Year over year, the Toyota RAV4 has been the top-selling compact crossover in the US with sales topping 400,000 annually. Therefore, if Toyota didn’t execute the plug-in hybrid system well, customers would simply take a pass and continue buying the regular ICE or hybrid versions.
Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Toyota found enough room to stuff an 18.1 kWh battery in the vehicle, which offers 42 miles of all-electric range. The Honda Clarity PHEV is the only plug-in hybrid available today with a longer all-electric driving range. (Ok the Karma Revero GT PHEV has a longer driving range (61 miles), but it’s such a low-volume vehicle that it hardly counts)
Toyota also gave the RAV4 Prime a 302hp powertrain that propels the vehicle to 60mph from a standstill in 5.7 seconds. That’s fast enough to make the RAV4 Prime not only the fastest RAV4 available but also the fastest vehicle in the entire Toyota lineup, excluding the high-performance Supra.
Dykes owns a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, so he’s intimately knowledgeable about these vehicles, and he filmed the video shortly after completing a 500-mile road trip with the RAV4 Prime. He first explains the exterior differences from the regular RAV, including wheel and front end clearance.
Dykes then explains the hybrid powertrain and why he believes Toyota has better hybrid systems than what’s offered in some of the premium brands, like BMW, Mercedes, or lincoln. He goes over all of the specifications and explains how efficient the RAV4 Prime is and that it offers 38 miles per gallon once the battery is exhausted. Additionally, he points out that Toyota doesn’t do fuzzy math when they offer the vehicle’s fuel efficiency figures, unlike some other OEM’s that he calls out.
Dykes then hops into the RAV4 Prime and offers a very good driving impression review, and rates the vehicle’s braking, handling, ride, acceleration, cabin noise, and fuel economy.
The RAV4 Prime starts at $38,100, which is much more expensive than the non-plugin version. However, as Dykes points out, the vehicle will net out to only $30,600 if you qualify for the full $7,500 federal tax credit which the RAV4 Prime gets because the battery is larger than 16 kWh. State incentives can bring the price down under $30,000 in some cases.
Dykes reminds us that Toyota is only sending 5,000 RAV4 Primes to the US in 2020, so they are currently very hard to locate. However, Toyota has promised to up that figure to 20,000 units in 2021, which would represent about 5% of the total number of RAV4s expected to land in the US during the year.
In the end Dykes reveals (no surprise after watching the video) that he would likely choose the RAV4 Prime over any compact crossover today, plug-in or not. Do you agree? Let us know in the comment section below.