Is the RAV4 Prime the new plug-in hybrid range king?

Kyle Conner has spent a good deal of time with most of the electric cars available today. He reviews them, races them, and road trips them. However, range testing is perhaps the most important piece of the EV testing puzzle. He recently tested the Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid's city and highway range.

Conner and our own Tom Moloughney are working to put every EV through a consistent 70-mph highway range test. For the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles,(PHEVs), we also do a city range test. This is because, while it's nice to know how far a PHEV will go on the highway, there's a much better chance people will be trying to stay within its all-electric range during local daily driving.

According to the EPA, the RAV4 Prime PHEV has an impressive 42 miles of electric-only range. Few PHEVs even come close to this rating. The only current mainstream contender is the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, at 47 miles. The discontinued Chevy Volt offered 53 miles, which has yet to be topped by a mainstream PHEV. To be fair, the very expensive Polestar 1 and Karma Revero are rated at 52 and 61 miles, respectively. You can compare all EVs and PHEVs here.

In this recent RAV4 Prime test city range test, the weather is relatively cold, at about 40°F. Conner says he drove the SUV around in the morning, heated the cabin, and then re-charged it to 100% to warm the battery pack and the cabin. This way, the results remain as consistent as possible. It's also important to note that the vehicle tested is the RAV4 Prime XSE with the 6.6kW onboard charger.

In the city, loop-style range test, our RAV4 Prime achieved 43 miles, which is right on target with the EPA's estimate. Interestingly, the car doesn't let you use the last 25% of its battery pack. Instead, it reserves that energy for normal hybrid operation. Kyle told us:

"This is extremely frustrating ... my suggestion would be to have a mode that lets you fully discharge with a warning that says please charge the HV battery immediately after driving."

For the highway test, Conner used the RAV4's gas engine to get the SUV up to the 70 mph set speed. Once he was up to speed, he made sure to put the SUV in "EV Mode." The temperature outside at the time was 54°F. The RAV4 Prime made it 31.6 miles, which is pretty impressive for a plug-in hybrid SUV. However, as you can see, the EPA rating is more on-par with city driving than highway driving.

Check out the video above for all the details. Then, don't forget to scroll down to the comment section and chime in.

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