The Toyota RAV4 doesn't have the best reputation. Stories of poor handling plague its history. Plus, it has those goofy aesthetics that make you wonder whether you have enough confidence to drive around town in a giant Powerwheel.
Toyota seems to have finally realized that it made a lot of mistakes with its original design. The 2001 Toyota RAV4 gets a makeover that remakes its reputation and encourages more buyers to consider it as a viable alternative to larger, pricier SUVs.
The 2001 RAV4 comes with plenty of decent features and many optional features that you should consider. Many of them come in packages that make it easier to upgrade the SUV to fit your needs.
The 2001 Toyota RAV4 does not classify as a luxury SUV, so don't expect to find luxury SUV features. If you want a sensible SUV that you can rely on, you should definitely take the 2001 RAV4 for a test drive.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Toyota RAV4
Toyota makes big improvements to the 2001 RAV4. It gets larger and features a more powerful engine than earlier models. It also shows off new styling with five new exterior colors.
The 2001 Toyota RAV4 receives a serious facelift. While previous versions looked a bit goofy, even like toys, the 2001 RAV4 has a more confident, adult exterior that won't make you feel self-conscious on the road. Compared to older models, the 2001 version looks taller, longer, and wider. Plus, it sheds the old goofy aesthetics for an updated look.
Many of the 2001 RAV4's exterior aesthetics come from the Infiniti QX4 and the Lexus RX300. This adds a dimension of sophistication. If you previously passed over the RAV4 because of its looks, you should give it another chance.
Toyota offers different options packages, including the L Package, which adds heated exterior mirrors, dark tinted glass, fog lights, and a special trim.
Although Toyota makes the RAV4's interior larger for 2001 it still comes up short against most of its rivals. The interior, however, seems well made. The front bucket seats feel comfortable and the split-folding rear seatback offers more cargo room when you need it.
As far as features go, the 2001 Toyota RAV4 doesn't have a lot to offer. Standard features include the tilt-adjustable steering wheel, an overhead console with storage, and a four-speaker stereo system (that only comes with an AM/FM radio).
Compare that to the list of optional features, and some potential buyers might actually find themselves getting a little miffed. Air-conditioning, a six-disc CD changer, and all-weather floor mats all provide options. They come standard in most SUVs. Presumably, Toyota makes this choice to keep prices low and let buyers customize their vehicles to meet their own specifications. Once you get done adding the features that you need, though, you might wonder where the savings went.
Performance & Handling
The Toyota RAV4 only offers so-so power. The two-liter, four-cylinder engine produces 148 horsepower and 142 lb-ft of torque. That won’t blow anyone's mind, but it can go from zero to 60 mph in about 10.5 seconds. If you get the four-wheel drive version, though, the extra weight makes it considerably slower. If you want a vehicle with plenty of power, you can easily find better options.
The 2001 Toyota RAV4 handles much better. It offers a pretty smooth, comfortable ride. Some drivers might feel nervous taking sharp curves, though, especially at high speeds. The RAV4 sometimes feels like it might pull right off the road. This almost certainly will not happen, but it feels disconcerting nonetheless.
The 2001 Toyota RAV4 doesn’t impress cautious drivers with its safety features, but it has the basics that you would expect to find in similar vehicles. It comes standard with electronic brake force distribution, front disc brakes, and rear drum brakes. Anti-lock brakes remain optional.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration gives the 2001 Toyota RAV4 four out of five stars for passenger and driver safety. It only scores three stars in rollover tests.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2001 RAV4 an ""acceptable"" rating in its frontal-offset test, the second best rating.
EPA Fuel Economy
Toyota RAV4: 22/28 mpg city/highway
- Updated design offers more room and power
- Seats help prevent whiplash
- Updated styling
You Won't Like
- Too few standard features
- No V-6 available
Good features, especially for its price, but it seems a bit on the small side.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Hyundai Sante Fe
- Nissan Xterra
- Ford Escape