2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime MPG: Fast, Efficient, Goes Where Supras Can’t

Toyota RAV4 Prime MPG

Looking for a car that does it all? Look no further than the hot new Toyota RAV4 Prime. Toyota really hit this one out of the park by mixing the base RAV4’s capability and versatility with a new powertrain that’s able to give a Supra a run for its money and still be remarkably efficent. And if you qualify for the full $7500 tax credit, the Prime isn’t much more expensive than the standard hybrid (if you can find one that’s not marked up).

So, how economical is this new RAV Prime? The EPA estimates the RAV4 Prime hybrid-only highway mileage to come out to 36 mpg; this seems accurate. During our test, Charlie found the RAV4 Prime mpg to come out to 34 in winter conditions. Although, where Toyota is a tad optimistic is the RAV4’s electric-only range. They claim 42 miles of battery-only range, but we found, at highway speeds, it could only churn out 27 miles; three of those in the city between the charger and the highway. Of course, with the aid of regenerative braking and lower speeds, city range will be better than highway. Also, cold weather saps range due to battery chemistry and an active heat pump. We were able to go 36 miles at highway speeds on electricity only when we tested a Toyota RAV4 Prime in warmer weather, so Toyota’s 42-mile claim should be attainable for mixed summer driving.

If you plan to stretch this sleeper on the highway between fuel stops, you can expect to travel 490 miles before factoring in an additional 25-35 miles of battery power. Although, finding a charging station in the middle of a flyover state can be challenging. Still, it’s always fun to know if a Supra 2.0 paces you on the interstate, you can have some fun.

How We Test:

This Daily Motor 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime real-world highway fuel economy and range test consists of over 100 miles of consistent highway driving. We start by charging the battery to full before heading out on a highway loop, attempting to drive to 50% state of charge in one direction and then depleating the battery on the return trip. We then fill the car with gasoline using the “three-click method,” meaning running the gas pump on high flow until it clicks off, waiting ten seconds, running low flow until it clicks off again, waiting another ten seconds, then running low flow one very last time. The lowest-octane gasoline accepted by the vehicle’s manufacturer is used. We then drive about fifty miles on public highway in one direction and then back in the opposite direction, attempting not to draft or drive aggressively. We set the cruise control at GPS-indicated 72 mph in an attempt to achieve a moving average speed of 70 mph over the entire test. Upon return to the gas station, we refill at the same fuel pump as the initial fill using the same fueling method. Miles per gallon is determined by dividing total miles traveled by fuel used. In cases where our observed figure differs greatly from the vehicle’s indicated figure and/or EPA’s estimate, we may recommend a number in between or plan to retest the vehicle.

Click to see the full winter test of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime mpg:

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