Green Car Journal logo

It’s no secret why the RAV4 is such a global hit. Beyond its obvious style, this is a model that carries a lot of gear, gets excellent fuel economy, and exhibits the traditional high standards for fit and finish found with Toyota products. What’s not to like? Toyota's latest variation, the RAV4 Prime, brings a plug-in hybrid variant to the model that adds to its appeal with 42 miles of all-electric driving range and 600 miles of total range.

RAV4 Prime is powered by the automaker’s 177 horsepower, four-cylinder DOHC engine and a pair of electric motors, one at the front and another at the rear, for on-demand four-wheel drive. Total combined power is a stunning 302 horsepower, which Toyota points out makes it the second-fastest car in its lineup behind the marque’s Supra sports car.

Available in two models, SE and XSE, RAV4 Prime combines lessons learned with Toyota’s other hybrid success stories like the groundbreaking Prius. While many competitors have focused on moving toward all electric power, Toyota has opted to focus on refining hybrid technology to motivate its electrified models. The RAV4 Prime presents an excellent example: Simply, it’s a popular and appealing plug-in crossover SUV offering on- and off-road capability with exceptional drivability, handling, and performance.

There’s a wealth of technology at work beneath the skin in the RAV4 Prime that makes it not only powerful, but exceptionally functional and efficient. Its 18.1 kWh battery is positioned beneath the floor, so it doesn’t impact interior and cargo space. Beyond its truly usable all-electric driving range, the RAV4 also delivers a 94 MPGe rating while operating on battery power. Recharging the battery is handled via a 240-volt home or public charger in about 4 ½ hours, or in about 12 hours when plugging into a conventional 120-volt AC outlet. When faster 6.6 kW charging is available, the RAV4 Prime can charge up in about 2 ½ hours.

Inside, driver and passengers enjoy heated and cooled leather seats, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, JBL audio, and a handy conductive phone charging pad. The RAV4 Prime also comes will all the advanced safety and driver assist systems desired these days including Toyota's Safety Sense 2.0, which includes pre-collision with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, lane tracing assist, and road sign assist. Also available is front and rear parking assist with automated braking, and rear cross traffic braking.

On the outside, the Prime edition features special badging and 19-inch alloy wheels, the only indications that call out this new and advanced version of the RAV4. Cost of entry for the RAV4 Prime is $38,100.