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The Toyota Supra is the fastest new Toyota you can buy. But history often forgets those who come in second, and I think that’s not fair. Especially when you consider the fact that the second-fastest vehicle in the Toyota lineup isn’t a semi-sporty Corolla, but rather the Toyota RAV4 Prime.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Driving Down Road
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Driving Down Road | Toyota

The RAV4 Prime is Toyota’s second fastest car

If you want to be nit-picky, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime is actually the fastest Toyota in production, since the aforementioned Supra is just a BMW in disguise. Though, there’s not a huge gap between the Supra and the RAV4 Prime in terms of 0-60 times.

The Toyota Supra comes with two engines: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 255 horsepower, and a 3.0-liter six-cylinder that makes 382. The Supra 3.0 boasts a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds, whereas the Supra 2.0 can get to 60 in five seconds flat. However, the Toyota RAV4 Prime makes the dash in 5.4 seconds, only four-tenths behind the four-cylinder Supra.

The 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired with two axel-mounted electric motors produce a combined 302 horsepower. And in truth, the only reason the RAV4 Prime isn’t faster than the Supra 2.0 is that it’s 1,000 lbs heavier. But this Toyota SUV’s hefty 4,300 lb weight is, in part, due to the advanced technology onboard.

The RAV4 Prime isn’t just fast, it’s efficient

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Plug-In Hybrid
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Plug-In Hybrid | Toyota

Being a plug-in hybrid, the 2021 RAV4 Prime was built to save gas from the start. But of all the plug-in hybrid vehicles on the market, Toyota may have the best one. The main difference between hybrids and plug-in hybrids is that hybrids can’t run on electric power only. But the RAV4 Prime can go 42 miles on electric power alone.

This curb stomps the plug-in hybrid SUV competition, doubling the electric range of cars like the Volvo XC60 PHEV. And when the RAV4 Prime is using its hybrid powertrain, it still manages a combined 38 miles per gallon. It’s MPGe, which does take all-electric power into account, is 94 MPGe. The only SUV to beat it is the Ford Escape PHEV, with 100 MPGe.

But what may be the best aspect of the Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid is that you may never have to plug it in at all. One of the drive modes allows you to charge while in motion, diverting some power to the battery. After just 20 minutes of highway travel, you can get 10 miles back in the battery. This means it’d only take about an hour and a half to charge the electric battery all the way, which in truth, isn’t that bad.

And if you do wish to plug in the RAV4 Prime, charging the battery from a standard 120v outlet will take 12 hours. While not blisteringly quick, it gives the vehicle enough time to charge overnight.

This smart and speedy Toyota SUV comes at a cost

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Compact SUV
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Compact SUV | Toyota

So, you get a five-seater SUV with plenty of room for the family. Its highway efficiency gives you peace of mind on long road trips, which you can’t find with most electric cars just yet. The RAV4 Prime comes with AWD as standard. And on top of all that, it’s the second-fastest vehicle in the lineup. What’s the catch?

Unfortunately, the Toyota RAV4 Prime starts at $38,350, a somewhat high price tag for what is essentially a compact SUV (albeit, a plug-in hybrid SUV). And after speccing it up, a fully loaded model can cost you close to $50,000.

But if you’re willing to fork over the dough, you’re getting a plug-in hybrid with exceptional electric range, and nine different drive modes. These include Normal, Eco, Sport, Trail, and Charge, as well as EV and HV (hybrid vehicle) modes, which you can either control yourself or have automatically adjusted to your driving conditions. And on top of that, you can tout that you drive the second-fastest Toyota in the lineup. But no matter what way you spin it, there’s no denying the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime is one impressive plug-in hybrid.


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