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Toyota RAV4 Prices Paid and Buying Experience



  • Firewire: USUALLY, the OTD price includes everything - the price paid for the vehicle, the sales tax, title and any other fees paid at time of sale. HOWEVER, if the deal is with an out-of-state dealership (as mine was), Tax and License Fees are NOT included in the OTD price, since those costs are paid later in the buyer's home state at time of registration.

    Actually, for comparison purposes, you can't use the OTD price, because there is just too much variation in the taxes and fees paid by buyers in different geographic locations. Same thing goes for deals involving trade-ins; since you don't know the true resale value of the vehicle traded-in, it's impossible to know how much profiteering the dealership shifted to that part of the deal instead of fighting for a bigger markup on the new vehicle's price.

    You'll find it difficult to find reported deals with sufficient detail to enable you to make a direct comparison with the one you want to make, but if you start your negotiations from the dealer's invoice price + destination charge and let them know up front that you aren't fooled into thinking that "Dealer Holdback" and "Wholesale Financial Reserve" are true costs for the dealer, (THEY ARE NOT - because Toyota reimburses them after the sale is completed), then you will do just fine. You may not be able to get those charges (or the Advertising charge), eliminated since the V6 Limited is in high demand and short supply, but it doesn't hurt to try!

    If you NEED to buy your new RAV4 V6 Limited before February, you may have to be a little less aggressive in your negotiations than you could if you had more time to play the game. And yes, in my experience, a no-nonsense email campaign is just as effective as a "fax attack", and probably better, since you can get a dialog going by email that you can't by fax.

    Good luck!!
  • Yes, I think I got mixed up and I apologize anyway. I probably just skipped the fact that you were talking about V6 Limited in which case that IS a good price. I mean, $2497 off of MSRP is a decent deal when you get up to that level. I see you did your homework and you know what you're talking about which is very good. Now that I know that I know you won't get screwed. Just trust your knowledge and don't let anybody in the dealership tell you otherwise.
    However, all this mixup brought a couple of good things to the surface that might help our fellow RAV4 buyers.
    First thing that threw me off was your base vehicle price: Vehicle Base Model ..........................: $23337.00.
    That's why I thought you were talking about something less than Limited because as soon as you click on Limited on Toyota's website it starts from $26,000+. Then you list all these things:
    TDA (Advertising Charge).....................: $ 499.00
    Gasoline ....................................: $ 10.00
    Dealer Holdback .............................: $ 528.00
    Whsl. Financial Reserve .....................: $ 264.00
    Markup ......................................: $ 500.00
    If you add them all up you get pretty much sticker MSRP. So, THAT'S how they calculate MSRP! I did some pretty detailed homework but I didn't realize that (I wish I did) before I went to the dealership. I guess you learn something new every day. That means I paid these darn things too without even knowing it. If somebody had told me that before I am pretty sure I'd have gotten even better deal. But anyway, it's good that other now have the oportunity to use this information.
    For one - I don't think you will get them to drop holdback on RAV4. I mean, they don't have to. The vehicle sells. Markup is the one that's completely bogus. Why didn't anyone tell me that before? I would have fought a little bit harder. It's not the fact that I would have saved another $100-200 but the fight is what matters.
    So, even if they sell you the vehicle at the advertised Invoice price, they ARE still making a plenty. But knowing about them will give you power. They can't cry on your shoulder how they are not making any money and you're stealing from them etc. When they point out to you how good deal YOU are getting with their offer you can politely point out what kind of good deal THEY are getting with your offer. In some cases you'll find they are a little bit more willing to negotiate. It helped me and I hope it'll help others too.
  • In a nutshell the fax attack works this way. You send tons of faxes (20) to different dealerships then you wait for responses then you see who gave you the best offer and respond to others that they are not the highest bidder and ask them for a new bid. The reasoning is - if they know they are bidding against each other you'll get a better price etc. You don't have to buy fightingchance packet, you can also buy their book. And everybody knows about the fax attack (including the dealers) and they have found some ways to fight back. So, from 20 dealers you might get a response from 2 that offer you $500 off of MSRP. And things like that. And yes, you can do the same thing via email. Keep in mind that those offers are on the high side because they know if you have it in written then you can go around and shop that offer. IMHO it'd be better to call the dealership directly and ask to talk to the sales manager or something like that. You might get a better offer over the phone (no paper trail).
    Another thing about fightingchance, they do a good job of educating buyers but their strongest point is market evaluation. You purchase the package and they tell you how that vehicle stands and where, does it sell well or not, if not how to ask for lower price because they have to sell etc. Well, nobody needs to tell me that RAV4 is selling well and that I won't get much discount for $39. So, I don't think it's worth it for RAV4 or Honda CR-V.
    Better you go to and get some good info on what to watch out for, quickly and in easy terms to understand. I hope this answers your question firewire.
  • thanks homerfan, banjolaya and others for your rapid fire responses. i appreciate your thorough explanations. i will try the email method first and see what happens. when sending out my email besides putting the RAV4 trim level, color and options i want should i put down my real name and address or just phone number and other suggestions i should put in the email???

    should i wait to see their quotes or give them a ballpark figure? i think its better to see what they quote before i put down a number as to not give them a way to bump me?

    homerfan, where did you get the price of $23,337 for the Limited that the invoice price you found online? im looking for the same vehicle but 4x2 ($1400 less) by doing the math. so im looking at $21,937 for a Limited V6 w/o 3rd row and moonroof. that sounds too optimistic lol
  • I think you can put your name and phone # because once you start it's a real time game. You want them to know that you're serious and if you get a good offer you'll take delievery the same day. You might mention that you have done your homework and you know what you should be paying for that vehicle.
    I think you're right, let them come to you with a figure, try to lower it as much as you can but what you might find is that they won't lower it that much but they'll rather say - come down and let's talk about it. When you decide to go in be prepared to negotiate and drive home in a new car the same day. I bet you you'll get home fast if you buy a V6.
  • wolfzr2wolfzr2 Posts: 20
    Turns out my wife is right. ( do NOT let her know I said that ).

    Got a quote today for a Limited V6 with sunroof, tow prep, jbl six disc changer, bumper protector, cargo net, and floor mats.
    Barcelona Red with Ash cloth interior...

    MSRP is 29,079. They quoted me 26,275 right off the bat. They do charge a 399 "processing fee", so I might try and talk em down to 26,000 or lower...but worst case I still get my RAV for 2800 off MSRP.

    Sold my 2001 Accord today for 11,900. Heading to another Toyota Dealer tomorrow to see if they can match or beat the 26,275 offer. Hopefully I'm driving my RAV4 home tomorrow!
  • Very good! $2,800 off is a good deal. Just watch out. That beast is fast.
    Happy tickets!
  • Hi there -

    I thought I would add my two-cents worth, since I just bought. RAJ told me about fax attack, but it was too late, as I was already deep in the negotiations and I didn't want to back out. Dealers have their own BS to deal with and that includes lots of folks who are shopping, not buying. The only thing I could have done better is wait until the end of the month - but again, I was deep into it by then and getting tired of the time and effort.

    I DID do the email thing, though, and it seemed to work just fine. I did emails to about twelve dealers in my area, then got the best price, did some research on line regarding invoice/msrp, etc, and then emailed them all back with the bottom-line price.

    A few things I learned - they often did NOT respond to email, but called instead. I think that this is so that they DON'T have to put a price in writing. In each case, after the conversation or voicemail, I did make sure that I emailed AGAIN so I had a written record ("Per our call today, the price for the RAV 4 is $XX,XXX.XX.") I think that's a good thing to do because on two occassions they came back with higher prices than they quoted me on the phone (slimy).

    Interestingly enough, the first best price I got was never beaten by anyone else. So, then I took that and negotiated directly with the dealer. They refused to budge the first time. When I asked again, though, they surrendered.

    I got a few hundred above invoice and I am fine with that. I also got a far lower average price than any I have seen in the Bay Area - and I am fine with that, too.

    At some point, I think you have to recognize that they need to make money, too, and consider the time-value of your own time in the process.

    In short, email worked fine and seemed to work like the fax attack. In short order I had the best price from a responsive dealer. I gave everyone else a chance to beat it and when they didn't - and when the best price promised weekend delivery in my time frame - I took it.

    Mine was a Rav 4, Sport, v-6, TWO-wheel drive, option package b (six cd changer but not JBL, moonroof, tow package) with rear bumper aplique and cargo tray. I didn't want the tow package but had no choice, so on the last day I bargained that amount off of the out the door price.

    My price for all of above was 24,740. That is a few hundred dollars above invoice - but they gave great service and have given great service since, so I am happy.

    I hope this rambling helps.

  • thanks for your info captain8 it really helps as i plan to do the same thing in the next few days. is the $24,740 you paid also include the Sales Tax and all the other misc. fees?

    BTW i been hearing some RAV4 owners have been having problems w/ their Audio.

    if our RAV4 comes already w/ the 6 CD changer and the bluetooth tech. already included can we later on swap that out for a better brand? or are we stuck w/ the JBL nightmare?
  • Firewire: Glad to know that some of my posts may have been helpful! To answer your first question; it's probably a good idea to include your phone number and address, since a lot of car salesmen are not as accustomed to or as comfortable with email communications as they are by telephone. In my case, I have an unlisted number and was contacting over a dozen dealerships, so I opted not to provide my phone number, but since only one salesman even bothered to respond, that may not have been the best move on my part. On the other hand, my dearth of replies may have been due to the fact that I specifically stated in my broadcasted email quote request that I wanted an "Invoice + $500" deal (which I ended up not actually getting) and that eliminated a lot of them since virtually no dealership in Washington state is willing to go that low on a V6 Limited right now. The one respondent was a dealership located 100 miles away, and just over the Washington/Idaho border in Lewiston.

    As for the $23,337 invoice price for the Limited V6 4WD, that came directly from the dealer invoice the salesman at Roger's Motors sent me a copy of. I too was suprised at this, since until then the lowest "invoice" price I had found for this trim level was $24,132 -- the price shown on the COSTCOAUTO.COM website, (which is a great resource for information by the way). I think that MAYBE Costco factors the Dealer Holdback and Advertising charges into the "Base V6 4WD Limited" invoice price (since those are difficult to negotiate away) and that might account for the $795 difference between the two. states that the 2WD V6 Limited has a BASE invoice price of $23,235 so yes, $21,937 might be a bit too optimistic for one with options added! ;)
  • Wolf: That's a GREAT deal!
    I ran the numbers too, and $25,458 is close to the dealer's TRUE invoice cost, so with the Dealer Holdback, ADV, etc., they are making a profit of about $817 PLUS (most likely) an additional $300 profit built in to the "processing fee" -for a total profit to the dealership of about $1,100 at their offered price. Knowing this, you might be able to negotiate them down another $300 or as you suggested, since they still stand to make around $800 on the deal, and that ain't bad. Good Luck!!
  • Firewire: Regarding the JBL head unit; only time will tell if the one you get will have the problems you've heard about, but yes you can later replace it with something else. To do so, you'll need a double-din kit specifically designed for the '06-'07 RAV4, but even that will not look quite right since even that won't match the color, texture, or (more obviously) the curvy lower edge of the stock JBL unit.
    But the short answer is NO, we aren't stuck with the JBL. ;)
  • banjolaya: Thank you for your always interesting and insightful contributions -- you are a real asset to this forum, and I'm sure there are a LOT of others who feel the same. Keep up the good work! :D
  • wolfzr2wolfzr2 Posts: 20
    Well, I just put my deposit down!

    Got it for 26,275. They would not budge from that number, but it was 1300 lower than one dealer, and 500 lower than another dealer who didn't even have the floor mats or cargo net.

    I pick it up tomorrow afternoon. My new V6 Limited in Barcelona Red will look nice in the driveway over the weekend. Thanks to all who gave me advice on this. You guys rock.

    2007 RAV4 Limited V6 4x4
    Ash Cloth
    Cargo net / carper floormats
  • Good deal Wolf! You and all others that plan to buy over the weekend Welcome to the RAV4 "Many Tickets Club". You'll love your new fast and shiny baby. A welcome addition in any house. But I do have a word of caution for you. You have your price all worked out and agreed upon on both sides. That's okay. But once you shake your hands with the salesman he'll turn you over to the F&I manager. And that's where you can save THOUSANDS of $$$, not just a couple of hundreds!!!
  • Sounds like a great price, must be pretty close to invoice. Plus tax, title & license, right? Does that include the TDA (advertising) and Financial Reserve shown on the invoice? Will your dealer tack things like a processing fee or document fee on top of it? You didn't list 50-state emissions and the tow package...were they included?
  • Hey Homerfan -

    That prices does NOT include California sales tax, but does include ALL other fees.

    Again, the more I read here about certain deals on limited's, etc, it ain't the best price, but according to my research, it's a good one.

    Can't help you on the JBL - though the JBL I listened to (and wanted) was great sounding.

  • Thanks homerfan. I hope your new baby arrives soon. After you take delievery you will have fun. The thing is so fast before you know it you could be down here in no time flat. We can take both RAV4's and go to the LHM racetrack and see what our babies can do.
    Have fun.
    Say hi to F&I manager from me and don't buy anything you don't want no matter how good he makes it sound.
  • Now, how did you guys do there? Did any of you buy things like extended warranty? How much was it if you don't mind me asking? Other things (rustproofing, VIN etching, paint sealant, undercoating)? Insurance?
  • Hey banjolaya1,
    Thanks for the invite ;)
    I recently bought my son a 2002 Subaru WRX with about $20K in aftermarket upgrades so the thing is literally a (392 WHP Stage 4 Turbocharged) race car. Now that I've driven that around for awhile, even the V6 RAV4 might seem a bit tame - but I still can't wait to see what it'll do!

    Yeah, those F&I people sometimes make the Lot Lizards look like good guys by comparison. That's why it's always a good idea to secure funding for your new rig before you even step foot on the showroom floor. Since I will be walking in with a check for the agreed-upon OTD price, (and not a nickle more), I expect to have very little contact with the F&I manager. On the other hand, sometimes it's fun to spar with them too!
  • wolfzr2wolfzr2 Posts: 20
    With the 3% title tax here in va ( 800 ), plus dealers processing fee ( 299) etc etc, it came to 27,414. I'll just pay them by check, as I'll finance it myself through my credit union.

    It does have 50 state emissions and tow prep pkg.

    No other dealer in the area could come CLOSE to that. I pick it up tomorrow at 1PM!
  • jimdrewjimdrew Posts: 84
    You will love the V6...I have had mine for a few month's now...the dealer put a hurting on me. :mad: ..but now I don't care. The car is terrific. The V6 is the only way to go. I use 87 octane and get about 24mpg...and with all that power...can't be beat.

  • We got the base model with a V4 (sorry banjolaya1 but I was looking for convenience and I am not so interested in performance (I am a family man!)). The negociations were easy: we were really hesitant because we were not initially plannning to buy a RAV-4 and the guy went to 500 under TMV and it seemed to be fair to me (again, I know that many of you would do better!). Furthermore, we felt really good with the guy. We have our RAV4 for 2 weeks now and we are really happy with it. We used to have a jetta but it is now so easy to put the kid, the stroller AND my hockey gears in the car.
  • Picked up my new RAV4 yesterday. Had a flawless 280 mile round trip to the Memphis dealer. Wife's 2005 Sienna got 27.4 mpg for the trip (mostly 70 to 75 mph on I-40). RAV4 was a great ride. Smooth, quiet, and peppy. I think it's a lot of bang for the buck. Spent this morning reading the owner's manual, checking for correct tire pressure (dealer had 39 lbs. in each tire and I lowered them to 32 as specified), a little cleaning & waxing and a lot of admiring. One question I haven't been able to answer is where is the oil filter loacated on the V-6 motor? I've looked on top, side, and under the motor and just haven't been able to see one. Also, what is the Toyota part # for the oil filter? Any info. provided will be appreciated. Signed, a very happy and smiling new RAV4 owner!
  • evergreenevergreen Posts: 213
    I've been on vacation so just catching up a little here.

    Congrats, homerfan. You got a very good deal. If you had bought from Fitzmall you could have saved an addition $300 but it wouldn't have been worth it if you live in Utah. You say you didn't really pay $500 over invoice but in dealers lingo you did. You paid $500 over the Toyota invoice which is the only invoice a dealer will talk about. It is true the dealer cost was only $23,337 but the Toyota invoice will include gas, dealer holdback, WFR and advertising and the dealer will have to have a pretty good reason to go below Toyota invoice. Fitzmall is $200 over Toyota invoice and it is exceptional to get better than that. A few have but it is rare.

    I live in Bend, Oregon, and found that the Costco price in Denver and LA is the same as what you paid, $500 over invoice. In Salem, Oregon, it is $500 under MSRP. Here in Bend it is $1400 under MSRP. I can't really justify going to the east coast so I am probably going to have to pay what you paid. I still have a few places to check in Northern California, Oregon and Washington but I doubt I will do much better.

    Question: Was your RAV on the lot in Lewiston or was it a special order/dealer swap, etc. Also, if this was a special order, did you order the Towing Receiver Hitch? I don't think I've seen one with that option.
  • > Congrats, homerfan. You got a very good deal.
    > If you had bought from Fitzmall you could have saved an
    > addition $300 but it wouldn't have been worth it if you
    > live in Utah.

    Thanks, Evergreen! Actually, I live in Spokane, Washington.
    Around here, the Costco discount is a (lame) $500 off MSRP.
    That's why I expanded my search to dealers in Western Idaho, and ended up buying from Roger's Motors.

    > Question: Was your RAV on the lot in Lewiston or
    > was it a special order/dealer swap, etc. Also, if
    > this was a special order, did you order the Towing
    > Receiver Hitch? I don't think I've seen one
    > with that option.

    No, I special ordered it -- I never found one at any dealership within 300 miles that had everything I wanted and nothing that I didn't. I'm driving a '99 RAV4 that still runs perfectly, so waiting for the new one isn't a hardship. I'm glad, really, since it gives me time to clean up and sell the '99 before the new one comes in. And yes, I ordered the Hitch -- I've never seen one with that on it either. Kinda strange, since so many DO have the Tow Prep option. I'll post photos over on RAV4WORLD when I take posession, so you can see what it looks like.
  • Thanks, Evergreen!
    Fitzmall is WAY to far away, since I live in Spokane, WA, and around here the Costco discount is only $500 off MSRP so that didn't help either. Living close to the Idaho border paid off though, since dealerships over there are more willing to bargain. I did have to order mine, but mostly because some of the things I wanted were not commonly available (like the Tow Hitch), but that just gives me more time to sell my '99 RAV4.
  • Just wanted to let people know about the vehicle the wife and I will be picking up tomorrow. It is a Classic Silver w/ Ash interior RAV4 Base 2WD 4cyl with the following options: 17" styled steel wheels, roof rack, tonneau cover, daytime running lights, 5 pc carpet floor/cargo mats, cargo net, and rear bumper applique.

    Our out the door price that we got is $20,589 + TTL (Invoice $20,556, MSRP $22,338...all the prices include destination charge of $645 in the upper midwest region). So, about $33 over invoice, but we got what we wanted and the dealer made a slim profit deal.

    I used the fax attack from fighting chance, information from and internet quotes from dealerships to get to the final price. I ended up getting the deal thru the dealerships internet sales manager. For some reason the dealerships new car sales managers ignored my fax (or it got tossed by the receptionist). Even though I did not get the final price from the fax attack alone, I thought it was still a very informative package that gave a lot of good suggestions and examples on how to get the dealers to compete against each other. The RAV's are a very well selling vehicle and the dealers around my area where not willing to go below invoice. I am just glad to have this whole process behind us and to enjoy our new ride (which my wife will be driving most of the time ;) ) :shades:
  • torodiesel, how much were the TDA & WFR fees on your invoice? Did you have to pay a processing fee, document fee, etc. on the contract?

    It's good to see some reports from people who have bought at close to invoice now. Before the New Year the best I was seeing was 200+ over invoice. Congrats.
  • carnivore,

    All fees are included in the price. Not sure what WFR stands for? Like I said, this was a slim profit deal that I got. Meaning, the dealership is willing to sell the vehicle at basically no profit so that they can meet certain sales quotas or a certain customer service index level to earn bonus money from Toyota. All manufacturers have these programs for all dealers and by using methods like the fax attack, etc. you can smoke out these deals.

    edit: The invoice price that I listed is just the invoice of the vehicle plus the invoice price of the options...I did not add any other "fees" into the invoice price that I listed. My purchase price includes any fees, except for state tax, title and license. I basically emailed the internet sales manager telling him that I had a quote for $20,589 on a same configured vehicle (from an out of state dealer that quoted me $20,500 + $89 service fee) and he matched it. No other dealer wanted to beat that price, but only match it. I actually had a couple dealers that I informed of where they stood congratulate me on the good deal that I got. :D
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