1996 Toyota RAV4

  • 1996 Toyota RAV4 Base Hard Top Sport Utility

    Base Hard Top Sport Utility

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      2.0L I4
    • MSRP
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1996 Toyota RAV4 Review

A compact SUV with style.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The rounded, petite 1996 Toyota RAV4 looks out of place when driving off road. However, despite the small size and four-cylinder base engine, it offers good off-road performance that can put some of the larger, more impressive looking SUVs turned suburban drivers to shame. As petite as it might be, it can get through terrain that would stop larger vehicles. It can offer a fairly comfortable ride, although optional equipment is required. It lacks standard comfort features found in most passenger vehicles, although many appear on the optional equipment list. The final price is a little higher due to the optional equipment but is usually money well spent.

The Range

Body Styles: sport utility vehicle (SUV)
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Toyota RAV4

What's New

The 1996 Toyota RAV4 is a new model introduced this year.


The 1996 Toyota RAV4 is a petite SUV, measuring 145.9 inches long. The styling is much more rounded and curved than commonly found on SUVs. Other than that, the exterior displays a functional, durable appearance. Exterior options are pretty minimal. A roof rack and rear step bumper are available as optional equipment. It comes with 16-inch wheels. Alloy wheels are optional.


The 1996 Toyota RAV4 lacks any major standard features. However, optional equipment include power windows, power locks, power mirrors, anti-theft alarm system, keyless entry, dual moonroof, air conditioning, cruise control, AM/FM radio, cassette player, CD player, and a CD changer. It is not that unusual for this style of SUV to put most, if not all, the features in the optional equipment list. The front seats are relatively comfortable; however, the rear seat is a bit cramped for taller, adult passengers. The rear split fold seat allows for a little extra room.

Performance & Handling

Off-road performance is the main focus of the 1996 Toyota RAV4. The 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine is powerful enough to get through rough terrain. An all-wheel drive five-speed manual transmission comes standard, and an optional four-wheel drive is available, which further improves its off-road ability. On roadways, it is competent and turning is adequate but not particularly exceptional. The only real highlight of roadway performance is the fuel economy, which is very good, especially for a predominately off-road oriented vehicle.


The 1996 Toyota RAV4 lacks many safety features. It has dual-front airbags and electronic brake force distribution as standard equipment. An anti-theft alarm system is optional. The lack of attention to safety has affected its crash test results. The International Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) rated it as ""marginal,"" its second lowest rating, on the frontal offset test.

EPA Fuel Economy

Toyota RAV4: 21/26 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Distinct appearance
  • Good fuel economy
  • Four-wheel drive

You Won't Like

  • Tough competition

Sum Up

A compact SUV with style.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Ford Escape
  • Geo Tracker
  • Honda CR-V
  • Suzuki Sidekick
  • Jeep Cherokee

See the New 2017 RAV4.

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