The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid Might Become The Most Popular Plug-In Ever

Illustration for article titled The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid Might Become The Most Popular Plug-In Ever
Photo: Toyota

What do you get when you combine Toyota’s best-selling car with the most efficient powertrain setup it offers? Money, my friends. You get the recipe for something that’ll probably print a lot of money. This is the upcoming, 2021 Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid, and it might very well become the most popular plug-in ever.


Toyota released a teaser image of the upcoming plug-in via a press release, which will be made available for the 2021 model year . It’s wearing a new color called Supersonic Red , which looks frankly great on the RAV4, itself an already stylish crossover. Toyota says the plug-in RAV4 will be “the most powerful RAV4 yet,” but didn’t provide further details.

As a quick recap, you can have two kinds of hybrid cars: a conventional hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. Conventional hybrids, such as the Camry hybrid, use an electric motor that cannot be plugged in to recharge the battery. Electric-only range, if any is offered at all, is typically quite short.

A plug-in hybrid typically has a bigger battery and is a bit more expensive. The trade-off, though, is you can plug in the car to charge the battery and the battery-only range is much greater. Depending on your commute and your usage, you could only need to buy gasoline infrequently. An in-depth Car and Driver features breaks it all down beautifully, if you’re still curious.

I have a very strong suspicion the plug-in RAV4 is going to be a top-seller. Currently, the only other plug-in hybrid Toyota offers is the Prius Prime (which will finally offer five seats instead of just four). Should the Prime’s powertrain, which can achieve an all-electric range of about 20 to 25 miles , get dropped into the RAV4, that would make the nearly perfect, do-everything car.

The RAV4 is already wildly popular for its utilitarian reasons. It seats five comfortably, has great storage space and offers convenient ingress and egress. It’s the perfect commuter car.

Now, combine that with all-electric driving but for likely less money than something like a Volvo XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid. The biggest thing keeping people out of pure EVs is the range anxiety. The plug-in RAV4 solves that problem. You can make your short day-to-day trips on battery power only, but you can also rely on the gasoline engine for longer trips, too. It’s a win-win.


The plug-in RAV4 will be officially revealed at this year’s LA Auto Show in November. I’m curious to see how much this thing will cost.

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.


William Clavey

Don’t forget Outlander PHEV, which is currently the best-selling PHEV SUV in the world.