The first-generation Toyota RAV4 is known as the first compact crossover SUV sold in the US. RAV4 stands for "Recreational Activity Vehicle with 4-wheel drive". First introduced to the US market in 1996, the Toyota crossover is currently in its fifth-generation.

The production version of the fifth-generation RAV4 was displayed at the 2018 New York Auto Show, with sales starting in 2019. Just like every iteration before it, the newest RAV4 is one of the best crossovers on the market. With 965,760 sold worldwide in 2019, the current RAV4 is the most successful generation to date.

But that doesn't mean Toyota is sitting back and letting the cash roll in. For the 2021 model year, Toyota will be bringing out the much-anticipated RAV4 Prime. Not to be confused with the regular hybrid variant, the Prime is actually a plug-in hybrid, which offers the best of both worlds.

Pre-orders for the newest member of the RAV family have been pilling up since its announcement. Keep reading for all the details on the soon to be released 2021 RAV4 Prime.

Toyota's RAV4 Prime Will Be Built In Nagakusa

Toyota Nagakusa Plant

The Toyota RAV4 Prime will be built at Toyota's Nagakusa Plant in Japan. Due to battery constraints, the Japanese automaker is expecting production of only 5,000 units of the Prime in its first model year. Although the plant's output number is expected to increase to 20,000 by its second year, it is still a far cry from the demands for the PHEV RAV4. Considering that the fifth-gen RAV4 sold almost 450,000 units in its first year in the US alone, Toyota will want to pump out as many Primes as possible to meet demands.

RELATED: The Biggest Differences Between Toyota’s RAV4 And Highlander


2021white rav4 prime on street

Assuming you are one of the lucky few to get their hands on the 2021 RAV4 Prime, you will have the choice of the two trims. The base SE model with a starting price of $38,100 and the XSE that starts at $41,425. Needless to say, the aforementioned MSRP is only the base price, with a slew of optional equipment and packages, we expect the top of the line Prime will be a few grand more than starting at price.

But lucky for us, the RAV4 Prime is a green car which means it qualifies for some government incentives. According to Toyota, at the purchase of your brand new Prime, you will be eligible for up to $7,500 in federal tax credit. If you consider that the MSRP of the regular hybrid RAV4 is $28,500, shelling out a few thousand more for a Prime might be worth it.

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Performance Numbers

2021 blue rav4 prime parked trees

As mentioned previously, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 is a plug-in hybrid vehicle. This means the most important performance figures are related to its frugality. Being a PHEV means that the Prime can go in electric-only mode, the EPA estimates 42 miles on a single charge, which is more than enough for most people's daily commute. In case you do need to tap into the gas tank, the RAV4 Prime also offers an impressive 38 MPG and 94 MPGe

Moving on to the powerplant, the RAV4 Prime is equipped with a 2.5l 4-cylinder that delivers 177 hp at 6000 rpm and 165 lb-ft at 3600 rpm, that power is sent to the wheels through an eCVT transmission. Unlike its siblings, the Prime is also equipped with electric motors, with outputs of 179 hp at the front and 53 hp at the rear. All in all, the combined horsepower rating for the Prime is an impressive 302 hp, making it the most powerful and expensive RAV4 ever.

For those worried about the reliability of the hybrid technology, Toyota offers an astonishing Hybrid Battery Warranty coverage for 10 years or 150,000 miles.

RELATED: Toyota Unveils The RAV4 Prime As The Most Potent And Efficient RAV4

Interior And Technology

Via: Top Speed

Toyota didn't skimp out on the interior either, an impressive amount of technology is available for those who desire it. Depending on the package selected, the RAV4 Prime can have a nine or ten-inch touchscreen infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing the driver to easily play his music through the optional 11 speaker JBL sound system.

Other features are available to impress your passengers such as rearview mirror camera, Qi-compatible wireless charging, a heads-up display, and ambient lighting. Heated front seats come standard in the RAV4 but if you opt for the XSE trim, you will be treated with an eight-way adjustable driver seat with lumbar support and optional ventilation.

Toyota also provides a stunning amount of safety features as standard in the RAV4 Prime, including Toyota's Safety Sense.

RELATED: 2020 Toyota RAV4 Ready For Off-Road Fun With TRD Upgrades

Rugged Exterior

2021 RAV4 prime city skyline

Toyota has truly outdone itself with the design of the fifth-generation RAV4; gone is the plain and boring look of the previous generation. The newest version offers a rugged look reminiscent of the all-time favorite 4Runner. According to Toyota, "The unique front end of the RAV4 Prime features a uniquely painted grill, a sculpted front chin spoiler and more to remind all why this ride perfectly puts the sport back in SUV".

For those that choose to purchase the XSE trim, they will be able to distinguish themselves from the pack with two-tone paint and 19-inch wheels. If you want to stand out, even more, there is always the TRD treatment.

Even without the sales numbers, judging by Japanese manufacturers' track record, it is clear the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime will be a success. For those that have a reservation, you will not regret it.


NEXT: The Biggest Differences Between Toyota’s RAV4 And Highlander

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