The U.S. plug-in hybrid market will finally get some boost this year, as two potentially heavy-weight players emerged - Toyota RAV4 Prime and Ford Escape PHEV (Ford Kuga PHEV in Europe).

Here we compare the two recently announced models, although not all the data is yet available, as they will be in the same segment and Ford even directly pointed out the efficiency advantage over the RAV4 Prime in its press release.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime
Ford Escape PHEV
Ford Escape PHEV

All-electric range

The most important number for plug-in hybrids is all-electric range, as this is basically the major thing that differentiates them from conventional vehicles. If the EV range is longer than your daily commute, it might allow you to switch to zero-emission most of the time.

Manufacturer-estimated EPA all-electric range is:

  • Toyota RAV4 Prime: up to 42 miles (67.6 km); the website says also 39 miles (62.8 km)
  • Ford Escape PHEV: 37 miles (59.5 km)

The official numbers are not yet known, but it seems that Toyota will have slightly more range.

Battery capacity

The EV range depends on the battery capacity and here we can clearly see that the RAV4 Prime has a few more kWh.

  • Toyota RAV4 Prime: 18.1 kWh (according to Japanese specs)
  • Ford Escape PHEV: 14.4 kWh

The difference of 25.7% however did not translate into an equal difference in all-electric range (13.5%, assuming 42 miles vs 37 miles). There are differences in the size of the vehicles, overall efficiency and also the available capacity of the batteries (currently unknown).


The RAV4 Prime clearly has more system power (225 kW vs 165 kW) and it's all-wheel-drive (134 kW front electric motor and 40 kW rear electric motor). The Escape PHEV got an 88 kW electric motor and is front-wheel-drive.

Both cars are equipped with 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle gas engines.

  • Toyota RAV4 Prime: AWD with system output of 225 kW
  • Ford Escape PHEV: FWD with system output of 165 kW

We also already know that the RAV4 will do 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds.

* some power numbers are estimated


  • Toyota RAV4 Prime: 3 kW standard and 6.6 kW option
  • Ford Escape PHEV: full recharge in 3.3 hours (Level 2) - probably under 4 kW

A cool thing about the RAV4 Prime is an optional 120V/1,500 W power outlet in the cargo area (230V in Europe).


  • Toyota RAV4 Prime: from $31,720 assuming MSRP, $1,120 (DST) and $7,500 federal tax credit
    SE: $38,100
    XSE: $41,425
  • Ford Escape PHEV: from $27,485 assuming MSRP, $1,245 (DST) and about $6,800 federal tax credit
    SE: $33,040
    SEL: $35,620
    Titanium: $38,835


In our short comparison, we note that the RAV4 Prime is for sure the slightly bigger, more powerful vehicle (power, all-wheel drive), while the Escape PHEV will be probably more efficient and noticeably cheaper.

More details:

Gallery: Ford Escape PHEV

Gallery: 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

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