Toyota RAV4

The SUV always performed well for Toyota. The smallest of the Toyota SUV line is the RAV4, the true suburbanite’s SUV. In fact, the RAV4 was one of the first SUV crossovers ever introduced to the car market. The RAV4 performs very well in comparison to competitors, perhaps due to the years it was in development.

More on the Toyota RAV4
About the Toyota RAV4

The first generation of the RAV4 was introduced in 1996 and was still in production as of 2012. The engine choices as well as the fuel efficiency set the RAV4 above the rest.

The 2012 RAV4 comes in three separate trim lines: Base, RAV4 Sport, and RAV4 Limited.

Toyota RAV4 Features

All trim lines are available in two-wheel or four-wheel drive. Two engine models are available as well. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder 16-valve engine produces a whopping 179 horsepower, with 172 lb-ft of torque. A 3.5-liter V-6 24-valve engine significantly increases the horsepower to 269, with 246 lb-ft of torque at 4700 rpm. Fuel efficiency isn’t great, but it isn’t altogether bad; the 2.5-liter gets 22/28 mpg city/highway on the two-wheel drive and 21/27 mpg city/highway on the four-wheel drive. The 3.5-liter gets 19/26 mpg city/highway on the two-wheel and 19/27 mpg city/highway on the four-wheel.

Differences between the vehicles begin to appear on the exterior. Halogen headlamps come standard, but the Limited versions are the only trim line to offer the auto on/off feature as standard. The Sport does have added blackout sport trim on the lamps and an automatic on/off as an option. A black grille is featured on the Base and Sport model. The Limited exchanges the black grille for chrome. The mirrors are black and foldable on the base and sport, while the Limited offers color-keyed heated mirrors with an integrated turn signal. A moonroof is offered as a package option on all of the trim lines.

The 16-inch wheels come standard on the Base line. The 17-inch wheels with different alloy options are also available for a higher price. The Limited provides 17-inch wheels standard. The Sport gives you an added lift with 18-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels.

Air conditioning with a filter is standard on the Base and Sport. The Limited offers the luxury of a dual climate control with a micro-dust and pollen filter. Like almost all Toyota models this year, iPod connectivity, an AM/FM radio and CD player comes standard. The Etune connectivity system is offered on the Limited model.

The seats are fabric trimmed on all models, but the Sport and Limited have premium cloth. Six-way adjustable driver’s seats and four-way adjustable passenger seating is standard. The Limited version offers better comfort for the driver by offering an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. All models have a 60/40 split back seat for extra cargo space when lugging around the kids or household goods.

The Smart Key entry system with push start is offered on the Limited models. Auto-dimming mirrors with an integrated backup camera add extra luxury. The Rav4 is decked out for safety. Front driver and passenger airbags, seat-mounted side and front airbags, active headrests and three-point seat belts are the golden standard on all trim lines. Crumple zones are also installed throughout the vehicle that collapse in an accident.

The RAV4 doesn’t exactly come cheap. The Base model starts at $22,650, the Sport at $24,350 and the Limited model at $25,330.

Toyota RAV4 Evolution

The first generation RAV4 ran from 1996 until the 2000 model year. It was one of the first crossover SUVs offered on the market. The RAV4 was available in a two-door and four-door model. A convertible was offered for a short period as well. The first generation was a powerful vehicle, but it had very little to offer someone with a family. The body was narrow, the interior cramped as the first generation RAV4 was meant for young, single drivers.

The second generation RAV4 ran from 2001 until the 2005 model year. The body was enlarged to increase cargo space. Styling inside the vehicle was also improved. Included were removable second-row seats to increase cargo space. The first vehicles came with a 148-horsepower engine with four cylinders. A 2.4-liter engine that produced 160 horsepower was introduced in 2004. This increased acceleration and power, making the RAV4 one of the best in the market.

The third generation was introduced in 2006. This is the largest line since the RAV4 introduction, bucking the trend to shrink vehicles for fuel economy. Front and side airbags, as well as curtain airbags became standard during this generation.

Select a Toyota RAV4 Year

2018 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2017 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2016 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2015 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2014 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2013 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2012 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

Changes are minimal for the 2012 Toyota RAV4, which received two significant upgrades -- a brake override system and the Upgrade Value package -- in model year 2011.

2011 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

In 2009, the Toyota RAV4 received its most recent powertrain upgrade – Toyota added a more powerful 2.5-liter four with better fuel economy as the RAV4’s base engine. For 2011, the RAV4 gains a brake override system. Also, there is a new Base Plus Extra Value Package, with moonroof, steering wheel audio controls, roof rails, and 17-inch wheels. There are also some minor changes to other RAV4 option packages.

2010 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2009 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2008 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2008 Toyota RAV4 serves as a spacious and efficient sport utility vehicle that offers an excellent ride.

2007 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2007 Toyota RAV4 represents an extremely popular and small sport utility vehicle, and Toyota has been producing it since 1996.

2006 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

Taking all suggestions into account in the RAV4 design, Toyota created all of the advantages of the sport utility into one manageable size.

2005 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2005 Toyota RAV4 or Recreational Active Vehicle serves as Toyota’s entry into the smaller SUV market.

2004 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

When the Toyota RAV4 debuted in 1997, it was one of the first car-based mini-SUVs on the market.

2003 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2003 Toyota RAV4 is a compact crossover SUV.

2002 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2002 Toyota RAV4 is unique because it can fit in more than one vehicle category.

2001 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The Toyota RAV4 doesn't have the best reputation.

2000 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2000 Toyota RAV4 is built for pavement only, which can be easily forgotten due to its cute design and sporty style.

1999 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 1999 Toyota RAV4 is a mini-SUV that handles like a car and gets better gas mileage than traditional SUVs.

1998 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 1998 Toyota RAV4 offers buyers a nice package.

1997 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

First introduced to the U.

1996 Toyota RAV4

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The rounded, petite 1996 Toyota RAV4 looks out of place when driving off road.