2021 RAV4 Prime XSE AWD

Comfort, super mileage, and good looks
December 5, 2020 Updated: December 5, 2020

Toyota’s RAV4 added a plug-in hybrid in the 2021 model year. RAV4 Prime XSE is efficient, bold, fun to drive, and loaded with an abundance of standard features.

RAV4 Prime is powered by a 2.5-liter Dynamic Force 4-cylinder gasoline engine assisted by an electric motor. The total system power is 302 horsepower. The battery pack is charged through a 3.3 kW onboard plug-in charger. A charging cable is included for standard 120 volt outlet, Power is sent to the wheels through Electronically-controlled Continuous Variable Transmission (ECVT) and Electronic On-Demand AWD. The drivetrain enables the RAV4 Prime to sprint 0-60 in 7.4 seconds.

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The charger port with cable plugged in. (Courtesy of Toyota)

The mileage for the RAV4 Prime is rated by EPA as 40/36/38 mpg city/highway/combined. Counting pure electric driving range, it translates to 94 MPGe (miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent).

The XSE provides numerous standard features, like the Audio Plus infotainment system sporting a 9-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming, plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support. Other interior features include SofTex-trimmed seats, leather trimmed steering wheel and shift lever, soft-touch materials, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Front seats are heated and the rear seats are 60/40 split fold-flat. Smart Key System push button start, and auto dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink are also nice features to have.

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Black SofTex interior. (Courtesy of Toyota)

The cabin is well built without compromising styling and rich good looks. Several little pockets and cubby holes throughout the cabin offer great storage options. Dual-zone automatic control and tilt/telescopic steering wheel get you comfortable quickly. Everything is held together by the 9-inch touchscreen mentioned earlier.

Ambient interior lighting, quality upholstery, LED accent lights, power tilt/slide moonroof, and power liftgate are all key interior features.

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In the driver’s seat. (Courtesy of Toyota)

The cabin build quality together with the roominess for passengers and cargo, allow the RAV4 Prime to competes quite nicely with segment rivals.

The interior is complemented on the outside by 19-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, and dazzling Supersonic Red paint.

RAV4 Prime comes with standard Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) 2.0. Features include Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Road Sign Assist, to name a few.

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A stylish profile. (Courtesy of Toyota)

The 2021 RAV4 Prime has not been rated by the Government’s 5-Star Safety Rating System.

This vehicle has adequate acceleration with a smooth power delivery, and the power is put down to the road quite nicely through MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension, plus front and rear stabilizer bars.

Oh yes! Don’t forget the 94MPGe mileage when you make full use of pure electric drive together with petro power.

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price is $41,425 for the XSE model. The base SE model is priced at $38,100.

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Looking from the back. (Courtesy of Toyota)

There were several optional packages you can add to your Prime XSE, such as Premium Audio, Dynamic Navigation package, XSE Prime Weather Package, and XSE Premium Package.

The Premium Package ($3,765) is a great package, offering features like an upgraded 10-inch color head-up display, Birds-Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan, 6.6 kW onboard charger, and panoramic glass roof.

The XSE Prime Weather Package ($375) features heated leather-trimmed steering wheel, heated rear seats, and rain-sensing variable intermittent windshield wipers with de-icer function.

3 years/36,000 miles Basic Warranty
5 years/60,000 miles Powertrain Warranty
5 years/unlimited mileage Corrosion-Perforation Warranty
8 years/100,000 miles Hybrid System Warranty
10 years/150,000 miles Hybrid Battery Warranty

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or durhlcaussey@gmail.com.