Toyota RAV4 Prime Is The Most Powerful And Most Efficient Ever

Daniel Fowler
November 21, 2019

Toyota has just pulled the covers off the new Rav4 Prime in prototype form at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and it's a plug-in hybrid performance model with an estimated system output of 225kW. Toyota's low-maintenance designs add to that value and Toyota's 10-year, 150,000 battery warranty also eliminates any concerns about expensive EV-system repairs over the vehicle's lifespan. So, yeah, that's the world we live in; plug-in hybrids can be kind of cool.

Toyota didn't mention it in the press release, but it seems safe to assume that the RAV4 Prime SE and XSE will share the regular Hybrid XSE's sport-tuned suspension. It still makes 176 horsepower, which is just fine. Unfortunately, Toyota did not disclose how powerful the electric motors are nor how many they are. All of that power flows to all four wheels via standard all-wheel drive. In both models, a separate rear-mounted electric motor powers the rear wheels when needed, including proactively on acceleration startup and also in reduced-traction conditions.

The Japanese automaker was incredibly keen to highlight that this isn't the RAV4 for those simply looking for efficiency. Coupled with Ford's coming Mustang Mach-E electric crossover and Tesla's Model Y, shoppers will now have three plug-in crossovers across a very wide range of prices from which to choose. The AWD system will work to fight understeer in corners, and it's even got some off-road chops with a selectable "trail" mode. And so, in addition to an ability to do 0-60 mph in a projected 5.8 seconds, which is the second quickest acceleration time in the Toyota lineup, it can drive an estimated 39 miles on battery alone on a single charge, which is the highest EV range of any PHEV SUV on the market. 19-inch alloy wheels will be available and every trim will include Amazon Alexa, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. For the driver, a power seat is standard, as is a 7-inch display in the gauge cluster.

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Besides the aforementioned equipment, the SE and XSE come equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assist systems. Inside, there's the paddle-shifters, a moonroof, synthetic leather on the seats, wireless phone charing, ambient lighting, and a larger, 9-inch touchscreen.

Ever since pioneering the cute ute segment in the early nineties, the Toyota Rav4 has been a lot of things to a lot of people, while morphing into a relatively premium family-sized ride. Of course, most SUV buyers aren't picking their truck of choice with drag racing in mind, and so the 2021 RAV4 Prime is also expected to score 90 MPGe in the combined economy test. The final feature reads the road and learns a driver's routine to help make trips as efficient as possible.

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