Being one of the most versatile compact crossover SUV in its segment and coming from one of the most reliable automakers in the market, it is not that hard to understand why the Toyota RAV4 is the bestselling car of its segment. The RAV4 made its debut in 1994 and has been through quite a lot of changes and updates over the years. It got a generation upgrade to its fifth generation of production as recently as for its 2019 model year, and the 2021 model is also a part of it. The Toyota RAV4 is available in three different variants viz. RAV4, RAV4 Hybrid, and the RAV4 Prime (Plug-In Hybrid) to fulfill the needs and requirements of different groups of people with different needs and budget. With starting prices of $26,050, $28,500, and $38,100 for the 2021 RAV4, RAV4 Hybrid, and RAV4 Prime respectively, it competes with the likes of Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-5, and other similar compact crossover SUVs in the market. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 is more or less a carryover update with no significant changes from its previous model year.
Pros and Cons of the Toyota RAV4:
Easy to use controls
Good sound insulation for the interior
Comfortable ride quality
Good cargo and interior space
Commendable fuel economy in both the hybrid variants
Impressive acceleration in the RAV4 Prime
42 miles of electric-only driving range in the RAV4 Prime
UI of the infotainment system hard to understand
Power delivery from the engine in the regular non-hybrid RAV4 is not up to the mark
Lack of response from the steering wheel
The brakes in the hybrid variants are not as good as its non-hybrid counterpart for some reason
Lot of body-roll in the corners
Whats’s new for the 2021 Toyota RAV4?
The latest RAV4 continues its bold leadership moves for 2021 by adding the XLE Premium model to the hybrid lineup. Additionally, for the RAV4 TRD Off-Road, a new TRD-stampede stainless steel front skid plate has been added for 2021. The RAV4 Prime gets an all-new plug-in hybrid variant that offers an estimated 42 miles of all-electric range. Other than that, all the three variants of the 2021 RAV4 remains fairly similar to their respective previous model years.
What are the different trims available for the 2021 Toyota RAV4? 2021 Toyota RAV4 Price.
As mentioned earlier, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 price is very good and available in three different trim levels to choose from viz. RAV4, RAV4 Hybrid, and RAV4 Prime. These variants of the 2021 RAV4 have their own different trims levels.
The regular 2021 Toyota RAV4 is available in six different trim levels to choose from viz. LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and Limited. The starting price for the 2021 Toyota RAV4 ranges from $26,050 to $35,980 depending on the trim level.
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid comes in five different trim levels viz. LE, XLE, XLE Premium, XSE, and Limited. Depending on the trim level, it has a starting price range from $28,500 to $37,030.
Last but not the least, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime is available in SE and XSE trim levels that are equivalent to the higher trims available on the standard RAV4. The two mentioned trim levels have a starting price of $38,100 and $41,425 respectively.
What’s the performance like?
All the trims of the regular 2021 Toyota RAV4 are powered by the same 2.5-Liter Dynamic Force 4-Cylinder DOHC D-4S Injection with Dual Variable Valve Timing producing 203 HP and 184 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard on most of the trims with all-wheel drive available as an option. Trims like the Adventure and the TRD Off-Road come standard with an upgraded all-wheel-drive system that can enhance and manage traction on loose and slippery surfaces. The performance quotient of the regular RAV4 is quite underwhelming and the lackluster performance can be an issue during overtaking situations.
On the other hand, all the five trims of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is powered by the same 2.5L Dynamic Force 4-Cylinder engine with two electric motors, one at each of the front and rear axle. Net power output stands at 219 HP for the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. The electric motor at the front produces a peak torque output of 149 lb-ft, while the electric at the rear axle has a peak torque output of 89 lb-ft. The performance quotient of the RAV4 Hybrid is quite typical for a compact crossover SUV.
Last but not the least, the two 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Plug-In Hybrids are powered by the same 2.5L Dynamic Force 4-Cylinder engine with three hybrid-electric motor-generators which has a total combined power output of 302 HP. The electric motors at the front have a peak torque output of 199 lb-ft with 89 lb-ft for the electric motor at the back. The RAV4 Prime has impressively quick acceleration and can be comfortably used both as a daily driver for regular commute and can also be comfortably used for long journeys as well.
How is the interior?
The interior of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 is quite simple and is decently spacious and roomy for its segment. Although the seats are perfectly usable for a daily commute and even for long journeys as well, it would’ve been better they were not as firm as they are. The seats would have been perfect if they were a little bit softer. Many people have complaints about the passenger seat being too high, and the lack of adjustability was an issue, especially for the taller people. Other than that, the interior of the RAV4 is pretty solid, functional, and has all the necessary tech features and driving aids you would expect in a modern-day car.
How safe is the 2021 Toyota RAV4?
The 2021 RAV4 is developed on the TNGA-K platform which replaces the older K platform. That being said, Toyota didn’t compromise with the safety and security of the 2021 RAV4 and equips the car with a plethora of modern advanced safety features and driving aids to keep its occupants as safe as possible. Some of the highlight safety features available in the 2021 Toyota RAV4, that might be equipped as standard or available as an option depending on the variant and trim include:
Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection
Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
Lane Tracing Assist
Automatic High Beams
Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
Road Sign Assist (RSA)
Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS)
Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA)
Trailer-Sway Control (TSC)
Hill Start Assist Control (HAC)
Seatbelts with seatbelt pretensioners with force limiters
Vehicle Proximity Notification System (VPNS)
Moreover, the 2021 RAV4 managed to score a perfect 5 out of 5 stars in NHTSA’s crash test report with 5 stars in most of the individual tests except the front star rating with the front driver side rating and the rollover tests, where it scored 4 out of 5 stars with a rollover risk of 15.90%. It did pretty well in IIHS’s tests as well, scoring the maximum possible score in most of the individual tests and being honored with the 2020 Top Safety Pick as well. Overall, you could be worry-free regarding the safety of the 2021 Toyota RAV4.
What makes the Toyota RAV4 the absolute leader in its segment?
These are some of the highlights of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 that makes it the absolute leader in its segment:
The interior is pretty simple and all the controls are pretty easy to use
Noise isolation is pretty good for its segment
Car-like road manners
Driver-assistance features available as standard
Ride quality is very comfortable
Available in regular gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid variants to satisfy the need of different groups of people
The hybrid variant offers above-average fuel economy than conventional gasoline-powered rivals without costing too much extra money
The RAV4 Prime has impressively quick acceleration for its segment
The RAV4 Prime also has the option of 42 miles of electric-only driving range
In short, the RAV4 is not a fancy car with gimmicky features. It has all that you would need in a car and all the controls and features are easy to understand and use. Moreover, being a Toyota, you can be relatively worry-free about its reliability as well.
There is no denying the fact that there are better and arguably more fun to drive vehicles in the market of this segment than the Toyota RAV4. But the Toyota RAV4 is one of the more balanced and well-rounded car of them all. It is one of the more practical and easy to use vehicles in terms of its tech interface and infotainment functions. Moreover, it has three different variants with different powertrains satisfying the needs of different groups of people with different budget ranges as well. It does not have many fake and gimmicky features like many modern cars, which makes it stand out from the rest. It could be argued to be an ideal car for most people providing most of the things you would want in a car. These are the reasons the Toyota RAV4 is the absolute leader in its segment which has been topping the sales chart for months in a row.