2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE
Class: Compact Crossover
Miles driven: 239
Fuel used: 3.4 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 70.3 mpg
|CG Report Card
|Room and Comfort
|Power and Performance
|Fit and Finish
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
|Big & Tall Comfort
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 94 MPGe/38 mpg (city/highway combined)
Fuel type: Regular gas
Base price: $41,425 (not including $1120 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Premium Audio ($1620), Weather Package ($375), special paint color ($425), Premium Package ($3765), roof-rack cross bars ($315), carpeted floor mats/cargo mat ($269), door sill protector ($199), wheel lock ($65)
Price as tested: $49,578
The great: Snappy acceleration, outstanding fuel economy, high-tech features, fuel-saving flexibility of plug-in-hybrid powertrain
The good: Control layout, decent road manners, cargo capacity
The not so good: Mediocre front-seat space for larger folks, some so-so interior materials for the price
The bottom-line sticker price of our latest Toyota RAV4 Prime test vehicle—a loaded XSE model—came to $49,578. That’s an eye-opening price tag for a mainstream-brand compact SUV, but at the moment it qualifies as a screaming bargain. The RAV4 Prime is currently one of Toyota’s most popular vehicles, and thanks to the pandemic-induced chip shortage/supply-chain issues, it’s in very short supply. If you can find one on a dealership lot, expect to pay a significant dealer markup over the MSRP.
We can understand the RAV4 Prime’s appeal. “Prime” is Toyota’s moniker for its plug-in hybrids, but unlike the Prius Prime, the RAV4 prime is actually a bit of a hot rod. Its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is paired with three electric motors for a total system output of 302 horsepower, and it’s capable of sprinting from 0-60 mph in just 5.7 seconds. That makes it the quickest and most powerful RAV4 ever (and the second quickest model in Toyota’s current lineup, behind the Supra sports car). Plus, the RAV4 Prime’s pure-electric driving range is EPA-rated at an impressive 42 miles, but you need to be diligent about plugging it in to get the maximum benefit from the plug-in-hybrid powertrain.
The RAV4 Prime is offered in just two trim levels that are equipped to the level of higher-line “regular” RAV4s. All-wheel drive is standard—the rear wheels are powered by the electric-motor system. Our first RAV4 Prime test vehicle was the “base” SE model, but this time we got the top-line XSE, which adds features such as black two-tone roof paint, a sunroof, faux leather upholstery, ambient interior lighting, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, a wireless charging pad, and a 9-inch infotainment touchscreen in place of the Prime SE’s 8-inch touchscreen.
Our test vehicle was further decked out with a generous slate of options. The $1620 Premium Audio package adds an 11-speaker JBL-brand audio system, dynamic navigation system, and a number of connected-services/remote-access features. The $375 Weather Package adds a heated leather-trimmed steering wheel and rain-sensing wipers with a de-icer function. The biggest-ticket item was the $3765 Premium Package, which brings a host of upscale features including a 10-inch color head-up display, panoramic sunroof, 360-degree surround-view camera display, heated and ventilated front seats, height-adjustable hands-free liftgate, digital rearview mirror, and more. This is about as posh as a RAV4 gets.
You can read our full review of the RAV4 Prime SE here for our test-drive impressions, which hold true for the XSE as well. Both of our tests were in optimal weather that required very little use of the air conditioning or heater. We charged our XSE about as frequently as the SE we tested, but took it on longer trips that used up the pure-electric driving range and brought down our overall fuel economy—though we’re more than happy with our 70.3 mpg average, especially with the power the RAV4 Prime has on tap.
The RAV4 Prime launched as an early-2021 addition to the RAV4 lineup, and it doesn’t see any significant changes for 2022—the entire ’22 RAV4 lineup gets minor trim updates, and the non-plug-in Hybrid model is now available in SE trim.
Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE Gallery
Click below for enlarged images.