For 2021 the hybrid ante is upped with the new Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in crossover, offering the most powerful, efficient and expensive version ever of the brand’s popular SUV.

In our week-long test drive review three key things came to the front of our consciousness that really define the new RAV4 Prime and here they are:

It’s fast

With 302 horsepower, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime is the most powerful ever sold and with a 0-60 time of 5.7 seconds, the fastest. Toyota tells us this outpaces the RAV4 V6 of a decade back and is faster than any other four-door model in their current lineup.

The extra power comes from additional electric motivation afforded by its larger 18.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. While the gasoline engine is the same 2.5-liter Atkinson Cycle four found in the standard RAV4 Hybrid, more electric motor power is added at the front and rear axles.

It’s efficient

With its plug-in charging capability and extra battery capacity, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 can run on pure EV mode for up to 42 miles. Thus, if you have a short daily commute cycle and charge nightly you can conceivably live with the RAV4 as an electric vehicle.

It charges in about 12 hours on a standard 120V outlet. With a Level 2 charger it can charge in 4.5 hours in the standard Prime and 2.5 hours in the Prime XSE with cold weather premium packaging such as our tester.

With an EPA rating of 40 mpg city, 36 mpg highway and 38 mpg combined in hybrid mode, your fuel economy is still stellar even if you never charge the battery and operate in EV mode. If you blend the two, you can easily see mpg ratings in the 50-70 range.

It’s stylish

With the XSE package we tested, the RAV4 Prime comes with a two-tone paint treatment and starting in 2021 a new available color called Supersonic Red. The XSE also features 19-inch alloy wheels, the largest ever on a RAV4.

The XSE Prime also gets unique LED accent lights at the front fascia, special badging and a beautifully outfitted cabin with Softex simulated leather seats, red accent stitching throughout and tons of tech features.


We liked this RAV4 a lot. It made it to our “Id Buy It List” in fact. The combination of performance, handling, styling appeal and overall goodness won us over. It is pricey though. Our tester with a full slate of package and options came in at $48,360