2021 Toyota RAV4 PHEV: range, prices and specifications

New plug-in hybrid Toyota RAV4 promises impressive fuel economy and up to 47 miles of electric-only driving on a full charge

James Allen
Jun 9, 2021

Looking for a new plug-in hybrid family SUV with good fuel economy and an impressive electric range? Then it may be worth taking a closer look at the new Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid.

Like the conventional Toyota RAV4 hybrid, the plug-in model uses a petrol engine that’s assisted by a pair of electric motors. However, because it has a much bigger battery pack, the plug-in RAV4 can cover up to 47 miles on electric power alone - which is one of the best ranges you’ll find in any plug-in hybrid car of this size, or in fact, any size.

This means that if you charge the batteries every time you get home, you should be able to cover around 50% further on electric power alone than most plug-in hybrids. That means it should offer lower emissions and petrol bills than most alternatives.

As with all plug-in hybrids, however, the petrol-electric plug-in RAV4 may boast impressive on-paper fuel economy - in this instance, a claimed 282mpg - but you’ll only be able to match this in day-to-day driving by regularly recharging the car and making the most of its electric-only range.

If you don't keep the batteries topped up, though, you’ll spend much of your time running on petrol power like a conventional car, with little economy benefit from the batteries, but still having all the weight of the batteries and electric motors to lug around. That means the petrol engine alone could be less efficient than a car without the heavy batteries.

That said, keep it charged up and you can easily reach motorway speeds on battery power alone, but don't expect the full 47-mile range.

Expect to pay a premium for the RAV4 Plug-in which starts at over £46,000, compared with the RAV4 Hybrid's £31,000 starting price. That said, it's similar in price to the Suzuki Across, which borrows much of the same tech.

Quick facts

  • Claimed economy of up to 282mpg
  • Up to 47 miles of electric range
  • 302hp from the petrol-electric powertrain
  • All-wheel drive and automatic gearbox
  • Starts at just over £46,000
  • On sale from Spring 2021

Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid power and performance

Just like the standard Toyota RAV4, the plug-in hybrid version has a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine under the bonnet. However, thanks to the different electric motor setup, it has a lot more power to play with: whereas the standard RAV4 has 219hp, the plug-in version produces 302hp.

This means the RAV4 Plug-in is pretty quick for its size: According to Toyota, the car has a 0-62mph acceleration time of six seconds, which is a figure you’d expect to see from a hot hatchback or a sports car, rather than a family-sized SUV.

Like many plug-in hybrids, the RAV4 also has very impressive fuel economy - the 282mpg figure that Toyota quotes for the car is a huge on-paper improvement over the 50mpg that the standard RAV4 hybrid is capable of. How close you’ll get to that in day-to-day driving, though, will greatly depend on how long your journeys are, how fast you travel and how often you recharge the battery.

Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid range and charging times

While the claimed power and performance are plus points, the RAV4 Plug-in is arguably more impressive when it comes to electric-only range. According to Toyota, the RAV4 can be driven up to 47 miles on battery power alone, which is a lot higher than what most of the Toyota’s rivals can manage (the plug-in hybrid version of the Ford Kuga, for instance, has an electric-only range of 35 miles).

As a result, the Toyota should be capable of regularly covering shorter trips without using the engine at all - providing, of course, that you recharge the batteries between journeys. Likewise, while Toyota says the RAV4 can be driven at motorway speeds using electric power alone, you’ll likely drain the battery much quicker at those speeds than when covering the same distance in town.

Considering how big the battery pack is, charging speeds are quite reasonable: according to Toyota, it takes around 2.5 hours to fully recharge the RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid using a 6.6kW public charging point or a similarly powerful wall box unit at home. You can also recharge the car by plugging it into the mains, though a full charge from a three-pin plug takes around 7.5 hours, which is fine if you're able to charge it overnight at home.

Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid vs Suzuki Across

The Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid goes up against quite a few rivals, such as the plug-in versions of the Ford Kuga and Vauxhall Grandland X. Arguably the Toyota’s closest competitor will be the Suzuki Across, though - mainly because, underneath, it’s very closely related to the RAV4.

Unsurprisingly, that means there aren’t many areas where the two cars are noticeably different. Both the Toyota and the Suzuki have a claimed electric-only range of up to 47 miles. Both emit 22g/km CO2 and are capable of 282mpg.

Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid specs and in-car tech

All cars come with alloy wheels, a nine-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a reversing camera, front and rear heated seats, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone air-conditioning and LED headlights.

Safety kit includes blind-spot monitoring, a lane departure warning system, a system to alert you of crossing traffic behind you when reversing out of a parking space, and a collision prevention system. There are also seven airbags as standard on all models.

Luggage space takes a slight hit with the plug-in's larger batteries eating into interior space: it's down 30 litres from the hybrid's 580 litres.

Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid price

The entry-level Design model, with all the equipment above, comes in at £46,495. Step up to Dynamic, and expect to pay £47,395, while top-spec Dynamic Premium costs £50,895.

Unlike conventional cars, which come with a range of petrol and diesel engine choices, the plug-in hybrid RAV4 only has one option. The hybrid version is significantly cheaper, though, at £36,850, or £39,185 for the four-wheel-drive model.

 

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