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Can't Get a 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime? Maybe Choose RAV4 Hybrid Instead

What are the benefits of choosing a RAV4 Hybrid versus a 2021 RAV4 Prime? Learn how second place is not so bad in this case.


Famous philosopher Ricky Bobby (you know, from Talladega Nights) once said, “If you’re not first, you’re last.” Could this inspirational saying also apply to your next Toyota RAV4 purchase?

Many of us will have to decide whether to hold out for red-hot-demand 2021 RAV4 Prime, or to get our second choice. I have previously written about the incredibly low initial supply of “The Prime” and how it will affect people looking to buy one for their families.

It might be time to consider an alternative if you are not up for a longer wait time. I feel a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is an excellent consolation prize.

Let people speak about RAV4 Prime

I get reactions and comments and thoughts from Toyota fans all the time on my Toyotajeff YouTube channel forum and also from Torque News readers. This RAV4 Prime vs RAV4 Hybrid debate is proving to be very interesting.

People are weighing in on both sides.

2020 Toyota RAV4 Limited Hybrid Blizzard Pearl profile and front end
2020 Toyota RAV4 Limited Hybrid in Blizzard Pearl

Ken wrote, “Only interested in RAV4 Prime.”

Tom loves the RAV4 Prime but is not too optimistic about getting one. “I live in Florida. Will probably see this vehicle for sale sometime in 2050 or so…This PHEV RAV4 would suit my needs perfectly. Not gonna happen for years here.”

Fred had an interesting dilemma on his hands. See how he handled this choice.

“I am in Canada and have a deposit on a RAV4 Prime. My dealer said they are expecting four of them and I have been guaranteed one of them. I am just hoping they arrive before November. I have been waiting a long time. I actually had my deposit on a RAV4 Hybrid since last summer and just before the one I ordered arrived, Toyota announced the RAV4 Prime. I cancelled my order on the Hybrid and they switched my deposit over to a Prime.”

Mary has already made up her mind. “RAV4 Prime checks all my boxes. But I will not wait 12 months to get one. I’m going this weekend to buy RAV4 XSE Hybrid.”

“I refuse to wait for the Prime. Just picked up a RAV4 Hybrid XLE and love it already!” Said Tina.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid features

Like I said before, your second choice is not a bad alternative at all. RAV4 Hybrid is already one of the highest demand vehicles in Toyota’s lineup and has been for nearly two years now.

It may not produce 302 horsepower like RAV4 Prime, but it does give drivers 219 horsepower.

It also may not have exceptional MPG like RAV4 Prime at 94 MPGe, but it does offer 41 city / 38 highway / 40 combined.

Who would have ever thought 40 MPG combined for a Toyota SUV would be a consolation prize?

One benefit for the RAV4 Prime is that it can be driven up to 42 miles on one single electric charge. RAV4 Hybrid cannot be plugged in so it cannot compete in this aspect.

2021 RAV4 Prime price vs RAV4 Hybrid

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE Supersonic Red profile view
2021 RAV4 Prime XSE in Supersonic Red

Pricing was recently announced for the not-yet-released 2021 RAV4 Prime. SE trim level has a factory MSRP of $38,100 and XSE is $41,425. A third option is to purchase a RAV4 Prime XSE with optional Premium Package, which will cost $5,760 additional.

2021 RAV4 Hybrid pricing has not yet been announced. Factory MSRP for 2020 RAV4 LE Hybrid is $28,350, XLE Hybrid $29,645, XSE Hybrid $34,300 and Limited Hybrid $36,880.

Clearly a RAV4 Hybrid price is much more attractive than a RAV4 Prime.


RAV4 Prime tax incentives

This is where is gets tricky when comparing these two models. We are not quite at apples to apples, but we need to get there fast.

RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) will qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit, which will bring the adjusted price down significantly should you decide to go plug-in with your purchase. The Prime may also qualify for a state tax credit of potentially up to $2,500 more depending on where you live.

Time for your thoughts on RAV4 Hybrid vs RAV4 Prime

VIDEO: Watch my RAV4 Prime XSE Preview including specs.

This will be a debate that can only be decided by each individual person and each family. How will you be weighing out your choice?

Is it more important to get the added benefits offered by 2021 RAV4 Prime, or is it simply easier and faster to pick up a RAV4 Hybrid?

READ MORE: My tips to get your RAV4 Prime sooner

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story when I discuss new updates coming to 2021 Corolla.

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