The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Conquers Mountains and Snow With Ease

The Toyota RAV4 is a compact crossover that’s great for carting around up to five people comfortably and getting the best fuel economy in the process. And if fuel economy is at the top of your list, then the RAV4 Hybrid kicks things up a notch by offering some of the best fuel efficiency in the segment.

But what’s even better is that the RAV4 Hybrid also comes standard with an all-wheel-drivetrain, which means that you can get great mileage while traversing some rocky roads. And that’s exactly what I did when I drove the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid up some steep mountains on a mini day trip.

The Toyota RAV4’s hybrid powertrain is perfect for inclines

The 2021 RAV4 Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that’s paired to an electric motor to produce a combined 219 hp. That might not sound like much, especially considering you’re driving a small “boring” crossover, but it’s actually quite lively in reality.

a front shot of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid next to a ski slope
2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid | Joe Santos

I don’t mean that it’s lively like V6,  I mean that its electric assistance gives the car a nice, juicy bump in its mid-range torque upon heavy acceleration, which is great for when driving around town, but it’s also great for when going uphill. While the gas-only RAV4 seemed to struggle a little while going up hills, especially since I’m at a mile-high elevation, the RAV4 Hybrid got through any inclines I could put it through without skipping a beat.

A rear shot of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid  on a ski slope
2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid | Joe Santos

RELATED: The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Just Got a Value-Packed New Trim

The RAV4 Hybrid gets through snow easily as well

Whether you live in a snow state or just take an annual trip up to the mountains for some skiing, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is great for taking on snowy slopes like the ones I found in Vail, Colorado. To be honest, I was a little skeptical at first, but the all-wheel-drivetrain did wonders when it came to finding grip on the slippery white stuff.

An interior shot of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid | Joe Santos

RELATED: The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Might Be a Better Buy Than the RAV4 Prime

I was also a little worried that the car’s all-season tires wouldn’t be up to the job either, but as it turns out, they worked well for the moderate snowy terrain that I put them through. And by the end of the day, instead of wondering if this little Toyota hybrid SUV had the chops to get me to where I needed to go, I was smiling at the fact that it not only got the job done, but I even averaged around 38 mpg in the process.

The RAV4 Hybrid is a Swiss Army knife of fuel-efficient SUVs

I’ll admit, reading a spec sheet and watching YouTube videos about compact crossovers like the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is one thing, but actually taking it out on the road and putting it through its paces is another. For the time that I had it, I couldn’t get over just how comfortable and capable the RAV4 actually is and in some cases, I didn’t think that I even took it to its full capability.

After a week of driving it all over town and up and down any hills I could find, I realized that the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is the “Swiss Army knife” of fuel-efficient SUVs, and its “go anywhere, do anything” attitude will have you challenging it at every corner. And if you don’t want to do that, then you can at least enjoy it under normal driving situations while getting the best mileage possible.