The Toyota RAV4 Prime is the plug-in hybrid version of the best-selling SUV in the U.S. This compact SUV can go about 42 miles on all-electric power, plus has a regular gas-powered engine that kicks in for longer trips. The RAV4 Prime has peppy handling, a smooth ride and a comfortable cabin, but the infotainment system isn’t as up to date as some rivals.
Base Price: $43,125
As Tested: $50,731
Mileage: 94 MPGe electricity + gas/38 mpg gas only combined
For folks who are on the fence about getting an EV, a plug-in hybrid can be a good way to start. These vehicles generally have enough of an all-electric range for at least a day’s driving, usually around 20 to 50 miles, plus the normal range of a gas engine. The RAV4 Prime can go up to 42 miles on a charge, plus another 400 miles with the gas-powered engine.
The RAV4 Prime was introduced for the 2021 model year and has no major changes for 2022.
The five-passenger RAV4 Prime comes in two trims: SE, which starts at $39,800, and XSE, which starts at $43,125. These are above average for the class. Prices climb more with the addition of packages. Buyers may be eligible for a federal rebate of $7,500 and a state rebate. All-wheel drive is standard.
The RAV4 Prime is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor with a combined output of 302 horsepower and pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard.
The RAV4 Prime has peppy handling and is quicker when on all-electric power. In fact, Toyota says it’s the quickest RAV4 and the second-quickest Toyota behind the Supra. The RAV4 Prime can go from zero to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds. There’s also enough power for merging and passing at freeway speeds. The ride is smooth with the suspension doing a good job of soaking up bumps. However, you’ll notice some body roll when cornering. The regenerative braking system operates smoothly. While the RAV4 Prime isn’t athletic, it shines at providing a refined and comfortable ride.
The all-electric range is rated at 42 miles by the EPA, which is better than average for a plug-in hybrid. I was able to get 50 miles of range by turning off the air conditioning and having a relaxed driving style. With a Level 2 or 240-volt charger, it takes 2.5 to 4.5 hours for a full charge. If you plug into a regular 120-volt household plug, it takes about 12 hours to charge.
Fuel economy is great for a compact SUV. EPA ratings for my tester are 94 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) combined in city/highway driving, which is good for a plug-in-hybrid. It gets 38 mpg city/highway combined.
The interior is pleasant and attractive but not as upscale as some competitors. Most materials are of good quality with many soft-touch surfaces. Seats are comfortable and supportive. And there’s decent leg- and headroom for even taller adults in both rows.
Standard features include push-button start, rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, seven-inch digital gauge cluster, infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, USB ports, Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, Wi-Fi hot spot, and automatic high-beam headlights.
Available features include a surround-view camera system, head-up display, synthetic leather upholstery, power-adjustable passenger seat, ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, 11-speaker JBL premium audio system, infotainment system with nine-inch touchscreen, navigation, moonroof or panoramic glass roof, and wireless device charging.
Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard on all RAV4 models including forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane tracing assist, pedestrian detection, traffic sign recognition and rear cross traffic alert.
Available driver assistance technologies include front and rear parking sensors with automatic braking.
The infotainment system has an eight- or nine-inch touchscreen depending on the trim. Both have the same user-friendly interface; however, the system could use updating. The graphics look old school and the system takes longer to respond than newer systems in some rivals. While there are physical controls for common functions, some of the buttons are small and can be tough to use especially while driving. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come standard.
Cargo space is about average for the class. There 33.5 cubic feet with both rows of seating in place and 69.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. The rear seats fold nearly flat, which is nice for hauling larger items. There are also many cubbies and bins in the cabin for stashing smaller items. A power liftgate comes standard, and a hands-free liftgate is available.
Good all-electric driving range
Comfortable, smooth ride
Lots of standard and available features and tech
Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Cabin not as upscale as rivals
Infotainment system could use updating
My tester starts at $43,125. The Premium Audio package is $1,620 and includes a nine-inch touchscreen with navigation, 11-speaker and JBL audio system including subwoofer and amplifier. The Weather Package is $375 and includes heated leather-trimmed steering wheel and rain-sensing windshield wipers with de-icer function. The Premium Package is $3,350 and includes a 10-inch color head-up display with speedometer, navigation and hybrid system indicator, 6.6kW onboard charger, panoramic glass roof with front power tilt/slide moonroof, bird’s eye view camera with perimeter scan, overhead 360-degree view in low-speed drive and reverse and curb view, SofTex-trimmed seats with red accents and stitching, heated and ventilated perforated front seats, eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with two position memory function, four-way power adjustable front passenger seat with seatback pocket, digital rearview mirror with HomeLink universal transceiver, smart key system on all doors, one 120V AC power outlet in cargo area, adaptive front headlights, LED projector headlights with auto level control and automatic on/off feature, height-adjustable and foot-activated power liftgate with jam protection, and front and rear parking assist with automated braking. Roof rack cross bars are $315. Carpet floor mats and cargo mat are $269. Door sill protector is $199. Rear bumper applique is $69. Mudguard is $129. Wheel lock is $65. Delivery fee is $1,215 bringing the grand total to $50,731.
The Toyota RAV4 has been popular for years and the plug-in hybrid version builds on a good thing. The 2022 RAV4 Prime is a capable and pleasant compact SUV that also delivers excellent fuel economy. For many consumers, it has a “best of both worlds” approach, with a good all-electric range as well as a gas engine so you don’t have to worry about charging on longer trips.