Life & StyleMotoring

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime: A surprisingly good plug-in hybrid

Hey, even I get confused with all the offerings out there — even within the same lane of the same brand of the same car.

As of late, Toyota has been offering (as have most manufacturers) a whole range of cars that are indeed ‘hybrids’ of engines that combine electricity and gasoline and the like to help you feel good about not using so much gasoline (and thus reducing your carbon-footprint AND cutting down on your petrol spending) while helping you travel farther.

And in some cases, faster.

Toyota is now offering the RAV4 ‘Prime’.  And just what is it?

Well, yes, good question.  Technically it’s a PHEV, or Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, but it also uses gasoline.  That means when the charge runs out, the petrol engine kicks in and (in theory) you can get up to 600 miles per ‘tank’ with a combination of all the batteries and stuff in and under your car. 

Hey, works for me. 

There are only two trims for the Prime.  Starting price for the SE is $38,250 US.  The XSE, which most reviewers agree is better, starts at $41,5875. 

Consumer Reports feels it’s a great option for people who like the idea of an electric vehicle but don’t want to get boxed into a car that konks out unpredictably because you forgot to charge it enough.  Truly, no matter how hard you plan, charging is still a bit of a guessing game (especially for someone like me, who kinda forgot to plan for life after….. 25?).

The thing I really like about this RAV4 PHEV (wow, we really have become a society of letters, numbers and QR codes) is that I don’t have to think much.  I just get in and go. I love the RAV4.  It’s a small SUV per the manufacturer’s paperwork but there really is plenty of room inside.  It handles well, parks relatively well and I can get most of my purchases (all that Capital One will allow me to make) inside it.

Last week, I reviewed the RAV4 ‘hybrid’, which, for all intents and purposed, is basically the same car.  Yeah, yeah, I am not supposed to say that.  There are differences. Technically.

If you get the RAV4 PRIME, make sure you really want a Plug-in, because you really do need to charge it regularly.  Don’t get it because it’s trendy and you think it’s the thing to do or you got pressured into getting a PHEV.  We will be there soon enough.  It will be mandatory at some point, but hopefully by then, charging stations will be everywhere and the technology will have improved. A lot.

And global warming will have reversed itself. 


Comments are closed.