2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Review

The all-new 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime has a potent powertrain and a comfortable, welcoming cabin with plenty of features. This vehicle does not have an overall score or ranking because it hasn’t been fully crash tested or rated for reliability.

Pros & Cons

  • Good all-electric driving range
  • Strong acceleration
  • Roomy, comfortable seats
  • Long list of features
  • Slightly outdated touch-screen graphics

Research & Ratings

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime is unranked in Hybrid and Electric SUVs due to missing safety data. Currently, the Toyota RAV4 Prime's overall score is not available, though its Critics' Rating, Performance score, and Interior score are based on our evaluation of 10 pieces of research and data.

N/A

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.5
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 6.9
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. As a result, it doesn't have an overall score and cannot be ranked against other hybrid and electric suvs.
TBD
Reliability:
This model has never been fully tested for reliability. As a result, it doesn't have an overall score and cannot be ranked against other hybrid and electric suvs.
TBD

Is the Toyota RAV4 Prime a Good SUV?

Yes, the RAV4 Prime is a good SUV. This plug-in hybrid joins the RAV4 Hybrid as offshoots of the gas-only RAV4, and it delivers many of the same attributes of that SUV. Like its siblings, the Prime offers up two rows of roomy seats, as well as a quality interior, a comfortable ride, and a long list of infotainment and driver assistance tech. The RAV4 Prime is capable of more than 40 miles of all-electric driving, and it has satisfying acceleration to boot.

Its negatives are few and far between. Some infotainment controls and graphics aren't that great, and handling isn't as agile as some of its hybrid and electric SUV rivals.

Why You Can Trust Us: 10 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 10 Toyota RAV4 Prime reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2021 RAV4 Prime is the right new car for you.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Toyota RAV4 Prime?

The RAV4 Prime has everything that has made the RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid so popular, and it adds a degree of eco-friendliness. If you like the idea of being a part of the continuing electrification of mainstream vehicles and have the budget to spend around $40,000 on a small Toyota SUV, the RAV4 Prime is worth considering. Notably, the RAV4 Prime is eligible for the maximum federal tax credit of $7,500, and there may be state or local incentives as well.

However, you may find that it's not distinct enough from the RAV4 Hybrid to warrant the huge jump in price. If you’re considering a fully loaded RAV4 Prime, you may also want to consider the all-electric Tesla Model Y.

Find a 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime: What’s the Difference?

The 2021 RAV4 Prime is an all-new vehicle, so there is no 2020 model.

If you're interested in a similar RAV4 from this generation, check out our reviews of the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid and 2020 RAV4 Hybrid. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Toyota RAV4 Prime Cost?

The new Toyota RAV4 Prime starts at $38,100. That's one of the highest base retail prices in the hybrid and electric SUV class. There's only one other trim level, and it starts at $41,425. When loaded up with most major options, the RAV4 Prime can cost more than $47,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

Toyota RAV4 Prime Versus the Competition

Toyota RAV4 Prime vs. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid takes a top spot in our hybrid and electric SUV rankings. It handles with agility and boasts peppy acceleration, and while it doesn't offer an all-electric mode like the RAV4 Prime, the Hybrid still returns great fuel economy. These Toyotas offer similar safety, comfort, and convenience features, but you'll get a few more cubic feet of cargo space in the RAV4 Hybrid.

Choosing between these SUVs likely comes down to your budget and how much you prioritize the ability to drive relatively short distances on electric-only power. The RAV4 Hybrid base model retails for $10,000 less than the Prime, and there's a similar price difference between the top trims. Considering that you'd only spend around $50 more per year in fuel for the RAV4 Hybrid, it would take a long time to make up that disparity. Unless you really prioritize electric-only driving, the RAV4 Hybrid is a better, more economical choice.

Compare the RAV4 Prime and RAV4 Hybrid »

Toyota RAV4 Prime vs. Tesla Model Y

Much in the same way that Tesla introduced the Model 3 as a cheaper and only slightly less capable alternative to the Model S sedan, it debuted the Model Y crossover in 2020 as a smaller sibling to the Model X SUV. The Model Y starts at around $50,000, not far off of a fully loaded RAV4 Prime. With this Tesla, you'll get more than 300 miles of driving range, and you'll spend around $200 less per year juicing it with electricity than you will by pumping both electric and gas into the RAV4.

Like all Teslas, the Model Y has outstanding performance. It can go from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, and it carves corners like a sports car. Then there are the Model Y's impressive tech features, like a huge 15-inch touch screen and advanced driver assistance capability. The Model Y is a good pick for a relatively affordable all-electric SUV. However, if you are worried about charging the car or have range anxiety, plug-in hybrids like the RAV4 Prime present a good alternative.

Compare the RAV4 Prime and Model Y »

Compare the RAV4 Prime, RAV4 Hybrid, and Model Y »

RAV4 Prime Interior: Just Plain Comfortable

RAV4 Prime Cargo Space

The all-new Toyota RAV4 Prime serves up 33.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row. Those seats fold nearly flat to open up a maximum of 63.2 cubic feet of room and allow you to carry larger items. Overall, the RAV4 Prime's cargo volumes are comparable to the gas-only RAV4.

How Many People Does the RAV4 Prime Seat?

The RAV4 Prime seats five people. Big door openings make it easy to get into and out of both rows. The front and back seats offer ample head- and legroom, even for taller passengers.

First-row comfort and support are good, with several power adjustments for the driver's seat. Also, you have solid outward visibility in most directions.

RAV4 Prime and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the RAV4 Prime’s rear outboard seats, as well as a tether anchor for the rear middle seat.

RAV4 Prime Interior Quality

Like other RAV4 variants, the Prime has a pleasing, high-quality interior. Most surfaces are soft to the touch, and the optional synthetic leather upholstery earns praise for its soft and supple feel. Added soundproofing helps the cabin stay quiet from outside noise.

A few critics remark that some steering wheel controls and center stack buttons feel flimsy and cheap, but that isn't enough to knock the interior as a whole.

RAV4 Prime Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

There are two infotainment display options in the RAV4 Prime, and whichever you go with, you'll be treated to a user-friendly interface. The system processes your commands quickly, and it's easy to reach the touch screen thanks to its high position on the dashboard. However, the graphics are a little underwhelming.

Knobs for the volume control are large and rubberized, making them easy to grip. Other physical buttons lower on the center stack are either too small or not located intuitively and could be a distraction when driving.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, a 7-inch digital multi-information display, Bluetooth, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, five USB ports, and a six-speaker stereo
  • Available infotainment features: a 9-inch touch screen, wireless device charging, navigation, and an 11-speaker JBL premium stereo
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control and proximity keyless entry
  • Other available features: a moonroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, ambient interior lighting, a panoramic roof, and a household-style power outlet

Read more about interior »

RAV4 Prime Performance: Composed, With a Little Pep

RAV4 Prime Engine

The Toyota RAV4 Prime gets 302 horsepower from its plug-in-hybrid powertrain, and it delivers swift and sturdy acceleration, whether you're taking off from a stoplight or merging onto a freeway.

There are two drive modes: full EV and Hybrid. In all-electric mode, power tends to wane at higher speeds. Hybrid mode, which cycles between electric, gas, and a combination of both, yields more muscle. The RAV4 Prime can go from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, which is the second-fastest time in the Toyota lineup, after the Supra sports car.

A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard, and it's pretty unremarkable. For this type of gearbox, though, that's a good thing. Other CVTs tend to cause the powertrain to drone or whine loudly, but the RAV4 Prime goes about its business quietly and effectively.

RAV4 Prime Gas Mileage and Charging

The RAV4 Prime can go 42 miles solely on electric power, and it gets an EPA-estimated 94 MPG-equivalent in combined city/highway driving. That stacks up pretty well against other plug-in-hybrid vehicles. MPGe is a way to compare the efficiency of gas-only vehicles with alternative-fuel vehicles. To learn more, check out What is MPGe?

The Prime comes standard with a 3.3-kW onboard charger, which allows you to fully juice this SUV in 12 hours from a standard 120-volt household outlet or in 4.5 hours from a 240-volt outlet. A 6.6-kW charger is optional, and it is only compatible with 240-volt charging. In that scenario, the RAV4 Prime gets a full charge in just 2.5 hours.

RAV4 Prime Ride and Handling

This crossover handles competently, even if it isn't the most athletic hybrid SUV out there. All-wheel drive is standard and helps to provide good road grip. The RAV4 Prime traverses bumps in the road with ease and maintains a comfortable ride.

The hybrid-specific regenerative braking system feels pretty close to a normal setup and exhibits little, if any, of the mushiness or uncertainty that plagues other regenerative brakes.

Read more about performance »

RAV4 Prime Reliability

Is the Toyota RAV4 Prime Reliable?

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime does not have a predicted reliability rating as of this writing.

Toyota RAV4 Prime Warranty

Toyota covers the RAV4 Prime with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Certain hybrid components are covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty, and the battery comes with a 10-year/150,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

RAV4 Prime Safety

RAV4 Prime Crash Test Results

At the time of writing, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2021 RAV4 Prime.

RAV4 Prime Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane tracing assist
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Automatic high-beam headlights

Available advanced safety features:

  • Head-up display
  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Rearview mirror camera
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Front and rear parking sensors with automatic braking

Read more about safety »

RAV4 Prime Dimensions and Weight

The RAV4 Prime is 15.1 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 4,235 to 4,300 pounds, and its gross vehicle weight rating is 5,530 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Built?

Toyota builds the 2021 RAV4 Prime in Japan.

Which Toyota RAV4 Prime Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime comes in two trims: SE and XSE. The 302-horsepower plug-in-hybrid powertrain includes standard all-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission.

Most buyers should be satisfied with the base model and its healthy serving of standard infotainment and pre-collision safety features. The main impetus to go with the XSE trim is its added comfort and convenience amenities such as synthetic leather upholstery and a larger infotainment screen. The XSE also offers a few option packages that add everything from a JBL stereo to a head-up display, ventilated front seats, navigation, and parking sensors.

Toyota RAV4 Prime SE

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime SE starts at $38,100. Standard features include cloth upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7-inch digital multi-information display, and proximity keyless entry.

The standard infotainment system features an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, Bluetooth, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, five USB ports, and a six-speaker stereo. Standard driver assistance features include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane tracing assist, full-speed adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and automatic high-beam headlights.

The Weather and Moonroof package costs $1,665 and adds a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a moonroof.

Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE

The $41,425 RAV4 Prime XSE adds synthetic leather upholstery, a 9-inch touch screen, wireless device charging, a moonroof, paddle shifters, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, and ambient interior lighting.

The Weather package retails for $815 and includes a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Another package bundles the above Weather group with navigation and an 11-speaker JBL premium stereo for $2,435. Lastly, you can spend $5,760 for the Premium package, which gets you all of the above optional features plus a head-up display, a surround-view parking camera system, a rearview mirror camera, adaptive headlights, front and rear parking sensors with automatic braking, ventilated front seats, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, driver's seat memory settings, a hands-free liftgate, a household-style power outlet, a stronger on-board charger, and a panoramic roof.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

See 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime specs and trims »

The Final Call

The brand-new RAV4 Prime combines Toyota’s most popular crossover with a partially electrified powertrain, and the result is a capable compact SUV that gets good fuel economy and has a decent all-electric driving range.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Punchy and efficient, the Prime is easily my pick of today's RAV4 litter. The addition of a plug-in hybrid powertrain has made a good SUV even better. If you can manage the upcharge, this is the RAV4 to get." -- CNET
  • "The stuff like laminated glass and extra sound-deadening materials, along with HUD, 9-inch infotainment screen, and those 19-inch wheels, make the Prime a great grand-touring, semi-premium crossover; the fact it goes nose-to-nose with hot hatches in a straight line is just icing on the cake." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The RAV4 Prime scores big on fuel economy and power. In our testing, we easily got the EPA-estimated 42 miles of electric-only range. The RAV4 Prime is also quick to accelerate to highway speeds and gets strong scores in regard to comfort, interior quality and technology. Even value is OK. The $40,000 starting price is steep, but it's important to note that the Prime is eligible for $7,500 in federal tax credits." -- Edmunds
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