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Happily, vaccinations are helping bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. People shut-in for the better part of a year and a half are looking to get out, and Toyota wants to help with the RAV4. Today, it’s time to spec out the ultimate cheap off-roader you can still drive every day. There’s plenty of trim levels and options to choose from, so no matter the budget Toyota has a RAV4 for you.

Toyota RAV4 Trim levels

The front of a Lunar Rock Toyota RAV4 with black TRD wheels on a white background
My 2021 Toyota RAV4 with TRD wheels and Lunar Rock paint | Toyota

It’s frankly absurd how many trim levels there are on a 2021 Toyota RAV4, seven to be exact. So, to make things easier I chose to focus on the two most outdoorsy trims: the Adventure and the TRD Off-Road. Both offer terrain-focused drive mode selectors and a host of safety features, such as blind-spot monitoring and Toyota Safety Sense which includes radar cruise.

However, only the TRD RAV4 offers some real off-roading benefits with TRD-tuned suspension and stabilizer bars. For only $2,000 more, the TRD seems worth it just for the suspension alone, although the included sunroof is a plus. After spending the last year or so inside, it’s hard to imagine prospective buyers won’t want a little something to let the outside in. There’s only one powertrain option for the RAV. Not to worry, as it’s a plenty-potent 2.5L four-cylinder making 203 hp.

2021 Toyota RAV4 paint and interior

The interior of a Toyota RAV4 with "TRD" stitched into the headrests.
The “TRD” on the headrests is a nice touch | Toyota

Paint options are where things get interesting, per usual. Toyota offers eight color choices on the RAV, and three of them are interesting two-tone combinations that can be had for an extra $500 on top of the base price of $35,980. There are some interesting ones in there, including Toyota’s amazing Lunar Rock color with a white roof, but I chose to pass and save the money, wanting to keep mine under $40,000. With this in mind, I chose to keep my RAV Lunar Rock from head to toe.

Interior spec is largely determined by the trim level you chose, and the TRD pack does a nice job of sprucing up the interior of the RAV4 a bit. Toyota’s fake leather material “SofTex” seats are a nice touch, and the material covers the steering wheel, dash, and doors too. It’s not terrible as interiors go, but I chose to option my RAV with the “TRD Off-Road Weather Package” for $1,015 to get the heated and ventilated seats.

Is the 2021 RAV4 worth the money?

A build sheet showing options on a 2021 Toyota RAV4, including the off road weather package, blacked out emblems, and roof rack bars.
My 2021 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road Pack with options | Toyota

Lastly, Toyota offers some odds and ends like alloy wheel nuts, cargo nets, and a tablet holder. Those are all pretty frivolous, so I only chose three frivolities. Everything in moderation. Blacked-out emblems ($129) were up first; you simply cannot have an off-roader with chrome badges and be taken seriously on the trails anymore. Next up were the roof rack bars ($315) so I can mount a sick roof basket for….. things? Joking aside, they are a must-have if you want to use the RAV4 for any sort of sporting activity like skiing and mountain biking. Last were mudguards ($129) so people take me seriously when I put a wheel over the curb in the McDonald’s parking lot.

All said and done, my Toyota RAV4 came out to $38,743. Not bad considering the RAV4’s stellar fuel economy and decent off-road chops. However, the destination charge would take this RAV4 just a touch past the $40,000 mark. The RAV4 is a solid option for anyone looking to spend some time outdoors this summer, and at that price, it’s a solid alternative to Toyota’s own 4Runner.


The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Has a Nicer Interior Than Its More Expensive Sibling