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2006 Toyota RAV4

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2006 Toyota RAV4 Review

The top choice for a compact SUV.

Reviewed by Automotive on


Taking all suggestions into account in the RAV4 design, Toyota created all of the advantages of the sport utility into one manageable size. Around the 1990s, the changes came into effect with sizable cargo room, great visibility, and all-weather capacity. The top-selling SUV offers excellent quality that one expected from a Toyota.

The 2006 Toyota RAV4, introduced in 1996, stands for Recreational Active Vehicle with four-wheel drive. Toyota combined the convenient size and sporty good looks with an economical engine all into one fairly affordable and attractive package. As an instant winner, the RAV4 was about the first real example of the sport-utility that is car-based. The sales were enormous, and the compact SUV is at the top of the competition with the third generation 2006 model.

The 2006 Toyota RAV4 has an increased wheelbase of 101 inches and an overall 173-inch length. The styling looks a bit less busy and now has a more chiseled and polished look to the SUV with a premium feel when riding in its luxury cabin. Seven or eight passengers can fit comfortably and a third seating option is available.

The 2006 Toyota RAV4 now has four-cylinder engine as standard with a V-6 producing 269 horsepower as an option. All of these upgrades allow the Toyota vehicle to become a functional crossover SUV. Overall, the 2006 Toyota RAV4 became one of the top SUVs that merge like a truck and maneuver like a car. It offers a little of everything for the serious off-road driver to family-toting parents.

The Range

Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 3.5-liter V-6, 2.4 liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic
Models: RAV4, RAV4 Sport, RAV4 Limited

What's New

The 2006 Toyota RAV4 boasts a larger overall size and offers a V-6 engine with fully redesigned exterior and interior.


The 2006 Toyota RAV4 has many standard features for its base, Sport, and Limited trims. The base comes with 16-inch alloy wheels and the Sport has 18-inch alloy wheels, wider tires, color-keyed over fenders, roof rack, and sport-tuned suspension. The top-trim level, the Limited, has 17-inch alloy wheels with an optional moonroof. It also offers six exterior colors as another way to customize the SUVs appearance.


The interior of the 2006 Toyota RAV4 is enhanced with multiple standard features including air-conditioning, steering wheel with tilt and telescoping functions, power windows, height-adjustable driver seat, power locks and mirrors, cruise control, and an MP3-capable CD stereo on the base model. The Limited model adds automatic climate control, upgraded CD six-disc changer stereo system, and power driver seat. Optional leather seating can be placed on the Limited version, along with a rear entertainment system that is DVD-based, and an optional third-row seat.

All of the controls inside are very straightforward and easy to use. The interior feel is very upscale with the electroluminescent gauges and illuminated cup holder. The third row of seating can be added for seating seven passengers. Flipping a lever is all it takes to up the cargo capacity with the flat load floor, which makes the storage ability about 73 cubic feet.

Performance & Handling

The 2006 Toyota RAV4 is available in four-wheel drive and front-wheel drive. The standard power comes from the 2.4-liter four-cylinder that provides 166 horsepower with 165 lb-ft of torque. The optional 3.5-liter V-6 that supplies 269 hp with 246 lb-ft torque comes optionally. The transmission is a standard automatic four-speed for the four-cylinder and five-speed for the V-6. Towing capacity for the 2006 Toyota RAV4 is around 3500 pounds.

The 2006 Toyota RAV4 shines the brightest during pavement driving. The taut suspension with quick steering makes any daily commute much more enjoyable. Other SUVs may not have such a comfortable ride quality, but the 2006 Toyota RAV4 is driven fairly comfortably over broken roadways and pavement. Choosing the V-6 269-hp model will add an aspect to the SUV that could compete with the modern sport coupes of today with excellent acceleration.


Anti-lock brakes, traction control, and stability control come standard on the 2006 Toyota RAV4. Any RAV4 with 4WD are fitted with downhill and hill-start assist control and airbags as optional features.

EPA Fuel Economy

RAV4: 21/27 mpg city/highway
RAV4 Sport: 21/27 mpg city/highway
RAV4 Limited: 21/27 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Handling and steering
  • Powerfully refined engines
  • Third-row seating
  • Quality materials
  • Thoughtfully designed cabin

You Won't Like

  • Third-row seating is just a bit cramped
  • More expensive than other competitors

Sum Up

The top choice for a compact SUV.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Mitsubishi Outlander
  • Chevrolet Traverse
  • Jeep Compass
  • Audi Q3
  • BMW X3

See the New 2015 RAV4.

Front & Driver Side View

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