2021 Toyota RAV4

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2021 Toyota RAV4 Review: Ruling The Crossover Roost

by Aiden Eksteen

Of all the compact crossover SUVs hustling and bustling throughout America, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 is the most popular. That's despite its imperfections, like a feeble 2.5-liter inline-4 engine with just 203 horsepower, and many cherished competitors such as the Kia Soul, Honda HR-V, and Mazda CX-30. It's a pleasure to drive, though, especially in urban settings, and it's reasonably fuel-efficient, too. Along with its spacious interior and abundance of cargo room, this makes it an ideal everyday runabout. With such a lackluster engine and an entry-spec model that's sparsely outfitted with features, you may be able to find a more fitting crossover for you elsewhere, but with its all-rounder qualities and Toyota-derived safety and reliability, the RAV4 is a crossover that can't be ignored.

Read in this review:

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2021 Toyota RAV4 Changes: ๐Ÿš™Whatโ€™s the difference vs 2020 RAV4?

While very little has changed for the RAV4 SUV and its hybrid models this year, there has been an addition to the lineup in the form of the XLE Premium Hybrid. Modeled on the gas-powered version of the same nameplate, it comes similarly equipped but with some changes. These include LED projector headlights, daytime running lights with accent lighting, active grille shutters, a hybrid instrument cluster, and a vehicle proximity notification system. The TRD Off-Road also gets a new TRD-stamped stainless steel front skid plate.

Pros and Cons

  • Balanced and fuel-efficient powertrains
  • Spacious, ergonomic, and well-built cabin
  • Expansive cargo area storage capacity
  • Extensive set of driver-assist features
  • Toyota-derived safety and reliability
  • Begins to sound overly strained at speed
  • Slightly underpowered and no fun to drive
  • Sparsely-outfitted entry-spec model

Best Deals on 2021 Toyota RAV4

2021 Toyota RAV4 Trims and Prices

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
Hybrid LE
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
Hybrid XLE
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
XLE Premium
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive

RAV4 Exterior

2021 Toyota RAV4 Three Quarter Front Right Side View Toyota
2021 Toyota RAV4 Three Quarter Rear Left Side View Toyota
2021 Toyota RAV4 Three Quarter Front Left Side View Toyota
See All 2021 Toyota RAV4 Exterior Photos


  • Length 180.9 in
  • Wheelbase 105.9 in
  • Height 67.0 in
  • Max Width 73.0 in
  • Front Width 63.0 in
  • Rear Width 63.7 in
  • Curb Weight 3,370.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Super White
  • Blue Flame
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Silver Sky Metallic
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Ruby Flare Pearl
  • Blueprint
  • Lunar Rock
  • Blizzard Pearl
  • Lunar Rock/Ice Edge Roof
  • Blue Flame/Ice Edge Roof
  • Midnight Black/Ice Edge Roof
  • Blue Print
  • Silver Sky Metallic/Midnight Black Metallic
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic/Midnight Black Metallic
See all 20 colors

RAV4 Performance

2021 Toyota RAV4 Three Quarter Front Right Side View 1 Toyota
2021 Toyota RAV4 Right Side View Toyota
2021 Toyota RAV4 Three Quarter Rear Right Side View Toyota

Engine and Transmission

Beneath the hood of the gas-powered 2021 RAV4 SUV is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that's been modulated to produce up to 203 hp and 184 lb-ft. Power is forwarded through an 8-speed automatic transmission to the front-wheel drivetrain of the LE, XLE, XLE Premium, and Limited. However, all-wheel drive is available and standard on the Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims. Though not particularly lively, the RAV4's performance is encouraged by its compact size and light curb weight. It feels right at home scooting around urban and suburban streets, but as soon as you step harder on the throttle to get to higher speeds, the engine starts to drone and sounds strained. With FWD, the RAV4 is rated with a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 pounds, while AWD models manage 1,750 lbs, and the TRD models 3,500 lbs.

  • Engines
    2.5L Inline-4 Gas, 2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
  • Transmissions
    8-Speed Automatic, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

RAV4 Gas Mileage

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    14.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 27/35 mpg
* 2021 Toyota RAV4 LE FWD

RAV4 Interior

2021 Toyota RAV4 Infotainment System Toyota
2021 Toyota RAV4 Steering Wheel Toyota
2021 Toyota RAV4 Steering Wheel 1 Toyota
See All 2021 Toyota RAV4 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 41.0 in
  • Front Head Room 39.5 in
  • Rear Leg Room 37.8 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.5 in

RAV4 Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Toyota RAV4 Luggage Space Toyota
2021 Toyota RAV4 Luggage Space 1 Toyota
2021 Toyota RAV4 Rear Badge Toyota

RAV4 Safety and Reliability


  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    2 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    2 Years \ 25,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: ๐ŸIs the 2021 Toyota RAV4 a good SUV?

Despite suffering from several drawbacks, including lackluster acceleration responses, unengaging drive dynamics, and a sparsely outfitted entry-spec model, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 remains one of the best-selling crossovers in the USA, and for a good reason. It's the ideal 5-door city car for the discerning individual that needs a dependable, practical, and safe everyday runabout. Though a tad underpowered, it's still a pleasant vehicle to drive thanks to its easy-going and comfort-oriented nature on the road. It performs competently around urban settings and is fairly fuel-efficient, too. Its cabin is spacious, comfortable, and well-built, and there's plenty of cargo room behind the second row for storing everyone's things. After in-depth review of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 by both the NHTSA and the IIHS, it earned itself a leading safety rating within the classification - the fifth-generation RAV4 even boasts several Top Safety Pick awards. The Off-Road purposed variants also impress and are capable of towing decent loads. Ultimately, the RAV4 surpasses its competitors in numerous areas, which is why it remains the USA's most popular compact SUV.

๐Ÿš—What Toyota RAV4 Model Should I Buy?

If you're in the market for a proficient off-roader, we wouldn't recommend the RAV4 SUV, despite its TRD Off-Road model. The RAV4 is better suited to regular city driving, and the TRD Off-Road is relatively pricey, anyway. We recommend going for the Adventure, instead, which comes standard with brawny design elements and a multi-terrain select AWD system. This means it still benefits from the all-terrain driving benefits and the increased towing capacity. It also comes with the larger seven-inch driver-information display, which provides the driver with much-needed feedback during sticky situations, and the larger eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, which just looks more modern and fitting in the contemporary cabin. With its +/- $33,500 starting price, this 2021 Toyota RAV4 SUV trim offers plenty of bang for the buck.

Check out other Toyota RAV4 Styles

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