When we think of the Toyota RAV4, images of a practical, economical and diminutive SUV come to mind. More entry-level than elevated. Less radical and more reasonable. Toyota has made extreme efforts over the recent years to change this stigma. Introducing nearly every imaginable variation of the popular RAV4 possible. From adventure and sporty packages, to hybrid drivetrains and luxury filled premium versions. On top of the RAV4 pile is the ultimate, unrivaled Prime.
This RAV4 truly has it all. For starters, the standard 2.5L is paired to a plug-in hybrid system to churn out over 302 hp. For those of us paying attention, that’s 83 hp more than the regular hybrid model! With a 3.3 kW onboard charger and included cable of your standard 120V outlet, this RAV4 will deliver 94 mpg when the battery has juice to contribute. Pumped gas only and it’s still an impressive 38 mpg. All that eco-friendly power is measure out through an Electronic Continuous Variable Transmission with electronic on-demand all-wheel drive for optimal traction and control. Trust me, you’ll need all the traction you can get. This powertrain combination of gas and electric is good for one of the strongest accelerating vehicles in the whole Toyota line-up. Watch out 4-cylinder Supra!
LED lighting and big 19” wheels combine nicely with the edgier, boxier and more masculine design direction that helped bring the RAV4 back into its current position of popularity. Also helpful on the visuals side is the mudguard, roof rack and and rear bumper appliqué. Inside, the premium package ensures that every little luxury can be found. A bright heads up display makes managing the many driver assist features easy. SofTex trimmed seats are supportive, comfortable and can be both heated and cooled. An 11-speaker sound system by JBL even includes a subwoofer and extra amplifier. There’s a foot-activated lift gate, red contrast stitching, panoramic sunroof, a heated and leather-trimmed steering wheel and more. Suffice it to say, the list stretches on and on.
The RAV4 Prime feels like the version Toyota threw every trick in the book at. Every driver assist, safety feature, piece of tech and bit of mechanical magic they have. Truly the very best version of the RAV4 that there’s ever been. All of these extras come at a price though. While the plain, slightly boring RAV4 of the past may be gone, so is the ultra approachable price tag. The Prime model as I tested will set you back nearly $50,000 big ones. That may seem unreasonably high, but if you let go of whatever preconception you had about the RAV4, and look at it objectively, purely for what it is, you’ll realize the sheer amount packed into this small SUV is staggering. From the way it looks, feels, drives, and avoids gas stations like their an Ebola quarantine zone, the RAV4 Prime costs a lot, but it just might be worth every penny.
Price as tested: $49,577.00