What happens when you take the best CUV Hybrid available and add 39-miles of all-electric range? Oh boy! Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – November 20, 2019 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV-39 Los Angeles, CA -- The fifth-generation Toyota RAV4, on the market for barely a year, will soon be available as a super plug-in with 39-miles of all-electric range and an estimated system output of 302 hp powering an advanced AWD with sport-tuned suspension and exclusive design features. Can you provide those specs one more time? How about a projected 39-miles of range from the plug, 90 MPGe rating, and 0-60 time of just 5.8 seconds – 2 seconds faster than the current RAV4 Hybrid - will push the RAV4 brand far beyond its competitors. As the hottest selling CUV and HEV in the country, the Prime raises the bar to the sky. With more powerful motor-generators, a newly developed high-capacity Li-Ion battery and a booster converter, the 2021 RAV4 Prime provides an 83 hp jump in total system output over the RAV4 Hybrid. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime will arrive in the summer of 2020 in SE and XSE trims. SE is new for the RAV4 Prime, and the XSE is currently exclusive to the RAV4 Hybrid. The SE includes 18” alloys and an exclusive front grille design and front lower spoiler. Piano black exterior accents and a painted grille/diffuser complete the premium look. Inside it will include standard heated front seats, 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, 7-in. Multi-Information Display, Blind Spot Monitor, a leather steering wheel and shift knob with red stitching, power liftgate, and Audio with 8” touch-screen and Amazon Alexa, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. The available Weather & Moonroof Package lets in the sun, moon and stars while keeping the cold at bay with a heated steering wheel, heated rear outboard seats, and windshield wiper de-icer, while rain-sensing windshield wipers add to convenience. The XSE Prime includes a two-tone exterior paint scheme pairing a black roof with select colors, including Supersonic Red. 19” alloys have a unique two-tone design. Vertical LED accent lights give the XSE a distinct look, while the optional Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) with headlamp auto-leveling partially aims the beams into turns as the driver steers. 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV-39 Inside, the XSE adds paddle shifters, moonroof, unique SofTex synthetic leather seat surfaces, Qi wireless smartphone charging, ambient lighting, auto-dimming rearview with integrated garage door opener and the largest multimedia screen in any RAV4 ever. The standard Audio Plus system comes with a 9” touch-screen and there is an available Premium Audio that includes Dynamic Navigation and JBL speaker system. A Premium Package for the RAV4 Prime XSE adds Premium Audio with Dynamic Navigation and JBL speakers, perforated and ventilated SofTex front seats, RAV4’s first head-up display, heated rear SofTex outboard seats, heated steering wheel, panoramic moonroof, digital rear-view mirror, memory driver’s seat, 4-way power passenger seat, 5-door SmartKey system, kick-type power rear liftgate, Bird’s Eye View Monitor. 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV-39 Drivetrain The RAV4 Prime uses a differently tuned version of the RAV4 Hybrid’s heavily atkinsonized 2.5L I4 gas engine. It produces the same projected 176 hp as in the hybrid, but paired with the electric motors, total system output equals 302 hp. The RAV4 Prime’s passenger space isn’t compromised by the larger Li-Ion battery, as it is mounted under the floor. The mounting position also gives the RAV4 Prime a low center of gravity and enhanced driving stability. The RAV4 Prime’s enhanced heat pump HVAC system, based on Prius Prime’s and tailored to fit RAV4 Prime, contributes to an increasing EV range, as energy consumption for cabin temperature control can significantly decrease EV driving range. The RAV4 Prime employs the same version of Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive (AWD) as the RAV4 Hybrid. In both models, a separate rear-mounted electric motor powers the rear wheels when needed, including proactively on acceleration startup and also in reduced-traction conditions. The AWD system also reduces understeer during cornering for enhanced steering stability. Off-pavement, AWD enhances hill-climbing performance. A driver-selectable Trail mode makes it possible to get unstuck by braking a spinning wheel and sending torque to the grounding wheel. With available paddle shifters, the driver can “downshift” to increase the regenerative braking in steps, which fosters greater control when driving in hilly areas, for example. As on the RAV4 Hybrid, the innovative Predictive Efficient Drive feature acts like an invisible “hyper-miler” co-driver. Using the available navigation system, Predictive Efficient Drive essentially reads the road and learns driver patterns to optimize hybrid battery charging and discharging operations based on driving conditions. The system accumulates data as the vehicle is driven and “remembers” road features such as hills and stoplights and adjusts the hybrid powertrain operation to maximize efficiency. All Toyota RAV4 models come equipped with standard Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0), which groups a long roster of active-safety technologies and capabilities: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD) Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA) Automatic High Beam (AHB) Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) Road Sign Assist (RSA) The XSE Premium Package adds Rear Cross Traffic Braking (RCTB) and Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automated Braking (PA w/AB). Starting with the 2020 model year, every Toyota Hybrid Battery Warranty has been increased from 8 years or 100,000 miles to 10 years from original date of first use, or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first. 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV-39 Early Conclusions After helping my parents acquire a 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XLE just 2 nights ago and still awaiting to hear if the local dealership can trade for what they want, my push was to wait for the RAV4 PHEV. My wife is currently waiting to get out of her Sonata Hybrid for the RAV4 PHEV as well. If I were a betting person, I suspect the RAV4, RAV4 Hybrid, and RAV4 PHEV will see sales exceeding 40k units per month here in the U.S. thanks in part to the Prime's $7.5k Fed TC and $1.5k CA State Sales Tax Rebate. While every other OEM has chased either Hybrids or BEVs - mostly an unprofitable ordeal for most to put it lightly, Toyota has taken the long approach. Meaning making profits on their Hybrid lineup for well over a decade. Moving to the PHEV, from the first Gen 3 Prius to the Prime, they are game changers with the lowest TCOs in the history of the automobile due in part to the most efficient drivetrains in the industry. The RAV4 Hybrid and now upcoming RAV4 Prime is no different. Coming from the land of $4 gasoline, electrification via HEV, PHEV or BEVs are a big deal. Plug-ins offer a lower price of entry than a BEV without the inconvenience and after the Fed TCs - which will run out soon if demand for the RAV4 Prime reaches levels I suspect, will cost less than the std. Hybrids from which they are based. A win for the consumer who will use much less fuel and a win for Toyota in that they have a profitable electrification strategy that is a continuation if what they started going all the way back to 1997 when the first gen Prius was introduced to the public in Japan. I cannot wait.