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$26,050 - 35,980 MSRP

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Pros & Cons

  • Superb gas mileage
  • Roomy cabin
  • Long list of standard tech and safety features
  • Large cargo hold
  • Noisy engine
  • Above-average base price

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Toyota RAV4's #5 ranking is based on its score within the Compact SUVs category. Currently the Toyota RAV4 has a score of 8.0 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 14 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.0

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 8.0
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.5 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Toyota RAV4?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Toyota RAV4 a Good SUV?

Yes, the Toyota RAV4 is a good compact SUV. This well-rounded utility vehicle has a cavernous cabin filled with high-end materials and numerous standard features, while the fuel-efficient engine delivers ample power.

Why You Can Trust Us: 14 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This 2021 RAV4 review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2019.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Toyota RAV4?

The RAV4 is one of the most well-rounded SUVs in the class, and it should definitely be on your short list. However, its sticker price is slightly above average for a compact SUV. Rivals like the Honda CR-V and Kia Sportage are less expensive, though you’ll have to spend extra for features that come standard in this Toyota.

If you like the RAV4, you might also be interested in its even more fuel-efficient Toyota stablemates: the RAV4 Hybrid and the all-new plug-in-hybrid RAV4 Prime.

Find a 2021 Toyota RAV4 for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Toyota RAV4: What's the Difference?

There are no major differences between the 2020 and 2021 RAV4.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 RAV4 »

Here are some of the key changes for the RAV4 over the last few years:

  • 2017: Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assistance tech added to standard features list
  • 2018: Adventure trim introduced
  • 2019: fully redesigned with a stronger powertrain, revamped interior and exterior styling, larger standard and available touch screens, and more standard features
  • 2020: gained a standard Wi-Fi hot spot, Android Auto, and satellite radio; TRD Off-Road trim debuted
  • 2021: no notable changes

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 RAV4, 2019 RAV4, and 2020 RAV4 reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Toyota RAV4 Cost?

The RAV4 has an MSRP of $26,050. This is slightly above average for a compact SUV, but this Toyota comes standard with more features than many classmates. Topping off the trim levels are the RAV4 Limited, which starts at $34,580, and the TRD Off-Road, which has an MSRP of $35,780.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

Toyota RAV4 Versus the Competition

Toyota RAV4 vs. Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is one of our highest-ranking compact SUVs. It has an above-average predicted reliability rating and touts the largest cargo hold in the class. Its cabin build quality is top-notch as well. While the RAV4 has a slightly stronger engine than the CR-V, both garner similar gas mileage estimates. The RAV4 has a longer list of standard features, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 7-inch touch screen, and pedestrian detection. However, the CR-V has a lower starting price than the RAV4. Overall, the Honda is more well-rounded than the Toyota, but choosing between them will come down to preference.

Compare the RAV4 and CR-V »

Toyota RAV4 vs. Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 has terrific handling, and it's one of the most-fun-to-drive SUVs in the class. It features a high-quality interior, class-leading safety ratings, and a user-friendly infotainment system all at a lower starting price than the RAV4. The Mazda also offers an optional turbocharged engine that’s more powerful and punchier than anything available in the Toyota. With that said, the RAV4 gets better fuel economy estimates, provides more cargo room, and has a much longer list of standard tech features. Both SUVs are great options, but if you value a lively and engaging performance, we suggest you go with the CX-5.

Compare the RAV4 and CX-5 »

Compare the RAV4, CR-V, and CX-5 »

RAV4 Interior: Roomy

RAV4 Cargo Space

The RAV4 has 37.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row. That number drops ever so slightly to 37.5 cubic feet in the XLE, XLE Premium, and Limited trims. Folding down the second row will get you up to 69.8 cubic feet of cargo room in all trims. These cargo figures are higher than those of many compact SUV rivals, though the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester each provide a few more cubic feet.

How Many People Does the RAV4 Seat?

Up to five people can sit in this Toyota SUV. Front- and rear legroom is ample, and even tall passengers should easily find a comfortable seating position in the roomy cabin. The seats are well-cushioned to boot. One glaring knock against the RAV4 is that it does not offer a power-adjustable passenger seat. However, optional amenities like an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front and rear outboard seats, and ventilated front seats are available.

RAV4 and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat. This LATCH system is among the easiest to use.

RAV4 Interior Quality

The RAV4’s cabin has a modern design with soft touch points and aesthetically pleasing yet durable materials. You won’t confuse this Toyota for a luxury vehicle, but utility, comfort, and opulence increase significantly as you move up the trim levels. Optional amenities include synthetic leather seats and unique seat stitching and accents.

RAV4 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The RAV4 features a user-friendly infotainment system that comes with a responsive 7-inch touch screen. The interface is intuitive, and the screen’s digital buttons are well placed. There are also physical knobs and buttons for things like stereo volume and climate controls. These physical features are generally easy to reach, but you may have to stretch to reach some on the far side of the console.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, a USB port, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and a six-speaker stereo
  • Available infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, wireless device charging, an 11-speaker JBL sound system, and four additional USB ports
  • Other available features: dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, a moonroof, and a panoramic moonroof

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay?, What Is Android Auto?, and What Is Amazon Alexa Auto?

Read more about interior »

RAV4 Performance: Smooth and Balanced

RAV4 Engine

The only engine available in the RAV4 is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that churns out 203 horsepower. Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, this engine supplies plenty of power for daily use and can get this crossover up to highway speeds without too much effort. However, some critics note that the engine can be quite loud at higher speeds and that the transmission, while mostly smooth, may hiccup while downshifting.

RAV4 Gas Mileage

The RAV4 garners some of the best fuel economy estimates in the compact SUV class. It gets 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. Opting for all-wheel drive in the base trim drops those figures to 27/34 mpg city/highway, while other trims with AWD get between 25 and 27 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The TRD Off-Road trim gets the worst estimates in the lineup: 25/32 mpg city/highway.

RAV4 Ride and Handling

This Toyota provides a generally comfortable ride. Its suspension does a solid job of absorbing potholes and bumps in the road. Its handling is admirably agile and lets you take corners with confidence. With that said, it can’t match the athleticism of the Mazda CX-5. Front-wheel drive comes standard and all-wheel drive is available.

RAV4 Off-Road Performance

Historically, the RAV4 hasn’t been an off-road warrior, but Toyota changed that when it introduced the TRD Off-Road trim for the 2020 model year. With 8.6 inches of ground clearance, all-terrain tires, and performance upgrades like a TRD-tuned suspension, this RAV4 can attack rough terrain with confidence.

Read more about performance »

RAV4 Reliability

Is the Toyota RAV4 Reliable?

The 2021 RAV4 has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Toyota RAV4 Warranty

Toyota backs the RAV4 with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

RAV4 Safety

RAV4 Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Toyota RAV4 an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

As of this writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not evaluated the 2021 RAV4, but the nearly identical 2020 model earned the highest rating of Good in all six crashworthiness tests.

RAV4 Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Lane trace assist (keeps the vehicle centered in the lane, even on curved roads)
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Rearview camera
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Road sign recognition
  • Automatic high-beam headlights

Available advanced safety features:

  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Rear cross traffic alert

Read more about safety »

RAV4 Dimensions and Weight

The RAV4 is 15.1 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,370 to 3,655 pounds, and its gross vehicle weight rating is between 4,610 and 4,705 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Built?

Toyota builds the 2021 RAV4 in Canada and Japan.

Which Toyota RAV4 Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 comes in six trims: LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and Limited. All feature the same inline four-cylinder engine and come with the lauded Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of active safety features.

The base model comes well equipped and will most likely suffice for most shoppers. However, you can augment the RAV4’s comfort and convenience with available features like heated front seats and rain-sensing windshield wipers by upgrading to the XLE trim and adding a package.

If you're looking for more off-road capability, consider the Adventure or TRD Off-Road trims. Both come with Toyota’s Dynamic Torque Vectoring all-wheel-drive system and feature higher ground clearance figures. Front-wheel drive is standard in all other trims, but you can add AWD for $1,400.

You may also be interested in the brand’s more fuel-efficient RAV4 options, like the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and the plug-in-hybrid Toyota RAV4 Prime. We review both vehicles separately.

Toyota RAV4 LE

The base RAV4 LE starts at $26,050. It comes with a long list of standard tech features, including an infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, a six-speaker stereo, a USB port, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa. Additional standard features include cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, and remote keyless entry.

The LE also comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. This suite includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane tracing assist, automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, and road sign recognition. For $590, you can add blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.

Toyota RAV4 XLE

The XLE trim has an MSRP of $27,345. It adds four more USB ports, a proximity key, push-button start, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated outside mirrors, fog lights, upgraded LED headlights, and alloy wheels. The XLE also makes blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert standard.

Available packages include the XLE Weather package ($925), which adds a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, heated front seats, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The XLE Convenience package costs $1,265 and adds a height-adjustable power liftgate and a moonroof. The Audio Plus package is available for $990, but you must also get the XLE Convenience package. The main highlight of the Audi Plus package is an 8-inch touch screen.

Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium

The XLE Premium retails for $30,050. It gains SofTex synthetic leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 19-inch alloy wheels, a height-adjustable power liftgate, and a moonroof.

You can get a premium version of the XLE Weather package for $1,075. This adds memory functionality to the power-adjustable driver’s seat, plus the contents of the XLE Weather package. For $1,570, you can get the standalone Audio Plus package, which includes the larger touch screen and an 11-speaker JBL sound system. For $2,835, you can combine that package with the Advanced Technology package to get features like front and rear parking sensors and wireless device charging. You also have the option of bundling all three packages for $3,910.

Toyota RAV4 Adventure

The Adventure trim (MSRP: $33,155) gains Toyota’s Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD system, unique styling accents, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, a rear 120-volt outlet, an 8-inch touch screen, five USB ports, and an upgraded multi-terrain driving mode system. This trim removes some features that come with the XLE Premium trim. These include the moonroof and the height-adjustable power liftgate. However, these features are available in the Convenience package for $1,265.

The Adventure Grade Weather package ($1,015) and adds a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road

The TRD Off-Road trim starts at $35,780. It gains upgrades such as a TRD-tuned MacPherson front suspension, a TRD skid plate, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED fog lights, and Falken all-terrain tires. It regains a moonroof and height-adjustable power liftgate. All-wheel drive is also standard.

The Weather package is available again for $1,015. For $1,620, you can add navigation and the 11-speaker JBL sound system with the Premium Audio package. For $3,570, you can combine both of those packages with the Advance Technology package to gain front and rear parking sensors, a surround-view parking camera system, and a wireless device charging pad.

Toyota RAV4 Limited

The RAV4 Limited (MSRP: $34,580) comes with an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with memory settings, heated front seats, a digital rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, an 11-speaker JBL stereo, and front and rear parking sensors.

The Weather package costs $1,015 in the Limited trim, but it adds heated rear seats to its previous iterations. The Advanced Technology package ($2,040) can only be had when coupled with the Weather package. This combination gets you a surround-view parking camera system, a wireless device charging pad, a proximity key, and a hands-free power liftgate. You can also get all these features plus a panoramic glass roof for $2,540.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

See 2021 Toyota RAV4 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Toyota RAV4 is a well-rounded compact SUV with many quality traits. It boasts an upscale interior, a long list of standard safety features, and plenty of cargo space and passenger room.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2021 Toyota RAV4 offers something for almost everyone. The base LE covers the economical end of the spectrum while the well-equipped Limited and TRD Off-Road models offer impressive amounts of equipment aimed at two very different types of buyers." -- Car and Driver
  • "Needless to say, there's a RAV4 for just about anyone, and it's safe to say the RAV4 should remain near the top of the market for years to come." -- Autotrader (2020)
  • "The RAV4 is a … genuinely satisfying crossover. Remarkably pleasant to drive, very functional for everyday life and generously equipped with safety technology, the … Toyota RAV4 would make a great addition to anybody's garage." -- CNET (2019)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: October 22, 2020

Class-Leading Sales: The RAV4 is the top-selling compact SUV, ahead of both the Chevy Equinox and Honda CR-V. The RAV4 is outselling second place CR-V by 27 percent. Dealerships have seen a decrease in RAV4 sales this year by 6.8 percent relative to the same span in 2019.

Research more buying advice »
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