2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime first drive review: High performance, low consumption

Don’t believe that gasoline-electrical automobiles are anything but unexciting and slow? Nicely, it is really time to change your tune, simply because the RAV4 Primary is the 2nd-quickest Toyota after the Supra athletics car or truck. With 302 horsepower on tap, this plug-in hybrid SUV can zip from a standstill to 60 mph in as little as 5.7 seconds, a time that is legitimately swift. And thanks to enough small-stop electrical torque, it feels even fleeter.

Providing that sturdy performance is a two.5-liter 4-cylinder motor, an Atkinson-cycle unit borrowed from the RAV4 Hybrid but retuned for Primary time. With out likely much too significantly into the specialized weeds, it is really augmented by a trio of electrical motor-turbines, two in the entrance transaxle assembly, and a 3rd at the rear. The latter offers on-need all-wheel push by turning the aft tires. Serving as an electron reservoir is an eighteen.1-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, mounted less than the main-cabin ground in a way that does not detract from passenger room. It is cooled using air-conditioning refrigerant and is backed by a 10-year/150,000-mile warranty. Drivers are further more shielded from mend bills by a different, eight-year/a hundred,000-mile warranty that handles other hybrid factors.

That generously sized battery aids present a preliminary EPA effectiveness ranking of ninety four miles per gallon equal (MPGe) and an electrical-only range believed at forty two miles. Driving it carefully and with the local weather handle off a great part of the time, I managed to coax 45 miles out of the RAV4 Primary though working solely on electrons. Actually, I expected a little additional taking into consideration I was driving very conservatively and the disorders have been fantastic, with temps in the higher 70s. Nevertheless, Toyota has shipped on its range guarantee.

As for effectiveness, working this auto about fifty% on electrical energy and then fifty% on gasoline as soon as the battery pack was depleted, I averaged an indicated 45.3 mpg, although that figure is likely deceptive simply because serious-environment economic climate is dependent greatly on the ratio between individuals two functioning modes. If, for instance, you push fifty miles and forty two of them are all electrical, the average gasoline economic climate is likely to be considerably increased than if you acquire a 600-mile road trip burning fossil gasoline the full way.

The situations, they are a-chargin’

Hook the RAV4 Primary up to an standard a hundred and twenty-volt home outlet, and it usually takes all around 12 hours to entirely replenish the battery pack. Plug it in to a 240-volt line with 16 amps of juice, and that time drops to all around 4.5 hours. Nevertheless, if that is not speedy more than enough, XSE products with the quality deal (a $3,765 upcharge, which also requires the $815 climate deal and the $1,620 audio deal) can recharge in as little as two.5 hours if you have access to a 6.6-kilowatt, 240-volt outlet.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

As public charging stations develop into additional and additional widespread, it will be easier and easier to stay with an electrical auto.

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Following depleting the battery for the duration of testing, I uncovered a nearby ChargePoint public station. Hooked to a Stage two outlet working at 6.6 kW, the auto gained thirteen miles of EV range after about 45 minutes of charging, correct in line with Toyota’s two.5-hour declare.

Regardless of essentially inventing the contemporary hybrid, this is Toyota’s initial plug-in SUV. There is no lack of related crossover SUV products accessible now, but they are largely at the higher stop of the market. There aren’t much too several immediate competition to the RAV4 Primary. Subaru’s Crosstrek is just one, but it only provides 17 miles of electrical range. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is yet another, with an marketed 22 miles of juice. It is conceivable you may cross-shop this Toyota with plug-in versions of the Kia Niro or even the Chrysler Pacifica, but none of these are a fantastic in good shape, possibly. Genuinely, this RAV4’s number-just one rival is the new Ford Escape PHEV, which provides a bit much less electrical range at 37 miles and has all around 93 much less horsepower, but at the very least it is really a contact additional successful at a hundred MPGe.

Forceful still gentle-mannered

Driving the RAV4 Primary purely on electrical energy is a wonderful working experience. It is punchy, sleek and virtually silent. As with other EVs, there is tons of small-stop torque, which can make this Toyota leap off the line when you nail the accelerator. Its enthusiasm does wane at increased speeds, but its performance is nonetheless solid, equipped to hit 60 mph in all around nine.two seconds. Nonetheless, this vehicle’s performance shines most when driven as a hybrid. Toss that inside-combustion motor into the blend and this RAV4’s sprinting qualities improve by leaps and bounds, with its -to-60-mph time dropping by virtually 40%.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

Potent and successful, what additional could you talk to for?

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When navigating corners, the Primary feels like it has a contact additional physique roll than the RAV4 TRD I reviewed just lately. This is very likely simply because of its softer ride, which is partly due to masses of added bodyweight. At about 4,300 lbs in XSE trim, this auto is all around five hundred lbs heavier than the bulkiest RAV4 Hybrid, thanks to its considerably bigger battery pack. To accommodate that additional mass, the vehicle’s chassis has been retuned. The steering is light-weight to the contact, although it is really not as crisp as in other RAV4s. The Primary is, even so, very quiet within thanks to laminated entrance facet glass and additional seem deadening, alterations that make for a serene driving working experience. Braking experience is also praiseworthy. This plug-in SUV’s pedal has pleasant bodyweight to it and is easy to modulate, with no discernible weirdness when transitioning from regenerative to friction braking.

A at ease and multipurpose inside

Inside of the RAV4 Primary, there is not considerably to get excited about, and that is a great thing. Just like the non-plug-in design, this Toyota’s cabin is just one of the greater choices in this phase, currently being attractively developed and produced of quality components. My XSE tester is further more gussied up with pink stitching on the doorway panels, dashboard and elsewhere, as well as the seats are protected in SofTex imitation leather, which not only feels pleasant but can make a convincing argument that cow hides aren’t required.

As in additional operate-of-the-mill RAV4s, the Prime’s rear seat is generously portioned and very at ease, with great help, as well as a lot of room for knees and noggins. A pair of two.1-amp USB-A ports serve riders relegated to the again, although the auto is fitted with a whole of five this kind of shops, as well as XSE products element Qi wi-fi charging, so nobody’s cell phone has to go with out juice.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

This Toyota’s infotainment method is pretty middling, but the significant screen is very clear, bright and easy to reach.

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When it is really time to make an Ikea operate for a load of marginal quality, affordably priced, flat-packed furnishings, the RAV4 Primary can make an outstanding schlepper. It provides 33.5 cubic feet of hauling room at the rear of the 2nd-row seat, a figure that grows to a claimed sixty three.two when the backrests are dropped. These figures are a bit at the rear of what the regular RAV4 and its hybrid counterpart supply. They both equally max out at 69.eight cubes. All in, the Primary nonetheless provides a number of additional cubic feet of room than the Escape plug-in.

Although there is a lot to like about the Prime’s inside, a number of items could be enhanced. The chicklet-like local weather handle buttons are simply much too modest to very easily manipulate though driving, and some of the switches on the steering wheel experience extremely inexpensive. 

Technological innovation bonanza

On that be aware, I am not likely to further more bludgeon a deceased equine, but as I’ve mentioned several situations just before, I have a tendency to obtain Toyota’s multimedia choices to be unattractive and illogical, and that is regrettably nonetheless correct in the RAV4 Primary XSE. But it is really not all undesirable information.

This infotainment method is at the very least speedy, and the pill-type nine-inch screen it is really splashed throughout is big and easy to reach, as it is really mounted superior on the dashboard. Lessen-stop SE products element an eight-incher. With all that screen serious estate, Apple CarPlay (which, alongside with Android Auto and Amazon Alexa compatibility arrives regular) is super easy to use, displaying up pleasant and major.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

The RAV4 Primary provides a lot of functions and amenities. 

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If you nonetheless will need additional screens in your lifetime, never fret, simply because all Primary products element a reconfigurable 7-inch screen nestled in the gauge cluster. It is very clear and easy more than enough to cycle by the several menus for items like gasoline economic climate and the trip odometer. If that is not more than enough, XSE products can even be fitted with a 10-inch color head-up screen, which tasks related driving facts onto the windshield. This item is bundled with the $3,765 quality deal, which also gets you the aforementioned 6.6-kW charger, ventilated entrance seats and an magnificent digital rearview mirror. The latter functions still yet another screen at the rear of the glass exactly where a video feed from the reversing camera is displayed to present a considerably broader area of perspective at the rear of the auto.

That deal also contains a 360-diploma camera method, which can be helpful for selected parking situations — in concept at the very least. For some purpose, this element, and even the RAV4’s regular reversing camera, are appallingly undesirable, super gritty and hard to see on the infotainment screen. This is significantly bizarre simply because the digital rearview mirror, which is accessible on XSE products, looks wonderful, furnishing a very clear, crisp impression.

When it arrives to advanced driver aids, Toyota Protection Perception two. is regular machines on the RAV4 Primary, bringing items like computerized emergency braking and road-indicator recognition to the table. Lane-preserving aid is integrated, much too, and functions very well, even if it feels a bit tender-handed. It does not lock you into the middle of the lane very as strongly as competing programs do, ensuing in additional wandering. You also get adaptive cruise handle, although it is really somewhat middling. On the freeway, it is really wonderful, seamlessly changing auto speed to match encompassing automobiles, but in end-and-go targeted visitors it can be pretty jerky.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

Like other members of the RAV4 relatives, the Primary design is very handsome. 

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Pounds and (popular) perception

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime is slated to start arriving at dealerships in all fifty states later on this month. Preserving items easy, it will be presented in two trims: SE and XSE. My major-shelf tester arrived fitted with all a few accessible possibilities offers, items that inflate its price tag tag to correct all around $49,000 together with $1,a hundred and twenty in delivery fees. That’s a steep price tag to spend for what is a mainstream compact crossover SUV, even so, that figure does not include things like any possible bargains. The RAV4 Primary may possibly be suitable for up to $7,five hundred in federal tax credits, as well as other bargains presented by particular person states. Of study course, you can save a major chunk of change by getting an SE design. They kick off correct all around $39,195. That’s nonetheless a bit pricier than Ford’s entry-amount Escape plug-in hybrid, which starts at around 35 grand, but the RAV4 does have additional electrical power and a nicer inside, plus  Toyota enjoys a greater popularity for lengthy-expression quality and resale value.

Punchy and successful, the Primary is very easily my select of today’s RAV4 litter. The addition of a plug-in hybrid powertrain has produced a great SUV even greater. If you can control the upcharge, this is the RAV4 to get.