Toyota has made official a possibility that has been recently suggested by execs as a next step, and all but been confirmed by spy shots: that it will make a plug-in hybrid version of the RAV4 hybrid, and soon sell that in the U.S.
While Toyota didn’t specify nomenclature—and thus whether it would be called RAV4 Prime, just RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid, or something else—the carmaker did confirm that it will arrive for the 2021 model year and first be shown at the LA auto show next month.
The 2020 Toyota Prius Prime has an EPA-rated 25 miles of fully electric range, after which it gets 54 mpg combined. That’s actually 2 mpg better than non-Prime [sub-Prime?] versions of the Prius and the same as Prius Eco models. Carrying that over to the RAV4, the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid achieves an EPA 40 mpg combined and can go a noteworthy 580 miles of total range. In the Hybrid, we even achieved a 39-mpg average on an early preview drive.
2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium
If the RAV4 plug-in manages to keep the same fuel tank, it could easily go more than 600 miles; but let’s hope Toyota puts some priority on battery capacity and range.
We’re also eager to see whether the Prime will, like the RAV4 Hybrid and Highlander Hybrid, opt for a third motor system at the rear wheels, or whether it will opt for the mechanical all-wheel-drive setup developed by Subaru for the Crosstrek Hybrid—using some components from the RAV4 Hybrid.
Based on the timing of its introductions, and Toyota’s typical cadence in bringing models to market, Green Car Reports anticipates that the model will reach the market by the middle of next year—but that’s just an educated guess and we’ll have to wait until the official show debut for more information.