Morgan Pritchett
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2021 Toyota RAV4 Overview

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2021 Toyota RAV4 Adventure
2021 Toyota RAV4 Adventure
Photo: Toyota

The most exciting news as of late for the RAV4 nameplate has been the introduction of the RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid variant of the most popular Toyota model. After entering its fifth generation in 2018, Toyota has decided to keep updates minimal heading into the 2021 model year. The only change occurring is the removal of the Super White exterior color option and the addition of Blizzard Pearl.


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Exterior

Across its six gasoline-powered trim levels, the 2021 RAV4 offers a variety of exterior features to suit your needs. Standard on the base LE is LED lighting in the front and back, power-folding outside mirrors, roof rails, a dual chrome-tipped exhaust, and privacy glass. Though, if you live in a particularly wet climate, you will want to skip the LE and get the XLE or higher trims, which come with variable intermittent windshield wipers. Rain-sensing wipers, however, don’t come standard on any model but are available as part of an option package on the XLE and above. When it comes to taking the RAV4 off the beaten path, the RAV4 TRD Off-Road is your best bet, despite the Adventure trim’s misleading name. While both models come with standard all-wheel drive, the TRD Off-Road trim goes beyond the aesthetics of an outdoor journey and is equipped with Falken All-Terrain tires and a TRD-tuned MacPherson strut front suspension with a stabilizer bar.

  • 2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE
  • 2021 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road
  • 2021 Toyota RAV4 Adventure

Interior

No matter which trim you choose, the RAV4 seats five and offers 69.8 cubic feet of cargo room with the seats folded down. While not the roomiest of options in its segment, it’s not small by any means. Rear shoulder room exceeds that of the Honda CR-V by about an inch while legroom is comparable to that of the Mazda CX-5 and Chevy Equinox. The base LE comes with fabric-trimmed, manually adjustable driver and front passenger seats, but moving up just one trim to the XLE gets you a power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support. The unfortunate thing, however, is that the front passenger is stuck with a manually adjustable seat with no lumbar support, all the way up to the top-of-the-line Limited trim.

The first three RAV4 models in the lineup come with a 7-inch touch screen while the Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and Limited come with an 8-inch touch screen. The premium JBL audio system with 11 speakers scattered about the cabin is reserved for the RAV4 Limited. But standard on all trims are Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, at least one USB port, Bluetooth, and a three-month SiriusXM trial.

  • 2021 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road Interior
  • 2021 Toyota RAV4 Adventure Interior
  • 2021 Toyota RAV4 Adventure Interior
  • 2021 Toyota RAV4 Adventure Interior

Performance and efficiency

The standard engine across all 2021 RAV4 models is a 203-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. For optimal fuel efficiency (other than the hybrid or plug-in variants), go with the XLE or XLE Premium, which both get 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. At the bottom of the list are, as expected, the AWD Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims, which get 25 mpg in the city.


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Safety

Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 and the Star Safety System are standard on all 2021 RAV4 models. TSS 2.0 includes driver-assist features like Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Road Sign Assist, and a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection. The Star Safety System includes tech you’ll find on most vehicles, like Traction and Stability Control. Blind-spot monitoring can be added to the LE but comes as standard on the XLE while Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automatic Braking are only standard on the top Limited trim.