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Electric vehicles are having their moment in the spotlight with more models than ever capturing headlines and praise. But you don’t have to buy a full EV to take advantage of the technology’s benefits. In fact, many drivers are finding a happy medium between electric tech and gas-powered confidence with the 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid. The PHEV SUV provides electric driving capability with the extra range confidence of a gas-powered engine. But it’s more than a vehicle that looks good on paper – according to some, it’s a great plug-in hybrid SUV to own. 

Here’s how the RAV4 Prime PHEV performs in its EV and hybrid modes

According to Edmunds, the new RAV4 Prime is a vehicle of split personalities. Its plug-in hybrid powertrain simultaneously makes it one of the most efficient and most rapid new models from Toyota.  

Practical electric-only range

Unlike the RAV4 Hybrid, the RAV4 Prime PHEV has a usable range with electric power alone. Toyota estimates a range of 42 miles when the electric motors run unassisted by the petrol engine. But Edmunds’ real-world testing shows even better performance, going 48 miles on a single charge. That’s better than the real-world range of rivals like the Hyundai Tucson PHEV and Kia Sportage PHEV according to the publication. While it isn’t enough for a cross country road trip, the RAV4 Prime’s electric range is enough for errands around town or moderate commutes. 

Hybrid mode: power meets efficiency

Engage the RAV4 Prime’s gas engine and it adds extra power and range beyond the capability of its EV battery alone. 

According to Edmunds, the RAV4 plug-in hybrid earns similar fuel economy to the hybrid version with the gas engine engaged – about 34 mpg combined in the real world. That’s good enough for a total range of around 600 miles. 

But the RAV4’s surprising quickness is its true party trick. 

Edmunds reports a zero-to-60 mph time around 5.9 seconds. That makes it one of the quickest Toyota models on the market and a far cry from the sluggish hybrid vehicles of eras past. From an ownership perspective, that kind of power is likely to make everyday driving scenarios like highway merging and on-ramp acceleration a breeze. 

Plug-In Hybrid RAV4 interior highlights

The RAV4 has a reputation for being a practical, well-rounded SUV with sensible features. The RAV4 Prime sticks to the script according to Edmunds. 

Just like the other variants, the RAV4 Prime offers two rows with seating for five. Edmunds points out simple controls with ergonomic placement along with plenty of headroom for every seating position. 

The RAV4 Prime is down slightly on cargo space compared to other models. That’s due to the placement of its battery. Still, its 33.5 cubic feet of storage behind the back seats is more than usable. 

Is the 2023 RAV4 Prime worth owning?

Close up image of a Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid SUV badge.
2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime | Toyota

Between its electric range and its well-rounded utility, the 2023 RAV4 Prime offers an ownership experience that’s likely to suit many drivers. But it depends on whether those drivers can track down RAV4 Prime models to purchase in the first place. The model has become notoriously difficult to find at dealerships, and those that are available command premium prices. Fortunately, there are plenty of other plug-in hybrid compact crossovers on the market. 


2023 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid