RAV4 LE vs XLE [Differences, Pros, & Cons]

The Toyota RAV4 is known for its practicality, reliability, and versatility, making it a popular choice among families and outdoor enthusiasts. However, choosing between the different trims can be a challenge. In this article, we’ll compare the LE and XLE trims of the RAV4 to help you make an informed decision. Let’s go!

Rav4 LE vs XLE: What are the Differences?

Both the Rav4 LE and XLE offer great value for money, but there are some significant differences between the two. Let’s take a closer look at what each trim has to offer.

1. Exterior Features

One of the main differences between the LE and XLE trims is the size and design of the wheels. The LE has 17-inch steel wheels, while the XLE has 17-inch alloy wheels. The XLE also offers an optional upgrade to 18-inch alloy wheels.

Also, the LE comes with standard features such as automatic LED headlights, LED taillights, and heated mirrors. The XLE adds a power moonroof, fog lights, and roof rails. 

2. Interior Features

The XLE model has a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, as well as a power-adjustable driver’s seat. The LE model has a fabric-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, and the driver’s seat is manually adjustable.

Also, the XLE model has a few additional features that make it more comfortable for longer trips, such as heated front seats and a dual-zone automatic climate control system.

In addition, regarding cargo space, both models have roughly the same room behind the second-row seats. However, the XLE model has a few additional storage compartments and cubbies throughout the cabin, which can come in handy for storing small items like smartphones or sunglasses.

Finally, the XLE model has several additional interior features, including a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a six-speaker audio system.

3. Performance and Efficiency

The Toyota RAV4 offers two engine options, and the performance and efficiency vary slightly between the LE and XLE trims.

The LE trim comes standard with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, while the XLE trim offers a hybrid engine option in addition to the standard engine.

Also, the hybrid engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers a combined output of 219 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque.

In terms of fuel economy, the LE trim offers an EPA-estimated 27 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. The XLE trim’s standard engine offers an EPA-estimated 28 mpg city and 35 mpg highway.

The hybrid engine option on the XLE trim offers even better fuel efficiency, with an EPA-estimated 41 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.

4. Safety and Technology

Both the LE and XLE trims of the Toyota RAV4 offer a variety of safety and technology features. However, there are a few differences in the standard and optional features offered between the two trims.

For instance, standard safety features on both trims include a rearview camera, Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (which includes features like a pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, and adaptive cruise control), and a system that alerts the driver if they begin to drift out of their lane.

Also, there are optional safety features on the XLE trim, including blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors. 

5. Price and Value

The starting price of the LE model is $26,150, while the XLE model starts at $28,845. The hybrid version of the XLE starts at $28,445. Also, the LE model offers a lot of value for its starting price, with many standard features and advanced safety technologies.

However, the XLE model’s additional features and hybrid powertrain option make it more premium and feature-rich for buyers willing to spend a little more.

RAV4 LE vs. XLE: What are the Similarities?

1. Engine and Transmission

The RAV4 LE and XLE come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and both trims come with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Also, the engine and transmission combination provides a smooth and reliable ride, making both trims great for daily commuting or long road trips.

2. Fuel Efficiency

Another similarity between the RAV4 LE and XLE is their fuel efficiency. Both trims are incredibly fuel-efficient and offer an EPA-estimated 30 mpg combined (26 city/35 highway) with front-wheel drive and 28 mpg combined (25 city/33 highway) and all-wheel drive.

With gas prices rising, fuel efficiency is critical for many car buyers, making both trims an attractive option.

3. Safety Features

The RAV4 is well known for its advanced safety features, and both the LE and XLE trims come equipped with a suite of safety features. These features include Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, and road sign assist. In addition, both trims have eight airbags, a backup camera, and hill start assist control.

4. Infotainment System

The RAV4 LE and XLE have an infotainment system that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The LE has a 7-inch touchscreen, while the XLE has an 8-inch touchscreen.

The system is easy to use and allows for seamless smartphone integration, making it easy to access music, navigation, and other features while on the road.

5. Interior Space

Both trims offer plenty of interior space for passengers, seating up to five people. The RAV4 LE and XLE come with a comfortable fabric or SofTex-trimmed seats, depending on the trim. The rear seats can be folded to create additional cargo space, and both trims offer ample cargo space behind the rear seats.

6. Exterior Features

The exterior of the RAV4 LE and XLE is relatively similar, with both trims featuring LED headlights, daytime running lights, and power-adjustable mirrors. Both trims are available in various colors, including Midnight Black Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallic, and Blueprint.

Pros of RAV4 LE

1. Affordability

The RAV4 LE is affordable for those looking for a reliable and practical compact SUV. It has a lower starting price than some other trims in the RAV4 lineup, making it an accessible option for many buyers.

2. Fuel Efficiency

The RAV4 LE has an impressive fuel efficiency rating, with an EPA-estimated 30 mpg combined (26 city/35 highway) with front-wheel drive and 28 mpg combined (25 city/33 highway) with all-wheel drive. This makes it a great choice for those who want to save money on gas.

3. It Has Unique Safety Features

The RAV4 LE has a wide range of safety features, including a rearview camera, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. These features help to keep drivers and passengers safe on the road.

4. Spacious Interior

The RAV4 LE has a spacious interior, with plenty of room for passengers and cargo. It has 37.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 69.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down, making it a great choice for families and those who need to transport larger items.

5. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

The RAV4 LE comes equipped with a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This allows drivers to connect their smartphones to the vehicle’s entertainment system, giving them access to their favorite apps and music while on the road.

6. All-Wheel Drive

The RAV4 LE has the option of all-wheel drive, providing better traction and stability in inclement weather conditions. This makes it a great choice for drivers who live in areas with harsh winters or frequent rain.

Cons of RAV4 LE

1. Limited Interior Features

While the RAV4 LE does come with many standard features, it does lack some of the more premium features found in higher trims. For example, it only has a 7-inch touchscreen, which may be too small for some buyers, and it does not come with dual-zone automatic climate control or heated front seats.

2. Basic Exterior Features

The RAV4 LE’s exterior features are basic, and it does not come with many bells and whistles found on higher trims. For example, it does not come with roof rails or fog lights, which can be useful for outdoor activities or driving in inclement weather.

3. It Does Not Come With Features Found on Higher Trims

While the RAV4 LE comes with many standard safety features, it does not come with some of the more advanced safety features on higher trims. For example, it does not come with blind-spot monitoring or rear cross-traffic alert, which can be very helpful in preventing accidents.

4. Lack of Performance Features

The RAV4 LE’s performance features are basic and do not come with many sport-tuned features found on higher trims. For example, it does not come with sport-tuned suspension or paddle shifters, making it a less engaging driving experience.

5. No SofTex-trimmed Seats

While the RAV4 LE does come with comfortable fabric-trimmed seats, it does not come with the more premium SofTex-trimmed seats found on higher trims. This may be a disadvantage for some buyers who prioritize luxury and comfort.

Pros of RAV4 XLE

The RAV4 XLE offers a range of advantages over the LE trim. Here are some of the key advantages:

1. It Has Additional Features

The RAV4 XLE comes with several additional features that the LE does not have. Some of these features include roof rails, fog lights, SofTex-trimmed seats, an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, and heated front seats. These features enhance the driving experience and make the RAV4 XLE more comfortable and convenient.

2. Better Driving Experience

The RAV4 XLE offers a better driving experience than the LE. The sport-tuned suspension and paddle shifters give drivers more control and make driving more engaging. Additionally, the XLE offers a smoother ride thanks to its larger 17-inch wheels (compared to the LE’s 16-inch wheels).

3. Improved Interior

The RAV4 XLE has an improved interior compared to the LE. The SofTex-trimmed seats are more comfortable and luxurious than the fabric-trimmed seats in the LE. Additionally, the XLE has a larger infotainment touchscreen, which is easier to use and provides more information to the driver.

4. Better Resale Value

The RAV4 XLE has a higher resale value than the LE. This is due to the additional features and improved driving experience that the XLE offers. If you plan to sell your RAV4, choosing the XLE trim may be better.

Cons of RAV4 XLE

1. Price

While the XLE offers more features and amenities than the LE, it also comes with a higher price tag. This could be a drawback for budget-conscious buyers looking for a more affordable SUV.

2. Leatherette Seating

While some buyers may appreciate the look and feel of SofTex-trimmed seats, others may prefer genuine leather seating options. The XLE does not offer a leather option, which could be a disadvantage for those who prioritize leather interiors.

3. Heavier Weight

The additional features and amenities of the XLE trim come with some added weight, which could negatively impact fuel efficiency and the vehicle’s overall handling.

4. Limited Availability

Depending on your location and dealership, the RAV4 XLE may not be as readily available as the LE trim. This could be a disadvantage for buyers who need a car quickly or have specific preferences for color or other options.

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The Rav4 LE and XLE are excellent options for buyers seeking a reliable and stylish compact SUV. While the LE is more affordable and offers great value, the XLE comes with additional features and performance upgrades that may be worth the extra cost for some buyers.

Nonetheless, the decision between the two models will depend on individual preferences and needs, such as desired features, driving style, and budget.

Finally, we recommend doing further research and test-driving both models before deciding to ensure you choose the model that best suits your needs and preferences.