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Toyota has many fuel-efficient SUV options in its lineup. The RAV4 Prime and RAV4 Hybrid are the two most fuel-efficient Toyota SUVs. How do the two models compare?

What’s the difference between the RAV4 Prime and Hybrid?

A blue 2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid SUV is parked.
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid | Toyota

The RAV4 Prime and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid are two very different models. The RAV4 Prime uses a series parallel hybrid system. This system allows the plug-in hybrid SUV to move its wheels using a gasoline engine and its two electric motors. According to, the RAV4 Prime can travel for 42 miles on just electricity.

The RAV4 Hybrid uses a hybrid powertrain but cannot travel on electricity the way the RAV4 Prime does. The Hybrid also isn’t nearly as quick as the RAV4 Prime. The RAV4 Hybrid is the more affordable model.

The RAV4 Prime starts at $39,800. It makes 302 horsepower. The PHEV achieves 38 miles per gallon combined. RAV4 Prime models are eligible for the $7,500 federal electric vehicle tax credit.

The RAV4 Hybrid starts at $29,075. It makes 219 horsepower. The hybrid SUV gets about 39 miles per gallon combined.

Is the RAV4 Prime bigger than the RAV4 Hybrid?

A red 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid SUV is parked.
The Toyota RAV4 Prime | Toyota

The RAV4 Prime and RAV4 Hybrid are the same size. The RAV4 Prime may seem larger than other RAV4 models, but its dimensions are nearly identical to the dimensions of its siblings.

The biggest difference between the RAV4 Prime and other models has little to do with its exterior. Its powertrain is what separates the plug-in hybrid vehicle from other RAV4 models. The fact that the RAV4 Prime is roughly the same size as other RAV4 models is incredible, considering the power that it produces.

Which RAV4 is the better buy?

RAV4 Hybrid small SUVs are parked.
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid small SUVs | Toyota

The better RAV4 model is entirely dependent on preference. If you’re looking for acceleration and performance, the RAV4 Prime is the obvious choice. It is much more powerful than any other RAV4 model. The RAV4 Prime is the second-fastest Toyota model behind the Toyota Supra.

The federal electric vehicle tax credit is also a huge deal for RAV4 Prime buyers. It makes the PHEV much more affordable. The SUV’s biggest drawback is charging time. It could potentially take hours to charge the RAV4 Prime.

The RAV4 Hybrid is the better option for drivers that desire a more affordable small SUV that also has great gas mileage. Both RAV4 models are great options, but the RAV4 Prime is clearly the flashier model thanks to its incredible power and electric-only driving range. The RAV4 Prime won’t be eligible for the federal EV tax incentive forever. Once the incentive is phased out, the RAV4 Hybrid will seem much more affordable in comparison.

Toyota has several amazing hybrid and plug-in hybrid models in its lineup. Soon, the automaker will have an entire lineup of electric vehicles as a part of the Beyond Zero Initiative. The Japanese automaker’s future is clearly centered around more environmentally friendly vehicles.