Here is our story and journey to attain a Blueprint 2023 RAV4 Prime w/PP @ MSRP in the greater Austin, TX area. Bonus information at the end to help potential buyers who get through the short, beneficial read
Blueprint was the exact color we wanted and it included no port add-ons at all (I knew that I could pick buy/install exactly what I wanted on my own for much cheaper). This vehicle was fully loaded with only the factory packages (Weather & Premium packages). FYI - the 2023 XSE already includes what was once the "Premium Audio Package," 11-speaker JBL audio system.. and 2023 RAV4 models (SE & XSE) include the 6.6 kW On-Board EV Charger standard. The only thing that the dealer installed was a $499 tint package - which I was definitely mad that they didn't reveal that to me before doing it, but I decided to pay it because it was better than paying for a high markup or other unnecessary items. Plus, being from Texas, I was going to get tint done on the vehicle anyway. MSRP was a bit over $50K and total out of the door price was in the mid $53K.
I am in an individual that researches big purchases thoroughly. My wife needed a new car for our small family. My parents own a Toyota Camry hybrid and my personal vehicle is a Lexus hybrid, so I knew how little trouble those cars have given us. She's coming from a 13 years old car; a 2010 Nissan Versa sedan with 145K+ miles on it. We typically have bought all of our vehicles slightly used (usually after the big depreciation in the first few years), but when we began testing driving/looking/researching in the 2nd half of 2021, we realized how the market had changed. Used cars were selling for nearly the same as brand new cars. We are fortunate that my wife had a running car, so we could be patient to get the car that we really wanted.
The criteria that we were looking for in a new SUV was (not in any order): raw power, off road capability, towing capacity, cargo/interior space, 0-60 acceleration, long term reliability/cost to repair, fit & finish, total driving distance (EV miles + HV miles), and overall efficiency. I know some folks are jumping to the Tesla Model Y (now that they cut the price), but imho, it does not compete for the same market and does not beat the RAV4 Prime in all of these factors that were important to us.
We test drove full size (3-row) SUVs like the Kia Telluride (super popular at the time; probably still is), Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander.. but none of these cars provided the driving experience and more importantly, the efficiency we had hoped for, especially when we considered that we plan to keep the new vehicle long term (8+ years). Plus, they were a bit too large for what we needed on a day to day basis, so we began researching mid-size SUVs. Being from central TX (a non-ZEV state), we knew that Toyota RAV4 Prime was basically impossible to test drive anywhere in the area, so we settled on test driving the closest thing - a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. I could only rely on people on this forum and other place's first hand accounts of how the EV propulsion was a totally different feeling on the RAV4 Prime versus the Hybrid. The Prime's EV mileage would be perfect for my wife's daily work commute + other errands she may need to run.
In October & November of 2021, we put down several refundable deposits (in the $500-$1000 range) at a variety of dealerships that were selling vehicles at MSRP (I refused to pay above MSRP to a pad dealership pockets even more.. since they make a profit even at MSRP). We put down deposits in Texas dealerships, Colorado dealerships (back when they were allowing out of state buyers), and a few surrounding states as the vehicle could be driven back. We wanted a very specific color & vehicle: Blueprint and fully loaded XSE Prime. In terms of port add-ons, I wanted the minimum possible. Unfortunately, we were unable to get the Prime before the federal tax-credit ran out, but we thought about other vehicles that could meet/exceed the criteria (see above) that we were looking for, there really wasn't many options at this price point. By some dealerships, were offered 2022 models that didn't meet our color preference and options, but decided to pass because at the point, I knew about the 2023 changes coming and didn't want to compromise on such a expensive/long term purchase for us.
So the wait began/continued... and after 15 long months
.... we have the vehicle in the pictures below! The best part, I had put a lot of pressure and kept in constant communication with our local dealership, Toyota of Cedar Park. 🤠 Ordering in the gulf states is a bit of a different process since we are not allocated very many Primes at all. You can reach about the process here (specifically PaulD699's posts):
Tips for anyone looking for a RAV4 Prime still:
Research what model, options, and color you want. Figure out what options & color you are flexible with (the more flexibility, the quicker you'll get your car). If you're more particular (like us), be prepared for a long way unless you decide to purchase from the ZEV states in the West Coast or East Coast that get allocated more inventory & ship the car to wherever you may live.
Download copies of the 2022 Allocation Spreadsheet & 2023 Allocation Spreadsheets and sort/filter them to figure out the most high volume dealerships in your area (and the West Coast/East Coast if you want to get a vehicle quicker from there):
2022 Allocation Spreadsheet (Updated until 6/30/22):
2023 Allocation Spreadsheet (Last updated 1/10/23):
Use resources like markups.org and the wiki in the RAV4PrimeSales subreddit (
) to figure out which dealerships are selling at MSRP or how much above (see how much you're comfortable paying over if you want/need the car sooner).
Put down as many refundable
deposits as you can afford to increase your chances of getting RAV4 Prime quicker.
Keep in touch with dealerships that you have more faith in delivering a vehicle that you want to you and pray for a miracle 🙏
Wife's RAV4 Prime with my Lexus GS450h (another super rare car):
Respect goes to my wife's patience because not every woman would continue to drive an older car & put up with over a year wait for a vehicle!