2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid white color rear view
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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.

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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Funny, the RAV4 just dropped to 5th place, 15 points behind the leader in Consumer Reports testing. Culprit was excessive engine noise. Other testing publications have noted it too. TOYOTA has acknowledged the problem and will fix in the 2020 model.
I believe that is for the gas engine models (I drove one and hated it!) the hybrid is much quieter and smoother shifting.
You stated 2019 hp for the hybrid. Wow,,,smile. Typo
That's the best gas mileage of ALL TIME! Thanks for the catch and I've corrected it. yikes that's a big mistake! Jeff
Our first hybrid. Bought ours on Memorial Day, Shopped over a month, Learned alot about our area's dealers...oh boy. Had to walk away from deals that were not for us but when we locked into one the deal was quick and painless, We love the car and gas mileage looks btween 45-60 mpg. Definitely has great power. Totally makes sense..for you folks considering it....It's only a matter of time b4 you get one.
Here in MN, I had to put one on order at the end of April (Hybrid Limited). I was quoted 4-14 weeks, but my dealer just let me know it should arrive at the end of June. Dealerships just can't keep any on the lot! I was given a build sheet with VIN, which I was initially able to see some information on the Toyota owners website (order date, model, options, etc.). The day the RAV4 was scheduled to be built (5/27), now the same site is showing the VIN is invalid. Can VINs change at time of build (vs. what is provided on a build sheet)? So odd.
If you need a rav hybrid2019 come to Pennsylvania there sitting on the dealers lots!
I had requested one from my local dealer in February before they were out. They took my specs and initially said “maybe end of March”. End of March rolls around and they say “May 10” May rolls around and they say... “not until late June or July”. I gave up on them and started hunting my hybrid blue flame xle with convenience package all over the Midwest. I actually found it in Madison and drove all the way from Columbus Ohio to get it. And I love it! I replaced a Prius so no way could I have taken the hit on gas.
Hi Jeff, I stumbled on this article ("2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is Special But Frustrated Buyers Still Willing to Wait Months to Get One") while re-reviewing my options of a new car purchase. Put me down as one of the frustrated but eager/anxious buyers awaiting their prized 2019 Rav4 Hyrbid models. I've researched for years for the perfect next car purchase and I know I want a hybrid/awd combo (I currently drive a 2004 Jeep Wrangler - yes, I drive the same car for many years. Hence the move to a reliable Toyota vehicle at this point). My daily work commute is 52 miles round-trip in NE Ohio. That means cold, snowy winters with lots of lake-effect snow from October through April, so AWD is essential. I said re-reviewing my options for a new car purchase as I was recently looking around for other hybrid/awd vehicles out there (Lexus UXh, Nissan Rogue) since I test drove the Rav4 Hybrid back on April 13th. It was a base LE model and loved its handling, quiet and comfortable ride along the same stretch of highway my daily commute takes me (or parts of it at least). Sat down with the dealer and made arrangements for a Ruby Flare Pearl Limited model with the cold-weather package, plonked down $1000 deposit and wait for a phone call. And waited, and waited...and still waiting. I called my sales rep a couple of times requesting an update and he was very apologetic, stating that Toyota is overwhelmed with demand and it might be another 4-5 more weeks' wait (initially he said no more than 2 weeks). Realistically, I don't think I'll hear from him until July, or August at the latest. Anytime before the next snow fall would be perfect. Then I stumbled on your article while researching other options and it gave me hope and renewed confidence in my purchase option. I've waited years for a new car. What's a few more weeks or months? Excellent article. Thanks, Jeff.
I placed an order for a RAV4 hybrid the day I test drove the first hybrid received at my local Toyota dealership on April 2nd. I selected blueprint/black two tone XSE model with a number of upgrades; weather package, mudguards, etc. It took a month for it to be delivered though I understand from my salesman they had 26 on backorder when I picked it up on June 3rd. I’m amazed at some of the negative comments posted. The XSE has a hood blanket and the engine noise is minimal. It doesn’t handle as well as my Honda S2000 but handling is adequate for an SUV. I’m averaging over 40 mpg and the price differential compared to the gasoline only model sold me on the hybrid.
Hey Jeff, Mitch from Cali w an update. My XSE had a build date of June 28th. Won’t arrive until early to mid August. The wait is frustrating, but the car is still nowhere to be found. Seems like Toyota missed it’s estimates for demand as I expect the hybrid will have more demand then the gas. Same dealer that hasn’t been able to get a hybrid has had 11 gas models including a couple Adventures sitting on the lot of weeks. Sad and grrrrr.
I put a deposit down a month ago and received a phone call saying the vehicle was pulled and no longer available. What??? I even got a vin number. Told me it could be tires, or door, or paint problem but it was pulled and didn't pass some kind of inspection once it was shipped here. Hmmm got me wondering what is the real truth. I'm very suspicious of this whole thing now. Makes no sense to me. They did give me a new VIN number and I'm checking the old VIN to make sure that vehicle wasn't sold under my nose to someone else.
I bought the XSE hybrid in Blueprint in Fl and I have been happy with the 1st 1,500 miles or so. I have seen all the reviews where the reviewer slams his foot to the floor to make the engine growl, but seriously who drives a hybrid like that? You get plenty of pull out of the engine of you select the Sport mode but the car doesn't start up in that mode so you have to select it each time. So I said I've been happy but there is one niggling issue that bothers me. The gauges say I'm averaging 39 to 40 mpg on long trips and with a stated 14.5 gal tank I should get a range of around 560 miles. Try as I may I can't get any more than around 450! The distance till empty will start at 520 and within 40 miles it will drop to the point where the total expected range drops to 450. On one trip the low fuel warning came on at 30 miles but when I refueled, it only accounted accepted 11.9 gallons despite me topping it off. I an having a really hard time believing there is 14.5 gals capacity in that tank. Anyone else have a similar experience?
Chris: Same here! I just included a similar issue with my 2019 XLE hybrid review (hopefully it will appear soon). I've attributed it to them being too aggressive about refueling but yes, that tank capacity is another likely suspect. When my low fuel light first comes on, if I go immediately to refuel, it only takes about 8.5 gal to top off. Hard to believe it still has 6 gal (or about 240mi of driving) left in the tank. Annoying issue. I have 3400mi on the car, and calculated 42.5MPG fuel economy (75% highway, 25% "city"). I live in rural NH but drive on Interstate Rt 93 a lot.
I'm in the process of placing an order for a Limited. I'm not sure if this information is correct, but I read on another website that some portion of the tank is considered reserve and isn't calculated in the mile to empty gas gauge. Supposedly,you still have another 2-3 gallons in your tank even after your car is on empty. Again, I'm not sure if this is accurate, but I'm passing it on. Let us know if you obtain any additional information.
I'm in the process of buying the white XSE (just signed today) and dealer says 1-2 week max, but this article is making me concerned that might not be the case... Anyway, I've had a camry se for the last 3 year's and the 2 gallon reserve tank is standard with Toyota. It's actually pretty handy and I think it's more of a protection for the engine and longevity. It's terrible for a vehicle to literally run on fumes.
I wanted to follow up on my comment above about the fuel tank, mpg, and reserve portion. I’ve now had my Japan built 2029 Rav4 hybrid Limited for a little less than one month and have just shy of 3K miles. I believe that there is definitely a problem with the publisher fuel tank size/mpg. Recently, I drove the car until the gas light came on and I had about 24 miles until empty. I got gas but was only able to put a maximum of 8.9 gallons of gas until the gas pumped stopped refueling. I topped off twice (I now know that this is horrible for your car) and still only pumped a maximum of 9.4 gallons. Even with 2 gallons in the reserve, that still leave about 3 gallons missing. I can’t fill up the tank and this happens every time I get gas. I’m at my dealership now hoping that they will replace the fuel tank or sending unit or anything really just to fix this issue. I’ll update what happens here but if anyone else has this issue, please notify Toyota, your vehicle servicer, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and even the Federal Trade Commission (false advertising) to file a complaint. If there are enough people who report their issue, Toyota may issue a recall or service bulletin explaining how to remedy the issue. Without that, they may overlook the issue and only fix it for the 2020 model year but do nothing for us 2019 owners.
@T: I've been to a dealer (for an oil change at 5k miles) who assured me it has a 14.5gal tank. The MOST I've put in at refuel was 12.4gal after putting about 520mi on one tank. For me, that was a few days of my normal driving around town, followed by a 55mi highway trip -- all with "seek fuel" message & low fuel light glaring at me. I asked the dealer to check it out but they asked that I bring it in when it is in the low fuel state. In the meantime, I have resigned myself to refuel at my earliest convenience whenever the tank reaches 450mi (I use one of the trip odometers to measure tank mileage). I doubt is a fuel tank problem, more likely a design flaw (I'm hoping that it may be a software problem, then it may be easily fixable) in the way they measure the amount of fuel remaining. For the first 3000 mi or so, I calculated MPG by tracking the odometer mileage at each refill and amount of fuel pumped, and I found it to be 42.5mpg.
I'm from the LA/OC area in search of a Hybrid XSE, so far two of the local dealers that have it are charging a $15,000 (yes, 15K) "Market Adjustment" price in addition to the sticker price. While I understand a markup on a limited-edition Lambo with Louis Vuitton interior and diamond-studded steering wheel to customers that actually have that kind of cash flow, I'm appalled at the level of greed from these dealers.
I put a deposit down on a loaded white with black roof XSE with pano etc..back on april 27th. This was After months of waiting on “availability” of the hybrids to even place an order. After a few weeks of the dealer trying to locate the vehicle i was told that the vehicle was being built on june 20/21 and i would have it around July 5th. After calling my sales rep he said that about 200 vehicles are in New York but are not being released because of some kind of recall on the hybrids. The recall is on the prius, camry, and rav 4 hybrids and has something to do with the brakes but he had no additional information. I have been planning on this purchase since january. My lease on another toyota vehicle is currently on an extension. I trust my rep and have been leasing and buying vehicle from him and this dealer for 12 years so i know he is telling me what he knows. I thought about cancelling the order but i have been a toyota customer for a long time and have other toyota vehicles and their dependability is outstanding. The latest is toyota corp will not release the vehicles until further notice..needless to say i’m not happy right now. Anyone else hear anything on a recall?
Ordered a 2019 XLE Hybrid back in May 2019. It took about 6 weeks from order to pickup. Have had it now since late June, and overall very happy with it. I'm getting approximately 42.5 MPG with mostly (75%) highway driving. Already have 3400mi on it so this invloves about 9 refills -- see my nit about refuel warnings. I got the black with black, normal sunroof (I don't even use that so never mind pano). Likes: (1) rear seats fold flatter than 2017 XLE hybrid, (2) they've added rear passenger air vents, (3) fuel economy improvement (getting about 42.5 MPG, that's 9 MPG better than with with the 2017 model), (4) power rear hatch, (5) higher ground clearance, (6) more powerful feel, (7) very smooth ride. NOTE: I do NOT notice excessive engine noise as others have mentioned. Dislikes: (1) although the fuel tank capacity is 14.5 gal, the "miles to empty" dashboard feature has me searching for gas after approx. 360-370mi. When I stop for gas, I find it only takes approx 8.5 gal to refill. Assuming the fuel gauge can be trusted and that 14.5 gal capacity is accurate, this means there is approximately 6 gal left in the tank, and I could have driven an additional +/-200mi and STILL have approx. 40mi to find fuel. This is similar to how the 2017 behaved and I really wish Toyota would make it less aggressive about refueling (and obviously they should fix any design reason that causes them to insist on refueling so frequently). In the meantime, I am using the "B" trip meter to figure out a more accurate per-tank distance, but having the dashboard telling me "seek fuel" with the low fuel light on makes for a uneasy feeling. So far, after driving with low fuel light on for 3 days, the max refill I've done is 10.25 gal ... getting there, but I may end up needing AAA to bring me fuel if I push it too far. (2) IMO, the adaptive cruise control has a bug. I have repeated this experiment at least three times with exactly the same reults. Driving along on a two lane divided highway (two lanes in each direction), with exactly one car in front of me and visible to the cruise control radar, if that car exits while I intend to travel straight, the adaptive cruise will brake hard. I think this is because it mistakenly assumes I will be following the exiting car, which is now braking for the curved exit ramp. Now, if there are two or more cars in front of me, and (only) the car immediately in front of me exits, then the adaptive cruise does not brake hard (it may sometimes slow down slightly but nothing extreme as in the one-car case). Moving over to the passing lane before the car exits prevents this, but that lane is not always free, and occasionally people "forget" to use their turn signal prior to exiting...
I started thinking about purchasing a Rav4 Hybrid as soon as I saw the improved mileage ratings. My wife and I had talked about a Prius for a couple of years, but when it came down to it, a month of mud season here in SW New Hampshire made the low clearance a problem, and my 6'3" frame was clamoring for a vehicle easier than our Corolla to enter, exit, and ride in comfortably. This was especially for longer road trips now that we're retired. We went to our local dealer to look at the one LE they had on the lot. I walked away because I knew a dealer an hour north had one on special listed for considerably less. The first dealer called me less than 5 minutes later and said they'd take $3,000 off. I guess this doesn't fit with the idea that they're hard to come by, but... We came back the next day and purchased it. Downside: the black interior, but we have seat covers on the way. Upside: 50+ mpg!, comfortable to drive, and easy to get in and out of. Plus the more than adequate space with the rear seats up, and even more with them down. (No regrets, other than nobody recognizes me in the dark red, stylish Rav4 that I drive more frequently now than my dark green, much less flashy Tacoma. Oh well!)
You are lucky in the USA. There is a $6000 hike for the hybrid version in Japan. The published economy differences are 15km/l for the petrol version and 20km/l for the hybrid, so not sure where you get your difference of 28mpg versus 40mpg for the hybrid in the USA. At the published economy differences in Japan, it would take around 24 years to break even at 10,000 km/yr, and even that distance is above average for Japan. I would like a hybrid, but I don't think I can afford it.
I have been waiting for my RAV 4 hybrid since April. It’s stuck in Houston and has been for 4 months. Dealer has no info. What is going on????
I picked up my 2019 Rav4 XLE a little over 2 weeks ago with 7 miles on the odometer. The color is "Lunar Rock" and it is a chameleon color that switches between cream, gray and sage green, depending on the lighting. My last car was a Prius so I know how to finesse the MPG. I got 45.5 mpg on the first tank of gas, mixed driving. I am about 70 miles into my second tank of gas and I am getting 46.5 mpg. I am beyond pleased.
"That is a difference of only $800." Unfortunately in Japan the price difference is over $3,000. Given the current petrol price here (2x the USA), the published fuel economy differences, and at an annual driving distance of 10,000km (greater than the average in Japan), it would be more than 20 years to break even on the hybrid. You are lucky in the USA to get such a small price difference between the ordinary petrol version and the hybrid.
Hi All. My fuel tank experience is as follows and this is on a 2019 Rav4 Hybrid XSE. Regardless of how much fuel is left when I fill up, with careful 'feathering' of the gas nozzle, I have been able to fill it with an amount of fuel that results in a displayed distance till empty of 517-520 miles. The needle is pegged at the top end. At 40mpg which I have been able to achieve regularly, that's about 12-13gals. When I turn off the engine the fuel gauge needle drops below the zero mark, which is where is usually is when the car tells me I'm empty. I don't have the guts to keep driving so I don't know how far you can go beyond this, but I suspect that the needle will drop further until the tank is actually empty and there is a comment to this effect in the manual. One day when the wife is not with me I'll take a 5 gal tank with me and drive till only electric works! Regards
We ordered, and put a deposit down on, a 2020 RAV4 Hybrid last November and the dealer said it might take a few weeks but we are still waiting. He also mentioned that production was commending in the US so supplies to Canada May start to loosen up. Can you confirm and/or clarify. We can’t wait to get our new car.