No, not drag races.
The Toyota RAV4 has been a smashing sales success for the Japanese automaker. The current generation crossover, launched for 2019, continues this trend but it's the high-performance version, the RAV4 Prime, that is really piquing the interest of potential buyers. It's Toyota's second-fastest model currently on sale after the GR Supra with a total of 302 horsepower and 0 to 60 mph time of just 5.7 seconds. What's more, it's a plug-in hybrid. The combined fuel efficiency and performance certainly hasn't gone unnoticed by buyers.
Cars Direct has learned that some Toyota dealerships are tacking on expensive markups due to high demand and short supply. Yes, like the Dodge Challenger Demon and other limited-production muscle cars and exotics, a RAV4 trim is now selling for thousands above MSRP. How much more? In some cases up to $10,000.
For reference, the base price is $38,100, though there's a $7,500 tax credit and, in some states, additional green incentives. Other dealerships throughout the country are demanding more modest markups ranging from $2,000 to $5,000, though they typically require a $1,000 deposit. Not surprisingly, there are even waitlists supposedly as high as 30 people per dealer.
Basically what's happening here is that tax credit incentives are being completely offset by dealership markups. And because demand is high at the moment, Toyota isn't offering the RAV4 Prime with any factory incentives. This could change of course, but not for the foreseeable future. Aside from its excellent performance, the RAV4 Prime is also extremely fuel-efficient, returning a 94 MPGe rating and 42 miles of all-electric range.
Eventually, RAV4 Primes won't be hard to come by, but until then there's one specific vehicle alternative some should seriously consider: the Tesla Model 3. It also carries a starting price tag of $39,000 and there's no wait-list time or markups from Tesla, which sells directly to customers in place of franchised dealerships. One downside, however, is that Tesla no longer has the $7,500 tax credit, or any tax credit for that matter.