Toyota unveils the suprisingly quick 2021 RAV4 Prime PHEV
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When talking about Toyota hybrids, the go-to car is the immensely popular Prius, and while it was ahead of its time as an affordable hybrid, dismal performance led to the vehicle developing a meme status among enthusiasts.
To Toyota's credit, the Prius is over 20 years old now, and it looks like they are pulling out all the stops to rid themselves of this "boring" hybrid reputation with the 2021 RAV4 Prime PHEV.
Unveiled just yesterday at the LA Auto Show, the RAV4 Prime takes every good aspect from the standard hybrid model, and improves it. This has resulted in the most fuel-efficient, powerful, and fastest RAV4 ever built.
Before you dismiss this theory of being both more powerful and more fuel-efficient as being witchcraft, Toyota has the hardware to back this claim up. This crossover features a plug-in hybrid system that's loosely based on the standard hybrid system, but uses improved components.
Under the hood sits a retuned version of the 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine that is connected to a powerful rear-mounted electric motor and a high-capacity lithium-ion battery pack. Toyota has claimed that this combined powertrain produces 225kW, and can shoot the crossover to 100km/h in just 5.8 seconds.
Adding to this, the RAV4 Prime features an estimated electric-only range of 63km, which Toyota claims is the longest range of any PHEV crossover. An estimated combined fuel economy rating of 2.6 l/100km has also been released.
Toyota notes that the battery has been mounted underneath the floor, as to not sacrifice interior practicality, and lower the crossover's centre of gravity.
In terms of styling, the RAV4 Prime is going to be exclusively offered in SE and XSE trims. Of these two specs, the SE will be the base, and the XSE will be the more expensive choice.
Opting for the XSE will get you a stylish two-tone exterior with a two-tone contrasting black roof, vertical LED daytime running lights, and a set of 19-inch alloy wheels.
This upscale theme translates through to the interior, where you'll find synthetic leather seats, a wireless smartphone charger, and a pair of (controversial) shift paddles. Toyota has justified this inclusion by stating that they assist with regenerative braking.
Both models of the Prime come with the Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assists.
New Zealand pricing and availability for the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime hasn't been released just yet, but we can expect those to come through closer to the mid-2020 launch of the crossover.