Great safety scores
Excellent fuel economy
All-wheel drive is standard
Impressive EV-only range
On the pricey side
Cabin can be noisy on the freeway
New locking glovebox and interior illumination
A few illuminated switches
Price: We expect the 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime to start at around $40,000.
The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime is a compact SUV with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. That’s just the start.
The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime
The RAV4 in general is one of the best-selling vehicles in the U.S., following a track record of being wildly popular around the world over five generations. The RAV4 Prime naturally takes fuel efficiency to the highest level possible, yet there’s also another major attribute.
It’s one of Toyota’s TM, +1.64% faster and more powerful vehicles. The combined output of the engine and two electric motors (creating an electric version of all-wheel drive in the process) is 302 horsepower. It can sprint from standstill to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds.
Chances are not many potential buyers of a new RAV4 Prime are thinking about drag racing away from stop lights, but it’s good to have this kind of muscle in reserve. Especially when there’s no fuel economy penalty — quite the opposite.
There’s a RAV4 Hybrid as well. The difference between that and the Prime is the latter’s bigger lithium-ion battery that can be recharged from an outside source and allows the Prime to cover a respectable distance purely as an electric vehicle. In this case, 42 miles — the best of an admittedly small class.
The Prime is often referred to as a PHEV, meaning plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. No need to worry if the battery gets low; there’s still a combustion engine on board.
The non-hybrid 2022 RAV4 and the RAV4 Hybrid models are each reviewed separately.
2022 Toyota Rav4 Prime pricing
The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime SE has a starting price of $39,800, plus a destination fee of $1,215. The plusher XSE version of the RAV4 Prime begins at $43,125.
Despite the runaway success of compact crossovers in general, the amount of competitors with plug-in hybrid drivetrains is small. The 200-horsepower Ford Escape PHEV has a 37-mile range, is rated at 104 MPGe, and starts at just over $33K.
The RAV4 has a spacious cabin.
The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV might be worth the waiting, due summer 2022. The current 2022 model is the last of an outgoing generation, starting at just under $37K, with 221 horsepower and a 24-mile range. The new model should be substantially better than that.
All three plug-in hybrids have an extra trick. They’re eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, along with any other state incentives. A 2022 RAV4 Prime’s price could be offset by $10k, making it strong competition for the regular RAV4 Hybrid.
Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid for their new RAV4 Prime. This variant is only in its second year of existence, but like the rest of the Toyota portfolio, the RAV4 Prime will no doubt enjoy strong resale values.
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Driving the 2022 Toyota Rav4 Prime
Plenty of power and a sporty suspension firmer than a basic RAV4 might give the impression that the RAV4 Prime is a bit of a driver’s machine. That’s not really the case.
The RAV4 in general feels a bit heavy and this Prime plug-in hybrid has more hardware. However, the extra electric power facilitates a nice sprint away from standstill, and the suspension does a good job of curbing body lean through the corners.
Overall, the 2022 RAV4 Prime is easy to drive. Its raised position and decent outward vision is enhanced by standard-issue blind-spot monitoring. It can get a little noisy on the freeway, but that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
Every RAV4, regardless of drivetrain, has a spacious cabin with plenty of room for occupants in all positions. Well, apart from that annoying little center rear seat. But even that is bearable for a short trip.
Cabin materials and how they’ve been assembled are of decent quality. The infotainment system is easy enough to use for anyone who can negotiate a smartphone, while integration for Apple and Android phones is standard.
Because this is a plug-in hybrid, the 2022 RAV4 Prime has a large battery pack that encroaches on cargo space. Behind the 60/40 split/folding rear seats is a luggage area of 33.5 cubic feet. When they’re folded, maximum loadspace volume expands to 63.2 cubic feet. Compare those figures with 37.5/69.8 in the rest of the RAV4 lineup.
Apart from some minor details, like special wheel covers and aerodynamic underbody panels, there isn’t much to distinguish the 2022 RAV4 Prime from its less fuel-efficient counterparts.
The higher XSE trim has 2-tone paint as standard — a choice of five colors along with a black roof.
It’s an electric form of all-wheel drive, so not the kind of thing an off-roading, Jeep-owning enthusiast might desire. But it does the job of providing traction and grip, while still achieving excellent fuel economy.
To reassure any buyers wary of all this new-fangled electrification, Toyota backs up its tech with great warranties. There’s 10-year/150,000-mile transferable coverage for the hybrid battery pack and the hybrid drivetrain components have an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty.
Available in SE and XSE trim levels, the 2022 RAV4 Prime has all-wheel drive and a somewhat sportier suspension setup than a basic, non-hybrid RAV4.
SE trim comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights/daytime running lights/taillights, roof rails, heated side mirrors, keyless entry/start, powered tailgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, cloth upholstery, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Safety features include an audible alert for pedestrians, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.
The infotainment system has an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple AAPL, +0.70% CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, Amazon AMZN, -0.38% Alexa compatibility, Wi-Fi, satellite radio, Bluetooth, voice control, five USB ports, and six speakers.
The SE is eligible for a powered moonroof, which is standard in the XSE. This higher trim also brings 19-inch alloy wheels, simulated leather upholstery, self-dimming mirror, garage door opener, blue ambient cabin lighting, wireless charging, and a 9-inch infotainment touchscreen.
Both versions have rain-sensing wipers, heated steering wheel, heated rear outboard seats, and premium paint on their options lists.
The XSE also offers adaptive headlights, panoramic moonroof, hands-free tailgate operation, heated/ventilated front seats, 4-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, 360-degree camera system, head-up display, digital rearview mirror, 120-volt outlet, front/rear parking sensors with automatic emergency braking, navigation, 11-speaker JBL audio system, and a 6.6-kW onboard charger.
Engine and transmission
A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine provides the RAV4 Prime with combustion energy fed by regular 87-octane gasoline.
One permanent magnet synchronous motor turns the rear axle, another helps the engine drive the front wheels and acts as a starter motor/generator. They both derive their spark from a lithium-ion battery.
Combined output is 302 horsepower, distributed by an automatic transmission. Running solely in electric vehicle mode, the RAV4 Prime can cover 42 miles. With a full battery and a full tank of gas, range is 600 miles.
The Environmental Protection Agency calculates miles-per-gallon-equivalent (MPGe) energy consumption for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. The RAV4 Prime is rated to achieve an EPA combined rating of 94 MPGe. When functioning as a regular hybrid (without the EV range), the Prime can average 38 mpg.
Charging times can be as quick as 2.5 hours with the XSE’s optional 6.6-kW/240-volt supply. Or as long as 12 hours when connected to a domestic 120-volt outlet. A 3.3-kW/240-volt setup reduces that to 4.5 hours.
Maximum towing capacity is 2,500 pounds.
2.5-liter inline-4 engine + two electric motors
302 total horsepower
EPA combined fuel economy: 94 MPGe (PHEV), 38 mpg (regular hybrid operation)
Range in EV mode: 42 miles
This story originally ran on KBB.com.