2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime review: Primed for success

The Prime is one of only a few plug-in compact crossovers.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

It only takes one look at the spec sheet for the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime to pique my interest. This compact crossover has a plug-in hybrid powertrain, 302 horsepower, 42 miles of all-electric range, all-wheel drive and a starting price under $40,000. Color me intrigued.


  • Plenty of EV range for commuting
  • Quick acceleration
  • Lots of standard driving aids

Don’t Like

  • Sloppy handling
  • Fast-charging option is pricey
  • Terrible back-up camera resolution

More than anything, what impresses me right away is that this RAV4 is quick. A 134-kilowatt electric motor sends 199 pound-feet of torque to the front axle, while a smaller, 40-kW motor pushes 89 lb-ft to the rear. Combined with a 2.5-liter gas engine, Toyota rates the RAV4 Prime’s net output at 302 hp, resulting in a 5.7-second 0-to-60-mph sprint. That’s sports car territory.

Of course, once you’ve launched the RAV4 Prime, the fun really fades. The steering is numb, the suspension is tuned for comfort above all and the brakes are kind of mushy and hard to modulate. The drone of the continuously variable transmission isn’t exactly enjoyable, either.

Still, the RAV4 Prime is

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It’s true, your second stimulus check might be smaller, if…

If a second check goes through, you may not get the full $1,200 per adult.

Angela Lang/CNET

Member of Congress unveiled three new stimulus bill proposals on Tuesday, two of which conspicuously left out another direct payment of up to $1,200 per person. (One, a private proposal from top Democrats to top Republicans, has not been made public.) By Wednesday afternoon, Democrats from President-elect Joe Biden to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have thrown their weight behind a $908 billion plan for 2020, with sights set on another stimulus bill in 2021 — one that could include the popular stimulus check.

“In the spirit of compromise we believe the bipartisan framework introduced by Senators yesterday should be used as the basis for immediate bipartisan, bicameral negotiations,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement Wednesday. “Of course, we and others will offer improvements, but the need to act is immediate and we believe that with good-faith negotiations we could come to an agreement.” 

Whenever Congress approves a new stimulus payment, the qualifications may change in ways that could result in bigger or smaller checks for tens of millions of people (although some might

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