Real Review of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

by Frank
2021 toyota rav4 hybrid

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a high-selling crossover that hardly ever needs refueling. It comes with plenty of standard tech features and safety equipment, but its budget-minded interior will leave some occupants feeling a bit cramped. Overall, it strikes a chord when it comes to balancing economy and style.

The hybrid version of the 2021 RAV4 crossover comes in 5 different model trims. There’s the LE, XLE, XLE Premium, XSE, and Limited. The LE model is tempting with its standard roof rails, dual chrome-tipped exhaust, and remote keyless entry. The XLE and XLE Premium both have some upgraded features, but for just a small hop in the price, the XLE Premium is the better bargain. It comes with a power moonroof, power liftgate, and leather-trimmed interior.

The XSE Hybrid is all about style with its sporty wheels, custom front grille, and two-tone exterior paint. The Limited model for the RAV4 Hybrid aims at sophistication with a dark brown interior, but there’s very little else on the Limited that can’t be equipped with a package on other trims. So, Toyota might have missed the mark there.

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Exterior Style of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Style comes first for the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid. This compact crossover has the looks of a genuine off-roader with chunky paneling, roof rails, and aggressive grille, but there is a catch. Don’t be fooled; the RAV4 Hybrid is a paper tiger.

The profile of the new RAV4 is remarkable. It has cuts and undulations in the paneling that inspire images of a fighter jet cutting through the wind. This style is becoming a sort of trope for the crossover segment, but it’s an attractive shape. You can see a similar design on the 2021 Chevy Blazer, but Toyota handles it with a bit more grace.

The XSE RAV4 model comes with black-painted 18-inch wheels and a black roof. You can pair that two-tone combination with four different colors, but the Blueprint Blue fits the color scheme quite nicely. If you get larger aftermarket chrome exhaust tips, mudguards, and brushed aluminum runner boards, then the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid has an even more aggressive look.

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Interior Amenities and Tech

2021 toyota rav4 hybrid interior

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid loses some points in the interior department. Thankfully, it has so much to offer that it can spare a few demerits. The interior is awash in a mismatch of plastic surfaces and synthetic fibers. That’s alright for a bargain crossover, but buyers are looking for more refinement these days, even at the budget level.

There are 98.9 cubic feet of passenger volume in the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid. The Ford Escape has 104 cu. Ft. of passenger space. The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe goes even further with 111.5. So, the Toyota RAV4 hybrid has some serious competition for interior space.

That’s due primarily to the low roofline and battery bank design. It makes for a handsome exterior, but the passengers suffer in terms of headroom and hip comfort. The RAV4 Hybrids above the XLE trim get a power-sliding and tilting moonroof. Additionally, a panoramic glass roof is available for an additional cost.

Build and Price Pro Tip: If you’re a taller person and want more headroom from the RAV4 Hybrid, don’t opt for the panoramic glass roof. It takes away even more headroom and the RAV4 has precious little to spare.

Here’s where the 2021 RAV4 interior does well. There are 69.8 cubic feet of cargo volume in the new RAV4. For a point of comparison, the Chevy Blazer comes up short with 64.2 cu. Ft. The RAV4 actually beats the 2021 Nissan Murano, as well. The 2021 RAV4 Hybrid has 60/40 spilt folding rear seats and convenient storage space scattered around the cabin. It’s ideal for families with bags galore or people who just like to stash items to get them out of their way.

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2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Performance Capabilities

toyota rav4 hybrid engine

The 2021 RAV4 hybrid has a 2.5 Liter, four-cylinder engine that makes about 219 horsepower. It’s partnered with a pair of electric motors, one for each axle. An electronic all-wheel-drive system comes standard and really helps to provide driver confidence in difficult weather conditions. Yet, this isn’t really an off-roading vehicle. Fuel economy is a big selling point for the 2021 RAV4 hybrid crossover. On the highway, it gets 38 miles per gallon and 41 MPG in urban settings.

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has a lackluster towing ability for a crossover SUV of its size. It can tow 1,750 pounds on a 4-cylinder hybrid powertrain. It also comes with all-season mud and snow rated radial tires. That beats out the Nissan Murano…again. However, the hybrid Ford Escape does 3,500 lbs. and the Hyundai Santa Fe hybrid has a towing capacity of 1,650. That’s without its optional trailer brakes.

Related: To see more info about the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, just CLICK HERE.

Safety Gear from Toyota

All 2021 RAV4 Hybrids come with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 safety features. This is a comprehensive suite of advanced safety features. You get pedestrian detection, lane departure alerts, automatic high beams, radar cruise control and road sign recognition. In certain circumstances, the RAV4 Hybrid can override the steering and pull you back into your lane if your attention wanders.

The RAV4 Hybrid comes with a back-up camera, but there is an optional package that includes a 360-degree bird’s eye view camera system. That same option package includes automatic braking, parking assist, and blind-spot monitoring.

Build and Price Pro Tip: The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has wide rear pillars that compromise visibility. Potential buyers would be well-advised to opt for the blind spot monitoring feature to help offset those chunky roof pillars.

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At the Finish Line

The RAV4 hasn’t been put out to pasture just yet. It ages well for a compact crossover and has plenty of curb appeal. It’s sporty, adventurous exterior might be just for show, but the RAV4 Hybrid wasn’t meant to rival a Jeep. The hybrid version gets 40 miles per gallon but doesn’t suffer much in acceleration. That’s the big takeaway here.

The interior of the RAV4 Hybrid won’t win any awards. Admittedly, there are nicer cabins on other hybrid crossovers. However, the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid has more cargo space than other comparable crossovers. The XLE Premium is new for 2021 and it’s the model trim with the best value. It carries an MSRP of $35,485 when properly outfitted. The base model RAV4 Hybrid costs $28,650. Go in with value on your mind and you’ll drive away with the right RAV4 Hybrid for your budget.

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