More Canadians than ever are gravitating towards the crossover SUV for its blend of year-round utility, flexibility and driving confidence.
Now occupied by players from around the globe, the small crossover scene was virtually kickstarted back in the nineties by one machine: the Toyota RAV4. Turns out that someone’s idea of a compact, efficient and car-like 4x4 turned out to be a very, very good one.
The last-generation RAV4 was available from 2001 to 2005 model years. All models got four cylinder power from either a two-litre, 148-horsepower or 2.4 litre, 161-horsepower unit — and both manual and automatic transmissions were available. All models in this generation got an automatic four-wheel drive system that split engine power between the front and rear wheels for maximum grip on virtually any surface.
What Owners Like
Most RAV4 owners say they love the ease with which their machines handle manoeuvering and parking duties in day to day life. Good visibility, handling and mileage are also reported. The relatively spacious and flexible interior, all-season confidence and ground clearance are highly-rated, too.
What Owners Hate
Many RAV4 owners wish for more power, often reporting wimpy performance and noisy full-throttle operation. Limited rear-seat space, and a rougher-than-expected ride on some models have also been reported. Some owners aren’t fond of the RAV4’s sideways-hinged, swing-open tailgate, either.
On a test-drive, pay attention to the shift quality of the RAV4’s automatic transmission, if so equipped. If shifts are harsh, clunky, strange or sporadic, chances are a reprogramming of the transmission’s computer control module will fix the problem. These issues may cause a check-engine light to illuminate, too.