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Is The 2021 Toyota RAV4 A Good Car? What To Know

in Reliability
Black 2021 Toyota RAV4

2021 Toyota RAV4 by EurovisionNim — CC BY-SA 4.0

The compact SUV segment is among the most hotly contested automotive markets. Much like the new car market, compact SUVs are also very popular among used car buyers, which you can undoubtedly chalk up to the SUVs’ general popularity. Having said that, a perennial best-seller in the used car market is the Toyota RAV4.

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 is a solid compact SUV that checks all the right boxes for a well-rounded family vehicle. It offers reliability, fuel efficiency, and versatile performance, making it a practical choice for families and daily drivers alike. If you’re interested in this model year, you’re likely asking: is the 2021 Toyota RAV4 a good car?

Today, we answer this burning question by highlighting essential qualities and potential problems of the 2021 Toyota RAV4. Let’s get to it.

Engine, Performance, and Fuel Economy

Is the 2021 Toyota RAV4 a good car? Let’s check out some of its performance specs.

The 2021 RAV4 has some quality components under the hood. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, delivering 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. This setup, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, ensures brisk acceleration and car-like road manners. However, with a single-engine option, buyers who may find the RAV4 underpowered will have to look elsewhere.

Performance-wise, the RAV4 offers a smooth and steady driving experience that is easy to handle, although it may not be the quickest car on the road. Its engine is powerful enough for daily driving and even some off-road adventures. However, some reviewers have noted that the engine can get loud when accelerating quickly, and the gear shifting can sometimes be slow.

In terms of fuel efficiency, the 2021 RAV4 base model boasts an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 27 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, and a combined 30 mpg. Conversely, the hybrid version surpasses the mpg ratings of the non-hybrid version. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the RAV4 Hybrid is estimated to achieve 41 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, and 40 mpg combined.


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Interior and Tech Features

Despite being a value-focused compact crossover, the 2021 RAV4 wraps tech-savvy touches and cozy creature comforts into one sleek package.

The LE trim offers the best value with some noticeable compromises. Besides hard plastics and cloth seats, the LE RAV4 has less advanced features than traditional analog gauges. This climate control system requires a hands-on approach and a manually adjusted driver’s seat. Moving up trim levels does give you access to posher features like faux-leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, stitched and padded dashboard, etc.

With that said, the RAV4 features a spacious interior that will comfortably accommodate families and groups. It offers 41 inches of front legroom, while rear passengers enjoy 37.8 inches of legroom – these dimensions match or slightly exceed the legroom of rivals like the Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue. Moreover, the SUV offers a spacious cargo area, with 37.6 cu-ft of space behind the rear seats, expanding to 69.8 cu-ft with the rear seats folded down. 

For infotainment, the RAV4 sports a snappy 7-inch touchscreen that can be bumped to an 8-inch unit. Unfortunately, it’s not the most advanced infotainment center out here, but it gets the job done. With Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa, you can stream your favorite tunes and podcasts or send messages—all hands-free.


There are many items to consider in this vehicle, but one thing is the most vital - it’s helpful to know the 2021 Toyota Rav4 reliability.

Safety Features and Ratings

Is the 2021 Toyota RAV4 a good car? For some folks, it depends on how safe the vehicle is. Thankfully, the 2021 RAV4 comes with a wealth of safety features, including:

  • Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection: Uses a camera and radar to detect vehicles, pedestrians, and, in certain conditions, bicyclists in front of the vehicle, providing audio/visual alerts and automatic braking.
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist: Alerts the driver when an unintentional lane departure is detected and can provide slight steering corrections.
  • Automatic High Beams: Automatically switches between high and low beams depending on the surrounding traffic conditions to improve night visibility without blinding other drivers.
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control: Maintains a preset distance from the vehicle ahead and can adjust the vehicle’s speed to maintain that distance.
  • Road Sign Assist: Recognizes and displays certain road sign information on the vehicle’s instrument panel.
  • Lane Tracing Assist: Works with the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control to keep the vehicle centered in its lane.

In addition, the 2021 RAV4 was also commended by various reputable vehicle safety agencies such as the:

  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): The 2021 RAV4 received an overall safety rating of 5 stars, the highest rating from the NHTSA.
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS): It was named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, achieving the highest rating of “Good” in all crashworthiness tests and a “Superior” rating for its front crash prevention systems.

Overall, if you prioritize safety and advanced driver-assist features in your vehicles, the 2021 RAV4 is more than a solid pick.


If you’re interested in this car, you might wonder - how long do Toyota RAV4s last on the road?

Long-Term Reliability and Lifespan

The Toyota RAV4 is one of the best examples of Toyota’s dedication to making reliable and long-lasting vehicles – and the 2021 model year is no exception. RepairPal says the RAV4 is the third most reliable compact SUV you can buy so you can trust this SUV will serve you well for a long while while keeping repairs and maintenance at a minimum. As for its lifespan, think 250,000-300,000 miles of long service.

Also, the 2021 RAV4 is one of the best years of this compact SUV, with only one recall and very few complaints. It’s also nowhere in our list of the worst Toyota RAV4 years to avoid, so its long-term reliability certainly checks out.

Final Verdict: Is The 2021 Toyota RAV4 A Good Car?

Objectively, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 is a good car because it provides most of the qualities you’ll want from a daily driver or family car. Its single-engine option can be a bummer if you prefer something quicker, but its car-like road manners, plenty of standard safety features, and excellent fuel economy more than make up for it. Plus, its reliability ensures you make the most out of your money.

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