Is the RAV4 Prime Worth It?


Before you purchase a new Toyota RAV4 Prime, you need to know if it’s worth it for your situation. It’s a great vehicle, but isn’t the best hybrid SUV for all drivers. While it’s technologically advanced and efficient, it does have an inflated price and is difficult to find.

So, is the RAV4 Prime worth it?

I break down all the aspects to consider before making a decision. I show you the benefits of driving a RAV4 Prime versus the challenges that lie ahead.

toyota rav4 prime blueprint color

Overall Thoughts

The five-passenger Toyota RAV4 Prime is a plug-in hybrid SUV that includes a potent powertrain. It pairs an electric motor with the gas-powered 2.5-liter four-cylinder to create 302 horsepower. This engine works seamlessly with the continuously variable transmission (CVT). Plus, all models include standard all-wheel drive.

(toyota.com)

toyota rav4 prime blueprint color

The biggest advantage of the RAV4 Prime is its hybrid technology. It’s perfect for anyone that wants the benefits of driving an EV without the commitment. Because the Prime offers an electric driving range of up to 42 miles, it’s perfect for driving in the city every day.

The price of the RAV4 Prime is higher than other RAV4s, which I will talk about in-depth in a moment. However, it’s also more technologically advanced and includes a more powerful configuration. Additionally, it’s difficult to argue with how good it looks, inside and out.

Charging Costs

toyota rav4 prime with charger plugged in

Before choosing any hybrid or electric car, it’s important to figure out the charging costs. This factor is just as important as figuring out the gas mileage of a conventional vehicle.

With the Toyota RAV4 Prime, the average cost to fully charge the motor is $2.38. Electricity costs vary by location and utility company, so it’s important to use our RAV4 Prime charging cost guide to estimate it better.

There’s also the fuel economy rating of the RAV4 Prime to consider. When not using the EV mode, the RAV4 Prime is rated at 40/36 mpg city/highway. This exceptional rating proves that even when it’s not being used for electric driving, it remains fuel efficient for added savings.

(toyota.com)

Sticker Price

rav4 prime badge close up

The 2023 RAV4 Prime starts at $41,590. Yet, many dealerships are charging more than the sticker price because of the lack of availability.

Many enthusiasts have chosen to opt for a used RAV4 Prime instead. While this is a reasonable option, the increased demand has forced used prices to skyrocket as well. Pre-owned RAV4 Prime models with less than 10,000 miles are currently selling for $5,000 to $10,000 above the original MSRP.

I called dealerships around the country to figure out how accessible the RAV4 Prime is. Learn more about RAV4 Prime availability in my recent article.

Making Your Decision

Is the RAV4 Prime worth it? It depends on your lifestyle, budget, and needs.

Looking at the electricity costs, MPGe, and real-world reports from owners, I am not convinced that the RAV4 Prime is going to save you any money over time.

Several factors must be looked at to determine your own costs. These include:

  • Total miles driven each year
  • Variability of daily miles (are the drives consistent or does mileage vary greatly)
  • Your region’s electricity costs versus fuel price
  • Sticker price
  • Maintenance costs

Regardless, I would not recommend buying a RAV4 Prime purely to save on costs. I don’t think it will pay off, especially because it no longer qualifies for a federal tax credit.

toyota rav4 prime interior dashboard

While costs are important to look at, there’s more than money to consider. As a premium vehicle, there are lots of upgrades with this RAV4 model. It also pushes out more power than the other models. These considerations must be given to the additional price. In some cases, the elevated price is worth every penny.

Another thing to think about is whether it’s worth waiting to receive your RAV4. The reality is that it’s not easy to find a RAV4 Prime anywhere. Be prepared for a struggle based on the current RAV4 availability.

If you decide to purchase a used RAV4 Prime, you have other considerations to think about. The used prices are higher than most people expect. While you might be prepared to pay for this, think about what happens when the demand drops off. As the values go down, owners face a high depreciation cost. The RAV4 Prime could quickly become worth less than what is owed on it.

For this reason, I encourage you to read more about the RAV4 Prime on Toyota’s website before making up your mind. You should also check one out in person, if possible. It’s important to judge the good and the bad before deciding what’s best for you.

Additionally, be sure to calculate your expected charging costs here.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Prime offers an electric-only range of 42 miles. Fuel economy boasts a 40/36 mpg city/highway.

It depends on the trim level you are looking at. Gas powered RAV4 base model starts at $28,275, the Hybrid starts at $31,225 and the Prime starts at $43,090.

No. The RAV4 Prime no longer qualifies for a federal tax credit. However, do your research for any state and local incentives available to you.

Should You Buy a RAV4 Prime?

I can’t answer that question for you. What I can tell you is the RAV4 Prime has all of the upscale features you hope for out of a Toyota. It also pushes out exceptional amounts of power and provides superior efficiency.

These benefits don’t automatically make it the right choice for every driver. Only you know if the RAV4 Prime is the right hybrid for your situation.

If it’s not, consider the gas-powered RAV4 or the RAV4 Hybrid instead. Both of these Toyota SUVs also provide plenty of perks worth considering.

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