Licensing Consultant

Not just any technology

2021 Toyota RAV4 review: Satisfying if not quite superb

The RAV4 is a sharp looking small SUV.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 is a great deal like that 1 buddy absolutely everyone appears to be to have: usually there to lend a hand, present a shoulder to cry on or present up at a moment’s notice if you find by yourself in hot water at 2:00 a.m. in Tijuana. No, the RAV4 doesn’t seriously direct the compact SUV class in any 1 space, but it really is very well rounded, flawlessly able and completely ready to provide.


  • Interesting interior style
  • Normal driver aids
  • Added capability

Will not Like

  • So-so infotainment procedure
  • Gritty reversing camera
  • Grumbling engine

Featuring drivers a good deal of option, 3 simple flavors of RAV4 are accessible. You will find the conventional product, an affordable hybrid and then the RAV4 Primary, the plug-in hybrid variant with up to 42 miles of electrical-only assortment. The instance noticed below is the most rugged of the bunch, the TRD Off-Road, which options a non-hybrid drivetrain and some more options to make it perform far better out on the trail.

For 2021, the TRD Off-Road product gains a swanky stainless-metal entrance skid plate, a to start with for the RAV4. This must assistance defend some of its delicates when thrashing all over in the dirt. This Toyota’s overall body is supported by a uniquely tuned suspension, which options racy-looking pink springs that supposedly present far better small-bump isolation on tough roadways. This vehicle also features re-valved twin-tube shock absorbers for far better overall body command above big area irregularities. Giving and further supporting of traction is a established of Falken Wildpeak A/T Path all-terrain tires mounted to eighteen-inch TRD wheels. These rubbers seem super intense but are astonishingly agreeable. In truth, the TRD Off-Road’s suspension tuning is totally livable, giving an impressively easy on-pavement journey with tiny tire sounds. If towing is your detail, this RAV4 can drag up to 3,500 lbs ., adequate for a pair snowmobiles or a small trailer.

My tester is also fitted with what have to be the most useless managing boards in automotive historical past. The RAV4 sits lower adequate that they’re totally needless. Creating matters worse, these matters are guaranteed to get in the way when off-roading, additionally they stick out significantly adequate to streak your pant legs with what ever slop you very last drove through. But this is the kicker: All this added inconvenience costs an further $549.

Get past people optional managing boards and you can find this SUV’s interior is very well designed and the general style is uncomplicated on the eyes, without any frou-frou incorporate-ons or needless sculpting. Mazda’s CX-5 is evidently more upscale and the Honda CR-V’s cabin is nicer, way too, but there is no shortage of comfortable elements in this Toyota and I appreciate the racy-looking pink stitching that runs across the dashboard, door panels and seats. This is complemented by crimson accents all over the cup holders and accessible wireless charging plate as very well as on the rubber flooring mats.

The 2021 Toyota RAV4’s interior is handsome and practical.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

An eight-inch touchscreen is perched on the dashboard where it really is uncomplicated to reach and see (reduce trims function a seven-incher). Regretably, this show is household to an out-of-date infotainment procedure that is complicated to use and somewhat unattractive. But hey, at minimum Apple CarPlay, Android Automobile and Amazon Alexa are all supported. I recognize the rubbery temperature- and audio-command knobs, which feel excellent in my arms, but some of the other HVAC buttons are a little bit way too small to effortlessly see when driving. Over and above all that, this RAV4 also options the $one,620 High quality Audio package deal, which includes an eleven-speaker JBL seem procedure, embedded navigation and a several other goodies.

As in other Toyotas, the RAV4’s back again-up camera is bad, giving a lower-resolution picture of what is guiding you. The $one,950 TRD Off-Road Engineering Package includes a 360-diploma camera procedure, which is practical, but just as gritty looking. This choices group includes other goodies, way too, like a electronic rear-check out mirror, parking sensors, a wireless charging plate and more, so it is really worth the further outlay even if the camera procedure is just so-so.

The RAV4’s entrance chairs are supportive and comfy, supporting present a excellent check out of the road in advance. This SUV’s backseat is also roomy, with a good deal of area for knees and noggins, though the rear cushion is just a tad way too lower for it to be totally accommodating. Also, the back again door openings are slim, so it can be complicated to access the rear accommodations.

This Toyota’s 4-cylinder engine functions astonishingly very well, even if it really is a little bit noisy when doing work.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

This example’s large, electrical power-opening hatch makes it a snap to access the cargo maintain, which gives 37.5 cubic-feet of storage house guiding the rear backrests or 69.eight cubes with them folded down. That’s more house than you get in a CX-5 or Ford Escape, but people scores do tumble marginally guiding the capacious CR-V.

The RAV4 is propelled by a familiar drivetrain, 1 used to excellent advantage during Toyota’s automotive empire. Nestled among this SUV’s entrance fenders is a obviously aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that delivers a affordable 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The engine is backed by an 8-speed computerized transmission that is, for the most portion, speedy-witted and easy, though sometimes gearchanges can feel a little bit uneven. The general performance this powertrain delivers is flawlessly high-quality unladen, the RAV4 has no difficulty obtaining up to highway speed. Genuinely, I have no problems about this SUV’s get-up-and-go, somewhat, I am not a enormous supporter of its refinement. The engine is gruff sounding when on the boil and from time to time you feel uncouth vibrations.

But hey, at minimum the RAV4 is efficient. TRD Off-Road products come with torque-vectoring all-wheel push, a function that must make them moderately able tiny mountain goats. Despite the added excess weight and friction of 4-corner traction, this SUV is rated at 25 mpg town, 32 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined. In combined (though primarily highway) driving, I am averaging about 31.5 mpg, which is, frankly, stellar for a vehicle this tall fitted with these types of intense tires. 

The infotainment procedure is 1 of the RAV4’s most important weaknesses. 

Craig Cole/Roadshow

At interstate speeds a little bit of wind sounds makes its existence known, but this is rarely objectionable. The RAV4’s journey is primarily supple and the brake pedal feels excellent beneath your tootsies. This vehicle’s steering is crisp and speedy, but a tad way too mild for my taste and the wheel’s rim is just about dainty its cross-part is so small.

Assisting maintain the RAV4 shiny aspect up, Toyota Protection Feeling 2. is conventional fare on each individual 2021 product. This suite of driver aids includes lane-departure warning, computerized superior beams, road-signal recognition and more. The headline options, though, are adaptive cruise command and lane centering. Collectively, these two amenities make extensive highway drives a breeze, retaining the vehicle from wandering and easily matching the speed of encompassing visitors.

Holding tempo with rival SUVs, an entry-stage, entrance-push 2021 Toyota RAV4 commences at 27 grand and change including $one,one hundred seventy five in destination fees. As it sits, the loaded TRD Off-Road product noticed below checks out for $42,622. That figure includes a range of choices like the Off-Road Weather Package ($one,015), the High quality Audio choices group ($one,620), the TRD Off-Road tech pack ($one,950), door sill guards ($140), mud flaps ($129) and, certainly, people foolish managing boards ($549).

Nicely, what do you believe of the 2021 Toyota RAV4?

Craig Cole/Roadshow

With added capability and commendable refinement, the RAV4 TRD Off-Road is a likable SUV. I nonetheless choose the CX-5, which feels substantially more quality and I believe the CR-V is possibly a little bit more smart, but as usually, the at any time-well-liked RAV4 stays an excellent option.