2021 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2022 Toyota RAV4: Which Is Better?

Refreshed design elements and an all-new hybrid trim could lure you into choosing the 2022 Toyota RAV4 over a 2021 RAV4 model, but it is the pricier option.
Written by Mary Cahill
Reviewed by Hillary Kobayashi
The 2022 Toyota RAV4 refreshed the design of its wheels and headlights, added a brand-new exterior paint color, and debuted a Hybrid SE trim. Are these upgrades enough for you to pick the pricier 2022 RAV4 over the 2021 RAV4? 
The best-selling Toyota RAV4 spruced up some features for 2022, but it’s technically a carry-over model from the 2021 year. The RAV4 is a practical, small SUV whose trim packages and powertrains make it an attractive choice for all kinds of drivers. If you’ve narrowed your choice down to the 2022 or 2021 model, how do you know which is better?
We’ve put together a side-by-side comparison of the 2021 RAV4 vs. the 2022 RAV4, covering everything from price to safety features to customizable upgrades so that you can pick the model that’s right for you and drive off with confidence. 

2021 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2022 Toyota RAV4: what’s the difference?

Toyota RAV4 is one of the top-selling SUVs in the US, with 407,739 units sold in 2021 alone. The differences between the 2021 Toyota RAV4 and the 2022 version are purely cosmetic, consisting mainly of design upgrades or tweaks from the previous model year. 
You'll notice design differences in the wheels and lights of certain trims, plus there’s a brand-new exterior paint color, Calvary Blue, available with certain trim levels. 
Speaking of trims, the biggest difference between the 2021 and 2022 RAV4 is the introduction of a new hybrid trim—the
2022 RAV4 Hybrid SE


As is true with the majority of auto brands, upgrading to a higher trim level or opting for a later model year will increase the price of the RAV4. Let’s look at how the Toyota RAV4 prices compare based on trim and model year. 
2022 MSRP
2021 MSRP
Toyota RAV4
Toyota RAV4
Toyota RAV4
XLE Premium
Toyota RAV4
Toyota RAV4
Toyota RAV4
TRD Off-Road
Hybrid vehicles are known to be costlier than their fully gas-powered siblings, but the RAV4 Hybrid has been praised for being generally affordable. 
2022 MSRP
2021 MSRP
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XLE
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid SE
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XLE Premium
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
There’s also the forward-thinking
RAV4 Prime
—Toyota’s only plug-in hybrid (PHEV) SUV that debuted in 2021. Whether you buy a 2021 or 2022 version, this will be the priciest RAV4 option overall. 
2022 MSRP
2021 MSRP
Toyota RAV4 Prime SE
Toyota RAV4 Prime SXE
Find out if you can reduce your monthly car payments in minutes
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score
Check your rate
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score

General specs

Much to the disdain of RAV4 fans and off-roaders, there is no V6 engine option for any 2022 or 2021 RAV4 trims—a 2.5-liter four-cylinder is the only choice. In fact, the last time a RAV4 was fitted with a V6 was back in
. Every 2021 and 2022 RAV4 model comes with an automatic transmission
The RAV4 LE’s 0 to 60 time lags at an unimpressive 9.1 seconds. The RAV4 Hybrid fares a little better, going from 0 to 60 in 7.1 seconds, and allows for better traction thanks to standard all-wheel drive (AWD) across all trims. A much-needed boost is given to the RAV4 Prime with the addition of three electric motors that bring this AWD PHEV’s 0 to 60 time down to 5.6 seconds.  
Perhaps you’re less concerned with speed and more interested in the RAV4’s
towing capacity
. Take a look at the table below for a better idea of RAV4’s hauling capabilities. These specs do not change between the 2021 and 2022 model years.  
Maximum towing capacity
Toyota RAV4 (LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Limited)
1,500 lbs
Toyota RAV4 (Adventure, TRD Off-Road)
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
Toyota RAV4 Prime 

Fuel economy

RAV4 drivers looking to avoid pain at the gas pump should prioritize the RAV4’s sizable selection of HV and PHEV models, whose fuel economy specs are an improvement on those of the gas-powered RAV4. 
If you aren’t keen on purchasing a hybrid, you’ll still get decent gas mileage, since the RAV4 is smaller in size than lots of other SUVs and has a four-cylinder engine.   
All HV RAV4s from 2021 and 2022 have the exact same EPA-estimated gas mileage: 41 city/38 highway /40 combined. If you drive a 2021 or 2022 RAV4 Prime, you’ll enjoy 38 combined mpg for both trims plus 94 combined mpg-e. You’ll also get up to 42 miles of pure electric range, so if you drive the RAV4 Prime and have a short commute, you won’t need to tap into your fuel reserve at all. 
Mpg will vary slightly depending on the trim of a fully-gas powered RAV4, which we’ve detailed in the table below. These specs don’t change between the 2021 and 2022 model years. 
Trim level
EPA-estimated mpg
27 city/35 hwy/30 combined
28 city /35 hwy/30 combined
XLE Premium
28 city /35 hwy/30 combined
25 city/33 hwy/28 combined
27 city/35 hwy/30 combined
TRD Off-Road
25 city/32 hwy/28 combined
Find out if you can reduce your monthly car payments in minutes
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score
Check your rate
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score

Safety ratings

We’ll keep this simple for you: both the 2021 and 2022 Toyota RAV4 earned a perfect five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for overall safety
As for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), they awarded the Toyota RAV4 as a Top Safety Pick in the small, four-door SUV category in 2021 and 2022—but the LE trim is not included in this ranking due to having weaker headlights
Overall, the RAV4 is considered safe because of all the great standard safety features, like a lane-departure warning accident avoidance system, emergency brake assist, and a projected path backup camera
MORE: How to find vehicle safety ratings

Styling and interior changes

If you’re looking for the freshest stylings that can be had with the Toyota RAV4, focus your attention on the 2022 model. The second-tier trim XLE gets all-new headlights, while other upper trims gain new LED fog lamps
An upgrade of the infotainment screen in 2021 models takes the screen size from seven to eight inches, but a 2022 Limited RAV4 comes with a nine-inch touchscreen.  
There are also new colors and designs for the wheels depending on the RAV4 or Hybrid RAV4 trim level you choose. The XSE Hybrid introduces chic vertical headlights that were previously only available on the XSE trim of the RAV4 Prime.
Other notable standard-issued features on both the 2021 and 2022 RAV4 include:
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Amazon Alexa integration
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Keyless entry
  • Heated outside mirrors
  • Automatic dual-zone climate control 
  • 17-inch steel wheels

Special edition

There’s a new hybrid trim shaking up RAV4’s 2022 lineup—the RAV4 Hybrid SE
The starting MSRP for a RAV4 Hybrid SE is around $33,445. Like its fellow trims, the SE Hybrid comes standard with all-wheel drive and a seven-inch infotainment screen. It’s also available in a brand-new exterior paint color, Calvary Blue. This is a glossy, cornflower blue shade that is also offered on TRD Off-Road and XSE trims. 
MORE: Toyota paint codes

2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2021 Toyota RAV4: which should you buy?

Seeing as the 2022 Toyota RAV4 is largely unchanged from the 2021 model aside from some aesthetic enhancements, we suggest opting for a 2021 model of your choice
Although there isn’t a 2021 RAV4 Hybrid SE for that model year, you’ll still have a lot of powertrain and trim options, so if you’re ready to finally invest in a PHEV by purchasing a RAV4 Prime, you could save a few thousand by going with a 2021 model. 
is my new best friend. It was a smooth transaction, and I got the insurance I need to finally purchase my new car!” —JP C.
Jerry automatically checks if you are paying the lowest price for your insurance, for free.
Instantly compare top insurance companies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms
What insurance do you want to compare?
Reduce your monthly car payments in minutes?
Find out if Jerry can reduce your payments by an average of $150/month
Check your rate!

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings