When you are the #1 selling SUV in the U.S., you need to work harder year after year to stay there. Toyota – with its long running and best-selling RAV4 small SUV – has managed that by continuing to innovate and improve that vehicle’s capability, reliability and value year on year.
Another factor has been their successful development and introduction of multiple and ever-better model and powertrain offerings within the RAV4 line-up.
For 2023, they added another powertrain option model – the RAV4 Prime AWD Plug-in-Electric-Hybrid (PHEV) with more economy, features, technology and capability.
Now offering 22 models and three powertrain combinations Toyota and the RAV4 are well positioned to continue this leadership into the future.
Let’s take a look at the new RAV4 Prime.
Toyota sent us the top-of-the-lineRAV4 Prime XSE Hybrid AWD PHEV in their two-tone bold Wind Chill (Ice White) with Gloss Black Roof. The base MSRP was $46,210.
Added in were the available Premium Package, Weather Package, Special Paint plus accessory items and delivery, our RAV4 Prime XSE Hybrid AWD PHEV arrived in our garage at $51,918.
Let’s take a look.
In our view, Toyota is a hands down leader in the capability, efficiency and reliability of hybrid powertrains. Our RAV4 Prime showcases all in its plug-in-hybrid-electric (PHEV) version of RAV4.
The RAV4 Prime Hybrid AWD PHEV is powered by Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) powertrain. It automatically integrates the output of the 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine coupled with two electric motors.
Combined, they deliver a 302 horsepower to the On-Demand All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system through Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable (ECVT) w/sequential shift mode Transmission.
The Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive (AWD) uses the rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed for acceleration and reduced-traction conditions.
The RAV4 Prime HSD features EV, HV/EV Auto, HV, and Charge hybrid system operation modes.
- EV Mode: Powers by electric battery only.
- HV/EV Auto Mode: Optimizes the use of the two built-in powertrains using its electric-only for local driving and engaging the gasoline engine for more demanding situations.
- Hybrid Mode: Efficiently simultaneously combines the engine and the electric motors.
- Charge Mode: Exclusively runs the 2.5L engine to charge the battery while driving.
The RAV4 Prime also comes with three driver selectable Drive Modes (ECO/SPORT or TRAIL) to meet a variety of driving conditions. ECO and SPORT need no explanation, but TRAIL does.
Selecting TRAIL, the RAV4 Prime Hybrid AWD PHEV manages traction through integrated control of the AWD, brake, and drive force systems – effectively acting as a virtual limited slip differential putting power to specific wheels for extra traction when needed.
Predictive Efficient Drive
The RAV4 Prime Hybrid AWD PHEV features Toyota’s innovative Predictive Efficient Drive system that acts like an invisible “hyper-miler” co-driver.
Using the vehicle navigation system, Predictive Efficient Drive reads the road and learns driver patterns to optimize hybrid battery charging and discharging operations based on driving conditions. The system accumulates data as the vehicle is driven and “remembers” road features such as hills and stoplights and adjusts the hybrid powertrain operation to maximize efficiency.
The net of all of these elements is a fuel economy of 38 MPG gasoline, 94 MPGe electric and gasoline together and an impressive 42-mile range in EV Mode only.
Underneath, the 2023 RAV4 Prime XSE Hybrid PHEV rides on the proven fifth generation TNGA platform.
Suspension up front is Independent MacPherson Strut w/Stabilizer Bar and Multi-Link w/Stabilizer Bar at the rear. Brakes are power ventilated disc front and rear. Steering is Electric Power-Assisted Rack and Pinion.
Our RAV4 Prime’s wheels were two-tone five-spoke 19-inch aluminum alloy mounted w/235/55 R19 Yokohama Avid Ascent GT All-Season tires.
The 2023 RAV4 Prime is particularly handsome dressed in Two-Tone w/Black Roof, Black Exterior Accents, Black Diamond Painted Grille, Silver Painted Front Lower Spoiler, Dual Chrome Tipped Exhaust, Black Painted Power Folding Side Mirrors, Foot Activated Power Tailgate w/Height Adjustment, Panoramic Glass Roof w/Front Power Tilt/Slide all topped with Low Profile Black Roof Rails and Cross Bars.
Other functional elements worth highlighting include Rain Sensing Wipers w/Wiper De-icer, Bi-LED Projector Headlights, LED Tail Lights, Vertical LED Accent Lights and the bold two-tone 19-inch wheels.
The interior of the 2023 RAV4 Prime XSE Hybrid AWD PHEV is elegant in its upscale simplicity and easy to use functionality.
Our top-of-the-line XSE featured red-accented black interior, including red stitching on dash, doors, console and black anti-slip in-dash storage trays with blue ambient lighting.
The Softex trimmed seating features sporty red accents and stitching, Front seats are heated and ventilated with power adjustment for both driver and passenger.
Rear seating is 60/40 split reclining fold-flat with center armrest and cup holders. Outside rear seats are heated.
Functional driver and passenger convenience elements include Dual-Zone Automatic AC w/rear vents, 10-inch Color Head-up Display, Customizable 12.3—inch Color Digital Multi-Information Display, Qi Wireless Smart Phone Charging,Blue ambient illumination for in-dash shelves, center console cup holders and in front footwells.
Connectivity is supported by five USB ports. One USB media port in front storage tray and four additional charge ports in the front center console and two rear seating. Remote power is available through one 12V/120W auxiliary power outlet in the front instrument panel storage tray and one 12V/120W auxiliary power outlet plus a 120V 1500-Watt Power Outlet in the cargo space.
TECHNOLOGY / INFOTAINMENT
Our 2023 RAV4 Prime XSE Hybrid PHEV was equipped with their 10.5-inch-high-definition touchscreen. The design features a main menu arrayed to the left – easily reached and intuitive to use.
The entertainment function was driven through the optional JBL 11-Speaker Premium Audio System. Entertainment features included HD Radio, USB data, SiriusXM and a new Integrated Streaming feature, providing the ability to link Apple Music and Amazon Music subscriptions to the vehicle for onboard control.
The RAV4 Prime features the new Toyota Multimedia System with itswide range of enhanced connectivity and convenience features.
Using the Connected Service Drive Connect, drivers and passengers have access to Toyota’s Intelligent Assistant, Cloud Navigation and Destination Assist.
With Intelligent Assistant, simple phrases like “Hey Toyota” awaken the system for voice activated commands to search for directions, find Points of Interest (POI), adjust audio controls, change the cabin temperatures and more.
Cloud Navigation utilizes the cloud to download the latest available map, traffic and routing information. POI search is provided by Google Points-of-Interest data and Destination Assist gives access to live agent assistance to locate the next destination.
The Toyota Multimedia System allows for dual Bluetooth phone connectivity, with support for standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. In addition, Wi-Fi Connect provides 4G connectivity for up to five devices – turning the RAV4 Prime into an AT&T Hotspot.
Our 2023 RAV4 Prime was equipped with Toyota’sSafety Sense 2.5+featuring the Pre-Collision System w/Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert w/Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Road Sign Assist and Automatic High Beams.
Toyota’s Star Safety System added Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Brake Assist and Smart Stop Technology.
Other safety features included: Panoramic View Monitor, Front and Rear Parking Assist w/Automatic Braking, Back-up Camera w/Dynamic Gridlines, Blind Spot Monitor w/Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Birds Eye View Camera, Intelligent Clearance Sonar and Rear Seat (occupant) Reminder.
The 2023 RAV4 Prime Hybrid PHEV vehicle warranty includes:
- 3-year/36,000-mile Comprehensive
- 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain
- 5-year/Unlimited Mileage Corrosion Perforation
- NOTE: The warranty is transferable to following owners.
The purchase of every new Toyota also comes withToyotaCare – a 2-year/25,000-mile complimentary maintenance program.
GET RAV4 ANYWAY YOU LIKE
The Toyota RAV4 gives the small SUV buyer more choices than you expect. All told, there are 22 trim levels across the three powertrain combinations available.
The gasoline powerRAV4 is available in 13 trim levels with FWD and AWD available ranging from MSRP $28,475 to $38,180.
If you want aRAV4 hybrid, you can choose from seven trim levels (all AWD) from MSRP $31,475 to $39,780.
And of course, theRAV4 Prime PHEV (Plug-in-Hybrid) offers two choices, the SE – MSRP $43,440 or the XSE – MSRP $47,310.
Check them all out.
KEY DATA: 2023 RAV4 PRIME XSE AWD (PHEV)
- Model: RAV4 Prime Hybrid PHEV
- Trim: XSE AWD
- Class: Small Crossover SUV
- Seating: 5
- MSRP: $46,210
- As Tested: $51,918
- Powertrain: 2.5L 4-cylinder Hybrid Electric / 177 hp / 165 lb.-ft. torque
- Powertrain EV: 18.1 kWh Electric Motors 179/53hp Front/Rear
- Powertrain Modes: EV, HV/EV Auto, HV, Charge
- Horsepower: 302 Combined Horsepower NET
- Transmission: ECVT w/Sequential Shift Mode
- Drive Modes: ECO/SPORT/TRAIL
- Tow Capacity: 2,500 pounds
- Drive System: Electronic On-Demand AWD
- Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds
- Suspension: McPherson Strut (F) / Multi-link (R)
- Ground Clearance: 8.3-inches
- Approach/Departure: 18.6 / 21.4 degrees
- Steering: Electric Power Assisted Rack & Pinion
- Brakes Ventilated Disc 12.9-inch Front / 12.4-inch Rear
- Wheels: 19-inch Aluminum Alloy
- Tires: 235/55 R19 Yokohama Avid Ascend GT All-Season
- Fuel Economy: 38 mpg – city/highway/combined
- Fuel Economy-e: 94 MPGe
- Fuel Tank: 14.5 Gallons
- Range: 550 miles combined
- EV Only Range: 42 miles
Source: Media Drive and Manufacturer PR Materials