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2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Review

The well-rounded Toyota RAV4 Hybrid earns a spot near the top of our hybrid and electric SUV rankings. Its refined performance, impressive fuel economy, and high-end interior all give this crossover a leg up on other hybrids.

Pros & Cons

  • Energetic powertrain
  • Great gas mileage
  • Spacious, handsome cabin
  • Plenty of standard features
  • Ample cargo space
  • Road noise permeates the cabin

7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.2
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 7.7
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid?

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 Hybrid a Good SUV?

Yes, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a good compact SUV. It has across-the-board appeal, from its lively powertrain and smooth ride to its large cargo capacity and richly outfitted infotainment system. It also gets great mpg estimates, even when compared to other vehicles in our hybrid and electric SUV rankings.

Why You Can Trust Us: 11 Reviews Analyzed

To make our car rankings and reviews as consumer-oriented as possible, we do not rely on our personal opinions. Instead, we analyze hard data such as cargo space dimensions, mpg ratings, and predicted reliability, as well as the opinions of the automotive press.

This 2021 RAV4 Hybrid 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 Hybrid?

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has just about everything you could want in a small SUV. It’s roomy, fuel-efficient, powerful, and well-equipped. If you like this vehicle, you might also be interested in its Toyota siblings, the gas-only RAV4 and, all-new for 2021, the plug-in RAV4 Prime.

Find a 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid for sale near you »

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

Outside of introducing a new XLE Premium trim, Toyota left this hybrid largely unchanged for the 2021 model year.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 RAV4 Hybrid »

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

  • 2019: fully redesigned with updated exterior and interior styling, a stronger powertrain, larger standard and available touch screens, better fuel economy, and more standard and available safety features
  • 2020: Android Auto added to standard features list
  • 2021: midrange XLE Premium trim debuts

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 RAV4 Hybrid, 2019 RAV4 Hybrid, and 2020 RAV4 Hybrid 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 Hybrid Cost?

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has a starting MSRP of $28,500. While that’s pricier than compact SUVs like the nonhybrid Toyota RAV4, it’s more affordable than other hybrid and electric SUVs.

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 Hybrid Versus the Competition

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid vs. Toyota RAV4

Aside from its powertrain, the Toyota RAV4 is nearly identical to its hybrid counterpart. For many shoppers, the difference will likely boil down to price. With all-wheel drive, the base RAV4 with all-wheel drive costs around $1,050 less to buy than the hybrid, which comes standard with AWD. In this setup, the hybrid will save you around $300 in annual fuel costs. That means you can make up the price difference between the hybrid RAV4 and the base RAV4 with AWD in a little over three years.

Compare the RAV4 Hybrid and RAV4 »

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid vs. Honda CR-V Hybrid

The Honda CR-V Hybrid is a good vehicle in the hybrid and electric SUV class, but the Toyota is the better one. Both vehicles have similar starting prices, but compared to the CR-V Hybrid, the RAV4 Hybrid has more standard features, easier-to-use controls, a larger cargo hold, and better mpg ratings.

Compare the RAV4 Hybrid and CR-V Hybrid »

Compare the RAV4 Hybrid, RAV4, and CR-V Hybrid »

RAV4 Hybrid Interior: Best in Class

RAV4 Hybrid Cargo Space

With 37.6 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and a total of 69.8 cubic feet behind the front seats, this Toyota’s cargo hold eclipses that of most other hybrid and electric SUVs. The low load floor makes it easy to load cargo. A power liftgate and a hands-free liftgate are available.

How Many People Does the RAV4 Hybrid Seat?

Up to five people can sit in this hybrid SUV. There’s enough head- and legroom in both rows for most people to sit comfortably. Some road noise enters the cabin, however.

Cloth upholstery is standard. Synthetic leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated rear outboard seats, and a heated steering wheel are available.

RAV4 Hybrid and Child Car Seats

This Toyota has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat.

RAV4 Hybrid Interior Quality

Good fit and finish, a sleek-looking dashboard, and soft-touch surfaces all contribute to this hybrid having a handsome, upscale cabin.

RAV4 Hybrid Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

It’s easy to use the Entune infotainment system. It comes with lots of physical controls, most of which are well-positioned for the driver to reach. Adjusting things such as the fan speed can be tedious though, as it requires you to repeatedly push the same button.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, Bluetooth, a USB port, and smartphone connectivity via Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa
  • Available infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, wireless device charging, navigation, an 11-speaker JBL stereo, and four more USB ports
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Other available features: push-button start, proximity keyless entry, a moonroof, 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 Hybrid Performance: Pep, Sip, and Zip

RAV4 Hybrid Engine

Every RAV4 Hybrid has two electric motors and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. Together, this setup makes 219 horsepower. It’s mated with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The engine has plenty of power for most driving situations. The torque from the electric motors helps this hybrid take off quickly from a stop, and passing power is good at higher speeds too. The CVT operates smoothly.

RAV4 Hybrid Gas Mileage

With an EPA rating of 41 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, this Toyota positions itself as one of the most fuel-efficient models in the class. If that kind of green driving appeals to you, then you may also want to check out the Toyota RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid with 42 miles of all-electric range.

RAV4 Hybrid Ride and Handling

The RAV4 Hybrid generally has a comfortable ride, and its suspension does a decent job smoothing over bumps in the road. Handling is balanced, and though there’s a bit more sway than the nonhybrid RAV4, it’s not excessive. The XSE trim trades a little of that comfort for greater sportiness. All-wheel drive (AWD) comes standard.

Read more about performance »

RAV4 Hybrid Reliability

Is the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Reliable?

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

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Warranty

Toyota backs this SUV with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Hybrid components come with an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty, and the battery has a 10-year/150,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

RAV4 Hybrid Safety

RAV4 Hybrid Crash Test Results

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

As of this writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not evaluated the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid.

RAV4 Hybrid Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Lane trace assist (reads lane markers and detects other vehicles)
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Rearview camera
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Road sign recognition

Available advanced safety features:

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

Read more about safety »

RAV4 Hybrid Dimensions and Weight

The RAV4 Hybrid is 15.1 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,690 to 3,780 pounds, and its gross vehicle weight rating is 4,920 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Built?

Toyota builds the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid in Kentucky.

Which Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?

Toyota makes the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid in five trim levels: LE, XLE, XLE Premium, XSE, and Limited. All five have two electric motors, a four-cylinder engine, and all-wheel drive (AWD). The base model is decently equipped, but if you want comfort add-ons such as heated front seats, you’ll have to move up to the XLE and buy a package. Those looking for slightly sportier handling should consider the XSE model.

You might also be interested in the nonhybrid Toyota RAV4 or the Toyota RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid. We review both vehicles separately.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid LE

The base RAV4 Hybrid LE has a starting MSRP of $28,500. Standard equipment includes a 7-inch touch screen, Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a USB port, Bluetooth, satellite radio, a six-speaker stereo, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a rearview camera.

You’ll also get the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0) suite of driver assistance features. It includes a pre-collision warning and braking system, adaptive cruise control, road sign recognition, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane trace assist, and automatic high-beam headlights. For $590, you can add blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XLE

The RAV4 Hybrid XLE retails for $29,795. It adds four more USB ports, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, proximity keyless entry, and the LE’s optional driver aids.

Several packages are available. The XLE Weather package costs $925 and adds a heated and leather-trimmed steering wheel, heated front seats, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The XLE Convenience package costs $1,265 and comes with a moonroof and a height-adjustable power liftgate. You can also bundle both packages for $2,190.

The $2,225 Audio Plus package combines an 8-inch touch screen with the Convenience package.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XLE Premium

With a starting MSRP of $32,500, XLE Premium models gain SofTex synthetic leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and the contents of the Convenience package.

In addition to the Weather package, you can get the Audio Plus with JBL package. It costs $1,570 and comes with an 8-inch touch screen and an 11-speaker JBL audio system. For $2,835, you can combine that package with the Advanced Technology package and get front and rear parking sensors and wireless device charging.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE

Retailing for $34,450, the XSE is the sport-oriented trim in the lineup. It comes with the Audio Plus package, heated front seats, and a rearview camera mirror. It also has some features unique to the XSE, such as sporty blue stitching, cloth seat inserts, two-tone exterior color, and a sport-tuned suspension.

The $1,620 Premium Audio with Dynamic Navigation and JBL package adds the JBL stereo and a navigation system. The Weather package is still available, albeit for less money. The Advanced Technology package remains optional too, though you have to bundle it with other packages. A panoramic moonroof is also available.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited

The Limited (MSRP: $37,030) gains the Premium Audio with Dynamic Navigation and JBL package.

Here, the Weather package costs $1,015 and features ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, a heated steering wheel, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. For $2,040, you can get that plus the Advanced Technology package, which now has wireless device charging, a foot-activated power liftgate, and a surround-view parking camera system. You can get all of that and adaptive headlights for $2,455, or you can get every feature listed here and a panoramic moonroof for $2,955.

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 Hybrid specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has no shortage of appealing traits. Among vehicles in our hybrid and electric SUV rankings, this Toyota has impressive mpg ratings, a robust powertrain, a roomy and upscale cabin, plenty of standard features, and a massive cargo hold.

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

  • "… there's a RAV4 for just about anyone. All iterations come with an impressive array of active safety tech. As far as on-road driving goes, the Hybrid is both quicker and more fuel-efficient, and given that it commands an extremely small $800 premium when you factor in its standard AWD system, we encourage buyers to give it strong consideration over a non-hybrid model." -- Autotrader (2020)
  • "Moms, dads, doctors, retirees, adventurers, humanities majors, human-resources managers, acolytes, activists, zealots, and zombies will like this vehicle. Sales are going to grow, maybe because the category is expanding but also because the 2019 RAV4 is so appealing, especially compared to baby Jeeps and dowdy Subarus. Toyota’s risky redesign is rousing, and the rewards will be large." -- Automobile Magazine (2019)
  • "Few vehicles reflect the sensibilities of the American car-buying public like the Toyota RAV4, and that's why the redesigned 2019 Toyota RAV4 is a big deal. Toyota knows better than to tinker too much with a winning formula. As such, the 2019 RAV4 sticks closely to the just-right sizing and mission of its predecessor. This time around, Toyota focused on giving the RAV4 improved fuel economy, more standard features, a nicer interior and styling that better stands out in a crowd." -- Edmunds (2019)
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Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid 2020 2020 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

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