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As we walk bravely into the automotive future, plenty of electric vehicles and hybrids will escort us to the fuel-saving promised land. One key player in the hybrid space is the Toyota RAV4 Prime, which is a plug-in hybrid SUV that allows for all-electric driving in addition to achieving spectacular fuel efficiency. We recently tested the 2023 model and came away impressed with everything it had to offer, so check out our full review to learn more.

However, we couldn’t test the RAV4 Prime’s reliability since we only had it for a week. Fortunately, some data floating around can tell us how reliable Toyota’s plug-in SUV is. Let’s take a closer look.

The Toyota RAV4 Prime is reliable but not without its faults

2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime rear view
2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

In general, the RAV4 Prime upholds Toyota’s renowned reputation for reliability, and new owners should worry too much about any major potential issues. That said, the RAV4 Prime model has only been around for the past couple of years, starting in 2021, so the first model year is the one to look out for.

CarComplaints, a site where owners file complaints about their cars, shows that there are 61 complaints and three recalls for the 2021 RAV4 Prime. That’s not too bad, but taking a closer look at the complaints is important to understand them.

One user complained about the RAV4 Prime’s throttle not responding when slowing down. In some situations, the RAV4 Prime SUV took a few seconds to accelerate after the driver slowed down when coming to an intersection.

Another user complained that the brakes didn’t work adequately in bad road conditions. Other reports told the same story – the car lurches forward and feels like it’s surging. According to CoPilot, “Several drivers speculate that the delay with the service brakes has to do with the regenerative brakes shifting over to the mechanical ones when the car thinks there’s wheel slip.” There haven’t been any reported accidents or recalls concerning this issue.

How reliable is the Toyota RAV4 Prime?

2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime engine bay
2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Despite these complaints, the Toyota RAV4 Prime has proven to be reliable since its inception in the market. J.D. Power gave the 2021 model an 81 out of 100 in its Quality and Reliability category. Additionally, many RAV4 Prime owners on Edmunds reported their cars being reliable and providing excellent fuel efficiency.

Some even lauded the car’s “very quiet ride” and fuel efficiency, while others have been impressed with its powerful acceleration. For reference, Toyota says that the RAV4 Prime can get up to 60 mph from a standstill in only 5.7 seconds, which is very quick for a small SUV.

Which RAV4 Prime model year should you pick?

A dark blue 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime SE compact plug-in hybrid SUV model parked on a concrete plaza
2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime SE | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

If you’re not planning to go with a brand-new 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime model, we suggest looking at 2022 models. A nationwide search on CarGurus reveals that many 2022 models are selling for around $40,000, which is a bargain. Most new models sell in the $50,000 range, depending on the dealer’s pricing. Either way, your chances of getting a reliable RAV4 Prime are good, considering Toyota has had plenty of time to perfect its hybrid powertrain.

Also, the RAV4 Prime is a solid choice if you want something between a hybrid and an electric car. If anything, the RAV4 Prime should last long enough to usher you into the forthcoming fuel-efficient future – and then some.