-second faster than the old RAV4 with the V6 engine
- An EV-only EPA-estimated range of 39 miles on a single charge
- An MPGe rating of 90 MPGe
- 302 hp from its drivetrain
- All-wheel drive - standard
- Driver-controlled regenerative braking force
- 10-year, 150,000-mile battery warranty
- Driver-assist includes lane-trace-assist and full-speed dynamic cruise control
- Active safety standard on all trims

Watch what people say about the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube for daily automotive and Toyota news analysis.

rav4 prime rear

Stepping back and looking at what Toyota has done, it seems clear that the new 2021 RAV4 Prime, arriving next year, has re-set the bar in this segment. Coupled with Ford's coming Mustang Mach-E electric crossover and Tesla's Model Y, shoppers will now have three plug-in crossovers across a very wide range of prices from which to choose. Two from companies proven to deliver new products on time and on budget.

RAV4 all-wheel driveRAV4 Prime Performance
Toyota's new RAV4 Prime will have a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that uses regular unleaded fuel in sips when it operates. In addition, it will have two electric motors, one at each end of the vehicle. In total, the RAV4 Prime will offer drivers and available 302 hp. The previous RAV4 equipped with the V6 engine developing 269 hp was capable of a 0-60 MPH sprint of about 6.3 seconds. The new RAV4 Prime will shave a half-second off of that time. But honestly, who really cares? What really matters is the amazing EV-torque the RAV4 will have providing a very satisfying pull around town in normal driving.

RAV4 Prime Plug InRAV4 Energy Efficiency, Energy Cost, Range
The prior V6-equipped RAV4 had an MPG rating of about 21. The new RAV4 Hybrid, on sale for many months and leading sales in the green vehicle segment many of those months, has a rating of 40 MPG. The new RAV4 Prime will have an MPGe rating of 90 according to Toyota. The RAV4 Prime will offer owners a cost for the energy of about the same as a fully-electric crossover. With a range of 39 miles, the RAV4 Prime will be able to handle more than America's average work commute using only electric power without recharging and still have range to spare. Because it is also a super-efficient hybrid vehicle, when the RAV4's 39 miles of EV range has been used, it can still travel hundreds of miles without stopping.

Ownership Experience RAV4 Prime
Like all Toyota's the 2021 RAV4 Prime will come with 2-years of included maintenance. This lowers the cost of ownership, particularly for those who lease the vehicle. Toyota's low-maintenance designs add to that value and Toyota's 10-year, 150,000 battery warranty also eliminates any concerns about expensive EV-system repairs over the vehicle's lifespan. Toyota's legendary reliability, quality, and durability will make the RAV4 Prime the safest financial bet in the electric crossover world.

RAV4 Android Auto2021 RAV4 Prime Content
Toyota will offer the RAV4 Prime in two trims at launch, both sporty. 19-inch alloy wheels will be available and every trim will include Amazon Alexa, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Watch for updates on the RAV4 Prime regarding price and availability. We expect that after EV incentives, the RAV4 Prime will have a cost to consumers ranging from about $32K to about $40K. Expect it to arrive on your local Toyota dealer's lot mid-2020 to early fall-2020, if not sooner. Please also check out our own Jeff Teague's expert commentary and opinions on just how the new RAV4 Prime will change the green crossover landscape in the coming year.

Watch the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid Prime video presentation and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube channel for daily automotive news analysis.

See you in our next story discussing two ways the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Prime beats the Prius.

In addition to covering green vehicle topics, John Goreham covers safety, technology, and new vehicle news at Torque News. You can follow John on Twitter at @johngoreham.


DeanMcManis (not verified)    November 20, 2019 - 10:46AM

I think that the Toyota RAV4 Prime is going to be a sales hit in this market. It can be argued that this was a conservative move by Toyota to build a PHEV crossover in 2020. Especially when they had already built a couple generations of RAV4 BEVs, and also considering that rivals like Ford and Tesla have CUV BEVs coming in the same time frame. Japanese companies often choose the safest route towards the future, but I am happy that at least Toyota is offering a PHEV. The smart part of this move is that they will grab all of the buyers who want to move to an EV but who want the security of having a gasoline engine as a backup. There is a HUGE market of people who now own gas/diesel cars and trucks who will be attracted to make this easy step into electrification, with no real downside. The best part for buyers is that the governmental subsidies should bring this Prime model close to the regular hybrid RAV4's price. That would still put it in the ballpark price of the Chevy Bolt and Hyundai Kona BEVs, but thousands less than the base models of the Tesla Model Y and Ford Mach-E. Part of me is disappointed that Toyota is backpedaling from building a EV RAV4, but part of me thinks that it is a relatively smart move considering that their even more conservative Japanese automaker rivals Honda and Nissan have not even moved to building plug in hybrid versions of their CUVs.

John Goreham    November 20, 2019 - 11:33AM

In reply to by DeanMcManis (not verified)

Well said Dean. One big upside to Toyota's conservative approach is that it has resulted in some very reliable products. Toyota is often criticized (including by me) for being slow to adopt tech like turbocharging, CVTs, and smartphone integration. When Toyota does bring forth new tech it usually goes well. The majority of Toyota's family vehicles sell for under $30K. Toyota has long said it wants to reduce fuel usage as wisely as possible. Perhaps for this brand, and this time, the way to do that is with a 90 MPGe high-volume vehicle that costs its owners around $30K to $35K. Which, by my math, is where the RAV4 prime will fall after the federal tax deduction and EV-target state rebates. And possibly dealer incentives. Maybe the $45K compact BEV crossover will follow at Lexus?

Steve Birkett    November 21, 2019 - 12:56PM

Someone needs to offer compelling PHEVs as other manufacturers exit that category, and Toyota is as well placed as anyone to fill that space. Once owners experience the improved acceleration and smoother operation of battery-assisted driving, as well as spending extended periods of time not having to visit a gas station, the natural progression is to explore all-electric options. That's how we ended up in a Bolt EV after driving a Volt, so I hope Toyota has some exciting full BEVs ready for the post-RAV4 PHEV buyer!