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Important New Feature Added to Popular 2021 Toyota RAV4 Trim Level

Learn about the new feature added to one of the newest 2021 Toyota RAV4 trim levels. One that you may rarely see, but you will probably be glad you have.


The top selling small SUV in the country keeps improving. In a crowded field of competitors vying for customer love, Toyota continues to find ways to make their product better.

Potential buyers have already begun seeing new 2021 RAV4 models at their local dealerships. This is that time of year, of course.

Look for a new RAV4 Hybrid trim level for 2021, which I recently wrote about for Torque News. Also, look for an important new protective feature on the TRD Off-Road.

2021 RAV4 TRD Off-Road

2021 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road interior black and red seats

Introduced for the 2020 model year, RAV4 TRD Off-Road provides a vehicle that can handle off-road trails just as well as driving on city streets and highways.

The 2021 model year brings a new addition to this RAV4. Toyota has added a standard front skid plate to protect your vehicle from rocks, moguls, stumps, brush and other obstacles that may hurt your valuable components and parts.

I drove a 2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road on a pretty tough off-road trail earlier this year and it performed very well. Shocking to me, in fact.

VIDEO: My RAV TRD off-roading adventure - whoa!

One person who passed me on the trail could not believe I was driving this course with a RAV4. Total street (or off-street) cred here ladies and gentlemen.

This front skid plate is a valuable and important addition.

2021 RAV4 TRD Off-Road specs

RAV4 TRD Off-Road is powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 203 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. torque. It is matched with an 8-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift mode.

Towing capacity is 3,500 pounds for TRD Off-Road and the RAV4 Adventure trim.

Toyota RAV4 all-wheel drive

One of the biggest benefits for the 2021 RAV4 TRD Off-Road is its all-wheel drive system. It is called dynamic torque vectoring all-wheel drive with rear driveline disconnect.

That is a mouthful to say and remember, so I can break it down.

Basically, the system allows drivers to use their RAV4 like a front-wheel drive to take advantage of the best gas mileage possible during normal conditions. Then, when a loss of traction is determined, your RAV4 can send up to 50% of its available torque to the rear wheels.

VIDEO: What is New for 2021 RAV4 TRD Off-Road

It can also send extra power to individual left and right wheels as needed. This is ideal while exploring a remote and uneven trail, a mountain pass road, or along a beautiful riverbed. Oh yes, and this is perfect for everyday use while in heavy rain, snow and mud.

Multi-terrain select is standard on RAV4 TRD and it lets you choose what type of terrain you are driving on to maximize traction. Mud and Sand, Rock and Dirt, Snow and Normal modes are choices here.

This system is very easy to understand and to operate.

Time for your thoughts on 2021 RAV4

Are you a fan of Toyota RAV4 and if so, will you be in the market in the near future? Do you own one and how many miles?

What do you think of RAV4 TRD Off-Road? Do you think the front skid plate will prove useful with how you will use your RAV4?

Do you have more interest in RAV4 gasoline, RAV4 Hybrid or RAV4 Prime?

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story.

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John Goreham    October 2, 2020 - 11:38AM

This is an important feature to me. I was bummed that my '16 Forester didn't have the option. The really great news is that now that one trim has the option, there is a part. And that part can likely be bought and retroffitted to many other RAV4s. Skidplates and hill descent control are two items on my next crossovr vehicle purchase wish list. I'm off the paved roads every week in my personal crossover and many of the test vehicles we are fortunate enough to get.

Ed Popka (not verified)    October 3, 2020 - 10:09AM

My interest is in the RAV4 Prime to replace my 2012 PriusV. An off road version of the Prime would really be interesting (though I don’t want to be fording streams with a 400 volt battery under my butt.)

Bruce Campbell (not verified)    October 3, 2020 - 8:03PM

I have a 2005 Rav4 with almost 195,000 miles on it. I have never found a more dependable and versitile vehicle. The shear volume of stuff I've been able to fit in it is staggering. Although the newer ones don't seem to have the same cargo space, I would still buy another Rav4 just for the dependability.