How Well Does the Toyota RAV4’s Safety Hold Up Over Time?

When buying a car, you should do your due diligence to get value for your money. Among the factors that you should consider include the car’s performance, technical features, and durability. But if safety is your main concern, you won’t go wrong with Toyota’s fifth-generation RAV4, which debuted in 2019 and continues through at least the 2021 model year. With this SUV, Toyota wins the trust of safety-conscious drivers.

In addition to its top-notch safety, the Toyota RAV4 is roomy and flaunts technically advanced features. Also, the fact that Toyota launched the plug-in hybrid made the 2019 RAV4 an extremely sought-after SUV.

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 falls under Toyota’s TNGA platform; it boasts two powertrain options and a more powerful plug-in hybrid. Since then, Toyota has only improved on a good thing. Read on to learn why the Toyota RAV4 ranks high in terms of safety, especially for recent model years.

2021 Toyota RAV4 trim levels

As the leader in the compact SUV category, the 2021 RAV4 has six different trim levels with unique features. These include the LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and Limited trim options. The same trim levels are available for the hybrid version of the vehicle.

In every model of the gas-powered version, a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine yielding 203 hp and 184 lb-ft comes standard. The 2021 RAV4 engine has an 8-speed automatic transmission system. Except for the all-wheel Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims, most options are front-wheel drive standard with the option for all-wheel drive. 

Safety and driver assistance features

Every 2021 Toyota RAV4 trim comes standard with several safety features. These include the front and rear side-impact door beams, trailer-sway control, multiple airbags, a tire pressure monitoring system, an anti-theft system with an engine immobilizer, LATCH child seat anchors, hill-start assistance, smart stop technology, and improved vehicle stability control.

The 2021 RAV4 comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. Among its key driver assistance features include a pre-collision safety system with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, lane departure alerts with automatic steering assistance, a road edge detection and sway warning system, road sign detection assistance, lane tracing assistance, and full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control.

Toyota RAV4 safety awards

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the redesigned fifth-generation Toyota RAV4 a Top Safety Pick+ award in 2019. This was an upgrade from the Top Safety Pick (without the “plus”) that it earned in 2018, according to Car and Driver.

The SUV earned good scores in all the six IIHS crashworthiness tests. The tests comprise the roof strength, head restraint, side, moderate overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, and driver-side small overlap front.

Better still, the 2019 RAV4’s standard front crash prevention system rated high in IIHS evaluations. It also has a forward collision warning module that meets the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration criteria.  

The RAV4 earned similar accolades in the 2020 model. Given that 2021 hasn’t had any major redesign, it seems likely to repeat the feat again.

Recap: MotorTrend’s evaluation of the Toyota RAV4’s safety over time


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According to MotorTrend, the 2020 RAV4’s “low windshield, boxy proportions, and skillfully placed pillars make it easy to see out the front and side of the vehicle.”

Owing to all the safety and driver assistance features that come standard with the RAV4 in recent model years, the SUV drives smoothly and keeps a safe distance between itself and other vehicles in all distance settings.

The 2020 model year performed well in government tests garnering five overall stars. MotorTrend is confident that Toyota RAV4’s safety holds up well over time, which is an important aspect of this revered family SUV. 

To the uninitiated, the RAV4’s rugged styling can be misleading. This cushy, roomy, off-road-inspired compact SUV offers eclectic advanced safety features and excellent fuel economy while keeping its reliability and resale value tradition.

Since the 2019 redesign, Toyota has improved handling, added safety, convenience and ground clearance feature, and everything else that SUV buyers love about the Toyota RAV4.

If you want a sporty compact SUV with unmatched handling, fuel efficiency, off-highway capability, and overall value, the RAV4 is a good bet. And if you want an SUV whose safety stands the test of time, then don’t look any further.