Crossover & Midsize

Choose the Toyota RAV4 Prime Over the Tesla Model Y

The Toyota RAV4 Prime is making a power move toward one of its rivals, the Tesla Model Y, by creating a plug-in hybrid model that costs a lot less for drivers to buy. Even Though the Tesla Model Y just received a significant price cut, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime is still coming out ahead as the better EV to choose. 

RAV4 Prime VS. Tesla Model Y 

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime has a starting price of around $38k, while the Tesla Model Y used to start about $52k. In an attempt to generate more sales, the Tesla Model Y is dropping $3k off of its price to start around $49k. 

Toyota RAV4 Prime driving through tunnel
Toyota RAV4 Prime | Toyota

But that still makes the Tesla Model Y cost about $11k more than the Toyota RAV4 Prime. Is saving $3k enough to make drivers want it? Maybe not after the Tesla Model Y has started to be delivered with a few significant problems, such as chipping paint, holes, in the body, and more. 

Toyota RAV4 Prime and Tesla Model Y performance 

The RAV4 Prime will have an electric range of 42 miles before gas kicks in. It will get about 40 mpg combined and have a variety of 500 miles between fill-ups with a 94 MPGe range. The Model Y has a long-range of about 315 miles with a 121 MPGe rating. 

Tesla Model Y driving away from the city
Tesla Model Y | Tesla

Energy costs for both of these vehicles will be very similar, but with low gas prices, the RAV4 Prime could have an edge. Both vehicles are expected to have annual costs that are about the same, except you have to pay more to get started with the Tesla Model Y. 

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Under the hood of the Toyota RAV4 Prime, you’ll find a 2.5-liter Dynamic Force four-cylinder engine to provide 302 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, making it the fastest RAV4 ever. 

The Tesla Model Y has a front and rear motor that combine to produce 384 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.g seconds, making it a little sportier than the RAV4. 

Both of these vehicles come with all-wheel-drive, allowing them to tackle ice, snow, and other slippery conditions. According to Edmunds, the Tesla Model Y has stiff handling, with a loud bumpy ride. Meanwhile, the Toyota RAV4 Prime seems to have a quieter interior and smoother ride. 

Toyota RAV4 Prime and Tesla Model Y Features 

The Tesla Model Y has about 66 cubic feet of cargo space, and the Toyota RAV4 Prime is slightly larger with an expected 68 cubic feet of cargo space. The Model Y doesn’t have rear seats that can fold flat, but it does have storage bins in the floor. Also, the Toyota RAV4 Prime has more accessible access to the rear seats and more passenger space. 

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime on display during the AutoMobility LA event
The 2021 Toyota RAV4

In terms of tech, the Tesla Model Y made some interesting choices. It can’t connect to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto like the Toyota RAV4 Prime can. But it does have adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.

The Toyota RAV4 Prime impressed Edmunds with its loaded, easy to use features. The Toyota RAV4 Prime feels like the safer bet that comes with more comfort, practical tech, and a lower price tag.