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Toyota makes a lot of great safe and reliable cars, and each car has a lot of variety, too. That’s the case with the RAV4, which Toyota recently updated with a brand-new model, the Prime. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime is a hybrid, but unlike the regular RAV4 hybrid, the RAV4 Prime is a plug-in hybrid

The one type of driver who’d love the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

According to MotorTrend, something that the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime does really well compared to the regular RAV4 hybrid and indeed, to other hybrid SUVs, is the fact that it’s simply very fuel-efficient.

This is partially because it’s a PHEV, a plug-in hybrid vehicle. The main difference between a PHEV and a regular hybrid is the fact that a PHEV can recharge its battery with electricity from the grid.

This ultimately gives PHEVs like the RAV4 Prime a big advantage when it comes to fuel economy since it can run on battery-only using electricity from the grid which, at the end of the day, means drivers will have to spend less on gas than before. MotorTrend said that the RAV4 Prime gets about 94 MPGe when its 17.8 kWh battery is taken into consideration. 

On pure battery power alone, MotorTrend also wrote that the RAV4 Prime can travel 42 miles. This means that in short commutes, the RAV4 Prime is basically an electric car since you can travel the whole way on just battery power.

That said, since it’s still a hybrid, it still has the range advantages that a gas engine has. And, when that gas engine kicks in, its fuel economy is still really remarkable as it gets 41 MPG in cities and 38 MPG on highways.

The RAV4 Prime’s other features

A Toyota RAV4 Prime being debuted
A new Toyota RAV4 Prime | FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

While its great fuel economy is the main reason why it’s a desirable SUV, Toyota’s put plenty of other features on it, too. The RAV4 Prime starts at $38,000, but that’s before tax credits are taken into consideration. Regardless, at that price tag, Toyota’s made sure that the RAV4 Prime offers more than enough features to interest customers.

For example, MotorTrend wrote that, compared to the regular RAV4 hybrid, the RAV4 Prime has options for much larger touch screens than before. The largest touch screen that’s available on the RAV4 hybrid is an 8-inch touch screen, but the RAV4 Prime can get a 9-inch touch screen and it can also get a 10-inch head-up display. 

That said, due to the battery pack, the RAV4 Prime does lose out on some cargo space compared to the regular RAV4 Hybrid. MotorTrend said that the RAV4 Prime has 33.5 cu. ft. of cargo space without folding its seats and 63.2 cu. ft. of cargo space when its second-row seats are folded down. This is slightly less than what the regular RAV4 hybrid has.

The Toyota RAV4 Prime’s powerful powertrain


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However, that 17.8 kWh battery pack pulls its weight and then some. MotorTrend wrote in another review that the RAV4 Prime comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that gets 176-hp and 163 lb-ft of torque.

This engine works with two electric motors to get a combined 302-hp, and overall, it allows it to tow significantly more cargo than the regular RAV4 hybrid can. 

MotorTrend said that the RAV4 Prime can tow 2,500-pounds of stuff while the regular RAV4 hybrid can tow about 1,750-pounds of stuff. On top of that, while speed isn’t a big selling point for hybrid SUVs, the RAV4 Prime is quicker than many of its competition.

MotorTrend said that the RAV4 Prime can go from 0 to 60 MPH in 5.7 seconds, and this is significantly faster than the RAV4 hybrid’s 0 to 60 MPH time of 7.1 seconds.