Published: Thu, November 21, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid revealed: Shocking power from crossover SUV

Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid revealed: Shocking power from crossover SUV

The fifth-generation Toyota RAV4, on the market for barely a year, is going more places than it has ever gone before. This is basically what it did with the new RAV4 Prime, the plug-in hybrid version of the SUV. The RAV4 Prime also has a manufacturer-estimated 90 combined MPGe. But one thing it has never been is a full-blown performance SUV.

Toyota didn't say how much the 2021 RAV4 Prime would cost when it goes on sale in the summer.

At its heart is a 2.5-litre normally aspirated petrol engine and powerful motor generators, which are also fed by a high-capacity lithium ion battery and booster converter. Unfortunately, Toyota did not disclose how powerful the electric motors are nor how many they are. Like the 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, the plug-in hybrid's battery is covered for 10 years or 150,000 miles, whichever of the two comes first. The Rav4 Prime swaps in more powerful motors and adds a larger battery pack with plug-in capability.

Toyota says the system produces 302bhp in total and can achieve 0-62mph in 6.2secs, and enables the RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid to deliver "best-in-class Carbon dioxide emissions and fuel economy", although it has not given specific figures. Factor in the convenience of plugging in at home and quick refueling on the road, and the RAV4 would seem an optimal blend of traditional and electric technologies for what we hope will be a reasonable price. Toyota says it'll also go from 0-60 miles per hour in 5.8 seconds, which should be in contention for quickest alongside the high-output 2020 Ford Escape. Hybrids are no longer just for fuel economy!

Sporty and Sportier Toyota engineered the 2021 RAV4 Prime for the performance-oriented driver and is therefore offering it in the sporty SE and XSE grades. "That's why I made the XSE Hybrid". It's also eligible for unique two-tone color schemes that feature a black roof. For the driver, a power seat is standard, as is a 7-inch display in the gauge cluster. Buyers will find standard heated front seats, an 8-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and even a power liftgate.

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Inside, XSE steps up the sport, luxury and tech with RAV4's first-ever paddle shifters, along with moonroof, unique SofTex synthetic leather seat surfaces, wireless smartphone charging, ambient lighting, auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated garage door opener and the largest multimedia screen in any RAV4 ever. Rounding out the highlights are a power passenger seat, a Bird's Eye View Monitor and a JBL premium audio system.

How Does It Do That?

Beginning with the powertrain, there's the same old 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle inline-four engine from the RAV4 Hybrid under the hood. It also helps to lower the center of gravity and improve stability.

Electrified Traction The RAV4 Prime employs the same version of Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive (AWD) as the RAV4 Hybrid.

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