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Buyers Are Frustrated: More Toyota RAV4 Chip Shortage Stories

Wow. I am amazed at the great lengths people are going to when buying 2021 RAV4 Hybrid and other models.


As the automotive chip shortage and resulting vehicle shortage continues, people are doggedly continuing their efforts to buy cars.

One of the most challenging Toyota models to find is the RAV4 Hybrid. Well, and Toyota RAV4 gasoline SUVs too.

With gasoline prices steadily rising, the idea of owning an SUV that averages up to 40mpg combined is quite appealing. Plus, with 219 horsepower, Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a relatively zippy ride with good acceleration.

And the cost to jump from RAV4 gasoline trims to equivalent RAV4 Hybrid trims is normally less than $1000. Very easy to justify this extra cost.

Things get a little complicated in the middle of a chip shortage, however.

2021 Toyota RAV4 shortage

2021 Toyota RAV4 Limited Blueprint profile view2021 Toyota RAV4 Limited - Blueprint color

I encourage you to visit your local Toyota dealerships all over the country to see what inventory levels are like.

Most dealers probably have a limited supply of both Toyota RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid. Sometimes just a few at a time on the lot. Maybe one or two.

Often none at all.

Many people are resorting to pre-ordering their ideal car, trucks and SUVs. Wait times are generally reasonable but can be several months depending on each specific vehicle and the geographic region they live in.

And buyers are having quite the adventures looking and trying to buy.

People comment on Toyota RAV4

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE Supersonic Red front end profile view2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE - Supersonic Red

My last Torque News story on the chip shortage brought several comments from buyers who have been searching far and wide for the perfect car.

Look at these eye-openers.

Tracy wrote. “We know first-hand about this situation. We looked at all over Western Washington for a 2021 RAV4 Adventure model in Lunar Rock paint. My wife started to become more and more emotionally invested in this with the more time spent looking. It turned into weeks and her search started taking her further and further. Then she hit 3 matches. One in Tallahassee, another in Chapel Hill, and a third in Dry Ridge Kentucky at Marshall Toyota. Within 24 hrs. of finally finding the one she wanted we were boarding a Seattle plane bound for Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport and taking a Lyft the last 40 miles to Dry Ridge. I was nervous about being so vulnerable to any sales tactics but it worked out great and had an epic road trip home.”

What a great story Tracy. Congratulations.

“Looking for a RAV4 Prime in XSE trim in greater Boston area. None to be found. Dealers have the odd SE white models, but nobody will let me test drive! One dealer said I could test drive "after we agree on numbers". Why should I have to endure a car purchase negotiation which is about as fun as a root canal if I can't even take the car for a spin to see if I like it first? Insane.” Said a frustrated Bill.

Jackee dealt with triple the headache. “Here's how our Rav4 XLE Hybrid buying experience has gone so far: Want to buy: 2019-2021 Rav4 Hybrid XLE in Lunar Rock. Going to be our beloved Element replacement. Quickly realized: Used units are going for higher than brand new MSRP. New plan: Order new for MSRP (~31,500) exactly as we want, either base or $1500 added option we prefer. Either way we'll take it. Local Dealer #1 - "Toyota is not making XLE Hybrid trim anymore, we have to bump you up to Premium." Sends Premium Hybrid spec sheet with $3200 options we did not want. Told it would be tough to get without any add ons. Total before taxes/dealer fees ~37k. Local Dealer #2 - Ask for XLE Hybrid, told they can build it for us no prob (although Toyota isn't making this trim anymore according to Dealer 1). Sends spec sheet with ~$3800 in options we did not want. Told car couldn't be ordered without it, no budging. Dealer #3, about an hour away - Ask for XLE Hybrid, tries to sell us on non-hybrid in different color. We tell them XLE Hybrid or nothing, back and forth with specing a build with options we do not want. Almost two hours later our patience runs out and we tell them we're leaving. At this point, they decide they can submit order how we want, as a matter of fact will do one completely base and one with options we want in case Toyota doesn't accept the optioned order we want. Didn't want/need to take a deposit. Told it would be a month before we hear if Toyota accepts the orders, so we are waiting now. We're aware there is a 2-6 month wait currently, and don't mind that part. Just want it how we want it. Why else would Toyota offer options if you can't build it the way you want.”

2021 Toyota RAV4 Limited Blueprint profile view

“I have an almost identical story. I’m also trading in an Element and want the Rav 4 hybrid in Lunar Rock. A dealership in San Diego said they had one coming in 2 months that had extras I didn’t want but I was willing to wait and make a deal. They called me within an hour of getting it and when I got there, they had added $6900 to the MSRP because it was in high demand. I had several choice words for them and was so disappointed and upset and left without the car wondering who would pay that!” Commented a flabbergasted Kat.

Tom went in a different direction for his match. “I just purchased a Toyota Venza hybrid which is a step up from a Rav 4. The dealership had them in stock and was ready to deal. The Venza also had a $1,750 rebate from Toyota. The car was equipped and rode like a Lexus. Very glad I expanded my options.”

Tom, I own a 2021 Venza Limited and I agree. It rides so nice. Plus, the seats are probably the most comfortable I have ever sat in. Congrats.

“Dallas area, definitely major shortages. I am picky on specs and color, so it was hard to find and then trying to get a good deal when it is a seller’s market is tough. Especially on a hybrid when gas prices are going up.” Added Mike.

D Camp added. “0 RAV4 Prime available in Midwest and RAV4 Hybrid very very low in stock.” Not surprising but frustrating still.

Yummi26 had a positive experience. “Hampton, VA. I got my 2021 Rav4 XLE Hybrid a month ago. I didn't know there was a shortage at the time. I only had 2 options, so I bought one and I'm happy with it.”

RELATED VIDEO: I give (hopefully) helpful tips on how to purchase during the chip shortage.

Stickybee2 had kudos for yours truly. “Jeff, thanks for your video. The steps you outlined about ordering a vehicle are spot on what my dealer has put me through to order my 4runner. Expected production date for my vehicle is week of May 21st. So excited but I have to be patient as you said. Thanks again!”

I am super happy you enjoyed my video and that it helped.

And, of course, there is always hindsight. “Wish I had followed thru on that Toyota Rav4 Adventure purchase earlier this year. That 20% discount from MSRP looks good now.”

Time for your Toyota RAV4 comments

Do you have a story to share about your car buying experience?

Another question I have. Have you decided to look at a different model or trim level or type of vehicle because of the vehicle and chip shortage?

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story when I discuss something new for 2022 Toyota Prius.

READ MORE: Torque News reporter John Goreham comments on large dealer markups on popular models.

Follow Jeff Teague on social media:

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Thank you everyone for following me.


Ronald (not verified)    May 24, 2021 - 8:28AM

After months of searching for a car we fell in love with the RAV4. I'm a honda guy. It surprised me how sporty the look and handling was vs the CRV. The chip shortage hit Southeast Louisiana hard. We couldn't find one in the color we wanted. Hybrid cars weren't even on our radar, but because we had to wait we gave them a try.

We test drove the CRV hybrid and were utterly blown away at the differences between the the the regular and the hybrid version. I was determined to get my hands on the hybrid RAV4. We finally got one in stock in our hokw town. Sadly, the things that drew us to the regular RAV4 sealed the deal on the CRV hybrid. The CRV hybrid is buttery smooth. Although the RAV4 is a sexy looking car, the comfortable ride, the roomy interior and the seamless transition from gas to battery made the choice for us. Before you buy that RAV4 hybrid, give the CRV hybrid a test drive.

Jeff Pigott (not verified)    May 24, 2021 - 9:37PM

The 2021 XLE hybrid probably quit being made as they still can't fix the 2021 gas mileage issue. I only get 32-34mpg and 450miles on the full tank vs advertised 540+. I should sell the thing if it is hard to come by now.

Cl (not verified)    May 28, 2021 - 6:25PM

In reply to by Jeff Pigott (not verified)

There is already a bulletin and replacement of the fuel tank because the early models that got formed in japan were thinner then North American made in Windsor Ontario that don’t collapse under a vacuum when it cools down

John (not verified)    May 25, 2021 - 1:21PM

Sounds like a lot of first world problems. Oh no a chip shortage for a luxurious vehicle. People need to gain some perspective on what is really happening in the world.

MaryAnne (not verified)    May 25, 2021 - 3:24PM

I traded my 2015 RAV4 for a 2021 in late December. I ended up with a hybrid because that's what was available. The salesman was not honest with me about the GPS, with was one of the things I insisted on having. This has to have my cell phone hooked into it to use, which I do not like. I also do not like the back up system that brakes for you. It took me awhile to figure out how to shut that off. All in all, if i could trade it in , I wouldin a minute , if I could get all my money back.

Richard (not verified)    May 25, 2021 - 5:18PM

I just bought a 21 Rav4 hybrid XSE With the Tech package up here in Canada. Got it last month. guess by the looks i got lucky. I had to wait approx 3 weeks. Guess i would have really been waiting longer if i'd had waited. My local dealer still has some, but like i said this is Canada.

Sterling (not verified)    May 26, 2021 - 8:05AM

Put in my order with Tony Divino here in Ogden Utah. Went for the Hybrid Limited in blueprint and nutmeg interior. Order put in 30 April and 500 deposit. Salesman real good about letting me know what going on. Was input into Toyota system 18 May and jist got notified that build date will be 6th July. Then will be 3 to 4 weeks delivery from Canada plant. No big rush with this as drive my pld 2015 Honda Accord until gets delivered. Hoping end of July or first part of August.

Ernie (not verified)    May 26, 2021 - 3:54PM

Called at least 3 Toyota dealerships in Central Oregon who told me they’d need a $500 deposit to reserve a 2021 Rav4 XLE. Some dealers were telling me it would be 60-90 days for delivery and they had no new RAV4’s to test drive. Finally found one that I should receive in 2 weeks.

Tom Kilpatrick (not verified)    May 26, 2021 - 7:02PM

We began to look for a used Rav 4 2 months ago. They were few and far between. Then we heard of the chip shortage and witnessing the local Toyota dealers getting very few 2021 Rav 4 s in. We experienced the same as others plus a 2000 uplift over MSRP. We finally had enough when a Toyota dealer told us the 2000 was a tax. I told them hogwash. We went to a gm vehicle and are very satisfied with our purchase.

Travis (not verified)    May 29, 2021 - 2:38AM

My 2005 Corolla finally gave up the ghost at 240K miles (still going to try to fix it!) and only really started searching in earnest yesterday. Reached out to dealers around the state and stock was limited, but my local had an LE Hybrid in stock for $30,094. I bought it after a test drive - no big deal right? That's when they shared that would be the only hybrid on their lot for 2-3 months and they only happened to have this one because someone ordered it but the deal fell through. So I have a brand new LE Hybrid in metallic gray that's apparently hard to find?

Flor (not verified)    May 29, 2021 - 1:00PM

My story may not be related to the shortage of Rav 4s nowadays, but I can still somehow relate. The very first time I saw the 2019 Rav 4, was at L.A. Auto show on December 1st, 2018. At the time, I was driving a 2007 Honda Civic hybrid (it averaged 50 mpg when it was new, and by then -- 38 mpg!) and so I told myself that I'll get a Toyota for my next vehicle. I first laid my eyes on a 2019 Toyota RAV 4, Lunar Rock color and I fell in love with it! It was in an Adventure trim. When I sold my Civic, I was on a mission to get the color and the specs that I wanted on my RAV - XLE Premium, Lunar Rock color, gray/off white interior/seats, and Entune audio plus. Since the model is newly redesigned, my specified trim and model isn't available in Southern CA. My credit union guy found my dream Rav from Northern California in Fremont! The only thing is, it has an extra feature of an all-weather mats and heated steering wheel. My Rav's price altogether, was $39K. At that point, it's worth the wait, and the price - coz I got what I wanted and a bit more :)

Mike (not verified)    June 1, 2021 - 7:46AM

Here in Sacramento, Ca looking for a Rav 4 Prime XSE. They have them just need to pay an additional $14,995 Dealer Markup over MSRP to purchase. Plus better make sure it includes the 6.6 kW on board charger otherwise car is not worth it. Oh ya must have 240 volt 40 Amp charger in your garage to take advantage of the "P" part of the PHEV. ThinkI can suffer until next year when the dealer markup goes away. Otherwise nice vehicle, a lot of toys on it.

Dennis Melvin (not verified)    June 5, 2021 - 1:42PM

We have a 2021 rav hybrid with 10000 on it! And like the prime Prius we traded in it over performed the information provided by Toyota! We do 43.7 all the time with the rav and always achieved over 60 with the prime except wintaaah in Maine!!

Keith (not verified)    June 5, 2021 - 9:00PM

Just picked up my new RAV4 Prime in Silver and black. Outside of loving my wife and kids…..I am in love with this car. Got it for $46k which was the sticker price. We had to wait about a month. We went to pick it up and the lot looked sad…hardly any cars on the lot.

Cynthia Fulcher (not verified)    June 10, 2021 - 10:04PM

After binge watching Toyota Jeff for weeks I finally decided the Rav 4 XLE PREMIUM was the one
Then I had to find Luna Rock to see in person
Weeks went by and I got to see it and made my choice! Then I found out it was off limits for my family discount (at this particular dealership)
Weeks went by to find the person I wanted to by my car from...I did it ordered it, no big deal I drive a 2017 Rav
These ppl need to settle down be patient I said
Then my husband totaled my Rav
I’m in a rental and and still no news on a build date
6 weeks I’m not being patient and I’m not settling down I want my Luna Rock lol
Good luck to all of us!!

angrybuyer (not verified)    October 25, 2021 - 12:47PM

waited 6 months -after leaving a deposit and a specific sheet for rav4prime xse
well AFTER 6 months tells me" I have another 3 people iN FRONT of you. are you kidding me what??
got my money back
Another Toyota dealer after the first one: "will need 6 months to get it"
I am in the second month
The industry is pathetic period.

Patrick (not verified)    October 28, 2021 - 7:03PM

Was in market for new Sienna xse, AWD. But price scared me . Think buying another house is money better spent. Better investment.

Terri Preston (not verified)    November 16, 2022 - 11:16PM

May 2022 went into Toyota dealership in Kansas City. Was told Toyota does not let you order anymore, if you want hybrid. Put $500 down to get on a list of 6-8 wks. That was 6 months ago. I was told by another local dealership that he has over 90 people on "his" list and is telling people 2024 before they can get a hybrid and they must "take whatever comes when their name makes it to the top of list".