Toyota RAV4 Prime Will Costs Buyers About Half What A Tesla Model Y Will Cost
Toyota's new RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid electric vehicle will go on sale this summer. When it arrives, its SE trim will have a consumer cost in EV-target states after incentives of as low as $30,300. By contrast, the Tesla Model Y crossover starts at a price of $54,190. The cost to the consumer for these two green crossovers with similar capacities is about 56% lower for the Toyota RAV4 Prime.
Tesla's Tricky Math
We priced out a Tesla Model Y Long Range, Dual Motor in white with a 5-passenger seating configuration. This is the least expensive way we could find to configure a Model Y using Tesla's online "order now" tool. It is difficult to find the actual price. Tesla carefully hides the true cost two ways. First, the site included "gas savings." This shows an artificially-low price for the vehicle. Second, Tesla seems to pretend that its destination charges are not part of the price. But they are. Everyone pays this cost and there is no "MSRP" for a Tesla. MSRP stands for "Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price." That term is meaningless when one purchases directly from the manufacturer. In this case Tesla.
Our image above shows the pricing we were able to uncover after some careful clicks of the mouse to reveal all of the costs Tesla wants to hide from consumers. If we've made any mistakes, please feel free to point them out. We did our level best to figure out the lowest cost to the buyer. With no federal tax credit available, and a price point above $50K, it is our understanding that this will be the price that a consumer pays Tesla for its Model Y.
Toyota RAV4 Prime AWD Pricing
The Least expensive Toyota RAV4 Prime is the SE trim. Here is the breakdown of the pricing in an EV-target state like Massachusetts:
RAV4 Prime SE AWD MSRP= $38,100 + Destination Charges of $1,200 = $39,300
Available Federal Tax Credit - $7,500
State Of Mass. EV Rebate - $1,500
Total Cost For RAV4 Prime SE AWD = $30,300
The XSE trim adds more features and has an added cost of $3,150.
Base Toyota RAV4 Prime vs. Base Tesla Model Y - Features and Capabilities
Every RAV4 Prime trim comes standard with AWD as the Tesla Model Y Dual Motor AWD does. However, there are many differences between the two vehicles in terms of content. For example, Toyota offers standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is a feature not available in the Model Y. Both vehicles feature a wide array of driver-assist technologies. Tesla's is called Autopilot and Toyota's is called Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. Both can do things like keep the vehicle in its lane on the highway, speed up and slow down with traffic. Tesla markets its Autopilot as having more capabilities. Neither vehicle is self-driving and neither offers hands-off drive assist.
Driving Green Comparison - Model Y vs. RAV4 Prime
The RAV4 will have a range using only electricity of about 42 miles. That is more than enough for a typical 2-way commute or a day of in-town driving using only electricity. When operated as a hybrid, the RAV4 Prime is expected to earn a 40 MPG Combined EPA rating. The total range of the vehicle will be over 500 miles. The Model Y Long Range has a range of about 315 miles and earns a 121 MPGe rating. The RAV4 Prime is expected to earn a 94 MPGe rating. Annual energy costs for the two will be about the same. With today's low gas prices, the RAV4 Prime has an edge, but if prices return to a national average of about $3 per gallon, the two should have equal energy per year costs.
Capacity Comparison RAV4 Prime vs. Model Y
The maximum cargo volume of the two will be nearly identical. The Model Y has 68 cubic feet. the RAV4 Prime is expected to have about 69 cubic feet. The passenger volume of the RAV4 Prime will be about 99 cubic feet. The Model Y has no specification listed for passenger volume we could find, but we predict it is about the same as the RAV4 Prime. Please tell us in the comments if you can find it anywhere.
Power and Performance Comparison Model Y vs. RAV4 Prime
The RAV4 Prime will use its 302 hp total power capacity to run from 0-60 MPH in about 5.7 seconds. The Model Y has better performance with 384 hp, more torque, and a 0-60 MPH run of about 4.6 seconds according to testing done by Motor Trend. As an aside, we noticed that Motor Trend ended up with the same starting price for the Model Y as we did ($54,190). The Model Y is a more performance-oriented crossover than the Toyota RAV4. However, with a 0-60 time of under six seconds, the RAV4 Prime is no slouch.
Ownership Costs, Warranty Comparison - Toyota RAV4 Prime vs. Tesla Model Y
Toyota offers two years of included maintenance and emergency roadside assistance with its RAV4 Prime, as it does all of its vehicles. It also offers an eight-year drivetrain warranty that extends to 10 years and 150 miles for the vehicle battery. Tesla's warranty is also 8 years and 100K miles with a limited battery warranty. Toyota's basic bumper to bumper warranty is 3 years and Tesla's is 4. With regard to owner warranty support, the two brands seem similar.
Final Analysis - Toyota RAV4 Prime vs. Tesla Model Y
The RAV4 Prime has an edge in energy costs, an edge in total range, and has infotainment options important to us that the Model Y does not offer. The RAV4 platform in non-PHEV trims is already a Top Safety Pick now based on IIHS testing, so we suspect that the RAV4 Prime will prove to be at least equally-safe to the Model Y. The Model Y has not been tested by IIHS. These two vehicles will serve different buyer demographics, but there may be some overlap. Both are very green crossovers with very similar size and capacity specifications. The RAV4 Hybrid was outselling the Tesla Model Y prior to the recent market upheaval. We suspect that Toyota will sell every RAV4 it chooses to produce, and do so without any special incentives. The RAV4 Hybrid has had a waiting list for a year. As always, Tesla's products have no lack of buyers.
The Toyota RAV4 Prime arrives at dealers in about 6 weeks. The Tesla Model Y has a delivery after order placement of about 6 to 8 weeks. Which of these green crossovers would be your pick? Tell us why in the comments below.
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career to chase his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin
Images courtesy of the manufacturers' media support.