Skip to main content

Expect a Launch Delay for 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

When will we see the fastest Toyota RAV4 ever? Not as soon as we thought.

Join us...    

In the automotive world, sometimes news of a vehicle’s potential launch date is met with lukewarm response from fans and enthusiasts. Other times, it is the complete opposite reaction. People wait for every little bit of news and updates, because they know the vehicle they are waiting for is going to be exciting, revolutionary or that it will just look incredible.

With the case of the 2021 RAV4 Prime, let’s go with the latter. This specific sport utility vehicle will break automotive barriers and will set sales records to some yet-unknown degree.

But when will we see it? It was tentatively planned to reach retail dealerships in the United States this upcoming summer of 2020. I had most recently heard talk of an August delivery target. However, with current world events such as they are, I feel we can safely expect a delay with both incoming RAV4 Prime news from Toyota and with a corresponding launch date.

2021 RAV4 Prime Specs

With the RAV4 Prime, Toyota is taking a giant and important step in the evolution of both the RAV4 itself and in its vehicle philosophy. The RAV4 is currently the best-selling SUV in the entire country, known for its dependability, versatility and ride comfort. Now, with a brand new plug-in option and its aggressive power potential, we may be talking, in the cliché world, about “taking things to the next level here.”

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Supersonic Red profile and rear end

Plus, Toyota has made a strong declaration to produce more hybrid and alternative fuel cars, trucks and SUVs than ever before. In fact, varying stories indicate the willingness to produce anywhere from 25% to 30% of all its vehicles with some form of hybrid or alternative fuel powerplants.

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime will be the fastest and most powerful RAV4 to-date. Yes, even faster than the legendary RAV4 V6 engine of yesteryear. Similar to the Prius Prime, it will offer drivers the ability to utilize gasoline and the ability to plug it in to take advantage of electric power only. Daily commuters and carpool friends, take note here. This is a game changer.


• Total system power of 302 horsepower.
• Can accelerate from 0-60 in 5.8 seconds (only Toyota Supra is faster).
• Driving range up to 39 miles on one electric charge.
• Fuel efficiency of 90 MPGe (combination of gasoline and electric).
• Offered in SE and XSE trim levels.

Launch date for 2021 RAV4 Prime

Toyota recently announced a suspension of all its North American plants through May 1, with production expected to resume on May 4. This will not only push back delivery of vehicles currently being manufactured, but without a doubt vehicles scheduled to be released this summer and potentially into the fall.

How will this affect the 2021 RAV4 Prime? Toyota has not yet revealed this information, and it may be more of a fluid situation at this time. In my opinion, potential buyers should expect quite a wide window here, with the first RAV4 Prime models hitting retail dealerships anywhere from the fall to end of 2020.

VIDEO: Learn more about 2021 RAV4 Prime as I highlight important specs.

Please bookmark Torque News / Toyota News page, as I will be giving you continual updates as I get them from Toyota so that you may be as informed as possible.

Time for your thoughts on 2021 RAV4

I would love to hear your feelings on this potential delay and if it will have any impact at all on your desire to buy a new 2021 RAV4 Prime. What features and specs are you most excited about? If faced with the prospect of waiting, will you now turn your attention to a RAV4 Hybrid instead?

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story when I detail your 3 cargo area configuration options in the 2020 Toyota 4Runner.

Follow Jeff Teague on social media:

- Torque News Toyota - Bookmark this page for Toyota news, reviews and how-to's.
- YouTube channel - "Toyotajeff in Raleigh". If you like Toyota, you should enjoy my channel.
- Facebook page - "Toyotajeff" ... My Facebook page has a little bit of everything.
- Instagram page - @toyotajeff1. Behind-the-scenes looks and specific vehicle profiles.
- Twitter - @toyotajeff1 . A combination of everything.

Thank you everyone for following me.

Please also subscribe to the Torque News YouTube channel for automotive and Toyota news and updates.

Join us...    


Mgeinitz (not verified)    April 20, 2020 - 10:50AM

I get mixed info on where the Rav4 Prime will be built. I know the north american plans have been shut down. But some news agencies are saying that prime will be built in Japan. How long has the Japan plant been shut down? Did they start back up? Maybe it will still be on schedule.

Dan (not verified)    April 20, 2020 - 11:41AM

Bad news but given the situation it's expected. I want the Prime because it gives me the options I want (loaded) and no unpainted black plastic. I will try to wait otherwise I may go back to the XSE. Thanks for the update and please keep us informed.

Sean (not verified)    April 20, 2020 - 5:44PM

I don't care how delayed it is, that car will be my next car, it checks literally every box of what I've wanted in a new car for the last 6 or so years.
Efficient, fast, alternatively fueled, reliable, and not the size of a matchbox. Added bonus that it looks great.

Matt (not verified)    May 30, 2020 - 7:01PM

In reply to by Sean (not verified)

Couldn't agree more. I've been researching for months for a mid-size SUV that can do some light 4WD stuff - snow, etc. That doesn't have the outdated cabin of something like a 4runner, is very reliable, and actually has some pick-up to it (5.7 0-60!?). Basically doesn't exist. And it's a hybrid to boot? Can't wait for this to come out - only time I'm happy to buy a car brand new.

Todd (not verified)    April 20, 2020 - 8:38PM

Hopefully with the delay they’ll be able to fix the gas tank problem that’s currently plaguing the current lineup

Rob (not verified)    April 21, 2020 - 3:32AM

I already own a 2017 RAV4 Hybrid (and two Camry Hybrids) and the RAV4 Prime looks ideal: fast, efficient, the right size, the right price. My daily commute is about 15 miles each way, so I can run this on electric-only through the week, then fill up on a Friday for a longer journey at the weekend. Perfect!!

Al D (not verified)    April 21, 2020 - 3:41PM

I live in the U.S. and hope to get one by the end of the year. My 2015 Camry just reached the 69k mile mark and I'm afraid it won't last another 15 years, so you better hurry up, Toyota.

Andrew (not verified)    April 21, 2020 - 6:48PM

I believe it’s more prudent to monitor Toyota’s Japanese production, as the RAV4 Prime was to be manufactured there in its entirety.

Otherwise this article is entirely educated conjecture.

Kevin (not verified)    June 4, 2020 - 8:33PM

In reply to by Andrew (not verified)

You are correct - inside word from corporate Toyota is that at least the initial allotment to cover 2020 will be coming from Japan, with very limited delivery in July and ramping up a bit after that. But battery shortages will cut the total by 20% from initial plans.

MATT (not verified)    April 22, 2020 - 11:03AM

I will impatiently wait for it. I installed the 240 volt charging outlet.. I am committed.
It is the good looking , roomy, reliable ev option that almost IS.

Jen (not verified)    April 23, 2020 - 9:56AM

I agree with the previous commenter that this will likely be my next car whenever it comes out. However, I wish they'd at least release pricing information so we can make those decisions. If everything I want doesn't push it too far over $40, then I'll happily wait into 2021 if I have to. But if the pricing doesn't line up, then I'm going to have to look elsewhere - and I'd rather not wait if I don't need to.

Charlie (not verified)    April 23, 2020 - 4:40PM

In reply to by Jen (not verified)

my brother purchased a 2019 Hybrid XSE with every option available and that OTD after dealing was 41k.. Seeing as how the XSE Hybrid RAV4 starts at $35,100 MSRP before any options are applied along with dealer licensing/taxes...My guess for a XSE RAV4 Prime MSRP will start at 40k and a fully optioned out one will be around 45k.

Bill (not verified)    April 23, 2020 - 2:15PM

I put $1000 down at Findlay Toyota in Las Vegas about a month ago and hope I'll get one of the first loaded ones here in Nevada. I too wonder if they will be built in the US or Japan. We have a 2018 Prius Prime now and love it.

dennis velez (not verified)    April 24, 2020 - 2:07PM

Personally, I think the media is driving the excitement to buy the RAV4 Prime and Toyota is sitting back wanting to reap the profits without having to work for it. Toyota needs to realize only 3 people in 1000 choose Plug in cars. And the USA has a declining market share of electric vehicles down to 1.9%. Toyota has a lot of competition for Plug in vehicles and if they choose to be greedy in a USA world of HAVE IT NOW, Toyota is going to find themselves with significantly fewer sales if they don't keep their word for a Summer 2020 roll out.

Doug Howe (not verified)    May 1, 2020 - 10:51AM

I work for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada in Woodstock, Ontario and we take pride in building our hybrid vehicles and this won't be any different. For customers hoping that their vehicle will be built in the good ol' U.S of A, well I hate to burst your bubble when I tell you that both of our Southern Ontario plants have been updated for the new build and with our 53 second tact time and 10 hour/6 days per week work schedule with a rotating shift of 2000 employees per shift per factory I think that we'll get these cars built on schedule like we always have. As long as our engines and transmissions arrive from Japan without a hitch and my fellow manufacturing employees can sustain the burden of the kind of work schedule that likely awaits us that is...fingers crossed lol!!

Troy (not verified)    May 1, 2020 - 6:12PM

In reply to by Doug Howe (not verified)

I don't have any issue with buying a vehicle made in Canada and hope our friends north of the border don't mind a Toyota made in Kentucky either. I used to work for Honda in Ohio. We had a car come off the line every 60 seconds and that was over 20 years ago. I have a lot of respect for the team members building vehicles on the high volume production lines. People in my current facility look lazy by comparison. I wish you well.

dennis velez (not verified)    May 1, 2020 - 7:34PM

In reply to by Doug Howe (not verified)

Hi Doug Howe, I hope you and yours are safe and healthy as we get through this virus problem. We wish you and your team well in all your capacities to meet and exceed production of the RAV 4 Prime; especially at 10 hour days 6 days per week. Yikes! I don't think the Built in USA is too much of an issue. My perception is you at the factory level are doing all you can to meet the demands of the company and population while the headquarter corporate executives play their marketing games and not commit to a specific date rollout. It feels like, let's not give the population what they want...let's play with them and see how much more we can raise the demand.....bottom line...corporate greed. With all the other car manufactures having stock and incentives, it really leaves a bad feeling about Toyota and makes you wonder if they are worth it.

Tom (not verified)    May 2, 2020 - 11:23AM

In reply to by Doug Howe (not verified)

Hi Doug, any word from your plant as to whether the 2021 RAV4 Prime will be built there? I understand that the 2022 Lexus NX will be built there, so perhaps the investments are made for the upcoming NX instead?
Also, don't the current 2.5L engines come from the U.S.? Perhaps the hybrid powertrain is from Japan though.

mgeinitz (not verified)    May 1, 2020 - 5:13PM

Doug, Are you saying that the Woodstock plant is going to be building the 2021 Rav4 Prime plug in? I have not been able to find out of the first ones were coming from Japan or Canada or USA.

Dan (not verified)    May 1, 2020 - 5:54PM


Are you saying the Prime will be built in Canada?

Dan (not verified)    May 7, 2020 - 1:36PM

No I will wait for a RAV4 Prime or get another make/model--I will not get a RAV4 Hybrid (with no plug-in).

Bob Blunk (not verified)    May 10, 2020 - 6:34PM

We bought a 2020 RAV4 XSE Hybrid at the end of February, just before everything shut down. As a result of social distancing, we have only driven the car 400 miles. I had considered waiting for the Hybrid Prime but was not sure if we would be able to find one in Washington State. During my auto search I was told that Prius Primes were not available here, with almost all sales being made in California instead. I wondered if this prioritization was done to better satisfy California's strict emission/efficiency requirements. I also wondered if RAV4 Hybrid Prime sales might be prioritized to certain markets. What do you think?

Anonymous (not verified)    May 11, 2020 - 5:44PM

In reply to by Bob Blunk (not verified)

This is 100% happening.
In Canada, Toyota confirmed to me (when I was talking to a senior rep at the 2020 Toronto Auto Show) that they will be sending more units to Quebec and BC, because:
1. Those 2 provinces have provincial rebates
2. Quebec has a ZEV minimum sales requirement

As a resident of Ontario, I am disappointed that this is happening but I am not surprised.

Mgeinitz (not verified)    May 12, 2020 - 1:13PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

So Anonymous, Did the senior rep tell you if they would be providing the Rav4 Prime for Canada and the USA? And also if its delayed Doug seems to say its on time. Thank you