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Shut Out: Most States Will Not See 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime This Year

Only certain states will receive the all-new 2021 RAV4 Prime. Find out if yours meets the criteria.


Toyota has done an incredible job producing and marketing its already wildly popular 2021 RAV4 Prime. This latest addition to the top selling RAV4 lineup has been billed as the fastest and most powerful RAV4 of all time.

People are excited and they should be.

Imagine your next Toyota RAV4 will be a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) that gets 94 MPGe fuel efficiency and can drive up to 42 miles without using any gasoline.

Oh, and did I also mention that it produces 302 horsepower and can reach 0-60 in 5.7 seconds?

People want one.

But can they get one?

2021 RAV4 Prime distribution

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Supersonic Red front end

According to multiple Toyota sources, RAV4 Prime models will only be distributed in 2020 to dealerships in states with ZEV standards already in place.

Zero emission vehicles, or ZEV, are ones that have the potential to produce no direct tailpipe emissions. Although they can still have a conventional internal combustion engine, they must be able to operate without using it.

Only 12 states out of 50 qualify right now as ZEV states.

What states will get 2021 RAV4 Prime?

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE Interior

It is speculated that only 5,000 of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime will be built and distributed to dealerships by the end of the year.

It also sounds as if 12 states will have won the RAV4 Prime lottery, so to speak. The remainder of the country will be shut out.

West Coast zero emission vehicle states include California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado.

Qualifying states in the Eastern United States include Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

RAV4 Prime next steps

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE Supersonic Red profile view back end rear end

Again, Toyota has done a fantastic job promoting RAV4 Prime. The problem is that most of the people who have had a chance to get excited over the past several months will not have the opportunity to get one.

Probably the best suggestion I have is for interested buyers to contact dealerships in ZEV states to see about getting on a waiting list.

Most dealerships at this point will still have no idea how many RAV4 Prime vehicles they are being allocated for the remainder of the year. They will also not know if they are getting SE or XSE models. They certainly will not know what colors they will be getting.

Time for your thoughts on 2021 RAV4 Prime

One other option you have is to delay your search for the elusive RAV4 Prime until more vehicles are produced. Hopefully, this will be in the early part of 2021.

Another hope is that more states are included in the distribution plans rolling into 2021.

VIDEO: Learn about 2020 RAV4 XSE Hybrid buttons and controls in my thorough review.

What do you think? Do you have the RAV4 Prime at the top of your wish list? Is this the only vehicle you want, or will you consider a RAV4 Hybrid or another model?

Have you contacted any dealers yet about Toyota RAV4 Prime and what has been your experience so far?

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story when I detail more about the new TRD Pro exclusive color.

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Norm (not verified)    June 28, 2020 - 12:23PM

The irony of the ZEV states getting Toyota's hottest new product is that Toyota sided with the administration in opposing the rights of California to set its own air quality standards.
The plain fact is that absent regulation the market would not have delivered the astonishing leaps in ICE technology and the incentives for EV breakthroughs that actually help the US become independent form foreign oil. Now, Toyota stands to benefit directly from this regulation. In addition its dealers will be making mad markups on the car and will sell every one they get.

Al D (not verified)    June 28, 2020 - 5:13PM

Oh well, I'll have to wait until they're available in Florida. I did find one more thing out about it. The 0-60 time in electric-only mode is 9.2 seconds. Not bad for around town driving when you consider how much torque will be available from a dead stop.

dbhutz (not verified)    June 29, 2020 - 12:30PM

In reply to by Al D (not verified)

I seriously doubt these will have instant torque like a real ev unless both the ICE and electric motors are working together, which will only last for about the first 30 minutes of your drive. Maybe not even then - 5.7 seconds isn't all that fast in the world of EV's.

Kimberly Coleman (not verified)    June 28, 2020 - 10:35PM

Hi Jeff, I gave up on the Prime since I am in WNC but went with the XSE Hybrid. I wanted limited but loves the grey and black trim with black wheels - excited to have a new vehicle and my first Toyota, bummed I couldn’t get all the features and trim too. Alas, while I will miss the Prime, at least I had the 0% APR. thanks for all the time you put into your videos and blog. (Singing could use some work though LOL).

dbhutz (not verified)    June 29, 2020 - 12:19PM

Just like Hyndai/Kia, you couldn't get one of these even if you wanted one. They are going to use it as an emissions compliance tool more than an actual product. Once people see the real world testing on the 0-60 time Toyota is flaunting no-one will want it anyway. The embargo is there for a reason.

Stagger (not verified)    July 2, 2020 - 10:52AM

Well, I wanted one and was ready to put the deposit down. Alas, I am also in WNC and it is looking like this is vaporware. It is really too bad as Asheville has plenty of charging stations around. As a single car family, a full BEV just isn't realistic yet. Need space for the kid and the ability to put a 2" hitch on for a 1UP bike rack. Most of our travel would easily be serviced by the 40 mile battery range but we do take longer trips that would make a BHV impractical. The Prime seemed to hit the sweet spot of space, range, and efficiency.
I knew there would be competition to get one of these and it might be towards the end of the year but waiting until mid 2021 just isn't an option.

DBHutts (not verified)    July 2, 2020 - 12:32PM

In reply to by Stagger (not verified)

If you don't need AWD, you should look at either a Kia Niro or a Hyundai Kona. Both come in either plug in hybrid or full EV. Both have aftermarket hitches available for cheap. Both are more efficient than the RAV4 competition. Not real "pretty" though, for that you would have to get a Tesla Model Y if its in your budget.

Stagger (not verified)    July 2, 2020 - 11:39AM

Small followup: Just spoke to my local dealer. They don't expect to have anything to sell until next summer as it now stands.

craig klein (not verified)    July 6, 2020 - 2:16PM

Jeff, curious why you didn't list New Mexico on your list of states...I thought they met the CA emission requirements?

Meredith M (not verified)    September 7, 2020 - 10:24PM

I split time between Nevada and CA. Nevada is getting none and of the two dealerships I went to in CA one is on a first come first serve basis charging $10k over MSRP and the other doing a waitlist for a refundable $500 deposit. They are reportedly selling them at MSRP and I'm #70 on the waitlist. The salesperson said it would be a six month wait...we shall see.

Daniel Siehr (not verified)    October 12, 2020 - 11:55PM

I guess I really wanted one. I have solar panels (12.4kwh system) and I so wanted to use the electricity it makes to power my ride. I am not a fan of the Prius, too low and too small, but the RAV4... now you are talking. I live in WI and figured the only way was to buy from a dealer in CA. So, on Labor Day, I called every dealer in CA that had one listed in inventory until I found one willing to sell it to me. I got on a plane 2 days later and picked it up and drove t back to WI (1978 miles - used mostly gas and charged the battery with the gas engine). I only got about 30mpg, but I was in a hurry and I was charging the battery with the engine. I got a XSE for 5K over MSRP and paid CA sales tax, ouch! But since it comes with a $7500 tax credit, that eases the pain a bit. I expect I have the only RAV4 Prime in the state, and perhaps the midwest. I went to my local dealer with it and the entire sales floor immediately came out to see it. I like the plug in aspect and I am getting close to 60 miles on a charge. The fit and finish is not great. The fit and finish on my 2004 AWD LTD Sienna is/was a LOT better. i could go into a lot of detail here. I am disappointed in that, but it does what I bought it for, and I am happy I did it, but not sure I would do it again.

WILL C (not verified)    November 21, 2020 - 6:22PM

In reply to by Daniel Siehr (not verified)

I am another Wisconsinite. I will be buying the Rav4 Prime SE or XSE soon. I am a little hesitant in buying it from the east or the west coast, so I am not able to decide fast. I admire that you went to LA and got it. It is worth to get it that way.

Luther Renfroe (not verified)    January 26, 2021 - 5:47PM

This is the January 26th & I'm wanting to know how many primes have came into the USA in 2021. Are they a website with this info? I live in Florida & we will not get any until late this year.

Dbc (not verified)    March 7, 2021 - 9:09AM

Will buy a BMW PHEV or AUDI PHEV or a Tesla since they are available in Ohio and, with ridiculous markups, same price for more luxury. Just dumb on Toyota’s part.

Luther Renfroe (not verified)    March 8, 2021 - 10:41AM

As Toyota customers we need to boycott those dealerships that are charging above the MSRP. Put their gauging names on all forums as crooks they are.

Valorie Swensen (not verified)    April 6, 2021 - 12:16PM

I live in Washington state west coast and actually found a used Prime RAV4 PHEV online somewhere on the east side of the state. They had dropped the price from around $60,000 to around $50,000. I passed on the offer. We were looking to buy 2 new vehicles this year--a Tesla model Y and the RAV4 Prime. Guess it will be just the Tesla. Would look at the Kia Niro EV or PHEV, but unfortunately, we need the AWD. We were told at our local Toyota dealership that Toyota was not selling the Prime PHEV to Washington state????? Sounds like someone is economizing on truth?

Jeffrey Stefani (not verified)    July 29, 2021 - 5:32PM

I live in arizona and was going to buy one in california at Manhattan Beach Toyota Sales. They told me they won't sell to anyone that doesn't live in california sounds like discrimination to me