Toyota’s new 2021 RAV4 Prime just cemented its status as the – or at least my – car of the year. According to the latest missives from Toyota Canada, the company’s latest PHEV just got more range, more affordable and more practical in EV mode.
Thanks to its 18.1-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, Toyota now claims its PHEV’ed little SUV will be good for 68 kilometres of purely electric range.
That means, in case you’re not getting my inference, that even the longest daily commutes – say from the outer reaches of Newmarket to downtown Toronto or Langley to Vancouver – should be possible emissions-free.
And, yes, that will remain true even if you’re speeding down the 404 or the Trans-Canada Highway. Thanks to the 233 horsepower of electric motors on board – 140 kilowatts in front and 40 kW in back – the Prime is also powerful enough to cruise at 135 km/h.
In other words, owning Toyota’s latest plug-in might mean never using any gas at all until you hit the open road for a holiday or day trip. Oh, and by the way, Toyota says that, between that 18.1-kW-hr battery and the Prime’s fuel-sipping Atkinson cycle 2.5-litre four, the new RAV4 Prime is good for almost 1,000 kilometres before topping up.
As if that’s not good enough news, the electrified RAV4 is said to boast some 302 horsepower and scoot to 100 km/h from zero in just six seconds, making it the second-fastest vehicle in Toyota Canada’s lineup after the GR Supra (which, I’ll remind you, is powered by a BMW turbocharged four).
All that makes the RAV4 Prime SE’s base price of $44,990 look pretty darned inviting, especially since it come standard with a larger touchscreen, larger wheels and heated front and rear seats compared with the SE version of the regular Hybrid. Indeed, eagle eyes will spot that the new Prime squeaks in just under the federal $45,000 cap for EV incentives, making the value proposition even better.
Where said pricing gets competitive/almost cheap/downright crazy is when you start factoring in all the incentives available for long-range PHEVs. Thanks to that large 18.1-kW-hr battery, the new RAV4 Prime not only qualifies for the federal $5,000 subsidy but an additional $1,500 in British Columbia and a whopping 8,000 smackeroos in Quebec. Do the math and the SE version of the Prime – sans taxes – won’t cost more than $40,000 anywhere in Canada. That’s quite competitive.
In British Columbia, that number drops to $38,490, almost cheap by anyone’s measure. And, in Quebec, but the time you’ve factored in the $5,000 federal subsidy and La Belle Province’s $8,000, the list price on a 2021 Prime would be $31,990.
Just to remind you, the cheapest all-wheel-drive RAV4 currently offered, the gas-only LE, retails for $30,190, which means – and I’ll save you the time spent reaching for your calculator – that a Prime sourced in Quebec will cost but $1,800 more than a gas-only version.
That qualifies, in my mind, as downright crazy. It also makes the 2021 RAV4 Prime the best deal of the year (at least in Quebec) as well as car of the year!
For the record, besides the base $44,990 SE, there will be a $51,590 XSE version of the Prime, which adds bigger tires, a power moonroof, a power rear door, a digital rearview mirror and wireless charging into the mix. A the top of the food chain is XSE with an optional Technology Package, which throws in a larger “panoramic” sunroof, 11-speaker JBL audio system, all-door Smart Key system, ventilated front seats and a 1,5000-watt 110-volt electric outlet and more for $56,990.
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