The 2021 Toyota RAV4 is inspired by the brand’s tough trucks while also amplifying the desirable traits of a crossover. The vehicle is highly popular for a reason and for 2021, the RAV4 continues to be both a segment leader and a segment disruptor. You now have even more variety to enjoy with the RAV4 lineup as its first-ever plug-in hybrid has been added. The new RAV4 Prime produces up to 302 horsepower and is able to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.7 seconds. That makes it the quickest four-door model in the Toyota lineup! Other improvements have also been made to the fifth-generation RAV4. Continue reading below for our full review of the 2021 Toyota RAV4!
The Toyota RAV4 is full of personality, and its sporty design makes it stand out from the crowd. Muscular fenders on all four corners help accentuate the SUV’s “ready-for-anything attitude,” while available two-tone exterior paint colors help you express your own unique style. The rear design leaves a lasting impression as underneath the rear bumper, the dual chrome-tipped exhaust shows off a powerful look. There’s also an available rear spoiler and modern LED taillights that help finish off the design at the rear. The RAV4’s wheels, meanwhile, are designed to complement the personalities of the various models. The XLE features 17” 5-spoke silver alloy wheels, for example, and the Limited offers available 19” multi-spoke super chrome-finished alloy wheels.
The hybrid RAV4 models have a unique look to them with their blue accents. The Adventure and TRD Off-Road models also stand out. The TRD Off-Road builds on the exterior aesthetics and the 8.6” of ground clearance that the RAV4 Adventure model offers with its suspension, wheels and tires engineered specifically for rugged trail driving. The TRD-Off Road model also now features a new TRD-stamped stainless steel front skid plate that has been added for 2021. Certain models like the RAV4 Adventure and the new XLE Premium grade for RAV4 Hybrid also get a power moonroof, which allows the outdoors in.
The RAV4 truly does offer a lot of variety as for the different exterior features you can get with the various models. It’s important to closely look at the breakdown of each model to determine which look and model is best for you.
The interior of the RAV4 offers an elevated level of sophistication with a premium, modern design and an uncomplicated layout. There’s handy storage throughout the RAV4, including the in-dash tray that’s located within easy reach of the front passenger.
Compared to the previous-generation RAV4, the interior feels more spacious to rear seat passengers as there’s an increase in left and right couple distance and legroom. The rear cargo area also features a reversible liner, as well as side nets for storing smaller items.
Every 2021 RAV4 is equipped with Toyota Multimedia including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The standard touchscreen is 7” in size, though there are also 8” and 9” touchscreens available. The Audio Plus system comes with the 9” touchscreen, which is the largest ever offered on a RAV4. The available Premium Audio system adds Dynamic Navigation and the more advanced JBL speaker system. Other impressive options for your RAV4 include a panoramic glass roof, wireless phone charger, ambient interior lighting, perforated heated and ventilated front seats, a head-up display, and more. There’s even an available digital rearview mirror that allows you to see what’s behind your vehicle if you can’t see out of the back because of lots of cargo or tall passengers.
The Toyota RAV4 was designed to tackle urban, suburban, and outdoor adventures with ease. The wheelbase and front and rear tracks provide a stable, confident drive, wile the front and rear overhangs aid the RAV4’s trail-driving capability. The high-strength unibody chassis is now 57 percent more rigid than the previous generation, and the vehicle’s optimally-tuned front strut and rear multilink suspension systems enhance agility while also delivering a smoother ride.
You have the power to choose as for the performance you get out of your 2021 RAV4. The LE, XLE, XLE Premium, and Limited grades are available with the choice of gas or gas/electric hybrid powertrains, while the Adventure and TRD Off-Road models only offer the gasoline engine.
The Dynamic force 2.5-liter 203 hp 4-cylinder gasoline engine is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and it gets an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway (in LE FWD models).
The RAV4 Hybrid, meanwhile, works with the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Dynamic Force Engine and it offers an EPA-estimated 41/38/40 MPG! You also now have the choice of the XLE Premium model for your RAV4 Hybrid.
The newest addition, however, is the RAV4 Prime model and it’s the most powerful and quickest RAV4 ever! The RAV4’s first-ever plug-in hybrid model offers up to 302 horsepower and can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds! That makes it the quickest four-door model in the Toyota lineup. The RAV4 Prime also gets an EPA-estimated 42 miles on battery alone on a single charge, and it also has up to an EPA-estimated 94 combined MPGe.
In the hybrid models, a CVT is exclusively paired with an e-AWD, making it possible to operate at all vehicle speeds. The e-AWD system uses an independent electric motor at the rear wheels.
There’s also available all-wheel drive for those who opt for the gasoline engine. The LE, XLE, and XLE Premium grades offer optional all-wheel drive with dynamic torque control and driveline disconnect. Adventure and TRD Off-Road models come standard with dynamic torque vectoring all-wheel drive with rear driveline disconnect. The Limited model can also opt for the system, or stick with front-wheel drive.
Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0) comes standard on all 2021 RAV4 models. It groups a long roster of active-safety technologies and capabilities like pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, lane tracing assist, the list goes on! A blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert and rear cross traffic braking also comes standard on the higher grades, including the RAV4 TRD Off-Road. In addition to TSS 2.0, the 2021 RAV4 is equipped with Toyota’s Star Safety System. Other available safety technologies include a bird’s eye view camera that gives you a 360 degree view of your RAV4, and also intelligent clearance sonar.
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 is priced from $26,050 for a front-wheel drive LE, but the price can quickly climb from there. If you opt for the new plug-in hybrid RAV4 Prime, for example, it has a starting MRSP of $38,100.
As for competitors, you may want to consider the Chevrolet Equinox, Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5, and others.
As always, be sure to do plenty of additional research on any vehicle you may be interested in purchasing and try to also test drive the vehicle before buying!
The fifth-generation 2021 Toyota RAV4 continues to shine, and the addition of the new RAV4 Prime model is impressive! It’s exciting that you can now get an even more powerful RAV4. You also can’t beat Toyota safety and reliability, which is why we gave the 2021 Toyota RAV4 an SUVs.com deal score of 84/100.