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To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles over a decade ago in the AAA Green Car Guide, which initially focused entirely on rating fuel-efficient, low-emitting vehicles.

For the 2021 edition, we've expanded the focus of the guide to include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, how to properly maintain your vehicle, and the development of autonomous vehicles.

home Home » Search Results » 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE AWD
How The Car Guide Rating Works
Test Results and Rankings:
The green cars tested by the ARC are evaluated on the basis of 13 categories: emissions, fuel economy, crashworthiness, braking, acceleration, handling, cargo-carrying capacity, ride quality, interior noise, ease of entry and exit, maneuverability, roominess, and visibility. The scores for the categories are totaled, and the cars are ranked from high to low.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE AWD

Vehicle Type: SUV/Minivan Hybrid
 overall score
Category Ranking: 6
Vehicle Price
Base Price: $41,425
Price as Tested: $49,776
Fuel Information
Fuel Type: Electricity/regular
Fuel Capacity (gal): 14.5
120V Charge Time: 4.1 miles per hour
240V Charge Time: 9.3 miles per hour
EPA City mpg40
EPA Highway mpg36
EPA Combined mpg: 38
EPA Combined MPGe: 94
EPA-Est. Electric Range (mi): 42
with specific headlights
Advanced Safety Features
Adaptive Cruise Control [S]
Advanced Headlights [S]
Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
Blind-Spot Warning [S]
Forward-Collision Warning [S]
Lane-Departure Warning [S]
Lane-Keeping Assistance [S]
Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [S]
[S] Standard, [O] Optional
Overall Observations
Gasoline-electric hybrids have been cruising American roadways for two decades now. To see just how far the technology has advanced, check out the Toyota RAV4 Prime. This latest variant of Toyota's popular compact crossover is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). With a larger battery pack that can be recharged from home or at a public charging station, this evolutionary powertrain allows the RAV4 Prime to travel up to 42 miles on battery power alone. Besides minimizing gas stops, the system gives the RAV4 Prime robust performance, with a total output of 302 hp. Its EPA estimates of 38 mpg combined make it even more appealing. Inside, you'll find high-quality materials, good room for four passengers, and up to 63 cubic feet of cargo. Standout features include a rearview camera display in the rearview mirror and a long list of driver-assistance features, including adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking. The RAV4 Prime does have some issues-notably less-than-sporty handling, an outdated infotainment system, and high levels of wind and road noise. All are potential deal breakers that need to be balanced against the benefits of its highly efficient powertrain.
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Strengths and Weaknesses
Strong Points
  • Very good fuel economy and range
  • Spacious and roomy for passengers and cargo
  • Stylish exterior
  • Rear-seat reminder
Weak Points
  • Excessive body roll
  • Excessive wind and road noise
  • Outdated infotainment system
  • Expensive
Vehicle Specifications
Model year tested: 2021
Number of passengers (F/R): 2/3
Curb weight (lbs): 4420.0
Exterior L / W / H (in): 180.9 / 73.0 / 67.2
Wheelbase (in): 105.9
Number of air bags: 9
Warranty (months/miles): 36/36,000
Tire manufacturer and model: Yokohama Avid GT
Front and rear tire size: 235/55 R19
Max towing capacity (lbs): 2500
Headlight type: LED
Transmission type: Hybrid drive
Drivetrain type: All wheel
Engine/motor: 2.5L 4-Cyl. Dynamic Force
Engine horsepower @ RPM: 177 @ 6000
Electric motor horsepower: 179 front / 53 rear
Combined system horsepower: 302
Test Data
Test Vehicle Scores
Advanced Safety Features: 10.00
Fuel Efficiency: 8.69
EPA Emissions Score: 7.00
Acceleration: 7.37
Braking: 3.26
Crashworthiness: 5.45
Handling: 6.70
Ride Quality: 6.95
Interior Size: 3.67
Easy of Entry and Exit: 6.84
Visibility: 7.40
Interior Noise: 6.45
Cargo Capacity: 3.29
2020 BMW X3 XDrive30e
More Details
Vehicle Type:  SUV/Minivan
Fuel Type:  Hybrid
mpg: 21/27
Price as Tested:  $65,020
 out of 130
2020 Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD
Car Guide Winner: 1st Place SUV/Minivan
More Details
Vehicle Type:  SUV/Minivan
Fuel Type:  Electric
MPGe: 127/114
Price as Tested:  $53,190
 out of 130
2020 Volvo S90 T8 E-AWD R-Design
Car Guide Winner: 1st Place Large
More Details
Vehicle Type:  Large
Fuel Type:  Hybrid
mpg: 28/31
Price as Tested:  $73,840
 out of 130
2020 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 HSE
More Details
Vehicle Type:  SUV/Minivan
Fuel Type:  Electric
MPGe: 80/72
Price as Tested:  $84,276
 out of 130
2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier
Car Guide Winner: 1st Place Small
More Details
Vehicle Type:  Small
Fuel Type:  Electric
MPGe: 127/108
Price as Tested:  $43,735
 out of 130
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