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There are plenty of great things to say about the 2021 Toyota RAV4. It’s one of the best-selling SUVs on the market because it’s a well-rounded, reliable option. However, there could be a few potential drawbacks to consider before going all-in on a new Toyota RAV4. 

Three possible 2021 Toyota RAV4 deal breakers 

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 parked in grass
2021 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

For a bit of background information, you can get started in 2021 Toyota RAV4 for about $26,350. This price is the MSRO, so it doesn’t include dealership markups or the destination fee. The 2022 model may cost a bit more. 

The Toyota RAV4 was recently remodeled for 2019 and still feels pretty fresh. Mid-cycle updates may arrive soon. This spacious SUV has an excellent fuel economy. It gets an EPA-estimated 28 mpg in the city and up to 35 mpg on the highway. The hybrid does even better. But let’s see what the critics didn’t appreciate. 

1. The 2021 RAV4 could have a better performance 

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. While this sounds like a stout amount of power, it’s actually a little lacking. 

According to Edmunds, the RAV4 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 9.1 seconds. This is slightly slower than the class average. You may have to give yourself extra time for passing others and merging on the highway. 

The steering also feels a bit vague, and it can be reluctant to downshift. But it does feel solid and stable with limited body roll. It will get you from point A to point B without any drama, but rivals such as the Mazda CX-5 are considered to be sportier. 

2. The RAV4 could be more comfortable 

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 is spacious and mostly comfortable. Critics find that the front seats lack support and padding. They feel flat on longer drives. Also, the seats are placed in a high position that can’t be adjusted. 

It provides a pretty smooth ride. Minor to moderate impacts are well-controlled, but the suspension can feel a bit soft. The Adventure or TRD Off-Road trims are better suited for rough patches. 

Also, the Toyota RAV4 is pretty quiet. Wind and road noise is well muted. But when you hit the gas, the engine strain is pretty noticeable. The engine noises are described as moans and groans, which can disrupt a pleasant ride. 

3. The base RAV4 LE model is pretty bare-bones 

A red 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime is driving on the road.
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime | Toyota

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 LE is the base model, and it doesn’t include much. Upgrading to the XLE Premium trim is recommended if you want convenience features such as the power liftgate, dual-zone climate control, and faux-leather upholstery. 

Lower trims come with cheaper feeling plastic materials. They also come with a 7.0-inch touchscreen but an 8.0-inch unit is available on higher trim levels. You’ll have to pay to add all-wheel drive too. 

Blind=spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert cost extra on the base model. But standard features include automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. 

If you want a reliable and spacious vehicle with some off-roading capability, then the 2021 Toyota RAV4 is an excellent option to consider. It’s roomy, safe, and practical. Rivals are just a bit sportier.


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