The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Accomplished Something No Model Before It Could

This year is a milestone year for the Toyota RAV4. It’s not that there’s a specific anniversary to celebrate or mainline equipment change-up to report. This popular SUV is one of the best-selling passenger rides today, so it’s hard to believe there’s still a first to be had out there for the RAV4. However, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 has finally been able to claim this honorable distinction. 

Considering its introduction was way back in 1996, that alone is quite the accomplishment. But this year’s big moment for the Toyota RAV4 came in the form of an absolute first. It has accomplished something in 2021 that no other model year RAV4 has managed to accomplish. It could be tough to wrap your head around how such a wildly popular ride would just now be getting this official critic head nod.

The first of its kind to earn this recommendation

Despite its robust sales numbers and increased popularity, the Toyota RAV4 finally earned an official recommendation this year from Consumer Reports. Of all the critic reviews and test drives over the years, it’s a distinction the little SUV has never earned before. And when Consumer Reports recommends a vehicle, it means it performed well in road testing and among the consumer surveys, allowing it to meet good score benchmarks in predicted reliability and predicted owner satisfaction.

What this recommendation means for the Toyota RAV4

Putting a scope on the various components that go into a Consumer Reports recommendation, it’s clear the 2021 Toyota RAV4 finally made a significant impression. Overall, the group ranks it eighth in a category of 23 contenders. Based on the surveys of past RAV4 owners, this compact SUV earns three out of five stars in both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. Fuel economy is good too as it achieves 19 mpg in the city and 38 mpg during highway conditions.

Value is another competitive attribute for the Toyota RAV4. It’s a functional and fun crossover that supersedes expectations and still remains affordable with an MSRP range of $26,150 to $37,180. And with six available trim levels and a hybrid variation, it’s easy to find the perfect RAV4 for you.

What everyone loves about the 2021 Toyota RAV4

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Consumer Reports says the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is peppy, delivering quick acceleration. The group also says the hybrid variation feels super energetic and offers an impressive 37 mpg overall rating. 

Driving dynamics are a blast, as the RAV4 feels balanced and controlled, and even responsive through the turns. Car and Driver appreciates the hefty roster of driver aids and the RAV4’s “truck-ish good looks.” Edmunds brags about the SUVs quiet interior, easy-to-use controls, and abundant cargo space. 

Kind of odd that they’re just now noticing

Considering how long the Toyota RAV4 has been around, it’s hard to believe that it’s just now earning the official Consumer Reports recommendation. But this year’s model caught everyone’s attention. And while Consumer Reports and others are talking about the RAV4’s likable predictability and roominess, RAV4 fans already knew its potential.

The proof is in the career history of the RAV4, demonstrating just how successful and popular it is for more than 20 years. And in that time, the Toyota RAV4 has earned plenty of honors, including several model years of the IIHS’s Top Safety Pick awards and even Japan’s Car of the Year award in 2019.

It may boil down to that functional predictability. The Toyota RAV4 has always been a solid contender in the capable-meets-comfortable SUV category. The segment just grew more crowded, calling attention to others like the Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V, and Subaru Forester. But this year is the RAV4’s year. And Toyota can be proud that its already popular little SUV finally earned the official Consumer Reports head nod.