The Prime plug-in hybrid transforms the driving experience of Toyota’s small RAV4 SUV, giving it abundant power and a comfortable ride to go along with its fuel-economy benefits. We think it’s a good option for buyers who are looking toward an EV but don’t want to worry about re-charging the battery when taking long trips.
We were able to drive the Prime about 40 miles on electric power alone, and we got 34 mpg overall when it transitioned to hybrid mode. By switching between the Prime’s drive modes, drivers can choose when they use the electric portion, for instance to save the electric propulsion for later if city driving is anticipated. It takes nearly five hours to charge the battery on a 240-volt outlet (or 12 hours on 120-volt) for the standard 3.3 kW onboard charger; the optional 6.6 kW charger shortens that time.
The Prime’s combined 302-hp makes it quick, with lush, effortless power; its scoots from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.3 seconds. The electric drive gives enough assist that the gas engine rarely has to strain, which mostly eliminates the rough engine noise the regular RAV4 suffers from. The Prime comes standard with all-wheel drive.