What is the RAV4 Prime?
The RAV4 Prime is a jack-of-all-trades compact crossover SUV, fulfilling a variety of roles that would usually take two or three vehicles. It offers emissions-free electric range, hybrid efficiency for longer trips, and enough cargo and passenger room to be suitable for families. And on top of that it packs plenty of punch, with 302 combined horsepower from the gas engine and a pair of electric motors that make the RAV4 Prime the second-quickest vehicle in the Toyota lineup after the GR Supra, with an as-tested 0-60 mph time of 5.9 seconds.
Think of the RAV4 Prime as a tuned-up version of the RAV4 Hybrid. It has a larger battery and more powerful electric motors that give it a robust 42 miles of EPA-estimated electric range and then 38 combined mpg once that's exhausted. In our testing, the RAV4 Prime beat that mark easily and covered 48 miles on just the battery. That also puts the RAV4 Prime comfortably ahead of its plug-in SUV counterparts, besting the Hyundai Tucson PHEV (33 miles), Kia Sportage PHEV (32 miles), or even the Volvo XC60 T8 Extended Range (36 miles) by healthy margins.
There are a few caveats: The rest of the driving experience isn't as dialed in — our testers noted its mushy brakes and subpar handling. But those aren't usually priorities if you're shopping in this class, and overall cabin comfort and quietness are good (except for when the gas engine really gets going). The RAV4 Prime does have slightly less cargo room than the standard RAV4 with 33.5 cubic feet of cargo space compared to 37.6 cubic feet, but that's still plenty of room for large items.