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How 2021 Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid May Compare with Prius Prime

Toyota is ready to debut its upcoming 2021 RAV4 plug-in hybrid this week in Los Angeles. How will it compare with its current plug-in, the 2020 Prius Prime?


Last month Toyota teased us with news of a brand new RAV4 model that will be both fuel-efficient and powerful. While news has been intentionally vague and mysterious so far, much more should be known in just a couple days. The 2021 RAV4 plug-in hybrid will debut this Wednesday, November 20th, at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

As the big reveal gets closer to happening, I get more and more excited to hear what I think I will be hearing (if that makes any sense at all). After all, the Toyota RAV4 is already America’s best-selling SUV. It is dependable, big on safety and technology, and it looks great. Add in the extremely popular RAV4 Hybrid and you have the makings of a vehicle that will continue to set records.

Watch What Makes 2019 RAV4 Hybrid The Top Selling Green Car in USA and Subscribe to Torque News Youtube Channel for Daily Toyota and Automotive News.

This rampant speculation has me wondering, though, how the 2021 RAV4 plug-in hybrid will compare to Toyota’s 2020 Prius Prime.

What makes 2020 Prius Prime so special?

The 2020 Prius Prime has benefits to drivers both as a commuter car and a longer road trip vehicle. Since it can operate both as a traditional hybrid (combination of gasoline and electric) and as a plug-in vehicle, the opportunities for versatility here are endless.

Imagine a person’s typical work day of 9am-5pm. Imagine also that they live within 20 miles of work. Prius Prime has a driving range of about 25 miles to take advantage of all-electric mode. They can plug in their Prius Prime while at work, which takes about 5 ½ hours to fully charge (just over 2 hours if they have a Level 2 charging setup). Then, at the end of the day, they can drive home in all-electric mode. This has the makings of incredible gas savings here, my friends.

2020 Toyota Prius Prime Blue Magnetism

Another consideration is how far someone can drive on one tank of gasoline. With the 2020 Prius Prime this is about 640 miles. That could potentially get me from where I live in Raleigh, NC to my home state of Michigan without having to refuel even once. Mind blown.

The 2021 RAV4 plug-in hybrid is coming

According to Toyota’s press release on the 2021 RAV4 plug-in hybrid, “the new RAV4 plug-in hybrid will be celebrated by its spirited acceleration, nimble handling and impeccable style”. It also promises this will be the most powerful RAV4 yet.

The current 2020 RAV4 gasoline engine delivers 203 horsepower while RAV4 Hybrid produces 219 horsepower. Before it stopped V6 production many years ago, the 2012 RAV4 V6 engine gave drivers 269 horsepower to work with.

2020 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid silver sky metallic RAV4 XLE Hybrid Ruby Flare Pearl

To make this 2021 plug-in hybrid the most powerful RAV4 yet, I would love to see output numbers closing in on or even surpassing 300 horsepower. I would also be thrilled to see an all-electric driving range of at least 50 miles. That would definitely generate plenty of buzz in the automotive world. It is so hard to say, though, what will happen.

Time for your thoughts on 2021 RAV4 plug-in hybrid

Again this is all speculation, at least until Wednesday when we all get to see the big reveal. What are you most looking forward to with the 2021 RAV4 plug-in hybrid?

Also, what criteria will this new plug-in need to have to make you a serious buyer?

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY: Sneak preview of 2020 Highlander Hybrid Interior and Exterior. Subscribe to Torque News YouTube channel for the latest automotive analysis and news.

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story when I detail the towing capacity for all 2020 RAV4 trim levels.

Bookmark Jeff Teague's Toyota News and Reviews at Torque News Toyota. Please subscribe to Jeff’s “Toyotajeff” YouTube channel for Toyota news, reviews and how-to videos. Follow Jeff on Facebook and Instagram. Twitter him @toyotajeff1 and tweet him tips for new stories.


Digitaldoc (not verified)    November 19, 2019 - 7:48AM

The existing hybrid is more about the mpg's, than about performance. I would like to see the RAV4, and other CUV's emphasize the performance more. Would love to see a RAV4 with 300 hp, and no reason it can't be done, but I would be shocked to see Toyota ever do anything to disrupt their order of things like that. After all, they have to protect their 4Runner, and the Lexus UX200, and a better RAV4 could unseat them both pretty easily.

DeanMcManis (not verified)    November 19, 2019 - 11:49AM

Yeah, those are going to be the big questions, price, and EV range. The Prius Prime starts at just under $28K before rebates, and the RAV4 Hybrid starts a little over $28K. At first glance I don't know if most buyers are going to be cross-shopping a Prius and a RAV4, but if Toyota increases the EV-only range and keeps the price reasonable, then they could potentially get Prius Prime buyers to move up to the RAV4 PHEV. If Toyota doesn't keep the RAV4 PHEV's price low then we could see buyers choosing BEV models like the Bolt, Kona, or upcoming Model Y, and Mach-E.

Don Sterkel (not verified)    November 19, 2019 - 9:42PM

Just bought Kia Niro Plug-in. Traded in Niro Hybrid. Looking for 50+ in EV mode. Horsepower not that important. Own Niros rather than Toyota (Prius x2) for small feature problem of passenger seats come with no power or manual adjustment to raise.