Tom Voelk is a fan of plug-in hybrid vehicles. He owns a Cadillac ELR, and his wife has a Chevy Volt. Even in the US, he feels the charging network still needs to develop more to allow for an all-electric vehicle. This is the first reason for him to praise the Toyota RAV4 Prime: the good electric range it offers. The official EPA number is 42 miles, and that was what Voelk got.
The presenter seems pretty impressed with the way the plug-in version of the RAV4 deals with all aspects of dealing with two sources of energy. The Prime knows when gasoline is getting too old on the fuel tank, making its four-cylinder engine burn it when it is about to go bad. It also uses electricity as a standard unless the driver prefers otherwise.
Voelk praises how comfortable and luxurious the SUV is. He even compares it to what Lexus offers in that respect and makes fun of the fact that one of the things the luxury brand does not provide is a plug-in hybrid.
Another strong point of the RAV4 Prime is the fact that it is a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The electric motor is on the rear axle. Considering it uses electricity to move most of the time, that makes the RAV4 Prime a rear-wheel-drive vehicle whenever the motor is the sole responsible for the job.
As usual, the RAV4 Prime is not subject only to compliments. Due to the changes it received to get the battery pack, the trunk floor has an angle that will make round objects roll down, such as bottles, cans, or balls. The room available is also smaller than that of other RAV4 versions, but at least the spare tire was spared.
Voelk's major criticism was not about the car, but instead about the company. He wonders how Toyota can only deliver 5,000 units of this model in the US when demand for it is predictably much higher. Voelk does not mention that, but would the RAV4 Prime be currently sold at a loss, such as compliance cars were? Is it a compliance car in any sense? For car buyers, the only thing that matters is that it can receive tax credits and is a fantastic product. Too bad Toyota decided – or had no choice but – to sell less than it could.
Source: Driven Car Reviews