The Fast Lane Car is quite impressed with the Toyota RAV4 Prime, as are we. Sadly, dealers are marking up the already pricey offering, plus you'll be hard-pressed to buy one in the U.S. since Toyota isn't planning on producing it in large volume. Unless you live in a state like California, you can't even build and price the RAV4 Prime online due to limited availability.
Toyota, the king of hybrid vehicles, continues to delay its entry into the pure-electric car space. However, its RAV4 Prime is about as close as it gets, and it's not a "fake" self-charging hybrid, but a compelling plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).
The RAV4 Prime commands an incredible 42 miles of electric-only range, which is unheard of for the segment. Only the smaller, Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid sedan can travel further on a charge, at 48 miles. The Prime starts at $38,100, which isn't cheap since there are many all-electric cars that undercut that price, but it does qualify for the full $7,500 federal EV tax credit.
Aside from the RAV4 Prime's impressive range, it has a lot to offer. The traditional RAV4 is already the most popular compact SUV on our shores, thanks to its good fuel economy, luxury-grade interior, roomy accommodations, long list of standard features, outstanding crash test ratings, legendary reliability, and solid overall performance. It can be had starting around $26,000.
The RAV4 Hybrid starts at just over $28,000, which is impressive. So, even with the tax credit, the RAV4 Prime is going to cost you more. Is it worth it? Will people buy it? How about those cross-shopping it with the Tesla Model Y?
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The Toyota RAV4 Prime certainly has what it takes to make people move from gas to electric power. Just the fact that the RAV4 is so popular will help. Some will say the Model Y is too expensive, but, as TFLcar points out, the RAV4 Prime XSE costs nearly $50,000 once add notable packages. If people can't get ahold of one, perhaps they'll check out the Model Y? What other comparable options are there?
There's no way to know for sure, but that doesn't discount the fact that the RAV4 Prime deserves our attention. TFLcar does a nice job providing arguments for and against both the RAV4 Prime and Model Y. Regardless, hopefully Toyota will wise up, ramp up production, and really market this crossover. As always, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.