Is the 2021 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road Worth Buying?

Toyota has released several of its TRD (Toyota Racing Division) trim models for some of its most popular vehicles. These trims often add style and performance as well as upgraded suspension, reinvigorating the models completely. Is the 2021 Toyota Rav4 TRD Off-Road model worth buying, or is the trim all hype and no real off-roading prowess?

Can the 2021 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road actually tackle a trail?

A white 2021 Toyota Rav4 TRD Off-Road is on a trail with mountains in the background. The SUV has a bike roof rack with a bike fastened to it.
2021 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road | Toyota

TRD Off-Road trims utilize Toyota’s knowledge of off-road vehicles to modify some of its signature models so they can operate as smoothly as possible off the beaten path. Models like the Toyota Tacoma have become legendary for their off-roading prowess. Toyota aims to take a page out of the Tacoma’s book and make more of its vehicles trail-savvy.

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road is the off-road version of the popular 2021 compact SUV. The RAV4 is one of the best-selling SUVs in America, so the idea of the popular vehicle being able to grapple with tougher terrain is exciting to many consumers. But can the RAV4 TRD Off-Road talk the talk and walk the walk?

The Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road includes a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 203 horsepower. It features an Eco and Sport Mode as well as a Normal Mode. It comes with torque vectoring all-wheel drive. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road has 8.6 inches of ground clearance. It features a Hill Start Assist Control, Downhill Assist Control, and a Multi-Terrain Select Dial that helps the vehicle adjust to different terrain.

The SUV uses a Toyota Racing Division-tuned independent strut front suspension with a stabilizer bar. It also includes a multi-link rear suspension with a stabilizer bar. The off-roading SUV uses Falken All-Terrain tires. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road trim is more than just a name, this thing is 100% trail-ready.

How does the RAV4 TRD Off-Road compare to the base model?

A gray Toyota Rav4's side profile is on display at an autoshow.
The Toyota RAV4 | Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

The 2021 RAV4 TRD Off-Road trim starts at $35,980. It is at least $9,630, more expensive than the base model. Both models use the same powertrain. The $9,630 difference is mostly due to the TRD Off-Road’s suspension upgrades, tires, and different drive modes. The TRD Off-Road gets a combined gas mileage of 28 miles per gallon. The base model gets 30 miles per gallon.

The Rav 4 TRD Off-Road does exactly what it sets out to. All its major differences pertain to off-roading. The TRD Off-Road trim is designed for Toyota fans who plan to take their SUVs through different terrain and are looking to overcome challenges such as trails.

Is the Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road really worth $36k?

A gray 2021 Toyota Rav4 TRD Off-Road. is on a trail. Rocks and a winding trail leading to a steep hill are in the background.
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road | Toyota

The Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road is one of the most expensive trims. It also provides incredible value. Whether the trim is worth almost $36,000 or not depends on your intent for the vehicle. Most base model RAV4 owners don’t purchase the vehicle to go off-roading. The TRD Off-Road trim provides a unique entry point into a lifestyle that is still very foreign and new to the RAV4.

The Toyota RAV4 is designed for affordability and longevity. The TRD Off-Road trim attempts to bring the RAV4 into the Toyota Tacoma’s world, and it does so successfully. According to Car and Driver, the TRD Off-Road works just as well as a normal daily crossover. If you are looking for a compact SUV with great off-roading capabilities, Toyota provides a great option. The RAV4 may not be as trail-tested as other vehicles, but the TRD Off-Road trim sure is trail ready.

RELATED: 5 Great Features on the Toyota RAV4 TRD Off Road