2024 Toyota RAV4 Prime SE AWD

The RAV4 Prime offers many things to like, but other options offer similar appeal for much less money
The RAV4 Prime offers many things to like, but other options offer similar appeal for much less money

by Ben So | June 27, 2024


Toyota debuted the RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of their insanely popular crossover, back in 2021. This simple formula was an instant success, with Toyota selling every unit they make, and still had buyers asking for more. We recently spent a week in the 2024 Toyota RAV4 Prime SE AWD to see if this formula still has its charms.

We love that Toyota designers have kept the RAV4 Prime’s styling the same as the standard model. There is no funky design here — leave that for EVs like the BZ4X and the Lexus RZ — and observers will point out the only differences being the badges and the charge port door. Though the exterior design has aged relatively well, we think it is due for an update, as 2024 marks the sixth model year the RAV4 has been on the market.

The RAV4 Prime pairs a 2.5-litre inline four-cylinder engine with two motors to generate a combined 302 horsepower. This is quite significant, seeing that it is nearly 40 per cent more powerful than the next most powerful RAV4 lineup, and the end result is a silky-smooth acceleration that can surprise most unsuspecting crossovers on the road. Zero-to-100 km/h — yes, we are talking about claims usually reserved for much sportier cars than the RAV4 — is achieved in as little as six seconds. Our butt-dyno test confirms the RAV4 Prime is every bit as quick as Toyota claims.

The best part about the RAV4 Prime is that despite the surprising power, it is actually one of the most efficient crossovers on the market today. The RAV4 Prime can run on pure electric power for up to 68 kilometres on a full charge, which is actually slightly underrated based on what we saw, and it can recharge fully in less than three hours on a 240-volt charger. We were also able to get a full charge overnight using a standard 120-volt plug, which translated to virtually zero gas used for the week. The option to go electric-only for the daily grind, paired with the flexibility to drive long range on gas power, is the greatest benefit to having a PHEV. The RAV4 Prime demonstrates that perfectly.

Another key benefit to the RAV4 Prime is its near-silent ride. In electric mode, engine noise is of course absent, and wind and road noise are minimal. Combined with compliant suspension tuning and decent headroom and legroom, the RAV4 Prime offers an above-average experience for every passenger. Cargo volume is rated at 949 litres with all seats up — 110 less than the gasoline-only model, thanks to the battery below the cargo floor – but the RAV4 Prime makes up for it with its 2,500-pound towing capacity. That is is more than most other compact crossovers including the rest of the RAV4 lineup, save for the gas-powered Trail.

Inside, the RAV4 Prime’s layout is fairly straightforward. The practical dashboard design will not impress anyone, but users will appreciate having access to lots of physical buttons and knobs for quick adjustments. Similarly, the eight-inch touchscreen display is small by today’s standards, but the infotainment system itself is quite easy to navigate. Smartphone users will like the standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, though we do wish we had the upgraded 11-speaker JBL audio system from the XSE model to make use of the quiet cabin.

Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5 suite of driver assists is standard on all RAV4 models, including the Prime. It includes Pedestrian Detection and Braking, Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, as well as radar-guided cruise control. These have all become standard features in the industry and there is no surprise to see Toyota keeping pace given their safety-first mindset.

This particular SE AWD is the entry-level trim in the RAV4 Prime lineup, priced at $51,150 as-tested. Those who would like additional features such as heated rear seats, a digital rear-view mirror, and 19-inch wheels can select the XSE AWD trim for $55,990, and drop another $5,390 for the Technology Package that gives you the aforementioned JBL sound system, plus heads-up display, a panoramic moonroof, ventilated front seats, a 360-degree camera system, and more.

It is worth noting that competitors such as the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sorento PHEVs offer many of those features for less money. On top of that, the Lexus NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid is mechanically identical to the RAV4 Prime. Starting at $59,990 before fees, taxes, and any incentives, it is admittedly more expensive than this particular RAV4 Prime tester, but it is priced on par with a fully loaded XSE AWD with the Technology Package. You may lose a few minor line items going for a base Lexus, but you gain a much nicer interior environment for the $60,000 price tag.

It is obvious that the 2024 Toyota RAV4 Prime SE AWD is still one of the best options on the market with many things to like, such the flexibility of electric or gas driving, great ride quality, and practical packaging. The biggest downside is that there are other options that offer similar appeal for much less money, and buyers should evaluate their options carefully before making a decision.


Vehicle Specs
Compact crossover
Engine Size
2.5L inline four-cylinder + plug-in hybrid
Horsepower (at RPM)
302 hp (net)
Torque (lb-ft.)
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
5.7/6.4/6.0 (hybrid mode)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
949/1,787 (seats up/down)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Ben So


Ben has been living and breathing car magazines, spec sheets, and touring auto shows for his entire life. As proud member of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada, he keeps a close eye on the latest-and-greatest in the auto industry. When he isn't geeking out about the coolest new cars, he's probably heading to the next hidden-gem ice cream shop with his three quickly growing kids.

Current Toys: '97 Integra Type R, '07 LS 460 RWD, '08 Corvette Z06, '18 Odyssey Touring