Crossover & Midsize

Is the 2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE Worth $1,300 Over the RAV4 XE?

The Toyota RAV4 is one of the best-selling crossover SUVs today. For the 2021 model year, the RAV4 offers six trim levels. Two of the most affordable are the LE and the XLE models. 

But which one is worth its MSRP? Let’s take a look. 

What you get with the Toyota RAV4 LE

According to Toyota, the LE is the base-model RAV4. With this, you get a front-wheel drivetrain and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which is the only motor this model offers. Paired with that is an eight-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with intelligence and sequential shifting mode. 

It also comes with three driving modes as well. You can use a regular, Eco-drive, or Sport performance mode. You’ll also get 17-inch steel wheels with six-spoke wheel covers. As for fuel economy, the Toyota RAV4 LE gets about 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. 

Inside, you’ll find a climate control system that comes with a dust and pollen filter. There’s also a six-way adjustable driver’s seat with fabric upholstery, black storage trays in the dash, and a day/night rearview mirror. 

The Toyota RAV4 XLE’s additional features

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The Toyota RAV4 XLE offers many of the LE’s features plus amenities you can’t get on the base model. Both trims have the same engine, but the XLE comes with a start/stop motor system for fuel savings. However, its EPA ratings are pretty close to the LE’s, with only 1 mpg more on city roads. 

Exterior features include 17-inch silver alloy wheels and integrated fog lights. The base model has black-capped mirrors that fold, while the RAV4 XLE has color-capped mirrors that are heated and come with blind-spot and turn-signal indicators. They’re also foldable. 

In the XLE’s interior, find a dual-zone automatic climate control system that comes with the same dust and pollen filters as the base model. But with the XLE, you’ll get an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support. It also boasts a four-way adjustable passenger seat. 

Which trim offers more value for your money?

The base Toyota RAV4 LE model surprisingly comes with a decent number of safety features. If you’re looking for a five-passenger midsize crossover SUV and want only a basic trim, the LE would do you just fine. You can’t go wrong with an MSRP of $26,150. 

However, if you’re looking for a few extra bells and whistles you can’t get with the base model, the XLE could be your best bet. They include dual-zone climate control, the start/stop system, and a few other features, such as a cargo area tonneau cover and four more USB ports. With a starting price of $27,445, the XLE gives you a bit more. 

When you break it down to value, there’s about a $1,295 difference between the two models. When it comes to standard equipment, paying that much more money might not make all that much sense. Purchasing the RAV4 LE trim offers the best value in that case. 

But if you intend to add more optional features, the XLE is a better choice. However, keep in mind that each package will tack more on to the vehicle’s price. 

Both trims are decent offerings for the Toyota RAV4, but spending that extra $1,300 or so for the XLE may not be worth the few upgrades. Decide if it’s worth paying the extra for things like dual climate control and start/stop technology, and then go for what will please you the most.