2021 is the model year in which the RAV4’s light shines brighter than all others in what is arguably the hottest vehicle segment of them all – so it’s no wonder that both the 2021 RAV4 and the 2021 RAV4 Prime received a 2021 Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award.

Winning the Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award for the compact SUV category is the overall RAV4 model and for the plug-in vehicle category, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime.

Toyota RAV4 – A Segment-Leading Compact SUV

The original Toyota RAV4 arrived in the United States 22 years ago, casting the mold for a whole new industry segment, the compact crossover SUV. The first RAV4 was a true game-changer, but no one knew at the time just how big of a market shift it would create. Much has changed in the two decades since then. Compact crossover SUVs have grown in actual size, and segment growth shows no signs of abating.

With the launch of the all-new, fifth-generation 2019 Toyota RAV4, the vehicle premiered, yet again, at the forefront – both for the Toyota brand and for the segment. And it hasn’t stopped making waves in the industry. Very few vehicles have the capacity to be both a segment leader and a segment disruptor – but the fifth-generation Toyota RAV4 has managed to achieve just that.

The latest RAV4 continues its bold leadership moves for 2021 by adding the XLE Premium model to the hybrid lineup at a starting MSRP of $32,650. Additionally, for the RAV4 TRD Off-Road, a new TRD-stamped stainless steel front skid plate has been added for 2021.

2021 RAV4 Prime

The 2021 RAV4 Prime breaks ground as the most powerful and quickest RAV4 ever with a starting MSRP of $38,100. The RAV4’s first-ever plug-in model has up to 302 horsepower with an ability to do 0-60 mph in a projected 5.7 seconds, which makes it the quickest four-door model in the Toyota lineup.

The RAV4 Prime also has up to an EPA-estimated 42 miles on battery alone on a single charge, making it the highest EV range of any PHEV SUV on the market. The RAV4 Prime also has up to an EPA-estimated 94 combined MPGe. Even more, what sets RAV4 Prime apart is the standard Electronic On-Demand AWD.

Toyota engineered the 2021 RAV4 Prime for the performance-oriented driver and is therefore offering it in the sporty SE and XSE grades. The SE grade is new for the RAV4 Prime, and the XSE is currently exclusive to the RAV4 Hybrid.

About the Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards

The Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards are designed to provide a significant service to new-car buyers by identifying the best of all available 2021 model-year vehicles. The awards are the culmination of a year-long regimen of expert vehicle evaluation and testing of nearly every new vehicle available in America.

The comprehensive process includes an analysis of a broad swath of vehicle-related data, including vehicle pricing/transaction prices, 5-Year Cost to Own data (which includes depreciation, insurance, maintenance, financing, fuel, fees, and taxes for new cars), consumer reviews and ratings, and vehicle sales/retail sales information.

Of more than 300 new-car models available for 2021, Kelley Blue Book’s expert editors initially narrowed the field to a few dozen Best Buy Award contenders in various categories, and then spent several weeks testing and evaluating all the finalists head-to-head to ultimately determine the winners.

The awards identify the highest-value choices in 16 popular vehicle categories, and one overall winner for Best New Model, available for sale in the U.S. market for the 2021 model year.

Originally published March 4, 2021

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