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Sometimes, an automaker just gets it right, like Toyota with many of its SUVs. In this case, a Hybrid Toyota SUV has gained more fans than some of its other vehicles that have been around for a long time. It is kind of like chicken wings if you think about it. People love chicken wings plain, but people really love buffalo chicken wings, lemon pepper chicken wings, and even that weird Mt. St. Helens flavor at Miller’s Ale House. The same can be said about the Toyota RAV4, RAV4 Hybrid, and the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid model. Same model, different sauce.

Toyota’s RAV4 Hybrid surprised the industry with its best-selling performance

These Hybrid Toyota RAV4 SUVs are popular
The Toyota RAV4, Hybrid, and Prime (plug in hybrid) SUVs | Toyota

There are many Hybrid Toyota SUVs that drivers seem to like, but the compact RAV4 has the winning formula. Toyota Motor North America released its third-quarter sales results for 2023, and there wasn’t too much out of the ordinary. Between Lexus and Toyota, the brands offer 26 electrified vehicles, more than any other automaker.

At the start of October, Toyota sold 455,142 battery, fuel cell, Hybrid, and plug-in hybrid models. That’s 27.9% of all sales. Anyway, back to the point. The RAV4 Hybrid and RAV4 Prime (plug-in hybrid) have been so popular this year they sold more than both the 4Runner and Sequoia combined! If you add up the 2023 year-to-date sales for the 4Runner and the Sequoia, it is 101,384 – less than just the sales for the RAV4 Hybrid!

Toyota RAV4 SalesQ3 2023 Sales2023 Year-to-Date SalesStarting MSRP
RAV4 (gasoline)38,098302,831 $28,275
RAV4 Hybrid15,279103,329$31,225
RAV4 Prime 3,05118,851$43,090
Toyota SUV sales for 2023

The Toyota RAV4 is compact, has a low starting price, and can generally fit into many lifestyles. The 2023 model started at only $28,275, but shoppers were willing to increase that budget for better fuel economy.

This Hybrid Toyota SUV’s popularity is fueled by performance

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition in the grass
A Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition | Toyota

You don’t need a Hybrid Toyota SUV to get great fuel economy, but it does help. The 2023 RAV4 gets an EPA-estimated 27 city/35 highway/30 combined mpg on the base LE model with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive does drop that down to 27 city/34 highway/30 combined mpg, but it doesn’t make that much of a difference. The gasoline-powered RAV4 has 203 horsepower from the four-cylinder engine.

Toyota SUVFuel Economy
RAV427 city/35 highway/30 combined mpg
RAV4 Hybrid41 city/38 highway/40 combined mpg
RAV4 Prime94 MPGe / 38 mpg (gas only)
Toyota RAV4 Gasoline, Plug-in Hybrid, and Hybrid fuel economy

Those opting for one of the RAV4 Hybrid models get an EPA-estimated 41 city/38 highway/40 combined mpg for most trim levels. That includes the Hybrid LE, XLE, XLE Premium, and Limited, but the Hybrid Woodland Edition gets 38/35/37 mpg. These models have 219 combined horsepower.

If you haven’t heard the term MPGe, it basically just means the fuel economy for electric motors. That means the RAV4 Prime gets 94 MPGe in combined fuel efficiency and 38 mpg if using gasoline power. It has an EPA-estimated 42-mile all-electric driving range, all-wheel drive, and 302 combined horsepower. Not bad for this little Hybrid Toyota!

RAV4 Hybrid is outselling competitors despite higher price

The Hybrid RAV Toyota is more popular than the Sequoia seen here in the dirt
The Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro | Amanda Cline, MotorBiscuit

3 Hybrid Toyota Vehicles That Will Run Past 200,000 Miles

Sure, the Hybrid Toyota RAV4 is more expensive than the gasoline power, but think of all the gas savings! Those can add up pretty quickly, especially for those with a longer commute. The RAV4 Prime is quite a bit more with its $43,090 starting price, but offers way more savings in fuel economy than one might guess.

The Toyota 4Runner uses the same 4.0L V6 engine with 270 horsepower that has been in the SUV forever. It only gets 16 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. People aren’t looking at the 4Runner for performance in the way of fuel economy, though. This SUV excels in off-roading adventures and weekend trips to the nearest state park more than it does for daily driving fuel economy. The Sequoia has a similar story, but Toyota uses the i-FORCE MAX Twin-Turbo V6 Hybrid engine for 21 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. That isn’t bad, but the higher price tag makes the Sequoia out of reach for many.

At its current pace, the RAV4 is set to be the best-selling electrified vehicle by Toyota for all of 2023 and the best-selling Toyota SUV. In other words, congrats, Toyota, you have done it again.