Toyota RAV4 vs Tesla Model 3 comparison; fuel economy, performance, price

Toyota RAV4 is the number one selling SUV, and has remained at first spot for last three years in the United States. Its popularity is mushrooming further after release of fifth generation (2019 on-wards) model. Tesla Model 3 is number one selling electric vehicle in the US by a gargantuan margin. Although they don’t belong in the same class of vehicles, but a comparison of these two trendy vehicles should be interesting.

Models

Toyota RAV4 comes in 10 variants of which 4 are available in hybrid, all models come with same 2.5-Liter Dynamic Force 4-cylinder engine including its hybrid version. Tesla Model 3 comes in four variants, Standard, Standard Plus, Long Range and Long Range Plus.


Energy Cost (per 100 miles)

According to AAA, the average price of gasoline is $3.543 in California at the time of this writing. Toyota RAV4 offers fuel economy of 40 mpg for hybrid and 30 mpg for gas version. Dividing gas price by mpg gives us cost per mile, multiplying it by 100 gives us $8.86 energy cost for hybrid and $11.81 for gas version.
According to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Tesla Model 3 consumes 26 kWh of electricity per 100 miles. Multiplying this figure by cost of electricity gives us total cost of energy per 100 miles which is $5.72 super off-peak (22 cents/kWh), $6.24 off-peak (24 cents/kWh), $8.32 for peak winter (32 cents/kWh) and $9.62 for peak summer (37 cents/kWh). The supercharger cost for 100 miles is $6.49 which is based on calculator provided by Tesla on their website tesla.com/supercharger.

The calculations for home charging are based on residential electricity rates provided by Southern California Edison, which is primary electricity supply company for much of Southern California. This company was chosen due to higher popularity of Model 3 in California than any other state, it ranked as #3 best selling vehicle overall in the state in 2019 according to CNCDA/IHS Markit.

Horsepower

Tesla Model 3 offers 580 peak horsepower for its Performance version. Toyota RAV 4 gives 203 hp @ 6600 rpm for its gasoline variants, and its hybrid version gives combined 219 hp.

Torque

Model 3 is leading in this category with 330-481 pound feet of torque. RAV4 produces 184 lb.-ft. @ 5000 rpm.

Driving Range

Toyota RAV4 comes with a 14.5 gallon tank, and offers combined fuel economy of 30 mpg for gas and 40 mpg for hybrid variant. Multiplying mpg with fuel tank capacity gives us total range in miles on a single fill up. The hybrid model offers about twice the range of 580 miles as compared to Model 3’s 322 miles for its Long Range variant.

Acceleration

Toyota does not provide official figures for acceleration, but Car and Driver has tested RAV4 2019 (latest version) which resulted in 7.4 seconds for hybrid and 8 seconds for gas. Tesla Model 3’s 0-60 mph range from 5.6 seconds for Standard to 3.2 seconds for Performance version.


Top Speed

The top speed of Toyota RAV4 is electronically limited to 120 mph.

Price

The starting price of Tesla Model 3 Standard is $35,000 which is about 35 percent higher than bade model Toyota RAV4 LE’s $25,850. The LE Hybrid is $27,145, XLE $29,850, XSE Hybrid $34,050, Limited $34,380 and TRD Off-Road starts at $35,180.

Sales in United States

As previously mentioned, both of these vehicles are best sellers in their respective classes. Though, Tesla Model 3 is a very new car compared to Toyota RAV4 which has been around since 1996 when it was released in North America. Toyota sold 448,068 units of RAV4 in 2019 and Tesla sold 158,925 Model 3 vehicles.

Interior

Tesla Model 3’s interior is as simple as it can get, its probably the most dull looking interior in the US market. It can do 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds but doesn’t even have an instrument cluster screen, so you will be looking at the center console screen just to watch your speed which can get distracting. So if you’re looking for aesthetics and a speed-o-meter in front of your eyes, RAV4 is unquestionably a more desirable choice.

Driver Assistance

All variants of Tesla Model 3 comes standard with Autopilot except Standard Range version. Its one of the most sophisticated driver-assistance systems in the auto industry with features like lane centering, adaptive cruise control, self-parking, auto lane changing and steering on highways, and the ability to summon the car to and from a garage or parking spot.

Toyota RAV4 comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense™ driver assistance system for all its variants. The system features pre-collision automatic braking, lane departure warning with the ability of auto steering to keep vehicle in lane, auto high beam, road sign detection and adaptive cruise control.

Contact the author: willismcguire@wheelsjoint.com


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Willis McguireIan Recent comment authors
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I feel like your costs per 100 miles based on the electricity costs are very misleading. Electricity rates in the US are generally MUCH cheaper than what you are quoting. My off-peak meter in Minnesota is $.07/kWh overnight, so our cost per mile is about $0.01-$.02. At $.02 per mile, 100 miles would be $2.00. Off peak rate is generally the half price of normal prices. Do you own an EV or have you ever looked at a bill for an off-peak meter?