There is a new vehicle in the Toyota lineup that you probably know about.
You may have researched it. You may even be on a waiting list to get one. Some people now own one and are driving them as I write my story for you. However, few have even sat in one or test driven one to this point.
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime.
RAV4 Prime Specs
You see, Toyota only manufactured several thousand RAV4 Prime vehicles initially. Plus, they are only sold in select regions across the United States. And they are very popular and in high demand it seems.
I am fortunate to be evaluating a 2021 RAV4 Prime XSE this week. In Supersonic Red. This is the very first time I have ever sat in a RAV4 Prime, so I am learning on the fly as I go.
What is the best way to describe a Prime? First, imagine a traditional 2021 RAV4 or RAV4 Hybrid. The Prime is nearly identical in exterior and interior dimensions.
Then, add the ability to plug it in and run it on electric power some of the time, and hybrid power (gasoline and electric) the remainder of the time.
Here is what Toyota RAV4 Prime offers. 302 horsepower. A 42-mile electric driving range. 94MPGe fuel efficiency ratings. A 0-60 time of 5.7 seconds.
Yes, it is powerful and zippy and quiet and mpg friendly.
In fact, it is the most powerful and the fastest Toyota RAV4 to-date.
But is it comfortable?
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime comfort
There are two trim levels for Toyota RAV4 Prime – SE and XSE. Buyers can upgrade their XSE with a Premium Package that offers many useful upgrades.
In my opinion, this makes three trim levels (SE, XSE, XSE with Premium Package).
The reason I say this is that seating varies between these three. We shall start there – with the seats.
RAV4 Prime SE seats
A RAV4 Prime SE features standard fabric seats with embossed seat inserts and red stitching. XSE has SofTex seats with fabric seat inserts and red stitching. XSE Premium Package gives owners full SofTex seats with red accents and stitching.
RAV4 Prime XSE Premium Package seats
My test vehicle is a 2021 RAV4 Prime XSE with Premium Package. I am finding the seats to be quite comfortable.
Not hard or stiff at all. This vehicle comes with both heated and cooled front seats, as well as heated rear seats. It also has memory seat positions for two people.
Earlier I compared RAV4 Prime to Toyota RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid. This is because interior dimensions are mostly identical in all three models.
Front seat leg room is 41 inches. Front head room is 37.7 inches.
Rear seat leg room is 37.8 inches. Rear head room is 39.5 inches.
Most passengers should find plenty of room to sit up straight or stretch out a little on long road trips. Of course, much taller people may want to visit a Toyota dealership and sit inside a RAV4 or RAV4 Hybrid or RAV4 Prime just to double check.
One “hidden” feature I like is that you can adjust each rear seat to recline a couple inches with a lever on top of the seat. This slight adjustment could add to overall ride comfort for many people.
2021 RAV4 Prime cargo space
Another facet of comfort is the ability to successfully haul your luggage, crates, coolers, and other gear on trips. Cargo space.
Again, look for nearly identical interior dimensions between RAV4 Prime and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and RAV4 when discussing cargo space.
This video from my “Toyotajeff” YouTube channel digs deeper into both passenger space and cargo capacity. I packed it with boxes and storage tubs to show what it can store. I hope you find it helpful in your research.
Total passenger volume is 98.9 cubic feet. Cargo volume behind the front seat is 69.8 cubic feet. Cargo volume behind the rear seat is between 33.5 and 37 cubic feet, depending on if you have the panoramic moonroof or not.
My measurements found about 40 inches from back of the rear seat to the tailgate. I also found about 72 inches from back of the front seat to the tailgate. Hopefully, this can assist you with research as well.
RAV4 Prime ride comfort
In my opinion, 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime rides smooth and comfortable.
We know it is powerful from its 302 horsepower. You can feel the low-end torque right from start-up. To me, the most significant burst of power comes when you are aggressively accelerating from about 35mph to highway speeds of around 70mph. RAV4 Prime flies and it does it relatively quietly, all things considered.
Prime takes bumps mostly soft and it hugs country road curves tightly. I suspect this is due to its multi-link rear suspension.
There are different driving modes and configurations that I am still learning.
EV mode is all-electric and this is what allows you to drive up to 42 miles without using any gasoline.
HV is hybrid vehicle and this is when your Prime uses a combination of gasoline and electric motor power (this is similar to RAV4 Hybrid). Toyota suggests you drive highways in HV mode for best results, but you can play around with this to see what works for you.
You can also let your RAV4 Prime choose your mode for you when you are in Auto HV/EV mode.
The really cool mode is when you put your car in Charge mode. This recharges electric range so that you have additional miles to run in all-electric. The negative seems to be that you sacrifice gas mileage in performing this function.
Yesterday, I was driving in the city and had 20 electric miles left. I was averaging 38.3mpg (in just hybrid mode). I switched into Charge mode and within 10 minutes I was back up to 22 miles of electric range. However, my mpg slipped to 37.2 in that time.
Charge mode is a give and take. A pros and cons. But an interesting feature to explore and get to know more.
Time for your Toyota RAV4 thoughts
Do you own a RAV4 Prime and what are your experiences so far? What are your impressions with comfort?
Are you interested in getting one and are you currently on a waiting list?
I have this vehicle all week so let me know if there is any topic or aspect of 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime that you want me to investigate and report back.
Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story when I discuss a potential time frame for 2022 Toyota Tundra Hybrid.
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