If you’re looking for a powerful and capable crossover, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime is an excellent choice. With a hair over 300 hp and an all-wheel-drivetrain, the RAV4 Prime can take you anywhere with a large amount of gusto that you wouldn’t expect from a family-friendly crossover.
The Toyota RAV4 Prime is priced in the $40,000 range, however, many dealerships are still trying to sell them at a marked-up price. But is the RAV4 Prime really worth it?
Finding a Toyota RAV4 Prime is somewhat rare
For starters, one of the reasons that dealers are still inflating the price of Toyota RAV4 Prime models is that the automaker only planned to produce and sell 5,000 units. A quick nationwide search on Autotrader reveals that there are currently 312 RAV4 Prime models posted for sale, so you can tell that it is indeed a rare model.
The RAV4 Prime is available in two different trim levels: SE and XSE. The base trim has everything you need including a host of driver-assist features, LED headlights, 18-inch wheels, and an 8-inch infotainment display. Stepping up to the XSE trim will get you SofTex trimmed seats with red stitching, steering-wheel-mounted paddles, blind-spot indicators with rear cross-traffic alert, and larger 19-inch wheels.
The base trim has a starting price of around $40,000, while the higher trim starts around $42,000. My tester was an XSE with the Premium and Audio packages, in addition to some other options, and carried a total sticker price of $49,461. As you can tell, this special RAV4 carries a hefty price tag from the factory. But the dealer markups make it much higher.
How much are dealers marking them up?
When we reported on the Toyota RAV4 Prime dealer mark-ups last year, they were being marked up by $10,000. It’s been almost a year since then and in our search through current RAV4 Prime listings, there are a number of them still being posted for $10,000 over the sticker price.
This means that if you’re looking for a fully-loaded RAV4 Prime XSE, then you can expect to pay around $60,000. That’s luxury car pricing for a mainstream crossover.
Is the RAV4 Prime worth the marked-up price?
After spending a week with the RAV4 Prime, I realized that aside from the car’s limited production, the main highlight is its powerful 2.5-liter engine/electric motor combination. The setup produces 302 hp in total and is able to achieve and up to an EPA-estimated 94 MPGe when the battery is charged and 38 mpg in combined driving when it’s depleted.
In real-world driving, I found that the setup feels like a small V6 when it comes to its power delivery. The electric motor provides an excellent boost in mid-range torque when you bury the accelerator, but it’s very quiet and smooth under partial throttle.
It also gets excellent fuel economy as my tester read “99 mpg” on the fuel economy indicator for most of the week, and then dropped to around 50 mpg after the battery juice went away. It’s a powerful and fuel-efficient SUV for sure, but to be honest, I don’t think it’s worth an extra $10,000 over the MSRP.
In fact, I would suggest that you save the extra money for the RAV4 Prime altogether and get the regular RAV4 Hybrid instead. But if you really want the extra power and the novelty of having a rare RAV4, then get the Prime version.