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See How Newest 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Trim Stacks Up Against XLE Hybrid

RAV4 Hybrid has a new trim level this year. But is it a good value versus one of the most popular RAV4 Hybrid grades? Find out below.


The best-selling small SUV in the country has added a new wrinkle for 2021. Toyota RAV4 was just redesigned a couple years ago, so no big changes were necessary. But there were a couple changes.

RAV4 TRD Off-Road got a new front skid plate. Many off-roading adventurers are thanking you for this. It is essential to protect our vehicle underside from rocks and brush and stumps and whatever else may lie in our path.

Toyota also introduced a new trim level. It is new but also familiar (if that makes any sense).

2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid Midnight Black profile view2021 RAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid in Midnight Black

Introducing 2021 RAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid offered four different trim levels for the 2020 model year. They have added a fifth one for 2021 – RAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid. You may have already seen it around your local dealerships.

2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid Blueprint color profile view2021 RAV4 XLE Hybrid in Blueprint color

You may have also seen this same grade in RAV4 XLE Premium gasoline-only version.

Now we have a full lineup: LE Hybrid, XLE Hybrid, XLE Premium Hybrid, Limited and XSE.

How is XLE Premium Hybrid different from XLE Hybrid, though? They sound so similar. Time to compare features, value and price.

2021 RAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid

If both trim levels initially sound nearly the same, it is because for the most part they are. Except, of course, for a few important upgrades. And the price.

2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid front seats macadamia colorRAV4 XLE Hybrid fabric seats

First, RAV4 XLE Hybrid comes standard with fabric seats. XLE Premium upgrades to SofTex seating. SofTex is often compared to leather. It is thought to be lighter, more durable, more environmentally friendly, easier to clean and cooler than leather. I find both are good choices.

2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid front seats ash colorRAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid SofTex seats

RELATED STORY: What MPG are RAV4 Hybrid owners really getting?

Next, Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid does not come standard with a power moonroof, although it can be upgraded with an optional package. XLE Premium Hybrid has this moonroof standard.

2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid moonroof

If a height-adjustable power liftgate is important to you, consider a RAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid. This practical feature is standard here. XLE Hybrid does not come with this, but it can also be added through an option package (learn more below).

Wheel size and appearance is important to many buyers, and this trim comparison offers two different choices. RAV4 XLE Hybrid features 17-inch 5-spoke silver alloy wheels. You will find larger 18-inch 5-spoke SuperChrome alloy wheels on Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid.

2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid wheels RAV4 XLE Premium WheelsRAV4 XLE Hybrid wheels vs XLE Premium Hybrid wheels

RAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid Price

Pricing will play an important part in your decision on what RAV4 Hybrid is best for you and your family.

A 2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid has a factory MSRP of $29,795. RAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid starts at $32,500. This is a difference of $2,705.

So, think about this when considering value. For about $2,700 you are adding in upgraded seats, moonroof, power liftgate and wheels.

VIDEO: Compare 2021 RAV4 XLE Hybrid vs RAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid in my video review.

I consider this to be a solid upgrade and it makes sense both in value and added overall cost. What do you think?
Let me muddy the waters a little.

Convenience Package is available on a 2021 RAV4 XLE Hybrid and it includes both power moonroof and power liftgate. This cost is $1,265.

Adding in the Convenience Package to XLE Hybrid factory MSRP closes this gap between trims to $1,440. Interesting.

This $1,440 difference to go from XLE Hybrid with Convenience Package to XLE Premium Hybrid is for the upgrade to SofTex seats and wheels. Now what is your choice?

Time for your thoughts on 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Thanks for reading everyone. Do you have currently own a RAV4 or RAV4 Hybrid and how is it going so far? How many miles do you have and what type of gas mileage are you generally seeing?

What is your interest level in a RAV4 XLE Premium Hybrid?

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story when I discuss the top 5 best selling Toyota hybrids for 2020.

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Steve S (not verified)    January 14, 2021 - 7:05AM

This is my 5th RAV4, and 2nd hybrid version, the first was a 2016. Hands down, best version of RAV4 to date. After 6,000 miles, warm weather is getting 40mpg consistently, but with the colder weather and some idling, around 33mpg and would say without idling I'd be at 35mpg. That said, I just traded a 2018 SE non-hybrid for this 2020 XLE hybrid about 6 months ago, and that was only getting 18mpg in this area which is suburban driving, lots of traffic lights, hills, stop and go traffic at times, etc. So to double my mpg, it was a healthy upgrade.

The 2016 hybrid XLE I had, only got 25mpg at best in this area driving and got sometimes up to 35mpg on highway (55mph-70mph) straight and flat on I-95 from Philly to Baltimore and back consistently. So, 25mpg vs. 40mpg, this is a very much improved setup plus the car is a much nicer version too, better ride quality, road noise, etc.

The only disappointment with this model is the slanted roofline in the back, that while sharper looking, prevents the use of that space for an additional row of plastic tubs for example. I carry my wife's Pride Revo 2 scooter in the back of this, 24x7, and floorspace is about the same, but the sloped roof cuts into the handle of the scooter - the previous gen without the slope made it so much better to fill up with cargo. Minor tradeoff really, for the improvements in this generation.

My 2020 XLE hybrid has the cold weather upgrade, heated steering wheel, heated wiper (defroster strip sits under wipers), and had LED fog lights plus door protection strips added at the port of entry. It is a nice package and leaves really nothing I would want that I don't already have, sans the fake leather seats that would help with the assistance dogs I carry in the 2nd row of seats and are always with us. I will say, the RAV4 hybrid is no disappointment and mine still has the nickel metal battery vs. the newer lithium battery.