The Toyota RAV4 Prime has been a popular plug-in hybrid to hit in the U.S., even outperforming the projected delivery figures for its first model year. In fact, Toyota delivered just under 20,000 RAV4 Primes in 2021 between July and September, up from the projected 5,000 deliveries. As for the 2022 model, it’s also been a massive hit among car reviewers, with Consumer Reports recommending it for these five reasons.
1. Quick acceleration
The plug-in hybrid RAV4 Prime combines a 2.5 L four-cylinder gas engine with two electric motors resulting in 302 hp combined power output. One of the motors is placed on the front wheels while the other is on the rear giving it instant torque off the line. Consequently, it’s no surprise that it zips from 0 to 60 in 6.3 seconds on the Consumer Reports road test.
Other testers like Car and Driver have gotten even quicker acceleration, with Toyota claiming it should take the PHEV approximately 5.7 seconds to get to 60 mph from 0. The standard all-wheel drive certainly helps, and the electric motors rarely have to get assistance from the gas engine at the start of a drive.
However, it’s not without its problems. One is that Toyota’s AWD system is slightly sluggish in transferring power to the rear wheels. Consequently, there may be some front wheel spin if you floor the throttle at the start line.
2. Stellar fuel economy ratings for the RAV4 Prime
While the RAV4 Prime must be plugged in to recharge the battery fully, it also recharges in other ways, like regenerative braking and when it’s relying on its gas engine. This significantly increases the mileage, with the Prime achieving 72 MPGe on the road test.
For context, only fully electric vehicles like the Kia Niro Electric, Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt, and more achieved better fuel economy in the Consumer Reports ratings. As such, it’s no surprise the compact SUV received a stellar 5 out of 5 fuel economy rating from the independent reviewer.
3. Its electric driving range
The Consumer Reports testing team was also able to get 40 miles out of the car relying solely on electric power. While this distance doesn’t hold a candle to the range for fully electric vehicles, it puts the 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime at the top of its class compared to other plug-in hybrids.
According to Forbes, the SUV’s electric driving range is only bested by the Honda Clarity PHEV sedan. Other plug-in hybrids like the Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV and Chrysler Pacifica hybrid offer well below 40 miles, with the latter’s range being 33 miles for the 2022 model.
4. The comfortable ride quality in the RAV4 Prime
Another thing the website loves about the RAV4 Prime is the ride quality especially compared to the RAV4 gas option and RAV4 hybrid. Due to the larger battery, Toyota has had to make some changes to the SUV’s suspension.
Consequently, the PHEV SUV can keep significant impacts under the vehicle and away from the cabin. Furthermore, the upgraded suspension handles bumps better, ensuring a gradual up and down motion rather than a jerk.
Finally, the XSE option, which is the higher of the two RAV4 Prime trim options available, also offers synthetic leather seats and upgraded soft-touch surfaces. Besides that, there’s not much else differentiating the ride quality between the Prime and the different RAV4 variants.
5. User-friendly controls
The dashboard layout is simple, and the controls are clearly labeled, making them easier to use. Notably, this is something the Prime shares with the gas-powered version of the RAV4. However, Consumer Reports still has a few minor issues with the controls on the driver side door, as they’re hard to see in the dark.
Additionally, one or two buttons may not be optimally placed, although the rest of the buttons and knobs are pretty well-designed.