The 2022 Toyota Rav4 Prime is one of the most sought after Toyota vehicles. Strange that a family crossover SUV that is mass produced has a waitlist of a year or longer. So what makes the Rav4 Prime, or Plug-In Hybrid, such a popular vehicle?
Engine – Like many Toyota hybrid powertrains, the 2022 Rav4 Prime is powered by a 2.5L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder. The engine on its own produces 177 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque (132 kW & 224 Nm). But paired with it are three electric motors; two in the transaxle and one driving the rear wheels. The electric motors in the front produce 179 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque (133 kW & 270 Nm) with the rear motor producing 53 hp and 89 lb-ft of torque (40 kW & 120 Nm). Combined, the whole powertrain can produce 302 hp (225 kW). That is V6 power and the 2022 Toyota Rav4 Prime can accelerate to 100 km/h in around 6 seconds. That is pretty impressive considering that the Rav4 Prime tips the scales at 1,950 kg (4,299 lbs).
The Rav4 Prime seamlessly switches between the gasoline engine and the electric motors. It can do this automatically or you can press a button on the center console to switch between EV driving or hybrid driving. There is also a mode to recharge the battery by using the engine as a generator. Ideally this should only be used while driving on highways as this puts extra load on the engine which in turn burns more fuel. This mode cannot recharge the battery to 100%.
Battery & Charging – Furthermore, the Rav4 Prime is quick when it is being driven just on electricity. Toyota says that the Rav4 Prime can drive on electricity alone for up to 68 km (42 miles) and up to a speed of 135 km/h (84 mph). However, I’ve noticed that the “guess-o-meter” of the electric range was consistently saying that it could actually go for up to 75 km (47 miles) and some owners on Rav4 forums have said that they can drive their vehicles for up to 80 km (50 miles).
The battery is an 18.1 kWh lithium-ion pack that can be recharged via a wall outlet or a level 2 charger. From the wall outlet, you’re looking anywhere up to 12 hours for a full charge. From the level 2 charger, Toyota claims that it’ll get fully recharged in as quickly as 2.5 hours.
Once the battery gets “depleted”, the Rav4 prime behaves like a Rav4 Hybrid, as in, it will periodically run with the engine on and sometimes off. The car will always keep a little bit of a charge in the battery for the eAWD system to function properly.
Fuel Economy – This is the best part of the 2022 Toyota Rav4 Prime. Because it has such a long electric-only driving range, you shouldn’t need to fill up the gas tank very often. Officially the 2022 Rav4 Prime is rated for 2.5 Le/100km (94 MPGe) combined. If it is driven like a normal hybrid, then it can achieve 5.7 L/100km (41.2 MPG) in a city and 6.4 L/100km (36.7 MPG) on a highway. During my time with the Rav4 prime, I averaged just 2.0 L/100km (117 MPG) on a combined cycle and used 17 kWh/100km when driving on electricity. These numbers will vary depending on how often you drive the car in EV mode and how often it gets plugged in to recharge.
However, if your commute can be done within the 75-or-so km range, you won’t need to fuel up the Rav4 Prime for weeks or even months at a time.
Braking – The Rav4 Prime has a smooth brake pedal actuation. It has enough travel to make for smooth stops. The transition from regen braking to using the physical brakes is indistinguishable. The Rav4 Prime does not have different regen braking modes under normal driving conditions unless you switch the shifter to S mode. But if you do that, the engine will also turn on to provide engine braking in addition to a stronger regen braking mode.
Handling – The 2022 Toyota Rav4 Prime is an easy SUV to drive on city streets. The steering is light for easy maneuverability but stable on highways. The turning circle is not too bad either. However, the eco tires that it rides on do not provide a lot of grip. It doesn’t take much effort to get the tires to squeal in agony around a roundabout. The ABS system is quite intrusive as well. I noticed it intervene for a brief second while braking heavily on a potholed road. Also, if you put the Rav4 prime in Sport mode, you can feel the steering wheel tugging left & right as you put your foot down. There is genuine torque steer in this family friendly crossover SUV.
The Rav4 Prime comes standard with eAWD. There is no physical shaft that links the front and rear wheels and instead there is an electric motor that powers the rear wheels. Most of the time, the Rav4 Prime is a FWD SUV with the eAWD system being engaged on initial launch or through sharper corners.
Ride Comfort – The 2022 Rav4 Prime is as comfortable as a Toyota crossover SUV should be. The suspension smooths out bumps and potholes in the road without giving you the feeling of being too floaty. The seats also provide an ample amount of comfort with no pressure points. However, the armrests on the door need more padding.
Interior Space – With the Rav4 Prime having a larger battery than the Rav4 Hybrid or gasoline-only Rav4, the interior space has not been sacrificed for passengers. Front occupants have plenty of legroom and headroom with the driver’s seat providing enough adjustments. Rear occupants also have a generous amount of legroom and headroom. Behind my taller than average driving position, my knees brush up against the back of the front seat but they’re not squished. Headroom is also plentiful as there is a dip in the headliner behind the sunroof mechanism.
In the trunk, the 2022 Toyota Rav4 Prime has a little bit less cargo capacity, with the rear seats in the upright position, than the hybrid Rav4. The Prime has 949 L (33.5 cu-ft) of space with the Rav4 Hybrid offering about 100 L (3.5 cu-ft) more. But with the rear seats folded, the Rav4 Prime has the same amount of cargo capacity at 1,976 L (69.8 cu-ft).
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The cabin of the Rav4 Prime is well insulated from outside noises. Wind noise is negligible, engine noise is irrelevant when driving in EV mode and road noise from the tires is kept in check. You will hear some of the mandatory EV pedestrian notification sound when driving below 35 km/h (21 mph) but that gets turned off when you’re above that speed. The only intruding sound that you’ll hear is the agonizing drone of the engine if you push hard on the right pedal.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The MSRP of the 2022 Toyota Rav4 prime is not out of this world. It starts at a reasonable $44,990 CAD ($40,300 USD) with this XSE trim costing $51,590 CAD ($43,625 USD). The XSE Technology package can be added for an additional $5,400 CAD. In the United States there are more packages but the equivalent one would be the Premium package for $5,345 USD. The Rav4 Prime is also eligible for Government EV rebates and tax credits. Check your local dealership for details.
Unfortunately, while the 2022 Rav4 Prime is reasonably priced from the manufacturer, dealerships and private sellers are having a field day with the Rav4 Prime. Because of the high demand of this SUV and extremely limited availability, you can either wait 6 months to a year or more to order one or pay an absurd amount of money. Some dealerships and private sellers have 2021 or 2022 Rav4 Primes listed for upwards of $75,000 CAD ($60,000 USD).
Gadgets – This XSE trim of the 2022 Toyota Rav4 Prime is very well equipped for the MSRP. It has heated front & rear seats, heated steering wheel, sunroof, power liftgate, a 9” touchscreen with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto (not wireless), backup camera (low resolution), wireless phone charging, automatic climate control, push button start, keyless entry, and a slew of advanced safety aids.
If you upgrade to the XSE Technology package, the Rav4 Prime gets equipped with a larger panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, a head-up display, surround view cameras, a premium audio system, satellite navigation, power passenger seat, and a hands free power liftgate.
Interior Design – The controls inside the Rav4 are straightforward to use and they’re all physical buttons or knobs. However, the interior consists of a lot of plastics. But these are durable feeling plastics that can take years of abuse.
Exterior Design – Looks are subjective so there is no right or wrong answer. Having said that, I don’t like the exterior design of this new generation Rav4. It’s more chunky and off-road looking compared to previous generations of the Rav4. This XSE trim adds a bit more sporty flare however, it’s not enough to satisfy my eyes.
Safety – The 2022 Toyota Rav4 Prime is equipped with standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. This includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane tracing, lane departure with lane keep, auto high beam, and adaptive cruise control. The only option that can be added through the XSE technology package is rear emergency braking.
The IIHS gave the 2022 Toyota Rav4 Prime a Top Safety Pick+ with the SUV receiving good scores in every category.
Warranty – The 2022 Toyota Rav4 Prime is covered by a 3 year / 60,000 km basic and 5 year / 100,000 km powertrain warranty. The hybrid components are covered by an 8 year / 160,000 km warranty while the battery itself is covered by a 10 year / 240,000 km warranty. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For information on USA warranty, click here. (Scroll to bottom of page)
Conclusion – So why is the 2022 Toyota Rav4 Prime such a sought after vehicle? For a number of reasons. It is reasonably priced (from the manufacturer), it has a long electric driving range, it’s well equipped, it is easy to drive, it is comfortable, and it’s a Toyota so it’ll be reliable. Unfortunately Toyota can’t build them fast enough to meet demand.
Thank you to Toyota Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Toyota.ca