2021 RAV 4 Limited AWD Review - City Driver

2021 RAV 4 Limited Front

Toyota has had massive success with the RAV 4 lineup.  Their blend of all the right elements at the optimal time has helped them achieve the highest accolades in North American auto markets.  The redesign and unveil of the latest generation in 2019 puts the exclamation point on their attention to detail.  The design has certainly caught our eye but will the 2021 RAV 4 Limited meet our expectations like the 2020 Camry LE Hybrid did?

What’s new for the 2021 RAV 4 Limited?

There have been no significant updates to the 20201 RAV 4 Limited BUT there has been the addition of the RAV 4 Prime to the lineup.  The RAV 4 Prime is a plugin hybrid vehicle with a variety of upgrades over the combustion only version.  We have more details below.

First thoughts sitting in the driver’s seat

It’s effortless to slide into the leather seats that are appointed with stitching to add to the luxury feel.  Plenty of room for all demographics of people yet sporty enough to feel connected to the road.  Upon gazing at the instrument cluster we see a fully digitized cluster with information center, a place where Toyota has had serious development in recent years.  Next to the cluster is a comparatively large eight inch LCD screen for media, navigation and settings.  Included in this RAV 4 are Carplay and Android Auto capability.

2021 RAV 4 Limited Rear

Heading into the countryside

One of the strengths of the RAV 4 lineup has always been the precise steering which reigns right across the entire Toyota lineup, from cars to trucks.   The connection between driver and car to the road only grows with each passing second.  The JBL audio system is another great addition to move the vehicle further into the premium realm, it’s a must have for audiophiles.   A slight groaning of the brakes, and we were off.

As we merge onto the highway there is a noticeable lack of performance out of the 2.5L engine.  Even combined with AWD which performs well for city driving, the RAV 4 is easily left behind in the slow lane.  The engine revs very high which hampers fuel economy promises, especially when using cruise control on almost any incline.  The combustion engine RAV 4 is definitely not a wonderful suggestion for commuters who have to travel daily for work.

We arrived on a beautiful tree-lined country road and caught some great photos of this beauty. 

The ride home

Feeling fairly empty from the highway driving, arriving within city limits was a refreshing moment in our review.  This is a city vehicle, with gear ratios that harness the power from stop lights and when combined with the razor sharp steering, driving in urban areas is where we felt most at home.  As dusk fell and the lighting inside became noticeable, so did the concept that we were seated in a daily driver, with little experience any driver could get in and find their way around, adding to their safety and security.

When we arrived at our destination, we backed in and lurched forward, again the brakes groaned upon release which indicated that serious attention needs to be paid to the brake system maintenance, all Toyota drivers should pay close attention to this and it goes back as far as the 2014 Toyota Corolla.

What’s all the hype about the 2021 RAV 4 Prime?

The plugin hybrid model of the RAV 4 comes with significant performance and economy upgrades over the combustion engine model.  Significantly faster when accelerating to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds!  Couple this with a merge lane and the RAV 4 will confidently find a place on the highway.  One may not even use any fuel with a 68 km EV range and just 6.0L/100 km when the engine is needed. 

Leave a Reply