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2008 Toyota RAV4

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2008 Toyota RAV4 Review

Good space, nice interior features, good fuel economy, and enough horsepower.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2008 Toyota RAV4 serves as a spacious and efficient sport utility vehicle that offers an excellent ride. Sporty on the outside and quite spacious on the inside, this SUV behaves in an athletic way thanks to its powerful engine and transmission. The seats feel comfortable, and the RAV4 has the right interior features to make the drive a pleasant experience. Overall, the affordable 2008 Toyota RAV4 offers a lot of bang for the buck.

The Range

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

What's New

The 2008 Toyota RAV4 shows no new changes.


The 2008 Toyota RAV4 falls somewhere between compact and midsize in the crossover SUV category. Its measurements are 71.5 inches wide, 66.3 inches tall, and 181.1 inches long. The front track and rear track both measure 61.4 inches. Three trim levels include the Base, Sport, and Limited.

The Base RAV4 comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, with the option of upgrading to 17-inch alloy wheels. The Sport adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, foglights, heated mirrors, and extra detailing on the exterior. The top-of-the-line Limited features a chrome grille; a body-colored rear spoiler with a stop lamp; and aerodynamic, multi-reflector halogen headlamps with an auto on/off feature.


The 2008 Toyota RAV4’s interior has a clean design with large, simple controls and plenty of storage space. The rear seats recline, and can slide forward or back to customize cargo space and passenger capacity. Standard seating accommodates five, while the optional third-row seat bumps it to seven. Like most third-row seats in this vehicle type, this one seems a bit small for adults, but it easily accommodates three children and feels quite sturdy.

One of the most useful features in the RAV4 is the ability to fold the rear seats flat with the simple flip of a lever. With the seats folded, the 2008 RAV4 reaches a maximum cargo capacity of 73 cubic feet.

Front occupants get 40.8 inches of headroom, 53.8 inches of hip room, 41.8 inches of legroom, and 57.1 inches of shoulder room. Rear passengers get 52.4 inches of hip room, 39.7 inches of headroom, 38.3 inches of legroom, and 55.3 inches of shoulder room.

Performance & Handling

The 2008 RAV4 comes standard with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 166 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque. This engine teams with a four-speed automatic transmission with either front or four-wheel drive. A five-speed automatic transmission provides an option. Front-drive versions have a limited-slip differential, while the four-wheel-drive system sends most of the power to the front wheels until it identifies potential slippage. The 2008 Toyota RAV4 offers a four-wheel-drive lock feature that fixes the front-to-rear power ratio at 50/50. This feature comes in handy when driving in snow or during light, off-road driving.

A 3.5-liter V-6 capable of 269 hp and 246 lb-ft of torque remains optional on all trim levels and comes standard on the Limited. This powertrain achieves nearly the same fuel economy as the smaller four-cylinder.


Standard safety features on all RAV4s include front-seat side airbags, full-length side-curtain airbags, child seat anchors, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, child safety locks, headrests, seat belt pretensioners, traction control, and stability control. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration awards the 2008 Toyota RAV4 a perfect five stars for safety across the board.

EPA Fuel Economy

Toyota RAV4 four-cylinder, front drive: 21/27 mpg city/highway
Toyota RAV4 V-6, front drive: 19/27 mpg city/highway
Toyota RAV4 four-cylinder, all-wheel drive: 20/25 mpg city/highway
Toyota RAV4 V-6, all-wheel drive: 19/26 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • High safety ratings
  • Runs well offroad and in bad weather
  • Versatile seating and cargo space
  • Excellent acceleration

You Won't Like

  • Some low-quality interior materials
  • Side-hinged rear gate inconvenient for curbside loading
  • Driver’s seat cramped for tall drivers

Sum Up

Good space, nice interior features, good fuel economy, and enough horsepower.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Jeep Cherokee
  • Jeep Commando
  • Ford Escape
  • Ford Explorer
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Toyota Land Cruiser
  • Dodge Caravan
  • Chevrolet Tahoe

See the New 2014 RAV4.

Front & Driver Side View