5 Reasons to Go Prime and 5 More to Go Hybrid
So far, the hybrid has clearly been our favorite in the popular Toyota RAV4 lineup. Not only is it much more fuel efficient than the regular RAV4, but it also offers a smoother ride. Now Toyota is launching another compelling entry: a plug-in hybrid RAV4. Nicknamed the RAV4 Prime, this model has obvious advantages and disadvantages compared to the RAV4 hybrid. So which one should you buy?
5 reasons to buy the Toyota RAV4 Prime
1. You want to travel long distances only with electric power.
Maybe you have a short commute to work and want to get to and from the office without using a drop of gas. If so, the RAV4 Prime does the trick. Toyota estimates that the plug-in hybrid can travel 42 miles with pure power. The total driving distance should be 600 miles when the gasoline engine starts.
2. You want the most premium features available.
There are some features available on the RAV4 Prime that you cannot get on the RAV4 hybrid. If you opt for the Premium pack on the upper XSE trim, you receive a 10-inch color head-up display. Other Prime-exclusive enhancements include 19-inch wheels and a 9.0-inch touchscreen, both standard on the XSE. The largest wheels you can get on a RAV4 hybrid are 18 inches, and the largest touchscreen measures 8.0 inches.
3. You want complete freedom to use the carpool lane.
Some states allow drivers of plug-in hybrid vehicles, but not traditional hybrids, to use the carpool lane, regardless of the number of occupants. If this is the case in your state, you can end up saving a lot of traffic time by choosing the RAV4 Prime.
4. Fuel economy is priority # 1.
The RAV4 hybrid is very efficient, reaching 41/38/40 mpg city / highway / combined. But the RAV4 Prime goes up a notch with a rating of 94 mpge (miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent). This metric represents the number of kilometers a vehicle can travel using a quantity of alternative fuel with the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline and takes into account the distance that the vehicle is able to travel by electricity only before gasoline is burned.
If you rest more comfortably knowing that you can tow more, you may want to consider the plug-in. The RAV4 Prime can tow up to 2,500 pounds, compared to 1,750 pounds for the RAV4 hybrid.
5 reasons to buy the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
1. You do not have access to an EV charger.
The ability to run on pure electricity is a major selling point for the RAV4 Prime, but you can only really take advantage of this advantage if you have reliable access to an EV charger. If your home or workplace is equipped with an EV charger, or perhaps if you live extremely close to a public station, you are in the clear. Why else should you pay extra for a feature that you will rarely use?
2. You want to maximize the loading space.
True, both models have roomy cargo space, but the RAV4 Hybrid offers a little more space for your equipment. It claims 37.6 cubic feet behind the second row, compared to 33.5 cubic feet in the RAV4 Prime. With the second row folded down, the RAV4 Hybrid has 69.8 cubic feet of space instead of 63.2 cubic feet.
3. You want more color choices.
The RAV4 hybrid offers 13 exterior color options, compared to 11 for the RAV4 Prime. Colors missing in the Prime range include a bluish-greenish gray shade called Lunar Rock and a bright blue called Blue Flame. The RAV4 Prime is available in an exclusive supersonic red color, but the RAV4 Hybrid offers a similar color called Ruby Flare Pearl. Among the color options available on both models, there are two-color paint jobs with a black roof.
RAV4 Hybrid buyers will also appreciate more interior color choices. Gray, black and brown seats are available, and depending on your choice, you can get blue or brown stitching. All RAV4 Prime models come with black seats and red stitching.
4. You would like to spend less at the dealership.
At the end of the day, most people have a budget for their new vehicle. Prices for the RAV4 hybrid range range from $ 29,470 for the base LE version to $ 38,000 for the Limited. You’ll spend a little more on the basic RAV4 Prime SE, which starts at $ 39,220 and is certainly happy. The XSE top trim is even more expensive at $ 42,545. Keep in mind that the RAV4 Prime should be eligible for a $ 7,500 federal tax credit and other state credits, but these are post-purchase incentives.
5. You prefer to live without a plug-in.
There is something to be said for keeping it simple. The RAV4 Hybrid can travel 580 miles on a gas tank that takes a few minutes to fill, and you won’t feel the pressure to plug in. The RAV4 Prime takes 12 hours to charge with the standard 120V household charging cable; you need to upgrade your equipment for faster charging.
Toyota RAV4 Prime vs RAV4 hybrid
Toyota RAV4 Prime:
• Can travel 42 miles on electricity alone
• Exclusive high-end features
• Access to solo carpool lanes in some states
• Better fuel economy
• More towing capacity
Toyota RAV4 hybrid:
• No need to buy or live near an EV charger
• More loading space
• More choice of colors
• Lower starting price
• Simpler and faster for refueling