In 2019, Toyota completed a full redesign of the RAV4 Hybrid. Now, they’ve taken those upgrades and pushed them even further. What we’re left with is the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, a quiet beast all its own.

A new standard for efficiency and tech savviness

Regardless of trim, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is cutting no corners on fuel efficiency. The standard across the board is 40 combined MPG (41 city/38 highway). In real-time testing, the ride sits steady around 35 MPG—which is still nothing to be ashamed of. 

Trims starting at the XLE level even get a wireless charging pad, where smartphone users can lay their phone atop the center console while it charges cordless.

Plus, Toyota’s full suite of safety features continues to evolve. Blind-spot monitoring and lane keep assist are just a couple of ways this technology helps drivers in their day to day.

Headlight technology shines a light on Toyota’s evolution

LED projector headlights with automatic high-beams come standard on XLE trims and above. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid‘s automatic lights are super cool because they allow you to maintain a brighter nighttime drive without risk of blinding oncoming traffic. It’s one less thing you have to worry about on the backroads, allowing you to focus more on deer and other common obstacles.

The Prime plug-in hybrid model is the most coveted of the the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid lineup

With the new edition of the plug-in hybrid RAV4 Prime, Toyota customers came flocking. This specific model developed a wait list extremely quickly, making it difficult to actually purchase one. 

The Prime is so special because it’s basically a boosted version of the RAV4. This means a hefty 302 horses with both a gas engine and dual electric motors. The plug-in Prime can even drive upwards of 42 miles on a single charge of electric power, without any assistance from gas. This could be enough to cover your daily commute without tapping into the tank, which is extremely cool.

All hybrids, the Prime included, run smoothly and quietly when electric power is in the forefront. If you’re lucky enough to snag a Prime plug-in hybrid, you can take advantage of the $7,500 federal EV tax credit to offset the heightened MSRP. Not everyone is eligible for the credit based on income, but it’s worth a shot.

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XLE Premium trim is also brand new

For 2021, Toyota also adds an XLE Premium trim to the lineup. It’s not as cool as the Prime by any definition, but it’s definitely luxurious. If you want something more compact than the Toyota Highlander, but you still want to retain the fixings of leather seating and panoramic views, it may be your best bet.

The downside: Subpar wheels

The RAV4 Hybrid’s standard all-season tires have been reviewed time and time again. While they perform adequately, they definitely don’t set the bar. This is true even with the vehicle’s 18-inch variants, which are massive in stance. If you’re looking to prioritize off-roading capabilities (or simply secure your safety in inclement weather), you may want to look elsewhere. The RAV4 Hybrid has trouble on rocky off roads and icy circumstances. 

Add all-terrain or snow tires and you could combat this issue easily, though it’ll cost you a premium. Whether or not you want to add that charge onto the invoice price is up to you.

Overall, the latest RAV4 Hybrid makes efficiency cool

Gone are the days when the Toyota Prius set the status quo for the hybrids of the world. Since the RAV4’s makeover and subsequent upgrades, the RAV4 Hybrid has delivered a level of coolness that the US market adeptly responded to.

All things considered, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a solid ride that looks good, maintains modern functions and drives seamlessly. If you can get past the wheel problem, you’re in the clear (8.6 inches in the clear, to be exact).

Rachel Curry
"Hey! My name's Rachel Curry and I'm a full-time writer who loves telling the world's stories as much as hanging with my dogs (and that's saying a lot). A University of Delaware graduate, I've traveled extensively, living everywhere from Ireland to Thailand. Bylines include Matador Network and Delaware Today."

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