The Most Popular 2021 Toyota RAV4 Trim Isn’t Exactly the Best

Before purchasing a new vehicle, you’ll likely check your favorite automotive review site to how the model you like stacks up. But if you’re in the market for a 2021 Toyota RAV4, it’s a good idea to research multiple sources first. Why? Well, reviewers disagree with consumers about the best new Toyota RAV4 trim you can buy.

If you rely on Edmunds for information regarding vehicles, particularly the ones you’re considering purchasing, you’re not alone. The auto review site is popular and has a reputation for providing accurate information that’s presented in an easy-to-understand way.

Though it’s still a good source for information about the 2021 Toyota RAV4, there’s one thing you should know. When you click the drop-down menu showing information about the various trim levels, Edmunds shows the RAV4 XLE is the most popular model among consumers. That means it’s the bestselling RAV4 trim. It’s interesting because it’s not the trim that’ll give you the most bang for your buck.

The best Toyota RAV4 trim, according to 2 automotive sites

MotorBiscuit and Car and Driver agree that if you’re interested in the best Toyota RAV4 trim, set your sights on the XLE Premium. This trim provides all the features and options you’ll find on the XLE, plus several other features that will improve your driving experience.

The XLE comes with 17-inch silver alloy wheels, roof rails, LED headlights and taillights, and color-keyed heated power outside mirrors with turn-signal and blind-spot warning indicators, Toyota‘s website shows. On the inside, it has fabric seats, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and a six-speaker audio system. You’ll have to pay extra for a power moonroof and power liftgate.

Upping the perks, the XLE Premium has all of the above but with 19-inch chrome alloy wheels, synthetic leather upholstery, and a better infotainment system. It also comes with a power tilt/slide moonroof and a height-adjustable power liftgate. Inside, find a power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, 8.0-inch infotainment screen, and 11-speaker JBL sound system. You also have the option to add front and rear parking assist with automatic braking.

Driving this compact SUV

If you’re considering a 2021 RAV4, you might already know Toyota vehicles maintain a high resale value and reliability. But at this point, your main concern is whether you’ll enjoy driving the RAV4.

If you like a vehicle that’s fast but provides decent fuel economy, you’ll be happy with the Toyota RAV4. The vehicle’s acceleration impressed Consumer Reports. CR noted the traditional and hybrid versions offered a great deal of get-up-and-go.

“The RAV4 delivers swift acceleration, measured at 8.3 seconds 0-60 mph. That makes it one of the quickest models in the segment, but that figure doesn’t tell the full story. The real power is buried in the upper reaches of the rev range where the engine unleashes a gravelly wail. It doesn’t feel very lively in mild, everyday driving. The hybrid is half a second quicker in the dash to 60 mph.”

Consumer Reports

But CR’s testers’ biggest complaint was that the interior wasn’t as quiet as it could be. They noticed a great deal of engine noise, but the hybrid version was quieter. However, the RAV4 has comfortable seats, offering an enjoyable ride.

So, why do consumers choose the XLE trim over the XLE Premium if the latter is the better buy? It might be as simple as price. The XLE starts at $27,545, and the XLE Premium starts at $30,250, nearly $2,500 more. But if your budget allows, the Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium is worth the spend.

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