A red 2021 Toyota RAV4 Limited, a white XSE, and a blue Adventure Grade are shown from a high angle overlooking the ocean.

From Concept to Best-Seller: Why the 2021 RAV4 Is Truly Remarkable

Toyota has always been a company that looks out for people. There is perhaps no better example of this commitment than the best-selling RAV4, a crossover that started as a unique concept only to become one of the most influential vehicles ever made. This is the history behind the 2021 Toyota RAV4 and is part of what makes the newest crossover an outstanding value for young professionals looking for a sophisticated, safe, versatile, and efficient vehicle that holds its value and stands for something truly remarkable – a commitment to the greater good.

How does the 2021 RAV4 embody this commitment? To answer that question requires us to look at why the RAV4 came about in the first place and its role in shaping the crossover segment. This sheds light on Toyota’s dedication to delivering reliability, versatility, practicality, and value in every aspect of the RAV4’s design, thus making the 2021 RAV4 an even more attractive option.

The RAV4 Concept

Toyota has always been at the helm of innovation in the automotive industry, and that’s even more apparent when you look at the RAV Four concept car that the automaker unveiled at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show. The idea was to answer the growing demand from drivers looking for a vehicle that offered the comforts and efficiency of a sedan with the off-road capability and spaciousness of an SUV. The modern crossover was born with Toyota’s “Recreational Active Vehicle with 4WD,” the RAV4.

The RAV4 was introduced in Europe and Japan in 1994 before it made its way to America in 1996, where it was an instant success. Powered by a 2.0-liter engine and available as either a two-door or four-door SUV, the RAV4’s first generation was laden with special editions and variants. America also saw Toyota’s commitment to the environment with the introduction of an all-electric RAV4 in 1997. This made it even more attractive in California, a state with strict zero-emissions standards.

The success of the first-generation RAV4 meant that all eyes were on Toyota and how the automaker would improve the crossover for its subsequent generations. Would the crossover’s popularity dwindle, or would Toyota remain steadfast in its commitment to its customers and the environment? As Toyota proved, its commitment is unending, and the RAV4 soon became the automaker’s top seller.

Toyota improved the RAV4 over the next four generations, ushering in a suite of modern technology and features along with more capability and responsive handling. The RAV4 delivered more power and a wide range of trims that met a variety of needs, from the bare-bones model to the off-road-ready TRD Pro and everything in between. Toyota also reintroduced the RAV4 EV in 2012, delivering 154 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque with a 100-mile driving range on a fully charged battery. Although production of the EV ended in 2014, it wasn’t the end of the road for the RAV4’s environmentally friendly option as Toyota unveiled the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid, which became a staple in the RAV4 lineup and once again proves Toyota’s dedication to a greener future.

A father and son are shown next to a 2021 Toyota RAV4 Limited near the ocean.

2021 RAV4: The Legacy Lives On

Ask any young kid if a person in their 30s is old, and they’ll likely tell you “yes” out of naivete. But does this ageism also apply to vehicles? The RAV4 might be approaching its 30s, but it’s still young at heart and proves that age is only a number, even in the automotive realm. This is courtesy of Toyota’s unfailing devotion to refreshing its best-selling crossover so that it stays relevant and meets the evolving demands of people across the country.

Exceptional Value

The 2021 RAV4 is the latest iteration of the RAV4 family and reveals its evolution from a bare-bones concept car to a stunning crossover known for improving the quality of life of those behind its wheel. We see this in the RAV4’s 2021 lineup that includes both gas and hybrid options, from the LE base model to the adventurous TRD Off-Road and the luxurious Limited. The 2021 RAV4 has something to offer everyone and offers an exceptional value with its affordable price tag and its wide array of standard features.

The best example of the RAV4’s value is apparent when you compare its base LE trim to the top-tier Limited. The LE, which starts at $26,350, is available with all-wheel drive and the Multi-Terrain Select system that allows you to customize how the RAV4 performs with drive modes like Snow, Normal, Rock & Dirt, and Mud & Sand. It’s also equipped with LED daytime lights, smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, and the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of safety and driver-assist tools.

The XLE, XLE Premium, and Adventure trims build on these features, while the TRD Off-Road readies the RAV4 for light off-roading. The Limited is at the top of the RAV4 lineup and boasts every feature and innovation imaginable. Beyond extending the crossover’s capability by adding Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive, you’ll find the Limited is equipped with 19-inch chrome wheels and SofTex-trimmed seating that add luxury and comfort to your drive. The RAV4’s technology is even updated with dynamic navigation and a premium audio system that delivers an immersive listening experience wherever your adventure leads.

A blue 2021 Toyota RAV4 Limited is shown driving next to a silver XSE.


Powerful and Safe

Toyota’s vision for the RAV4 was to deliver a crossover that blended the efficiency and comforts of a sedan with the capability and spaciousness of an SUV. The 2021 RAV4 embodies that vision even today. It delivers exceptional capability, plenty of power, and loads of room for groceries, gear, and whatever else you need to pursue your passions. It’s also one of the safest vehicles on the road, earning a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety – but more on that in a moment!

The RAV4’s powertrain has come a long way from its first-generation 2.0-liter engine that delivered 120 horsepower. Today, the 2021 RAV4 comes standard with a 2.5-liter engine that churns out 203 horses and 184 lb-ft of torque that make it quick to accelerate and easy to handle whether you’re navigating city traffic, cruising at highway speeds, or venturing down a winding back road. This performance is bettered with tools like the Multi-Terrain Select system that finetunes how the RAV4 handles on different terrain.

As far as safety is concerned, Toyota gives you the confidence you need behind the wheel via the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of standard safety tools. These tools actively minimize the potential for collision by constantly watching the front, rear, and sides of the crossover for other vehicles and obstacles. These tools include Toyota’s Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and more.

Where Will the RAV4 Take You?

Toyota is one of America’s top-selling automakers because of its commitment to its people and the environment by delivering exceptional vehicles that are not only reliable but are also versatile and innovative. This commitment is apparent in models like the RAV4 that initially started as a concept in the late 1980s. Over the last three decades, the RAV4 has transformed from an underdog to a best-seller replete with the latest technology and capability you’ll find in the segment. Now, the question that remains is one that only you can answer–where will your RAV4 take you?