2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Prices, Reviews, and Pictures

Overview

The spread of hybrid and full-electric powertrains in the automotive industry is rapid. It’s therefore not surprising that Toyota, a hybrid-car specialist, offers the Prime RAV4 Hybrid as well as the plug-in hybrid RAV4 RAV4. Japanese automaker Toyota has taken the lessons from the Prius hybrid and applied them to the entry into the more trendy compact-SUV category. The RAV4 Hybrid (reviewed separately) and the Prime are based on the same practicality and features as the RAV4 regular. However, the Prime’s electric-only driving range and fuel economy earned it an Editors Choice award. These electrified Toyotas don’t stand out in this segment. Hybrid versions are also available from the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V. But they are well-equipped to compete with the Toyotas.

What’s new for 2021?

For 2021, the standard RAV4 Hybrid gets a new mid-range XLE Premium trim. But the biggest news is the introduction this year of the plug-in hybrid RAV4 Prime models. With a combined 302 horsepower from its electric motors and gas engine, the RAV4 Prime offers 42 miles of electric-only driving.

Pricing and Which One To Buy

The RAV4 Prime is an excellent choice if you are eligible for the $7500 tax credit for electric-vehicle purchases. This financial incentive reduces the price of the vehicle significantly, and you get a RAV4 that has more power and a significant electric-only driving range. The XSE Prime model has more standard features than the other Prime models. It comes with 19-inch wheels and a sunroof. There is also an infotainment system that displays a larger 9.0-inch screen. The XLE Hybrid is a better choice if you are not eligible for the tax credit. It offers more standard equipment than base LE, without much increase in price. The XLE offers conveniences like passive keyless entry, a power adjustable driver’s seat and LED projector headlamps that automatically high-beam, heated exterior mirrors, blind spot monitoring, and front fog lights.

Performance, Transmission and Engine

The RAV4 Hybrid’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine powers the hybrid. It is assisted by two electric motors, which produce a total output of 219 horsepower. Standard is all-wheel drive. One of the electric motors powers rear wheels, while the other motor and gasoline engine drive the fronts. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is also available. The RAV4 Hybrid is not only more efficient than the unelectricified model but it’s also faster. The hybrid was able to accelerate to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds, whereas the gas-only model took 8.0 seconds. The electric motor’s immediate power delivery makes it feel more powerful, especially around town. It gives the vehicle an extra push when it takes off from a stop. The Prime model offers even greater performance. The Prime model of the RAV4 was able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. The hybrid and Prime models are similar to the standard RAV4, but the handling is more competent than the standard RAV4.

Range, Charging, Battery Life

The plug-in hybrid RAV4 Prime stores it’s electrons in a 18.1-kWh battery. It has a 42-mile electric-only range, according to the EPA. We were able to drive 32 miles using only electricity, but this was on the highway. We would expect a longer range in cities. The Prime XSE comes standard with a 3.3-kWh onboard charger and a 6.6 kWh charger. This reduces the charging time to 2.5 hours if you have a 240-volt outlet. You can expect to charge your device in about 12 hours if you have a 120-volt outlet.

Fuel Economy and Real World MPG

The hybrid model is much more efficient than a gasoline-powered all-wheel drive RAV4. It is expected to achieve 41 mpg in the city, 38 mpg on the highway and 40 mpg together, which beats the RAV4 by 14 mpg and 5 mpg respectively. The RAV4 Hybrid was able to deliver 37 mpg on our 200-mile highway fuel economy route. This is 1 mpg lower than its EPA rating. The Prime has an EPA combined rating 94 MPGe and it achieved 73 MPGe in our highway fuel economy test.

Interior, Comfort, & Cargo

The cabin of the RAV4 Hybrid is well-built and well-equipped, but it prioritizes functionality over style. There are plenty of storage options for small cargo. The buttons and controls are simple to locate and use. Toyota includes many niceties starting at the base level. These include dual-zone automatic climate controls, tilting and rotating steering wheels, and a height-adjustable faux floor in the cargo area. The trim-levels go up and you will find luxury features like heated rear and front seats, ambient lighting, and an upgraded faux-leather upholstery Toyota calls SofTex. The RAV4 Hybrid has the same cargo and passenger space as the regular RAV4, with 10 suitcases in the back row, and 22 in the rear.

Connectivity and Infotainment

The LE and XLE models have a 7.0 inch infotainment screen that sprouts from the dashboard, while the XSE or Limited models have an 8.0 inch screen. As part of the Audio Plus package, the XLE model can have a larger display. RAV4 Prime models can be equipped with an 8.0-inch or 9.0-inch display. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto integration, and an onboard WiFi hotspot are all standard features. The Limited comes standard with navigation and an 11-speaker JBL stereo sound system. A six-speaker system will be available for those who do not qualify.

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