The popularity of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) is gaining traction worldwide. It’s the perfect solution to those looking for a hybrid but with enough electric range to let drivers drive through their daily routines without even letting the petrol engine kick in. One such vehicle is the new 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV that was launched at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. It has a pure electric range of up to 63 kilometers–a lot more than a Corolla Altis hybrid’s pure electric range. What we’re even more impressed, however, is its performance.
Compared to the standard RAV4 Hybrid, the RAV4 Prime PHEV features a retuned 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine that now produces 176 hp and 228 Nm of torque. The petrol engine then works in tandem with an electronically-controlled all-wheel-drive system with rear-mounted electric motors powering the rear wheels, similar to the standard RAV4 Hybrid. Toyota did not indicate how powerful the electric motors are, but its total system output is a whopping 302 hp, 83 hp more than the standard RAV4 Hybrid. This enables the RAV4 Prime PHEV to sprint from 0-60 mph (96 kph) in just 5.8 seconds. Thankfully, the bigger batteries do not affect interior space as these are mounted under the floor. This layout also lets the RAV4 Prime PHEV have a lower center of gravity.
Because Toyota aims to position the RAV4 Prime PHEV as a sporty option, this model will only be available in sporty SE and XSE variants in North American markets, which means its exterior features numerous piano black trims, sporty 18-inch alloy wheels, unique front grille, and a sporty front spoiler. Getting the XSE adds bigger 19-inch alloy wheels, vertical LED daytime running lights, and a two-tone exterior paint scheme.
Toyota has also slightly upgraded the RAV4 Prime PHEV’s interior, giving it a new, bigger 9-inch touch screen Toyota Entune infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa support, ambient lighting, and a synthetic leather interior.
Buyers can also opt for various option packages. A Weather & Moonroof Package adds a moonroof, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, rain-sensing wipers, and a windshield wiper de-icer. There is also a Premium Package that adds ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, and a panoramic moonroof. Other additions include a head-up display and a digital rear-view mirror electronically-adjustable passenger seat, a 360-degree camera system, and a JBL premium audio system.
The Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV will first go on sale in North American markets in 2020 while a Philippine debut is highly unlikely given that normal hybrids still need more traction to fully take off in our market.