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2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is Special But Frustrated Buyers Still Willing to Wait Months to Get One

In the midst of a chaotic 2019 Hybrid Toyota RAV4 buying frenzy, car shoppers are increasingly frustrated they cannot get their cars. Here is why.

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The Toyota RAV4 is about as popular as an SUV has ever been. It was already the nation’s best-selling car, midsize truck and SUV for all of 2018. Then, it was completely redesigned with all new interior, exterior, and advanced safety and technology. News traveled fast about the March 2019 launch date of 2019 RAV4 Hybrid and things started to go a little crazy from there.

Hybrid RAV4 is special combo of power and great mpg

One of the factors making 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid so intriguing is the increase in horsepower compared to the gasoline. The traditional gasoline 2019 RAV4 version delivers 203 horsepower, which is a healthy increase from 176hp seen with its 2018 RAV4 predecessor. However, the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid gives drivers 219 net hybrid horsepower. I have driven the Hybrid many times, and there is a noticeable difference in pickup compared to gas RAV4. You will like it. In fact, here are 6 things you might not know about the 2019 RAV4.

A gigantic increase in gas mileage estimates is the other big reason people are frenzied over the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Let’s compare AWD mpg. The 2019 RAV4 AWD has combined fuel efficiency of 28mpg (25 city / 33 highway). On the other hand, 2019 RAV4 Hybrid AWD offers the promise of a whopping 40mpg combined (41 city / 38 highway). That is a significant difference.

“I’ll take RAV4 Savings for $800 please Alex”

That number, $800, is a solid, very appropriate number. I love statistics and figures. When comparing a 2019 RAV4 AWD gas vs Hybrid AWD, it is clear what an incredible value the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid is for all consumers.
The base price for a 2019 RAV4 AWD LE is $26,900 compared to $27,700 for its LE Hybrid colleague (all Hybrids are AWD, as an FYI). That is a difference of only $800. There is also a mere $800 increase between Limited AWD and Limited Hybrid ($34,900 base price vs. $35,700 base price.) Wowzers.

The reasons for choosing a 2019 RAV4 Hybrid over a RAV4 gas version are crystal clear. But can you get one?

Let’s talk to the people

Car buyers from coast to coast are writing me with their tales of woe in search of their RAV4 Holy Grail. With enormous demand, low supplies and rising gas prices, it is easy to paint a picture of thousands of customers on a frantic country-wide scavenger hunt for the perfect prize.

A reader recently wrote me with his “long wait story” to get a RAV4 Hybrid Limited. Fully loaded, and in Blueprint color (which is an amazing color, by the way. You should see it in person). He ordered it a couple months ago.

“Yeah, they (local dealership) ordered it but it is still about 6 weeks out, I’m renting a car until it gets in and it’s killing me,” lamented Art, a hopeful New Jersey car buyer.

Folks in California are especially having a challenging time landing a 2019 RAV4 Hybrid. This is no surprise, considering the gas prices are hovering around $4.00 per gallon right now. “I have searched all of CA for a Hybrid XSE w/ JBL and Panoramic Sunroof. Nope. My dealer is looking for me and placed an order. They guesstimate a 2-4 month wait,” added Mitch, one of my West Coast readers.

Some shoppers are not even having luck being able to test drive any RAV4 Hybrids. “I can’t even test drive one because the 2019 RAV4 Hybrids haven’t stayed on the lot for more than a day or have been claimed months in advance,” wrote a frustrated Owen.

So is it worth the wait for the RAV4 Hybrid?

Short answer: yes it is.

Unless you get lucky and find your 2019 RAV4 Hybrid sitting unclaimed at your local dealer (which does happen, by the way), you will be waiting weeks or months for your car. Let me give you hope that your wait will be worth it. As much as I have been hearing from frustrated buyers waiting long periods of time, I get just as much feedback from overjoyed people saying they made the right choice in getting their Hybrids.

“Best Car ever! Hauls *** (butt). Handles good and is comfortable. Don’t feel the bumps and 44-47mpg so far,” said thrilled RAV4 Hybrid buyer Joe.

Linda chimed in, “Got our 2019 RAV4 Hybrid XLE on April 16 & were extremely pleased when we got 42 mpg on the first tank of gas. Had started contacting dealers about 2 months before the Hybrid became available & we’re happy we didn’t give up & go for the gas or a 2018 Hybrid. It was worth the wait!”

And like I said, some relieved Hybrid buyers got lucky and stumbled in on their new car.

“We recently bought a 2019 RAV4 Hybrid XSE and are in love! We got 40.6 mpg on the first tank with a good amount of highway driving. It's really a very well designed vehicle. When we got ours it was the one of only two that they had and they only had those because they had come in very late the night before and we were there first thing in the morning. We didn't even get to see it or test drive it before purchasing.” Thanks for sharing your story Jennifer.

Have you purchased your 2019 RAV4 yet? If so, did you pick gas or Hybrid? Please share your stories if you are waiting for one now, if you bought one and waited or did not have to wait, and especially what you think of your new car now.

READ MORE: The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Buying Criteria You Need to Know

Thanks everyone for reading. I work hard to be “Your complete Toyota resource.” I’m Jeff Teague and I’ll see you next story…

Jeff Teague is a Toyota news reporter at Torque News. You can reach Jeff on Facebook and follow his Instagram for his popular "Toyotajeff Minute" quick Toyota reviews. Follow him on Twitter at @toyotajeff1 and tweet him tips for new stories. Jeff also shares Toyota news videos on his Youtube Channel at ToyotaJeff1.

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Adrian Corey (not verified)    September 20, 2019 - 12:51PM

In reply to by Armen Hareyan

Not in Canada, up here you only have the standard non panoramic sunroof and only on certain trims as it isn’t an option. Then again trying to find a 2019 rav4 Hybrid is impossible. better luck looking for a 2020 rav4. I doubt there is much of a waiting time difference.

hopefully by that time Toyota will cut the shit with 5.99% financing on prime

Scott (not verified)    May 28, 2019 - 7:58PM

In reply to by Jeff Teague

Went with the limited when I bought mine, never looked back, wonderful ride and all the convieniences are very worth it to me. I waited for about 2 months for it (ordered it with the second boat that came over). Running about 42mpg after 2k miles and I'm not easy on the accelerator.

Rodney Streeper (not verified)    May 28, 2019 - 8:17PM

In reply to by Jeff Teague

I drove both and chose the XLE hybrid. To me the synthetic leather does not have a very realistic leather. Also, almost all the XLE models are coming with the convenience package automatically, which means you get the 8 way adjustable seat, auto tailgate, and door sensors so no need to press the key to open the car. For me, that was plenty of upgrades. Good luck.

Lynne Ditullio (not verified)    May 28, 2019 - 6:30PM

We are one of those lucky ones who stumbled onto the Toyota lot 'thinking we'd take a look' and walked away with a RAV4 XLE hybrid with a panoramic sun roof and safety options. Blueprint color! We are extremely happy with all aspects: comfort, gas mileage, safety and the overall look. We've never had a car this fancy before and will never look back. So Jeff, I think you'd be happy with the XLE!

Rodney Streeper (not verified)    May 28, 2019 - 8:11PM

Yep, I picked up the exact "hybrid" model/color I wanted here in California. On top of that, got it at "invoice" pricing, which can be difficult at the moment. I did need to drive 3 hours to get it. Took a few days of calling all Toyota dealerships within a 3 hour radius of me to get the one I wanted, and the desired price, but it can be done. It wont be long and there will be a surplus of them, just like the gas versions. Good luck everyone.

Rodney Streeper (not verified)    May 28, 2019 - 8:23PM

A couple downfalls to this great car. I am averaging 35mpg with mixed driving. I guess if you feather the gas pedal as to stay in electric mode as much as possible, you might get close to the manufacturer stats, but that is not realistic. Also, while it is not a noisy car by any means, it has more road and wind noise than the previous model, as well as the current CRV. I will be soundproofing mine this summer with Dynamat. Still a great car, but has its quirks like anything else.

Rav4 Owner (not verified)    May 29, 2019 - 12:41AM

We drove 2 hours to get ours at a dealer in Livermore, CA. Other than disagreeing with you about blueprint blue (looks go online not so much in person) everything else you said is spot on. Grey with black roof is what we chose.....while we were there a few weeks ago three more were unloaded pff the truck and sold the same day!! Even better Livermore Toyota does Costco pricing on the hybrids so we avoided the dealer markups that some are reporting for this amazing vehicle. Averaging nearly 40 mpg at California highway speeds has been a welcome change from our Audi Q3 thsy required premium and got 20 mpg.

James W. (not verified)    May 29, 2019 - 2:52AM

I bought the XLE model on the Saturday of memorial day weekend. I love the way it felt behind the wheel, even a bit more than the gas version. I opted to buy the car because of the great miles per gallon, and it came in a good color (charcoal gray) and had both the convenience and weather packages. Just 5 minutes after signing for it, two other parties wanted to claim the car. By the time I left, all the XLEs had been sold. I got super lucky by getting there when I did, I had no idea there was such a craze going on for this car.

Keith Brown (not verified)    May 29, 2019 - 5:25AM

I work at Toyota Manufacturing at Kentucky. We will start building the Rav4 Hybrid soon.

Jose A Gabino (not verified)    May 29, 2019 - 1:18PM

In reply to by Keith Brown (not verified)

I be waiting for the hybrid made in the USA, it be a great gift to myself or Canada made, here in Puerto Rico are being sold so fast.

Jeff Mackler (not verified)    May 29, 2019 - 7:00AM

What does this mean? “ However, the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid gives drivers 2019 net hybrid horsepower.”

Jeff Teague    May 29, 2019 - 1:58PM

In reply to by Jeff Mackler (not verified)

When you combine the gasoline engine with electric motors, together they give you usually a boost in total horsepower over the gasoline version. That's the technical way Toyota likes it written. In "our terms" it means that gas gives you 203hp and hybrid gives you 219hp. Jeff

sepepper (not verified)    May 29, 2019 - 7:20AM

I found a dealer in Virginia who had an allocation order that went out in May. I preferred the adaptive headlights over a pano moonroof-- which the dealer reserved for me in their allocation order. It meant the build location would be in Canada instead of Japan (where pano roof-optioned orders are built exclusively, apparently). My build is the RAV4 Limited hybrid. I reserved the order on 5/9, and it was subsequently built on 5/21. It will be delivered to the dealer on 6/3.