The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Actually Looks Like an Exciting CUV

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime looks poised to break through and offer a truly exciting CUV experience.

The RAV4 is America’s favorite CUV. The sales numbers don’t lie.

It’s popular. It’s a bit boring. But the 2021 RAV4 Prime looks like it’s prepared to inject some excitement into the tried-and-true formula for Toyota.

Rarely will you find us getting excited about crossover SUVs. They’re ubiquitous and largely indistinguishable, perhaps because their biggest appeal is how “normal” they are. When you buy a CUV, you’re not looking to make a splash. You’re looking for anonymous practicality and dependability.

But we will give credit where credit is due. The Toyota RAV4, since its recent redesign, stands out. It’s got aggressive angles, a big menacing grille, and a stance that makes it look like it could be a capable off-roader on the weekends. It takes some clear design cues from Toyota’s 4Runner, one of the most respected true body-on-frame SUVs. We can’t help but love the 4Runner, despite the fact that it’s essentially the same as it was ten years ago. So it makes sense that the new RAV4 consistently gets our second glances.

But although the RAV4 looks mean, the performance has left something to be desired. It’s still a CUV, and its reviews have consistently lagged behind its rival, the Honda CR-V, which also is slightly cheaper.

Enter the RAV4 Prime. This is a plug-in hybrid CUV offering 40 miles per gallon that, according to The Drive, can beat a Subaru WRX in the quarter mile.

The electric and internal combustion motors will produce a net of 302 horsepower, which is nothing to sneeze at in a compact CUV. It’ll go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.7 seconds. And it can travel 42 miles on electric power.

The RAV4 already practically sells itself, but demand for the RAV4 Prime is causing dealers to mark up the price up to $10,000. That’s more than you would expect for a hot-button car like the Toyota Supra.

There’s no question that the RAV4 will continue to rule the market, and the 2021 Prime variant simply cements Toyota’s compact crossover as king.

The RAV4 Prime isn’t going to deliver a sports car experience in a crossover. It remains to be seen whether we would consider driving one.  But it looks like it’s going to be quite a bit of fun for anyone who needs a practical option to get the groceries.