Among the new RAV4 models, several trims provide a good balance of features and performance. Choosing between them can be difficult, especially when comparing the Toyota RAV4 LE vs. XLE. What are the differences between this RAV4 base model and the next trim up?

In this comprehensive guide, I cover all of the differences, including the exterior style, interior cabin, safety technology, and price. By the end, it should become clear which RAV4 model is right for you.

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Exterior Comparison

modified toyota rav4

First, I will discuss the similarities between the two trims. Both the LE and XLE include:

  • Same ground clearance
  • 5 color options: Magnetic Gray Metallic, Silver Sky Metallic, Ice Cap, Midnight Black Metallic and Ruby Flare Pearl
  • LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
  • Privacy glass on all liftgate, rear side and quarter windows
  • Aerodynamic underbody panels including vortex generators
  • Front and rear wheel spats
  • Integrated rear spoiler
  • Dual chrome-tipped exhaust
  • Black hexagon bar front grille
  • LED taillights
  • Color-keyed shark-fin antenna (roof-mounted)

Now, onto the differences.

For starters, the XLE offers two additional exterior paint colors: Lunar Rock and Blueprint.

Additionally, while both RAV4 models have 17″ wheels, the design is different.

  • LE: Steel wheels with silver 6-spoke wheel covers
  • XLE: Alloy wheels with 5-spoke light gray design

There’s also a difference with the outside mirrors.

  • LE: Optional black power outside mirrors (not standard)
  • XLE: Standard Color-keyed heated power outside mirrors including both turn signal and blind spot indicators

While both models have standard LED headlights, there are some minor differences with the equipment.

  • LE: Multi-LED headlights (black bezels) and Automatic High Beams (AHB)
  • XLE: LED projector headlights (chrome bezels) with Automatic High Beams (AHB) and auto on/off

Both models also include color-keyed outside door handles, but the XLE adds a touch-sensor lock/unlock feature on the front doors.

Looking at the windshield wipers, there’s also a difference.

  • LE: Intermittent windshield wipers, plus an intermittent rear window wiper
  • XLE: Variable intermittent windshield wipers, plus an intermittent rear window wiper (standard) or the available rain-sensing variable intermittent windshield wipers with a de-icer function, along with an intermittent rear window wiper

Finally, the XLE comes standard with low-profile black roof rails that aren’t included with the LE. Plus, the XLE offers some available features, such as the height-adjustable power liftgate with jam protection and the power tilt/slide moonroof with one-touch open and close.


Interior Comparison

toyota rav4 ash interior fabric front seats

When it comes to the interior of the RAV4, the LE and XLE share a lot of similarities. These are the same between the two models.

  • Interior dimensions
  • Rear liftgate window defogger
  • LED front-seat reading lights
  • Dome light
  • Cargo area light
  • Height-adjustable rear cargo area deck board
  • Two front and two rear bottle holders
  • Two front and two rear cup holders
  • Day/night rearview mirror

Starting with the interior colors, there are a few differences. The 2023 RAV4 LE interior colors include Black or Nutmeg fabric. On the other hand, the 2023 RAV4 XLE interior colors include Ash, Black or Nutmeg fabric.

Additionally, these differences are seen in the seats.

  • LE: Fabric-trimmed seats with a 6-way adjustable front driver’s seat and 4-way adjustable front passenger seat with seatback pocket
  • XLE: Fabric-trimmed seats with embossed polygonal-design seat inserts and an 8-way power-adjustable front driver’s seat with lumbar support, along with a 4-way adjustable front passenger seat with seatback pocket

It’s also important to note that the LE doesn’t come with heated front seating, but it can be added to the  XLE trim.

Climate control is something everyone is concerned about, especially during the hot summer or the cold winter. With the RAV4 LE, you get standard basic climate control settings, while the XLE comes standard with dual-zone climate control.

While the RAV4 LE includes remote keyless entry, it doesn’t have a push button start with a smart key. To get this feature, you need to upgrade to the XLE trim.

If you want a cargo area tonneau cover, it comes standard on the XLE trim but is available with the LE.


Safety and Technology Comparison

2021 toyota rav4 le

In today’s RAV4 models, you find the latest tech and safety features for an enjoyable and safe ride. When it comes to entertainment and connectivity features, the LE and XLE are practically identical. Both RAV4 models include:

  • 8″ multimedia display
  • 6-speaker sound system
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
  • SiriusXM® with a 3-month trial subscription

If you’re interested in a stereo upgrade with either trim, you won’t find it. The available 11-speaker JBL® Premium package with a subwoofer and amplifier is only available on higher trim levels.

Additionally, the safety technology is mostly the same between the two trims. With either RAV4 model, you receive the following:

  • Toyota Safety Sense™ 2.5 (TSS 2.5) System – including Road Sign Assist, Pre-Collision detection, Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist, Lane Departure Alert, Steering Assist and Automatic High Beams
  • Star Safety Package – including Traction Control, Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Anti-lock brakes, Brake Assist, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, plus Smart Stop Technology
  • Trailer-Sway Control (TSC)
  • Backup camera complete with dynamic gridlines
  • Hill Start Assist Control (HAC)

The only safety difference between the LE and XLE is that the Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert system are available with the base model. However, the XLE includes this technology standard for no extra cost.


Price and Value

The 2023 Toyota RAV4 price is important to consider after evaluating the differences. The only way to know if the higher trim is worth the expense is to see how much it costs.

There has been a price increase for the 2023 Toyota RAV4, but it doesn’t break the bank. With either model, you get quite the deal.

  • LE MSRP: $27,575
  • XLE MSRP: $29,085

That’s a price difference of only $1,510. For that extra money, you receive:

  • Additional exterior and interior color options
  • Turn signal and blind spot warning indicators
  • Push-button start with a smart key
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Low-profile black roof rails
  • Cargo area tonneau cover
  • Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert system

Besides these features that are standard on the XLE trim, there are also optional equipment packages for an extra cost that aren’t available with the LE model.

Should You Buy the RAV4 LE or XLE?

Is the additional $1,510 worth upgrading to the 2023 RAV4 XLE from the LE?

There are a lot of extra features that make this model a great value. Not only are there enhanced exterior features and colors, but the interior is also enriched.

The connectivity remains the same between the two and entertainment features are similar, but there are some minor safety differences. Not only that but there are available packages that can’t be found with the LE. If you are willing to spend a little extra, it’s possible to completely customize the XLE to fit any need.

For this reason, I generally recommend the XLE if you like to extra features it offers. It’s not that great of a price difference, but the perks are great.

With that said, there’s nothing wrong with the RAV4 LE trim. If you prefer to save some money, this entry-level RAV4 model is still sure to meet your basic driving needs.

Personally, I went with the LE since I didn’t care about those extra features. Although, I did add the Blind Spot Monitor and rubber floor mats.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many aspects of the two are the same, but there are some upgraded exterior and interior features with the XLE. Additionally, dual-zone automatic climate control, a smart key and Blind Spot Monitor are included as standard equipment with the XLE.

No. The 2023 RAV4 LE comes only with keyless entry. To get the push-button start with the smart key, you need to upgrade to the RAV4 XLE trim.

No, the 2023 RAV4 LE doesn’t come standard with the Blind Spot Monitor. You must pay extra to include it with the LE trim. However, it is standard with the XLE trim and higher.

To Choose the RAV4 LE or XLE

When it comes time to order or choose a 2023 Toyota RAV4, there are a lot of decisions to make. One that doesn’t need to consume a lot of your time is whether to pick the LE or XLE trim. Both have a lot to offer, but the XLE comes with far more features.

Review the options available to determine if the XLE is a good enough value for your needs. Remember, there’s also the option to choose a higher trim level if you find the XLE doesn’t provide enough.

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  1. Leslie Lenhart says:

    I have a 2012 RAV4, it has 4×4 whee drive its not the AWD. I want to know if they still make a 4 x 4? Can you tell me?

  2. Leanne Carrington says:

    Hi, I just bought a 2023 XLE. It is the base model of that version. My old Honda Crv had walk-away-lock feature, does the XLE? I really miss that option, I hate having to rub the door handle to lock my car!