Toyota Rav4 | Features | History | Dealerships | Models | Prices || – The Toyota RAV4 is a compact crossover SUV produced by the Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota the vehicle was designed for consumers wanting a vehicle that had most of the benefits of SUVs, such as increased cargo room, higher visibility, and the option of full-time four-wheel drive, along with the maneuverability and fuel economy of a compact car.
Toyota offered both short- and long-wheelbase versions of the RAV4. Short-wheelbase versions are sold in Japan and Europe; long-wheelbase versions in Australia and North America.
The first-generation RAV4, known as the XA10 series, was constructed on a unique platform that shared Carina and Corolla elements, it launched in Japan in May 1994. Design and development commenced in 1989 under code-name 153T, with design approval and start of production development in the second half of 1991 on the 3-door version and in 1993 for the 5-door version. In March 1995, the 5-door was launched and introduced to the US in January 1996, with standard dual airbags.
The XA10 series was available in both three and five door versions. In the US, a 2.0-liter straight-four producing 89 kW (119 hp; 121 PS) was available. Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive were available, and the RAV4 could be had with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.
The 1996-1997 model years had headlamps with a bracket push in type, dual filament bulb. The front running/turn signal lamps used older round socket dual filament bulbs. The rear used round socket type bulbs as well. In 1997 for the 1998 model year, the RAV4 was slightly restyled on the front and rear fascia’s, and a soft top three-door was made available. Power was increased slightly to 95 kW (127 hp; 129 PS). In June 1999, the two-door hardtop was dropped from the American lineup, leaving the five-door and soft top models. The 1998-2000 models used a single filament headlamp, with two different beams per housing (low and high beam) opposed to the original single beam with dual filaments. The rear lamps use the more modern rectangular style bulbs (7440/7443). The interior has subtle changes such as different colored seats, different colored door panels, extra cup holders on certain models (cigarette lighter/cup holder duo), and a digital odometer. In Japan, the 2.0-liter 3S-GE BEAMS engine with 132 kW (177 hp; 179 PS) was also available. Some variants of the 1998 Toyota RAV4 were labeled as SXA11 rather than XA10, paired with an owner given name of “RAV 4.1”.
The second generation RAV4 was originally offered in a number of trim levels in the UK: NV was front-wheel drive, while NRG, GX, and VX were permanent four-wheel drive with differing levels of equipment.
Although the Toyota RAV4 was available as a three-door in Europe, Asia and Australia, the American model was only available in a five-door configuration. A 1.8-liter inline-four engine (only with 2WD) producing 92 kW (123 hp; 125 PS), 2.0-liter inline-four engine producing 110 kW (150 hp; 150 PS), 2.4-liter inline-four engine producing 118 kW (158 hp; 160 PS), and a D-4D diesel engine were available.
Some RAV4s came with anti-lock braking system, electronic stability control, air conditioning, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, cruise control, a six-speaker CD stereo and power windows, mirrors and seats. A sport package added a mesh grille, bonnet scoop, color-keyed door handles, a roof rack, silver sport pedals, heated mirrors, gray-painted bumpers and fender flares, and sport fabric seats.
Other options included alloy wheels, heated seats, a sunroof and keyless entry. 16-inch wheels were standard; larger tires were available on all-wheel-drive models.
In late 2003, the 2004 model RAV4 was given a styling update, improved equipment, and, in certain markets, a new engine. In the United States the safety structure was improved and Vehicle Stability Control made standard. The RAV4’s 2.0-liter engine was upgraded with a new 2.4-liter engine in the US, producing 120 kW (160 hp; 160 PS) and 220 N⋅m (162 lb⋅ft). Other countries got mostly 5-door models with the 2.0-liter VVT-i engine. Automatic electric air conditioning also became available. European models got a new catalytic converter because of the new European emission policy. The new model also got an electric throttle.
In Australia, for the facelift, the base Edge was renamed CV, and gained standard air conditioning (previously an option). The CV also received painted bumpers, which came in either silver or body-colored shades, depending on the body color. In addition, the model range was given a subtle facelift, consisting largely of a new front bumper with circular fog lights and white turn signals instead of the older orange lights. In 2005, a new “CV Sport” model was added to the range in Australia, which included a non-functional bonnet scoop, giving the RAV4 a more aggressive appearance. The CV Sport model was short-lived, lasting only a year, and was introduced primarily to stimulate sales until the new model arrived in early 2006.