2021 Toyota Rav4 Prime PHEV hits 60 mph in 5.8 seconds

The crossover boasts 39 miles of electric driving.

Toyota has released full details of the 2021 Rav4 Prime plug-in hybrid, the most powerful and quickest Rav4 ever.

The company is hoping to make a big splash with the PHEV edition, raising the bar in terms of both performance and efficiency. With 302 horsepower, the Prime is 83 ponies above the Rav4 Hybrid 33 horses beyond the third-generation V6 edition.

The Japanese automaker boasts that a projected zero-to-60 mph benchmark of 5.8 seconds is comparable to luxury/performance SUVs that "come nowhere near" the Prime's fuel economy. Sport-tuned suspension and unique exterior design elements complement the extra power.

The Prime is also the most efficient Rav4 and can drive for an estimated 39 miles before the 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine kicks in, taking the crown as the highest EV range of any plug-in hybrid SUV on the market.

Toyota executives have previously argued that sales prospects for all-electric vehicles are 'overblown.' The Rav4 Prime reflects the company's bet that improved hybrids will achieve higher sales volumes in the near term. Performance has become the central element in the new marketing strategy, shifting away from the hypermiling ethos that surrounds the Prius. The Rav4 is Toyota's best-selling model and the top SUV in the US market with 2018 deliveries surpassing 427,000 units, existing in the middle of the mainstream automotive market.

Pricing details for the Rav4 Prime will presumably be announced closer to its summer 2020 arrival.

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