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Why You Should Choose RAV4 Prime Over RAV4 Hybrid

Stuck between whether to get the 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime or the RAV4 Hybrid? Here are some pointers to see why the Prime is the right RAV4 for you.


So, you decided to get a Toyota RAV4. You made the right choice. Now you need to figure out if you want the regular, hybrid, or Prime. Now logically you might want to get the prime in these economic conditions. However, for those who may be stuck between hybrid and Prime, you may need a little persuasion.

Luckily, Canadian auto news house RPM’s Luc-Olivier Chamberland has the solution for you. Let’s say you like the Prime for its economic benefits plus its extra horsepower, yet you also like the hybrid for its affordable price. Well, Chamberland has the right solution for you. They recently wrote an article answering a question to an owner’s inquiry.

Why You Should Choose RAV4 Prime Over RAV4 Hybrid

The owner said, “my father is in the market to get a new RAV4 and he wants to know whether he should opt for the Hybrid or the Prime.” Chamberland responded with a few pointers to help you cement the fact that the Prime is a better buy.

He started by saying that the Hybrid is mainly better in saving fuel with targeting the least fuel sipping activities such as starting your car, accelerating from 0, and roaming under 10mph. These “activities” are the most fuel consuming movements your car can endure. The Hybrid eliminates that by using the electric motor for those applications.

By the way, be sure to check out our latest article on the new Sequoia.

However, with the Prime, it’s more of a help me help you situation. You can drive pure EV for around 60 miles in the Prime and not use a single drop of gas. On the highway, you can average almost 90mph with combined because it uses less fuel than a regular ICE or even a hybrid.

Chamberland concluded by adding that the Prime may be more expensive but in the long run, it can come back by saving money on fueling. This means that if you buy a RAV4 Prime and intend to keep it for the long run, then you’ll end up gaining that money back of the difference in price between the Prime and Hybrid by simply saving on gas.

In my opinion I side with Chamberland. I think that the Prime is a way better buy and if money was not an issue, I would personally go for the Prime XSE which is the top trim. Now it may be different for Canadians because EVs do not do that well in the cold, but I think that if you can manage how you drive and with what modes, you’ll be just fine.

What do you think? Do you prefer the Prime or the Hybrid? Let us know in the comments below.

Harutiun Hareyan is reporting Toyota news at Torque News. His automotive interests and vast experience test-riding new cars give his stories a sense of authenticity and unique insights. Follow Harutiun on Twitter at @HareyanHarutiun and on YouTube at Toyota Time for daily Toyota news.


Lynda Beaudoin (not verified)    July 31, 2022 - 5:01PM

A long terme c'est le Prime mais vu les délais très long j'ai commandé rav4 hybrid pour avoir un véhicule le plus tôt possible lorsque Prime va arriver je pourrai faire échange. Dommage pour nous ce sont des années d'attente.

Beebboop (not verified)    July 31, 2022 - 6:30PM

RAV4 prime XSE can be compared with RAV4 hybrid XLE premium. Give or take $8k price difference.

Wait for hybrid is several months in my case I was told 6-9 months to get it at MSRP after putting down a deposit .

Prime is much harder to get. You basically can't get it for MSRP this or next year and you won't get tax incentives since Toyota will run out of those by then.

Prime also had lower clearance 8" vs 8.6" on XLE premium hybrid, 500lb heavier, and about 10% less cargo space.

38mpg in city on prime vs 41mpg on hybrid due to extra weight.

It's energy efficiency isn't great 0.36kWh/mile vs 0.28 model Y, 0.3 Hyundai Ioniq 5 and 0.35 ID 4

With this efficiency and slightly worse gas mpg difference in price per mile is not nearly as great as one might think.

Moreover hybrid can be pushed far above it's stated 40mpg, but EV efficiency doesn't really deviate much regardless of how one driving. At least not nearly as much as hybrid is.

But even if we ignore prime 38mpg city vs hybrids 41mpg city and only compare gas vs electric:

In California gas is probably the most expensive among US states $5.3/gallon last time I filled.

Our off peak rate before 3pm is 24 cents per kWh

Hybrid driving at 40mpg will consume $13250 in gas over 100k miles

Prime driving 100% in EV mode will consume $8640 in off-peak. That is a difference of $4610.

I'd say it's a tie. Consider higher upfront cost of prime and resulting lost revenue from investment.
Get prime if speed is more important than cargo space and ground clearance and you have access to cheap electricity. Otherwise get hybrid.

Oleksii (not verified)    July 31, 2022 - 11:49PM

Here in San Francisco Bay area waiting time for hybrid is 8 to 12 months and for the Prime is 2 to 3 years. Excellent choice.

Paul Aker (not verified)    August 1, 2022 - 2:53AM

We ordered a Rav4 Prime in summer 2021 with an estimated 18-24 months delivery wait, but 3 months later in the fall, when we checked progress, it was still 18-24 months from the new fall date. We cancelled our order, and ordered another brand. Too bad, it seemed an excellent vehicle, and we had owned a series of Toyotas.
It surprises me that vehicle manfacturers were so quick to cancel orders for crucial chips when Covid hit. They take up negligible storage space, and are indispensable to their products' operation.

R4P Dreams (not verified)    August 1, 2022 - 7:49AM

You literally cannot buy a prime right now. 2 years wait lists. Unless you want to deal with $10k or more markup, which is stupid.

Steve (not verified)    August 1, 2022 - 4:04PM

Great advice except you can't buy a Prime. The few that are available are being marked up 10k. This is about as good advice as "take public transit instead of driving!" in an area with no public transit options.

Cat Hufnagle (not verified)    August 1, 2022 - 7:28PM

I own a 2017 RAV4 limited hybrid. Would love to trade for Prime. But I heard it is hard to find a prime. And I like my limited package. What are the difference s in the car and limited?