2021 Toyota RAV4: A Trim Comparison
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 doesn’t change much from the past couple of years. And that’s a good call by Toyota!
After a complete redesign for the 2019 model year, the new more ruggedly designed RAV4 has been selling like hotcakes. It’s the fourth best-selling vehicle in America (the first 3 are trucks). Even the hybrid version is the best-selling hybrid vehicle in the country (besting Toyota’s famed Prius).
The one major change for 2021 is the addition of a plug-in hybrid model branded the Toyota RAV4 Prime. Now let’s get into the details of the 11 trim levels.
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 LE has a price comparable to many four-wheel-drive sedans, with a starting MSRP of $26,250. Due to the fact that the SUV is relatively small, it isn’t equipped with a massive engine as you’d find in a full-size SUV similar to the Chevy Escalade. Drivers will find a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder, 203-hp engine, which can get up to 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.
The exterior has a uniquely bisected C-pillar which makes it stand out from some other SUVs on the market. On the inside, the RAV4 LE is equipped with Entune Safety Connect and Entune 3.0 Audio. This audio/infotainment system features a 7-inch touch-screen display, voice-activated AM/FM radio, hands-free phone capability, Bluetooth connectivity, and six speakers. Finally, the RAV4 LE also includes cruise control, remote keyless entry, a backup camera, and two 12-volt outlets.
The safety features for the RAV4 LE include the Toyota Safety Sense package—which is standard in nearly all their vehicles. It includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alerts with steering assist, automatic high beams, and dynamic radar cruise control. You also get a suite of safety features designed to aid braking, traction, and stability.
An all-wheel-drive (AWD) version is available for $27,650, though it reduces your fuel economy. That’s not a huge price premium so opting for AWD is a pretty good deal.
Along with the traditional gasoline engine-version RAV4, Toyota also updated the hybrid electric versions of this compact crossover. The least expensive hybrid offering, the 2021 Toyota LE Hybrid, has a starting MSRP of $28,800. All hybrid RAV4 trims automatically include Electronic On-Demand AWD. The combined output on this trim is 219-hp, and it can get up to 41 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway.
Those combined fuel ratings make the RAV4 LE Hybrid the third-most fuel-efficient SUV on that market that you don’t have to plug in! (The Lexus UX Hybrid and Ford Escape Hybrid beat it by a single mpg.) Ultimately, the bump in price isn’t just for a hybrid engine, it’s for an AWD powertrain that has more horsepower. That’s $2,500 well spent, in our eyes.
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE is a step up from the previous trim. With a starting MSRP of $27,545, it comes with a lot more features. Buyers may notice front bumper fog lights as an exterior addition that sets this trim apart from the RAV4 LE. The RAV4 XLE also has turning signals indicators, power remote heated folding side-view mirrors, and a powerslide moonroof with sunshade.
You can also control the audio from the leather-trimmed steering wheel. Plus, the multi-LED headlights have an auto on/off feature on this trim. What really sets the RAV4 XLE apart from its lower-priced sibling is that buyers can opt for an array of add-on packages. These include the XLE Convenience Package, 3.0 Audio Plus, and an XLE Tech package. The RAV4 LE didn’t have this opportunity. Buyers could only spend more for blind spot monitoring.
An AWD version of the RAV4 XLE is available for $28,945.
There is also a 2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid with a starting MSRP of $30,095. That’s actually cheaper than it was before. The hybrid-electric engine makes it possible to get up to 41 MPG in the city and 38 MPG on the highway without plugging it in to charge. Those numbers might not sound great compared to a Prius, but it’s impressive for any SUV. Like all RAV4 hybrid models, an electronic on-demand smart AWD system is the standard powertrain.
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium trim starts at $30,250. As soon as passengers enter this trim, they’ll notice the addition of the SofTex-trimmed interior. SofTex is a synthetic leather material that is easy to clean and resistant to liquids.
In the RAV4 XLE premium, there is also an option to upgrade your audio system to Entune 3.0 Audio Plus, which adds an extra inch to your touch screen as well as upgrades the sound system to a JBL with Clari-Fi version. There is also an AWD version of this trim available, which has a starting MSRP of $31,650.
XLE Premium Hybrid
Because the hybrid model has been selling so well, Toyota added a RAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid trim that hasn’t been around in previous years. Like the other Hybrid models, it has a standard AWD powertrain. The wheels are 18-in on this model, instead of the 19-in wheels on the non-hybrid to help maintain high fuel economy numbers.
Otherwise, things are pretty similar compared to the standard gasoline RAV4 XLE Premium trim: a standard power tilt/slide moonroof and SofTex-trimmed seats that are power-adjustable and have memory settings. The starting MSRP is $32,800.
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Adventure trim has a starting MSRP of $33,355. This trim comes standard with AWD, as it’s designed for someone who wants to take their RAV4 onto more rugged terrain. The RAV4 Adventure is immediately noticeable by its different front grille that more resembles a Toyota 4Runner. The interior also features a unique orange accent throughout the cabin.
This is also the first trim to offer a two-tone exterior color scheme. An optional white accent roof can be paired with 3 of the 4 color options. The RAV4 Adventure comes with a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds thanks to the Tow Prep package—which is a huge step up from 1,500 pounds with the other trims. This trim also comes with a higher ride height, 19-inch alloy wheels, black headlight bezels, and fog light surround components.
If you really want to head off the beaten path, the Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road trim is the one you want. Toyota applies the TRD Off-Road branding to factory performance-enhanced models featuring specially tuned suspensions, all-terrain tires, and TRD-exclusive styling features.
Some of the main cosmetic differences between the RAV4 TRD Off-Road and RAV4 Aventure are the inserts and (cosmetic) trims: black and gray compared to the silvers on the Adventure. Also, the TRD Off-Road has a standard moonroof that was absent from the Adventure trim. You can also upgrade to a wireless phone charger on this trim, something you can’t do on the RAV4 Adventure. The MSRP starts at $35,980.
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid is a hybrid-specific trim. There is no RAV4 XSE with a conventional gasoline engine. For a starting MSRP of $34,750, the RAV4 XSE Hybrid is the best option for people who still want a sporty feel to their crossover SUV but also want the fuel efficiency of a hybrid. Also, the exterior features a standard two-tone design of a black roof and a choice between four colors for the body paint. Heated front seats are also standard on this trim, and there is blue accent stitching.
The RAV4 Limited FWD version has a price of $34,780 and includes front and rear parking sonar. This warns you if you get too close to other objects when parking. Buyers also find different tires from previous trims and chrome outside door handles.
But the interior is where you’ll see the most changes. First of all, the RAV4 Limited includes Entune’s App Suite which allows access to destination search, iHeartRadio, Facebook Places, Yelp, Pandora, and so much more. The sound system also improves with the inclusion of Entune Premium Audio 3.0 with Dynamic Navigation. This adds voice-activated HD radio technology, a standard 8-inch touch screen, six speakers, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and predictive traffic. Drivers will also find little niceties like a leather-trimmed shift lever and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. An AWD version is available for $36,180.
Like on other trims with a hybrid offering, nothing much changes much in terms of features between the RAV4 Limited and the RAV4 Limited Hybrid. The hybrid fuel economy remains the same at 41 in the city and 38 on the highway. Once again, the hybrid features an electronic AWD as the standard powertrain for $37,330.
New for 2021 is the Toyota RAV4 Prime. The “Prime” badge is Toyota’s branding for plug-in hybrid models; there’s a Prime version of the Prius, for example. If you need a refresher on hybrid vs. plug-in hybrid, we’ve got one. But the short of it is that a plug-in hybrid can travel a specific distance on electricity alone. Traditional hybrids can’t do that.
The base plug-in trim, the RAV4 Prime SE starts at $38,250. It comes standard with an 8-in. multimedia display, 18-inch wheels, and Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. This plug-in version is actually the most powerful RAV4, with a combined output of 302 horsepower. With its large battery, it can travel an EPA estimated 42 miles on electric power alone before the gas engine kicks in. That’s the most of any plug-in on the market!
The Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE starts at $41,575, and ups the ante. This more luxurious version of the plug-in hybrid comes with standard SofTex-trimmed seating, a 9-inch multimedia display, larger 19-inch wheels, and a standard two-tone exterior paint scheme. Black is the only available roof color. Additionally, the interior features red accent stitching around the cabin, such as down the center console and on the seats. All of this still comes with the stellar mpg ratings of the Prime SE.
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