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Searching for a 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime: You Will Not Believe These Stories

People have been hunting down dealerships searching for their shot at a 2021 RAV4 Prime. Their stories are unbelievable.

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One of the hottest cars to hit the Toyota pipeline in recent decades is the RAV4 Prime. Fans of hybrids and of Toyota and of the RAV4 have fallen head over heels for it. They love The Prime.

And here is the kicker. It is not even out yet.

People should begin seeing 2021 RAV4 Prime hitting dealerships by August in some areas. Other areas will not see them at all, unfortunately.

This RAV4 Prime is fast. It delivers 302 horsepower, making it the fastest Toyota RAV4 ever produced. Look for it to accelerate from 0-60 in just 5.7 seconds.

RAV4 Prime is efficient. It can take drivers up to 42 miles on one single electric charge. No gasoline during this electric drive. Imagine the immense benefit coming to commuters and carpool parents. Fuel estimates are at an incredible 94MPGe.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE Supersonic Red front end

But can you get one? And if you are lucky enough to find one, can you afford it?

People comment on 2021 RAV4 Prime

Since Toyota first announced RAV4 Prime, interested potential buyers have been searching the internet and other sources for more information on this exciting new model.

Now that delivery to dealerships is within sight, people who have fallen in love with the RAV4 Prime are searching far and wide to get their dream car.

I figured the best place to look for real-world Prime anecdotes is from those who are most passionate about the car – “Official Toyota RAV4 Prime Group” on Facebook. They should know best, right?

Let the hunt begin.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE interior

Gary found out some news for the group. “Just thought I would pass this along. The XYZ dealership in Annapolis is getting TWO RAV4 Prime XSE. My understanding is they will be offered on a 1st come 1st serve basis. They should arrive on 7/30th. However, they will be adding a dealer markup of $7,500.

I won't pay more than MSRP. Maybe next year for me when the market calms down.”

By the way, I will not use specific dealership names in my story. It is not fair to them since it is based on secondhand accounts.

Maybe a different model?

LA had this to say. “4th call today of an offer for a RAV4 Prime SE with 10k markup in SoCal. I'm officially giving up and purchasing a 2020 RAV4 Hybrid XSE tomorrow. I wish everyone the best of luck in their pursuit to buy the car.”

Actually this is great advice LA. I wrote a recent Torque News story on why it makes sense to consider a RAV4 Hybrid instead of RAV4 Prime.

VIDEO: I take RAV4 TRD Off-Road on some challenging off-road trails. You will not believe it.

“Experienced the same regarding markups by Dealers. Very disappointing. I have also given up.” Lamented Joseph.

Jim had quite a story to tell. “I have an update for you guys for the state of New York.

I have my name 1st and 4th in line for the Prime at my local dealership. I am 4th in line at another dealership. All are charging MSRP.

Only 22 dealers in the state of New York have been allocated RAV4 Primes for the initial wave. All but 2 are SE models.

I really wanted an XSE, so I called (XYZ) Toyota because they are one of the two that are getting an XSE. They wanted a $1000 NON-REFUNDABLE deposit and couldn’t tell me if or when I’d ever get a car. I would be 4th in line. Cannot be legal.

The first wave is supposed to arrive on August 4 here in New York. I am buying an SE, and if I can get my hands on an XSE I’ll pass the SE to my wife.

No one is sure if there will be a second wave or how soon it will be. I was told it could be months until the second allocation wave is released by Toyota.

Multiple people have told me, though, that Toyota has told them that New York will be getting more cars than any other state.”

This might not be good for publicity

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE Supersonic Red profile side view alloy wheels

“Giving up on a RAV4 Prime for now. Dealers (stealers) are going to ruin this launch for Toyota and leave a bad taste in people's mouths. My local dealer is insisting I come in, during a pandemic!” Said Isaac.

Eric had a similar experience. “I too got an offer with a $4,800.00 markup. So, off to another brand if I HAVE TO BUY a new vehicle soon. Until then, I'll wait for a Prime when the hype is over.”

Chris went in a different Toyota direction. “So just put down on a 2020 Highlander Platinum Hybrid AWD. It wasn’t my first choice, the RAV4 Prime, but seeing how hard those will be to get in Canada outside Quebec, and production delays, I decided I’d just upgrade to one of these. Crazy for the size how good on fuel these are. Pretty excited.”

Congrats on your new ride Chris.

How much did you say for RAV4 Prime?

“Just got an email from local dealer. They will get XSE in red... 20k mark up!” Thanks for the info Kevin.

“Dealerships in Long Island, NY are marking it up 10k smh.” Commented Bruce.

2021 RAV4 Prime Price

Yes, you can definitely get a RAV4 Prime for under $40,000. Well, without any dealership markups, that is.

RAV4 Prime SE has a factory MSRP (without destination charge) of $38,100. XSE comes in at $41,425.

Premium Package for the XSE will be $5,760 additional since it is absolutely loaded with extras.

All of Toyota’s initial 5,000-unit allotment of RAV4 Prime models will be going to Zero Emission Vehicle states.

Southeast Toyota, responsible for the country’s largest volume of sales, is being completely shut out. Not one single 2021 RAV4 Prime will be sent to dealerships in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia before the end of 2020 calendar year.

Other states are feeling the sting of being left out, too.

I have received emails from people in Colorado and Washington that said their dealerships have told them they are not getting any and they should look at other states.

And these are ZEV states.

Time for your thoughts on 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

As they say in The Hunger Games, “May the odds be ever in your favor.”

Good luck to all the RAV4 Prime treasure hunters out there in the world. I hope you find the trim level, options and color that is perfect for you and your family.

Please bookmark my Torque News / Toyota News page so you can keep up with my running updates on RAV4 Prime and other popular Toyota models.

Let me know how your search is going. Have you reserved one yet and when are you getting it? Have you decided to switch to another Toyota model instead?

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story when I review 2020 Land Cruiser Heritage Edition.

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Digitaldoc (not verified)    July 25, 2020 - 10:20PM

Not that excited about the RAV4 Prime, and nobody should pay above MSRP for it. There are other vehicles to buy, and above market price it really makes no sense.

mark washington (not verified)    September 4, 2020 - 7:14PM

In reply to by Digitaldoc (not verified)

You're not excited, that's fine. There's a lot of other people who are very excited about the Prime. I think it's worth every dime! If people are cheap like yourself then of coarse find something cheap buddy, this isn't the car for you cheap skate !!

David (not verified)    July 26, 2020 - 2:08PM

What a pathetic vehicle.

So it’s fast, but poor AWD, tight and cheap interior, below reliability, overpriced, and competition provides better utility.

Jason K (not verified)    July 26, 2020 - 2:21PM

Called several in the Bay Area
1) We will have 5k mark up. yes. Ok, let me know if you are back in market.
Joyee Huang
Toyota Sunnyvale

2) With so few Rav4 Primes getting produced and such high demand, most dealerships will be marking the cars up $5k-$10k over MSRP.
Eric Brooks
Burlingame, CA

3) Lastly, all of our RAV4 Primes are being sold at $2000 over MSRP. This pricing includes Simonize paint and interior protection for the lifetime of the car, and a 5 year GPS tracking device which gives you realtime reports of your vehicle's location 24/7 and allows you to report the car stolen through a smartphone app, called Kahu.
Ryan Dong
San Francisco Toyota

Rowala (not verified)    July 27, 2020 - 11:27AM

I signed a purchase agreement last week with a dealer in Westchester County, NY for a RAV4 Prime XSE with the XSE Premium package at MSRP. $1000 deposit refundable if car is not in by 11/1/2020.

Dan (not verified)    July 27, 2020 - 11:54AM

There's really no incentive to have a PHEV in NC/SC outside of the federal tax credit, which stinks. The only tolls in Charlotte area will still charge you regardless of the kind of car one drives. Registration fees are also higher as a way to combat the loss of gas tax.

Phamer (not verified)    August 9, 2020 - 11:41PM

Just test drove a SE Prime in Fremont, California on 8/6. Well, partially test drove it, the battery was completely drained, how lame! The sticker had a bunch of dealer added a dealer markup of $14,995! Could not believe it, it came to about $56,000. Ridiculous!!

Rowala (not verified)    August 10, 2020 - 4:03PM

$15K over MSRP with a bunch of dealer-added accessories is outrageous. I would not deal with one dealer in our area because it wanted $500 over MSRP. Good luck.

Scott K (not verified)    August 12, 2020 - 3:23PM

I've been calling around SF Bay Area and all are marking up around 5K and only for SEs. I started to look around and really got into the Ford Escape PHEV, definitely not as powerful but a much better looking car imho and a lot more for the $.

Jacob (not verified)    September 24, 2020 - 1:50AM

In reply to by Scott K (not verified)

The Ford escape PHEV isn't out yet. I called dealerships around the bay area and they all told me it's not released by ford yet and they haven't actually physically received the cars (despite the cars showing in inventory online)

Ron (not verified)    August 14, 2020 - 9:10AM

Heard Rav4 Primes were starting to arrive in the area, trolled the Internet for hours with completing a variety of online requests and chat sessions. While I wasn't successful using Toyota or dealer site searches; (only listed 2019 and 2020 models, not 2021) I was fortunate to be contacted by nearby dealer that just received notification they were allotted an SE so I jumped on it with $2K deposit and no markup, just MSRP, should be arriving by the end of the month.

Previously I was working with 2 dealers, one had 10 person waiting list from around the country, other was not doing waiting list, both selling at MSRP, no markup. Later that day the dealer not taking deposits contacted me; (I had been in contact with them monthly; sometimes weekly, for past 4-6 months and they sold one and notified me a new one was just allocated. I have a friend hot after one so passed that deal onto him.

While I haven't received my Prime yet the Northeast VT/NY dealers are playing fair doing the best they can to satisfy customers and no additional markup.

Can't wait for my new Rav4 Prime as I've been researching since the announcement last year.

Connor (not verified)    September 22, 2020 - 6:00PM

Stevinson Toyota West near Denver has a fully loaded Prime in stock but is marking up the MSRP by 10k and won't let you test drive without agreeing to terms first!

$65k with taxes puts in competition with fully electric vehicles. Will avoid that dealership in the future.

Katie (not verified)    September 25, 2020 - 3:37PM

Just saw one in Colorado with a $15k mark-up! $63k total! Crazy!! Here's hoping Toyota can get some more inventory out early in 2021, so I can get my hands on one. Not paying over MSRP, but I need a new car pretty soon.....

Anonymous (not verified)    September 30, 2020 - 4:12PM

Another large mark-up heard in CO - $18K above MSRP. This will be a difficult vehicle to source in 2020 without a willingness to shell out a hefty premium. This, of course, would nullify the advantage of any associated tax credits.

Scott Scribner (not verified)    October 24, 2020 - 2:19PM

West Coast Toyota in Long Beach, CA, has ONE XSE at 20K over sticker. I think they want to sell other models. Certainly an attention getter.

henry duplease (not verified)    November 11, 2020 - 9:06PM

for the price difference would look at tesla or even a bmw i3e cheaper and a better ride, and to the dealers asking over msrp i hope you eat them