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2021 Toyota RAV4 review

Research, photos, specs, and expertise
7 photos

Toyota RAV4 highlights

Customer rating

Pros

  • Suspension blends comfort and control
  • Cabin offers plenty of passenger space, and the trunk is large

Cons

  • Gas engine is a bit lackluster
  • Tech interface is a touch dated

Mileage (EPA estimate)

25 city, 32 highway, 28 combined

Pricing for current inventory

(no current inventory)

7 photos
Price
Year
Mileage

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 is a big seller for good reason

After a couple of years of finessing its newly designed RAV4, Toyota took a break from fiddling with the specifications and trim levels of the 2021 model. The RAV4's blend of qualities create broad appeal, making it one of America's top-selling passenger vehicles. More than ever that appeal is targeted to particular interests, with Toyota offering a fuel-efficient and quick Hybrid model, an outdoorsy Adventure model, and a TRD Off-Road option if your lifestyle is more about actually heading into the wilderness than looking like you do. Trim levels encompass LE, XLE, XLE Premium, and XSE Limited for the Hybrid model, and the gas-powered RAV4 comes in LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and Limited trims. The XLE trim makes sense for most buyers, offering a nice mix of standard equipment at a sensible price point. New for 2021 is the Prime, a plug-in hybrid capable of up to 25 miles of battery-only driving.

All but the TRD Off-Road, Hybrid, and Prime are front-wheel-drive as standard. The TRD Off-Road model gets off-road-specific suspension and all-wheel drive to give it rugged capability; the Hybrid's all-wheel drive comes because of the electric motor working on the rear axle. Non-hybrid RAV4s are powered by a 2.5-liter engine with 203 hp paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. No RAV4 is really remarkable to drive, but they're all smooth and easy on the road, and the cabins are spacious for passengers and luggage alike. The breadth of appeal and core competence in all areas make the 2021 Toyota RAV4 difficult to ignore. It underlines why it's consistently such a big seller despite being bested by some competitors in particular areas.

All Toyota RAV4 years

Not sure what year to select? Learn about each Toyota RAV4 generation from 2011 to 2024

2021 Toyota RAV4 trims

Curious how Toyota RAV4 trims differ? Use our side-by-side vehicle comparison to see the differences and similarities

LE:

XLE:

XLE Premium:

Adventure:

TRD Off-Road:

Limited:

Toyota RAV4 photos

5 reasons to buy the 2021 Toyota RAV4

1. Variety of trim levels

2021 Toyota RAV4: Reviews, Photos, and More

Whether you have your eye on a generously-equipped, streamlined crossover or an off-road-capable machine, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 can fulfill your needs. Even the base model comes with 60/40-split, reclining fold-flat rear seat with center armrest and cup holders. You'll also get a tilt and telescoping, three-spoke steering wheel with controls for audio, touchscreen display, Bluetooth, and cruise control. Working your way up the trim ladder, you can add the features that mean the most to you, whether that's a sunroof or a premium audio system. This variety means you'll be able to take this vehicle to the grocery store in town or a campsite to get away any time you want.

2. Plenty of cargo space

The 2021 RAV4 has an ample cargo hold for golf clubs, camping gear, and more. With the second row stowed, you'll have 69.8 cu-ft of storage space, which compares favorably with other SUVs in its class. A myriad of bins and nooks give you options to store small things as well — like snacks, maps, and charging cords. The low cargo floor in the RAV4 is a boon for anyone who needs to load something in the back, and you'll appreciate the comfortable level of access to the seats — a great feature for those with small kids or anyone with mobility challenges.

3. Off-road ready

Toyota RAV4 Review: Engine | CarMax

Standard with the 2.5L four-cylinder engine, the RAV4 is certainly capable in countless road conditions. For a little extra off-road punch, opt for the Adventure or TRD Off-Road trim, both of which include the same standard engine. Both of these upgrades include a dual-zone automatic climate control system with a dust and pollen filter, which is terrific for dusty off-road situations.

4. Driver assist features

Toyota RAV4 Review: Dashboard | CarMax

A couple of years ago, Toyota made its driver-assist suite standard on all models. That's a spectacular addition for you and any other drivers in your household, with features like a 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, and road sign assist. All RAV4 models include a backup camera, and the upper trims also include blind-spot monitoring.

5. Colorful exterior color options

Not only is the 2021 Toyota RAV4 versatile, it's colorful. Available in 12 diverse colors, the RAV4 comes in Super White, Midnight Black and everything in between. A few models come in new color combinations, like Lunar Rock with Ice Edge Roof, which is only for the TRD Off-Road and Adventure trims. You can choose from nine hues even on the base model.

Similar vehicles

If you're interested in the 2021 Toyota RAV4, you should also check out these similar vehicles from Previous generation years.

Image of Honda CRV

Honda CR-V

The five-passenger Honda CR-V crossover was completely redesigned in 2017, making a great SUV even better. The base CR-V from model years 2017–2019 comes with a 184-hp, 2.4L four-cylinder engine; however, if you step on up to one of the other three trims OR look at 2020 and new, you get a 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine generating 190 hp along with more features. Standard equipment on 2017–2022 models includes:

  • LED running lights

  • Automatic climate control

  • Cruise control

View our photos, specs, and expertise of the 2021 Honda CR-V.

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Ratings & reliability

Customer ratings

4
1
2
Excellent

RepairPal gave the Toyota RAV4 an overall reliability rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as Excellent. This rating ranks Toyota RAV4 4th out of 29 among Compact SUVs.

View RepairPal's full rating of the Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4 features and specs

LE 2WD 4D Sport Utility

Standard Features

  • ABS Brakes
  • Air Conditioning
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Android Auto
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Automated Cruise Control
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • Cloth Seats
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Overhead Airbags
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirrors
  • Power Windows
  • Rear Defroster
  • Rear View Camera
  • Satellite Radio Ready
  • Side Airbags
  • Traction Control
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Cloth Seats
  • Full Roof Rack
  • Running Boards
  • Tow Hitch

Drive Wheels

Front Wheel Drive (2WD)

Engine size

2.5L

Horsepower

203

Torque (ft-lbs)

184

Engine type

Gas

Fuel capacity

14.5

Wheelbase

105.9"

Overall length

180.9"

Width

73"

Height

67"

Leg room

F 41"/R 37.8"

Head room

F 39.5"/R 39.5"

Front tires

P225/65HR17

Rear tires

P225/65HR17

Seating capacity

5

Max towing capacity

150/1500 lbs.

Transmission

Automatic

2021 Toyota RAV4 FAQ

More about the 2021 Toyota RAV4

Exterior colors

  • Blizzard Pearl (now avail for XLE Premium)

  • Blueprint

  • Blue Flame

  • Blue Flame with Ice Edge Roof (Adventure and TRD Off-Road Grade only)

  • Lunar Rock

  • Lunar Rock with Ice Edge Roof (Adventure and TRD Off-Road Grade only)

  • Magnetic Gray Metallic

  • Magnetic Gray Metallic with Ice Edge Roof (TRD Off-Road Grade only)

  • Midnight Black Metallic

  • Midnight Black Metallic with Ice Edge Roof (Adventure and TRD Off-Road Grade only)

  • Ruby Flare Pearl

  • Silver Sky Metallic

  • Super White

Interior details

  • 69.8 cu-ft of storage space behind the front row with the second row stowed

  • 37.5 cu-ft of storage space behind the second row

  • Seats a total of 5 people

  • 7-inch touchscreen is standard (8-inch for Adventure and Limited trims)

  • Full suite of driver-assist features on every RAV4

NHTSA Safety Ratings

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 received an overall 5/5 rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Find out more about this rating and how NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings program evaluates the crash protection and rollover safety of new vehicles.

Keep in mind that certain vehicles may have unrepaired safety recalls. Click here to look up a specific vehicle.

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