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2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Performance


MSRP
$38,100
U.S. News Best Price Program

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.7

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime offers good fuel efficiency, a balanced ride, and a strong hybrid powertrain.

  • "It’s a bit noisy under hard acceleration and its handling is not quite as sharp as we enthusiasts might like, but it’s a generally pleasant and capable crossover that manages to combine fuel efficiency and performance in a compelling, family-friendly package." -- Autoblog
  • "Our early impressions tell us the Prime could very well end up being the best RAV4 we’ve ever tested, as it adds a level of drivability, power, performance, and a more relaxed and refined driving nature other versions lack." -- Consumer Reports
  • "The steering requires medium-heavy effort and is decently direct. This car is certainly more for Midwestern salt-damaged roads and mud than carving apexes. The advantage of that is that you can just pilot it indiscriminately through any terrain you might encounter without hesitating or even slowing down." -- Autoweek

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Powertrain: 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor with a combined 302 horsepower
  • Drivetrain: all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: continuously variable automatic (CVT)

The RAV4 Prime offers satisfying acceleration from a stop and good power at higher speeds. The CVT functions smoothly and without incident.

  • "It launches assertively and without much drama. The gasoline engine makes quite a racket when the pedal is floored, but the feedback is oddly reassuring. On the freeway, the Prime offers the same confident thrust that it does off the line. Merging and passing are completely effortless, and the hybrid system always seems to know exactly where it needs to be for what you’re trying to do." -- Autoblog
  • "In either pure electric or hybrid mode, the RAV4 Prime has solid acceleration making it easy to merge with traffic or complete a two-lane pass with confidence. The powertrain can cruise effortlessly at highway speeds with plenty of reserve left under your right foot." -- Autotrader
  • "It always feels like it has good oomph in reserve, delivering its power with minimal noise or fuss most of the time. And even though the RAV4 Prime’s continuously variable transmission doesn’t perform simulated shifts to help keep engine revs low like some CVTs, it’s rare that the engine needs to rev very high. This may happen when flooring the throttle pedal to move with serious speed, but even then, the engine only roars for a short burst before the CVT settles the revs back down." -- Consumer Reports

MPG Estimates and Charging Times

The RAV4 Prime gets an EPA-estimated 94 MPG-equivalent in combined city/highway driving, which is good compared to other plug-in-hybrid vehicles. It has an all-electric driving range of 42 miles.

It takes about 12 hours to charge the RAV4 Prime using a 120-volt household-style power outlet. With a 240-volt charger, it takes between 2.5 and 4.5 hours for a full charge.

Handling and Braking

This SUV delivers a soft and supple ride, and it travels smoothly on rough pavement. The regenerative braking system is refined, and the Prime's handling, while not overly athletic, is composed.

  • "The electric-assist power steering feels natural, and Toyota has figured out the interplay between regenerative braking and hydraulic-assist stopping power to provide a balanced and linear feel when you depress the brake pedal. There’s a nice balance between the RAV4’s operation in both pure electric and hybrid mode that speaks well to Toyota’s commitment to refinement." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "This car is tuned for the daily drive; it doesn't need to be anything beyond comfortable. We're tickled pink to report, in this regard, it's composed, smooth, extremely quiet, and for daily plods around a very broken and bumpy Los Angeles, it retains fantastic suspension tuning." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The RAV4 Prime's ride quality is biased more toward comfort than performance, delivering a smooth ride over road imperfections." -- Edmunds
U.S. News Best Price Program

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

MSRP: $38,100 - $41,425

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