You’ll like the 2021 Toyota RAV4 but probably not love it

    The RAV4 is a pointy trying small SUV.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    The 2021 Toyota RAV4 is rather a lot like that one buddy everybody appears to have: at all times there to assist, present a shoulder to cry on or present up at a second’s discover if you end up in sizzling water at 2:00 a.m. in Tijuana. No, the RAV4 would not actually lead the compact SUV class in anyone space, however it’s nicely rounded, completely succesful and able to serve.

    LikeAttractive inside designStandard driver aidsAdded functionality

    Don’t LikeSo-so infotainment systemGritty reversing cameraGrumbling engine

    Offering drivers loads of alternative, three fundamental flavors of RAV4 can be found. There’s the usual mannequin, a cheap hybrid after which the RAV4 Prime, the plug-in hybrid variant with as much as 42 miles of electric-only vary. The instance seen right here is essentially the most rugged of the bunch, the TRD Off-Road, which includes a non-hybrid drivetrain and a few further options to make it carry out higher out on the path.For 2021, the TRD Off-Road mannequin features a swanky stainless-steel entrance skid plate, a primary for the RAV4. This ought to assist protect a few of its delicates whereas thrashing round within the grime. This Toyota’s physique is supported by a uniquely tuned suspension, which options racy-looking crimson springs that supposedly present higher small-bump isolation on tough roads. This automobile additionally boasts re-valved twin-tube shock absorbers for higher physique management over giant floor irregularities. Providing and additional serving to of traction is a set of Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail all-terrain tires mounted to 18-inch TRD wheels. These rubbers look tremendous aggressive however are surprisingly agreeable. Indeed, the TRD Off-Road’s suspension tuning is completely livable, offering an impressively easy on-pavement journey with little tire noise. If towing is your factor, this RAV4 can drag as much as 3,500 kilos, sufficient for a pair snowmobiles or a small trailer.

    My tester can be fitted with what need to be essentially the most ineffective operating boards in automotive historical past. The RAV4 sits low sufficient that they are fully pointless. Making issues worse, this stuff are certain to get in the way in which whereas off-roading, plus they stick out far sufficient to streak your pant legs with no matter slop you final drove via. But here is the kicker: All this added inconvenience prices an additional $549.Get previous these elective operating boards and you will find this SUV’s inside is nicely constructed and the general design is simple on the eyes, with none frou-frou add-ons or pointless sculpting. Mazda’s CX-5 is clearly extra upscale and the Honda CR-V’s cabin is nicer, too, however there isn’t any scarcity of soppy supplies on this Toyota and I really like the racy-looking crimson stitching that runs throughout the dashboard, door panels and seats. This is complemented by crimson accents across the cup holders and out there wi-fi charging plate in addition to on the rubber flooring mats.

    The 2021 Toyota RAV4’s inside is good-looking and purposeful.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    An 8-inch touchscreen is perched on the dashboard the place it is simple to succeed in and see (decrease trims characteristic a 7-incher). Unfortunately, this show is residence to an outdated infotainment system that is difficult to make use of and fairly unattractive. But hey, at the very least Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa are all supported. I recognize the rubbery temperature- and audio-control knobs, which really feel nice in my fingers, however a few of the different HVAC buttons are a bit too small to simply see whereas driving. Beyond all that, this RAV4 additionally options the $1,620 Premium Audio package deal, which incorporates an 11-speaker JBL sound system, embedded navigation and some different goodies.

    As in different Toyotas, the RAV4’s back-up digital camera is poor, offering a low-resolution picture of what is behind you. The $1,950 TRD Off-Road Technology Package features a 360-degree digital camera system, which is useful, however simply as gritty trying. This choices group comprises different goodies, too, like a digital rear-view mirror, parking sensors, a wi-fi charging plate and extra, so it’s price the additional outlay even when the digital camera system is merely so-so.The RAV4’s entrance chairs are supportive and cozy, serving to present view of the street forward. This SUV’s backseat can be spacious, with loads of room for knees and noggins, although the rear cushion is only a tad too low for it to be completely accommodating. Also, the again door openings are slim, so it may be difficult to entry the rear lodging.This Toyota’s four-cylinder engine works surprisingly nicely, even when it is a bit noisy whereas working.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    This instance’s extensive, power-opening hatch makes it a snap to entry the cargo maintain, which supplies 37.5 cubic-feet of cupboard space behind the rear backrests or 69.8 cubes with them folded down. That’s extra space than you get in a CX-5 or Ford Escape, however these scores do fall barely behind the capacious CR-V.The RAV4 is propelled by a well-known drivetrain, one used to nice benefit all through Toyota’s automotive empire. Nestled between this SUV’s entrance fenders is a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder that delivers an inexpensive 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The engine is backed by an eight-speed automated transmission that’s, for essentially the most half, quick-witted and easy, although sometimes gearchanges can really feel a bit uneven. The efficiency this powertrain delivers is completely superb; unladen, the RAV4 has no hassle getting as much as freeway pace. Really, I’ve no complaints about this SUV’s get-up-and-go, fairly, I’m not an enormous fan of its refinement. The engine is gruff sounding when on the boil and generally you’re feeling uncouth vibrations.But hey, at the very least the RAV4 is environment friendly. TRD Off-Road fashions include torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, a characteristic that ought to make them fairly succesful little mountain goats. Despite the added weight and friction of four-corner traction, this SUV is rated at 25 mpg metropolis, 32 mpg freeway and 28 mpg mixed. In blended (although largely freeway) driving, I’m averaging about 31.5 mpg, which is, frankly, stellar for a automobile this tall fitted with such aggressive tires. The infotainment system is among the RAV4’s greatest weaknesses. 
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    At interstate speeds a little bit of wind noise makes its presence recognized, however that is hardly objectionable. The RAV4’s journey is generally supple and the brake pedal feels good beneath your tootsies. This automobile’s steering is crisp and fast, however a tad too mild for my style and the wheel’s rim is sort of dainty its cross-section is so small.Helping maintain the RAV4 shiny facet up, Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is normal fare on each 2021 mannequin. This suite of driver aids contains lane-departure warning, automated excessive beams, road-sign recognition and extra. The headline options, although, are adaptive cruise management and lane centering. Together, these two facilities make lengthy freeway drives a breeze, conserving the automobile from wandering and effortlessly matching the pace of surrounding site visitors.Keeping tempo with rival SUVs, an entry-level, front-drive 2021 Toyota RAV4 begins at 27 grand and alter together with $1,175 in vacation spot charges. As it sits, the loaded TRD Off-Road mannequin seen right here checks out for $42,622. That determine contains plenty of choices just like the Off-Road Weather Package ($1,015), the Premium Audio choices group ($1,620), the TRD Off-Road tech pack ($1,950), door sill guards ($140), mud flaps ($129) and, sure, these foolish operating boards ($549).Well, what do you consider the 2021 Toyota RAV4?
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    With added functionality and commendable refinement, the RAV4 TRD Off-Road is a likable SUV. I nonetheless want the CX-5, which feels way more premium and I believe the CR-V might be a bit extra smart, however as at all times, the ever-popular RAV4 stays a superb alternative.

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