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Toyota RAV4 Prime Owners Reveal Their Gas-Saving Tips - Wow

Save money and improve your miles per gallon in your RAV4 Prime. These owners share their fuel-sipping styles and techniques.

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One of the primary reasons people might purchase a 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime (well, and now a 2022 RAV4 Prime) is the fuel benefit.

There are many tips, suggestions, and techniques to help drivers improve their miles per gallon. But many of these ideas are not well-known yet, since RAV4 Prime is still only one year old.

Fortunately, I recruited members of the Facebook forum “Official Toyota Rav4 Prime Group” to help you with maximizing the all-important mpg.

2021 RAV4 Prime Specs

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE window sticker mpg

Toyota RAV4 Prime is both fast and efficient.

In fact, it is the most powerful RAV4 of all-time, with 302 horsepower produced from its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and electric motors.

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However, most of its publicity stems from its 94MPGe (electricity plus gasoline combination). Also, drivers can travel up to 42 miles on a single electric charge – no gasoline used. You can immediately see the electrical pull here (see what I did there?).

But how do you achieve optimal fuel efficiency. Time to ask the true experts.

People Comment on Toyota RAV4 Prime MPG

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE Supersonic Red front end profile view

As promised, current RAV4 Prime owners share their “real-world” driving techniques and tips for improving gas mileage. I hope some of these are helpful and useful to you.

Nancy commented. “Hate to say it, but whether in EV or HV, it really comes down to driving habits. Reduced speed & acceleration has a dramatic effect on both mpg and mpkwh.”

Randy shared his tips. “When I’m really focused on high mileage here’s my technique: 90 to 95% of my daily driving is city driving (45mph or less) so I stay in EV mode in ECO. If I’m doing any highway driving, I switch to HV mode (always in ECO). When coming onto a highway I keep it in EV until I hit 45mph and then I switch it to HV. I only use Auto EV if I’m encountering a lot of steep grades and need a little extra power or when I want to blow the occasional Dodge Ram or Cadillac Escalade into the weeds (not to mention a few V8s)! In EV mode/ECO I usually get a range of 55-60 miles in warmer weather. My miles-per-KWh is about 3.8 to 4.3. Highway mileage in HV/ECO mode is easily 38 to 45 mpg.”

“I drive in eco mode most of the time. Also, I switch to hybrid when on the highway, possibly even recharge mode when on the decline of a mountain.” Added David.

Jenna suggests watching your information displays. “Along these lines, folks should keep an eye on the meter on the dash that says power/eco/charge. It’s a nice training tool to essentially reinforce what you’re saying above.”

“Keep a steady foot on the accelerator rather than going constantly between light accel then regen, accel, regen, etc. While regen is more efficient that friction brakes, it's not 100 percent efficient. Let the car coast as much as possible. When cruising along, try to find that sweet spot on the energy meter where you are just lightly feeding power to the wheels. Sending power round trip though go, slow-down, go, slow-down behavior costs a few percent of power at least. Pressing down on the accelerator is inefficient only if you are going to end accelerating by getting into regen. If you accelerate quickly to highway speed, then don't, then dump that newly acquired kinetic energy by totally lifting your foot into regen. If you don't do that, there won't be much, if any, loss in efficiency. If you have to immediately slow down, even with regen, then you shouldn't have over-accelerated to begin with.” Thanks for your help, Steev.

More Toyota RAV4 Prime MPG Tips

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE Supersonic Red profile view back end rear end

Lisa said. “I would add that I shift to "S" when I'm going downhill and then choose the lowest reasonable gear and let the engine drag slow the car down and generate more charge. Also, in a cold climate, heat the car while it's still plugged in, then rely on heated seat (and heated steering wheel if XSE), and turn off heat. If you need the heat on, put it on ECO.”

Bill had quite a few great thoughts. “Jeff, I like your energy in your videos and appreciate all updated information. Regarding the topic you are working on there is eco mode that helps, only using EV mode, or when in HV mode…letting the car do the acceleration using inc/dec speed buttons on right side steering wheel (no lead foot or pedal to the metal), coasting downhill always works, stay under 50mph (where possible) and drive during optimal outside temperature/weather (something that is impossible and defeats point of having a car). But…a possibly better or additional point to be made in discussing increasing mpg (which I assume is to save gas or really money) … one needs to discuss the equivalent cost of electricity to using gasoline (HV mode) in one’s particular location where in some instances electricity could be as costly as gasoline - some don’t realize this especially where in some states they increase fees on license registration renewals as well. And are there “free” charging stations nearby, say at work or in mall, etc. It is not as simple as some think when comparing savings potential of gas vs electric vs hybrid. Hope these ideas help and don’t detract from your original idea for a topic. Good luck.”

“Jeff, Great videos! I think Toyota makes it easy. Other than common sense (no jackrabbit starts), set the console switch to ECO mode. Of course, weather and speed make all the difference. Some will say that using Sport mode with paddles helps with regen....I don't agree that it makes any difference in overall efficiency. In my opinion (13,000 miles so far), Totota engineers have made it completely automatic in ECO mode.” I agree completely with you Daniel.

Ara had a practical suggestion. “Change Wheels and tires for lighter setup will drastically improve your mpg and e range.”

Mike commented. “Some people will drive with an “on/off” action on the accelerator. That resultant “jerky” ride really eats up the juice. Smoothness and a gentle touch make a big difference.”

And Ryan chimed in too with perhaps the most practical tip of the day. “Plug it in every 40 miles or so and it will use a lot less gas!”

Time for your Toyota RAV4 Prime Comments

Thanks for reading everyone.

I found these RAV Prime tips and techniques extremely helpful, and I hope you do as well. Feel free to let me know if you try any of these, and what results you got.

VIDEO YOU MAY ENJOY: Learn all about the new 2022 RAV4 Hybrid SE.

If this story is popular and you enjoy it, I will write a follow-up story with even more suggestions from Toyota RAV4 Prime owners.

See you next story when I discuss 2022 RAV4 changes versus 2021 RAV4.

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Sergio (not verified)    January 14, 2022 - 10:41AM

Drive slower! My Non hybrid RAV4 LE has EPA highway rating of 28/35 mpg but easily gets 40+ MPGs on my commute due to mostly highway driving 55 mph . My 08 Yaris hatchback has EPA 29/36 mpg to my observed 45-50 mpg due to driving 55 mph.

Darryl Buck (not verified)    January 15, 2022 - 9:57PM

Use the paddle shifters instead of brakes to make sure you only use regen as you begin slowing.

JohnIL (not verified)    September 19, 2022 - 3:54PM

Eco Mode shouldn't do anything for highway driving. because your always in highest gear anyway. Slowing down to 65 or under can save more than anything. In the city with lots of stop and go Eco Mode may help you retrain to a slower gradual acceleration but if all you do is just push the accelerator more it won't do much. Early upshifts also help get into higher gears sooner. Keeping engine revs lower reduces fuel consumption. Consumer reports did a very accurate test using an inline fuel consumption meter and really did not find significant savings of fuel even in city between Eco mode and Normal mode. They did find Sport mode had a negative effect of fuel economy in city of around 1 to 2 mpg. I think more savings, can be had with proper tire pressures, clean air filters, and driving conservatively. As they say even an economy vehicle can get worse MPG if you drive it like you stole it. This also translates the same for EV's as well. Want to get best range on that battery? Drive it conservatively.

Ginger (not verified)    February 6, 2023 - 7:07PM

Jeff, how many MPG do I lose leaving the side rails on my RAV4 Prime?
Can you tell me more RE the recalls for “may lose motive power while driving”. First recall Nov. 2022
Second recall, more explicit, Feb 2-2023
Thank you !