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You Won’t Believe the Speed of 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

With Toyota’s official debut of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid comes incredible horsepower, an amazing 0-60 time – and a new name.

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Many people in the automotive world have been waiting for today. Waiting patiently for November 20th. You see, today is the day Toyota finally reveals all the secret information about the highly-anticipated 2021 Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid. This morning, we got our wish.

We now have a much better idea of the specifications for this powerful addition to RAV4’s already impressive lineup of gasoline and hybrid offerings. Horsepower. Quickness. Trims. Even a new name. You will be impressed.

Meet the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime.

Performance Specs for RAV4 Prime – Faster Than a V6 RAV4?

There was a time when the 2012 RAV4 with V6 engine was the fastest vehicle in Toyota’s lineup. Its 0-60 time was 6.3 seconds. People still remember this one fondly, and they question often “when will Toyota bring back the RAV4 V6”? Last month I wrote a Torque News story asking this same question. With the introduction of the 2021 RAV4 Prime, there is really not much need to mention RAV4 and V6 in the same conversation anymore. Well, unless you want to, of course.

It seems almost unimaginable to write that the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime produces an astounding 302 horsepower. Only a handful of Toyota models deliver more power. Even the 2020 Camry V6 has less power (well, by 1 horsepower, but still). Can you imagine a Toyota RAV4 with over 300hp? Anyone who hoped for quicker acceleration in a RAV4 now has their wish granted.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Supersonic Red profile front end

Speaking of acceleration, those who want a RAV4 can now better than ever swiftly climb a hill, get up to highway speed quickly, and pass slower cars when needed. The 2021 RAV4 Prime has a manufacturer-rated 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds. Only the 2020 Supra, which is Toyota-rated at 4.1 seconds but probably faster, is quicker off the line.

This is fast. This is performance. This is what we have been asking and hoping for.

Fuel facts on 2021 RAV4 Prime

Remember when you thought 40mpg combined for the 2019 and 2020 RAV4 Hybrid was incredible fuel efficiency? Well, it is still really great. Combining 219 horsepower, terrific gas mileage and a reasonable price, RAV4 Hybrid has worked hard to earn its “best-selling hybrid on the market” title.

However, let it sink in and marinate a little when I tell you the 2021 RAV4 Prime is rated at 90 combined MPGe (miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent). MPGe is a measurement of distance traveled per unit of energy consumed, and it is different from traditional MPG in that it takes into account both gasoline and electric consumption.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime interior

RAV4 Prime’s MPGe is more than double the current fuel economy of RAV4 Hybrid. Wow.

The RAV4 Prime also has an all-electric driving range of 39 miles, which means drivers can go up to 39 miles utilizing only electric power and no gasoline. This one specification alone will make it an excellent option for both commuters and long road trip families and adventurers.

In comparison, the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime is rated at 133MPGe and has an all-electric range of 25 miles. Its fuel tank is 11.4 gallons and estimated total driving range on one tank of gasoline is 640 miles.

TAKE A CLOSER LOOK as I detail 2021 RAV4 Prime Specs in my video review

I wrote a story earlier this week (not yet knowing that RAV4 plug-in would be named RAV4 Prime) drawing potential comparisons between the RAV4 plug-in hybrid and Prius Prime.

Details of total “one-tank” driving range for the new RAV Prime have not been released yet. This is one piece of the puzzle I cannot wait to learn.

I’ll Take “Potpourri” for $600 please Alex

At Torque News our reporters have a professional teamwork approach to vehicle news. My colleague John Goreham wrote a great piece earlier today listing RAV4 Prime specifics in detail. Read his story from this link. Here are some other bullet points to look forward to with the “new” Prime:

• Available in both SE and XSE trims.
• Utilizes a newly-developed high-capacity Lithium-Ion battery.
• 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine combined with electric motors.
• Uses same Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive as current 2020 RAV4 Hybrid.

Time for your thoughts on 2021 RAV4 Prime

Plan to see the 2021 RAV4 Prime shipping to dealerships in the summer of 2020. Pricing is not yet available.
What do you think of the specifications for the newest RAV4 model? Based on what you now know, do you think you will consider purchasing a RAV4 Prime when it comes out?

Also, has your opinion of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles changed over the last few years as these technologies become more and more prevalent?

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story when I explain why you should add accessories to your new car the same time you buy it.

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John Goreham    November 20, 2019 - 12:08PM

I remember testing the V6 RAV4 and thinking "This thing is fast." I've owned fast cars including a Supra and understand pretty well what 5.8 seconds to sixty means. My Lexus IS 350C did the sprint to sixty in almost exactly that time and that car was real-world fast. In very few situations in New England do you find a spot you can accelerate that fast anywhere close to legally. I wasn't th first to say it, but electrification is the future and present of performance.

Xetown (not verified)    November 20, 2019 - 12:38PM

Awesome specs! I just hope this tech flows into their other models soon. I'm waiting for a plug in Tacoma or Tundra, where the MPGe rating will make a bigger difference.

Also, the Rav4 Prime must start no more than 35k. Other wise, it's going to be competing with BEVs like the Mach-E, Model Y and more soon.

Dan (not verified)    November 20, 2019 - 12:46PM

My XSE is on the boat now. I'm heading to the dealer shortly to cancel and transfer the down payment to the prime. Hate to wait but oh yeah!

Sam (not verified)    November 20, 2019 - 2:11PM

Awesome specs but I'm waiting for a plug in for their trucks and (real) SUVs, where the MPGe rating will make a bigger difference and the fuel savings will be realized sooner.

Also, the Rav4 Prime must start no more than 35k. Other wise, it's going to be competing with BEVs like the Mach-E, Model Y and more soon.

Mark Day (not verified)    November 20, 2019 - 2:35PM

"Based on what you now know, do you think you will consider purchasing a RAV4 Prime when it comes out?" I've never driven a 4-cylinder engine vehicle that I prefer over my RAV4 V6. I'd have to drive this new RAV for a valid opinion. But, the complication over the V6, including battery life, is a definite negative factor.

Digitaldoc (not verified)    November 20, 2019 - 10:08PM

In reply to by Mark Day (not verified)

I am probably in the minority on this, but I really just wish Toyota would offer the RAV4 with either a V-6, or a turbo. Either could generate more power than the current gas powertrain, at a more affordable price point, and not need a government subsidy to buy it. It should also be more reliable, and not need this eAWD system to drive the rear wheels.

Katie D (not verified)    November 20, 2019 - 3:57PM

I want one! I have been waiting for a PHEV AWD vehicle that doesn't cost >$60k and is nicer than the old-seeming Outlander PHEV. This seems to be the ticket! I'm curious what you think the price will be? Maybe $38-$45k? Also, will it be available nation-wide, or only in select states (like the Subaru Crosstrek PHEV)?

Robert A Hayden (not verified)    November 20, 2019 - 7:02PM

Yup. This is what I'm getting. Wish there was a Limited trim, but maybe the XSE will suffice. This is going to be the #1 car in the US, after the three US made pickups.

Paul Mayhew (not verified)    November 21, 2019 - 10:01AM

Jeff, Love the news but 39 miles on an electric charge?? Must be a mis-print right? Can you clarify this?

DeanMcManis (not verified)    November 22, 2019 - 11:34AM

In reply to by Paul Mayhew (not verified)

Toyota's press announcement says it is 39 EV miles estimated. Did you think that number is high or low? For the price, the PHEV Prius Prime costs $3,750 more than the regular Prius, so I would expect that the RAV4 Prime would be priced at least $3,750 more than the RAV4 Hybrid, which starts around $28K. If Toyota (and dealers) keep the RAV4 Prime's price under $35K before incentives then it will be a huge hit in this market. If the price moves past $40K then the BEV CUV competition will look more appealing to many buyers.

John Goreham    November 22, 2019 - 3:34PM

In reply to by DeanMcManis (not verified)

Dean serious question: Do you know if Automakers select the minimum battery to allow an owner to hit a certain cutoff for the federal tax deduction? In other words, did the minimum battery size to allow for the RAV4 Prime to quality for the tax break to determine its battery size? My background is engineering, marketing and Mfg. My experience says nobody purposely designs a vehicle that would have a "39" as a key spec, when they could just as easily have hit the very close "40" and thus had the higher punch of that number for marketing reasons. My get tells me the "39" is a result of a carefully planned battery size before the rest of the considerations were made. ps - I think anything over 25 miles of EV range is viable. The week I had the Outlander PHEV I drove it on all-electric power for many of the days.

DeanMcManis (not verified)    November 23, 2019 - 2:28AM

To qualify for any federal EV tax incentives you need to have at least 4kWh capacity battery driving the wheels, and that minimal size will get you a $2500 payback. Every kWh above 5 kWh qualifies for an additional $417, and the maximum a vehicle can receive is $7,500. So the RAV4 Prime will max out the EV incentive savings. State EV incentives are more complex and vary wildly between states. I think that Toyota marketing was again being conservative. 39 miles is significantly more than the Prius Prime's 25 miles EV range, but it is just an estimate, and 39 is a good number because if testing hits the high 30s in the real world then they are in the ballpark, but if they manage anything over 39 miles, then 40+ miles will look like a resounding success.

John Goreham    November 23, 2019 - 10:58AM

In reply to by DeanMcManis (not verified)

Thanks Dean. That was an overview I am bookmarking. I agree with you. 30+ is workable and anything near 40 is really good. I can't wait to see the consumer cost matchups of the RAV4 Prime and the RAV4 Hybrid. I suspect there will be overlap when the EV incentives are factored in. This is a very exciting new vehicle.

Calvin (not verified)    November 25, 2019 - 2:49AM

Does anyone know how much this will tow? I'm guessint it will be under 2000 lbs but would be great if it was 5000...

Jim Loc (not verified)    January 5, 2020 - 7:57AM

I had a 4cyl rav years ago. With a load of people and gear was not fast enough to keep up with traffic on I95. I gave it to my daughter and bought a V6. Wow! What power. A real sleeper. I liked it so much I bought another. 14 years later all three are still on the road. The 2005 200,00+ miles, the 2009 and the 2011 each have 90,000+ and we love all three. The only negative on the V6 is they drink fuel so quickly. This new Prime is so exciting. Power plus MPG ! I will have one as soon as it is available.

Jan Larson (not verified)    February 14, 2020 - 8:50AM

I’m really interested in replacing our ‘11 Odyssey that my wife and I occasionally use to to tow a 2K lb. braked pop up camping trailer(Aliner). We have a Prius Prime Advanced that we really like, and hope that the RAV4 Prime will be able to satisfy our towing needs.

Rob Becker (not verified)    March 25, 2020 - 6:18PM

Towing would be a good number to know. It was only a couple years there were models rated to tow 3000 lb. Also I thought I had seen somewhere poor braking distance numbers on this model . These specs aren't quite "awesome" .

Chengcsk (not verified)    April 23, 2023 - 12:33PM

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