Skip to main content
Price Range: Less Than
mpg/MPGe Range: More Than
Top Searches:

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

For the 2022 edition, we 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 new vehicles coming to market in the next few years.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE AWD SUV

Vehicle Type: SUV/Minivan Hybrid
 overall score
Category Ranking: 11

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]
  • Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking [O]
  • [S] Standard, [O] Optional

Overall Observations

One of the original SUVs, Toyota’s RAV4 has been around since 1996. It got a hybrid variant in 2016, and in 2021, Toyota introduced the RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid, which has a larger, rechargeable battery pack. Unlike some PHEVs, the Prime has a truly useful all-electric range: It can travel up to 42 miles solely on battery power. The RAV Prime’s hybrid powertrain puts out 302 hp total, accelerating from 0-to-60 in less than 6 seconds. The Prime also gets an EPA-estimated 38 mpg in combined city/highway driving. Inside, the nicely laid-out interior uses quality materials, has plenty of room for 4 passengers, and offers up to 63 cubic feet of cargo space. Other pluses include a long list of standard driver-assistance features and a rearview-camera display in the rearview mirror. On the minus side of the equation, although the Prime may be a supremely practical vehicle, it’s not much fun to drive. It leans too much in turns, and high levels of wind and road noise invade the cabin. It’s also expensive, with a base price more than 10 grand higher than that of the standard RAV4 Hybrid. However, at press time the RAV4 Prime was eligible for a federal tax credit of $7,500.
Want to buy this car?

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strong Points

  • Very good fuel economyratings and range
  • Spacious and roomy forpassengers and cargo
  • Stylish exterior

Weak Points

  • Excessive body roll
  • Excessive wind and roadnoise
  • Outdated infotainmentsystem
  • 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:


Fuel Efficiency:


EPA Emissions Score:








Ride Quality:


Interior Size:


Easy of Entry and Exit:




Interior Noise:


Cargo Capacity:

Car Search Results:
2021 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring AWD.
2021 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring AWD
More Details
SUV/Minivan Hybrid 22/25 $89,600 81
 out of 130
2021 IIHS Top safety pick.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD
Car Guide Winner: 1st Place SUV/Minivan
More Details
SUV/Minivan Electric 96/84 $56,200 89
 out of 130
2021 IIHS Top safety pick.
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 1st Edition.
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 1st Edition
More Details
SUV/Minivan Electric 104/89 $45,190 82
 out of 130
2021 IIHS Top safety pick.
2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 AWD.
2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 AWD
More Details
SUV/Minivan Electric 85/72 $59,630 86
 out of 130
2021 IIHS Top safety pick.
2021 Audi e-tron Sportback quattro.
2021 Audi e-tron Sportback quattro
More Details
SUV/Minivan Electric 76/78 $90,640 85
 out of 130
2021 IIHS Top safety pick.