2021 Toyota Rav4 Prime vs. 2020 Nissan Leaf

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Rav4 Prime have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Nissan Leaf doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The Rav4 Prime has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Leaf doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The Rav4 Prime has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Leaf doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Rav4 Prime has standard Safety Connect™, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Leaf doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Rav4 Prime and the Leaf have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available around view monitors.

Warranty

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Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Rav4 Prime for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Leaf.

There are over 15 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Nissan dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Rav4 Prime’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 29 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Nissan is ranked 11th.

Engine

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The Rav4 Prime’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 155 more horsepower (302 vs. 147) than the Leaf’s standard electric motor. The Rav4 Prime’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 88 more horsepower (302 vs. 214) than the Leaf PLUS’ standard electric motor.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Rav4 Prime’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel and a full charge is 622 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Leaf’s range is only 149 miles, or 226 miles on Leaf PLUS, after which the minimum recharge time is 45 minutes for only an 80% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 53 hours and 40 minutes.

Brakes and Stopping

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/11

For better stopping power the Rav4 Prime’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Leaf:

Rav4 Prime

Leaf

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

11.1 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

11.5 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Rav4 Prime has larger standard tires than the Leaf (225/60R18 vs. 205/55R16). The Rav4 Prime XSE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Leaf (235/55R19 vs. 215/50R17).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Rav4 Prime SE has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Leaf S. The Rav4 Prime XSE’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Leaf SV/SL.

The Rav4 Prime has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Leaf; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Toyota Rav4 Prime has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Nissan Leaf has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Rav4 Prime is 2.6 inches wider in the front and 2.7 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Leaf.

Chassis

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The front grille of the Rav4 Prime uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Leaf doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The Rav4 Prime has 6.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Leaf (98.9 vs. 92.4).

The Rav4 Prime has 2.6 inches more front hip room, 3.5 inches more front shoulder room, 2.2 inches more rear headroom, 4.3 inches more rear legroom and 3.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Leaf.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Rav4 Prime’s rear seats recline. The Leaf’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The Rav4 Prime has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Leaf with its rear seat up (33.5 vs. 23.6 cubic feet). The Rav4 Prime has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Leaf with its rear seat folded (69.8 vs. 30 cubic feet).

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Rav4 Prime has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or, optionally on the Rav4 Prime XSE, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Leaf doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

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The Rav4 Prime has a 2500 lbs. towing capacity. The Leaf has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/11

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Rav4 Prime has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Leaf doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

When two different drivers share the Rav4 Prime XSE, the optional memory seats make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The Leaf doesn’t offer memory seats.

The Rav4 Prime offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Leaf doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Rav4 Prime’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Leaf’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the Rav4 Prime and the Leaf have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Rav4 Prime is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Leaf prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Rav4 Prime’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Leaf’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Rav4 Prime the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (Your Toyota service department must activate this window function.) The driver of the Leaf can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Rav4 Prime’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Leaf’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Rav4 Prime XSE offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Leaf doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Rav4 Prime’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Leaf and aren’t offered on the Leaf S.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Rav4 Prime XSE keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Leaf doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Rav4 Prime has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable and it can provide a boundary between children. The Leaf doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Rav4 Prime’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Leaf doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Rav4 Prime and the Leaf offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Rav4 Prime has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Leaf doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the Rav4 Prime’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation that can trigger allergies or asthma. The Leaf’s air conditioner doesn’t offer a filtration system.

The Rav4 Prime XSE offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet in the cargo area, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Leaf doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

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