5 Fun Facts That You May Not Know About the 2021 Toyota RAV4

Liz Kim | Apr 27, 2021

In the annals of automotive history, the Toyota RAV4 ranks as one of the most consequential vehicles, full stop. With more than 400,000 units sold every year for the past few years, it’s not only Toyota’s best-selling car; this 5-passenger compact SUV is the top-selling vehicle in America (not including pickup trucks). 

2021 Toyota RAV4 XSE Silver Front Quarter

Beyond sales numbers, though, the RAV4’s popularity is based on a long, loaded history, and there are many reasons for the RAV4’s significance in the American marketplace. Here are but five.

Fun Fact 1: The RAV4 is the granddaddy of all crossovers. - Find the best Toyota deals!

At the dawn of the 1990s, SUVs that were little more than converted pickup trucks cluttered the roads. They rode rough, bounced their passengers, suffered poor handling, and guzzled gas. Toyota took all of the advantages of these vehicles, such as cargo versatility, a high ride height, and four driven wheels, and combined them with car-like drivability and fuel efficiency. 

2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE Blue Rear Quarter

The result was the original 1996 Toyota RAV4, or Recreational Activity Vehicle: 4-Wheel Drive. And it was one of the first crossover SUVs sold in America.

Today, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 continues to adhere to the qualities that made the first RAV4 popular. You get a refined, smooth ride. You get good fuel economy. You get lots of cargo space. And you get available all-wheel drive for when snow, sleet, mud, and muck pose a challenge.

Fun Fact 2: The RAV4 was one of the first modern all-electric vehicles. - Find the best Toyota deals!

The original RAV4 was forward-thinking in more ways than one. While electric-powered vehicles have had fits and starts over the past century of automotive history, when it comes to modern EVs, only a few have loomed large in the collective consciousness. Sharing the spotlight with GM’s EV1, Toyota’s RAV4 EV, introduced in California back in 1997, was a popular choice. Tom Hanks even bragged about getting one.

Toyota doesn’t currently offer the 2021 RAV4 as an all-electric vehicle. A gas-electric hybrid version has been available for years, and for 2021 the new 2021 RAV4 Prime brings plug-in hybrid performance to the lineup. With an estimated 42 miles of electric driving on a full charge and a total of 302 horsepower, the RAV4 Prime is not only efficient, but it’s also fast. This electrified RAV4 can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in about 5.7 seconds, making it the second-fastest Toyota in the stable after the Supra sports car.

Fun Fact 3: The RAV4 is mighty fuel-efficient, especially in hybrid form. - Find the best Toyota deals!

Toyota offers three choices of powerplants in the 2021 RAV4, all of which are fuel-efficient. Better yet, you need not settle for a loss of power or performance in exchange for its miserly ways. The standard engine puts out a robust 203 horsepower, and the RAV4 Hybrid is even more powerful, delivering 219 hp and instant electric motor torque while returning 40 mpg in combined city/highway driving. As mentioned above, the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid is the second-fastest Toyota available, and it returns an EPA-rated 94 MPGe (38 mpg after you’ve exhausted electric power). 

Fun Fact 4: Though compact on the outside, the RAV4 offers near-midsize cargo space. - Find the best Toyota deals!

One of the main selling points of any crossover SUV is utility. And the RAV4 provides more of it than many competitors in the compact segment. Behind the rear seat, the Toyota RAV4 gives you 37.6 cubic feet of space, and with the rear seats folded down, you’ll get 69.8 cubic feet. These numbers fare well against many midsize 5-passenger SUVs, but the RAV4’s tidy exterior dimensions mean that you’ll have no problems slipping it into small parking slots. Speaking of tight spaces, its slim turning diameter of 37.4 feet allows for graceful U-turns on narrow streets.

2021 Toyota RAV4 XSE Interior Dashboard

Fun Fact 5: You can take a RAV4 well beyond the pavement. - Find the best Toyota deals!

Don’t let the RAV4’s smooth on-road driving dynamics fool you. When properly equipped, the RAV4 can tackle some pretty tough trails. 

Every RAV4 is available with AWD, but the TRD Off-Road trim level fortifies the SUV with 8.6 inches of ground clearance, a 0.2-inch increase over other trim levels. A TRD-stamped stainless steel front skid-plate protects its vulnerable underside, and drivers can choose between Mud and Sand, Rock and Dirt, or Snow driving modes to gain extra traction. Special knobby all-terrain tires remain grippy in loose dirt, and a specifically tuned suspension isolates the cabin from ruts. 

No, a RAV4 TRD Off-Road doesn’t compete with the burly Toyota 4Runner when it comes to escaping civilization, but you’d be surprised at how far one can take you. 

Toyota is the source of information in this article. It was accurate as of April 26, 2021, but it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker’s website or your local dealership.

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