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Toyota RAV4 Overview

Toyota's RAV4 is a powerhouse and one of the pioneers of the popular compact crossover 4WD SUV segment. Since its release in 1994 and across its five generations and counting, the RAV4 has consistently been one of Toyota's bestsellers thanks to its practicality and efficiency. Read on to learn more about this great vehicle's history and the many options available to you.

RAV4 Origin


While there were already compact 4WDs like the Suzuki Escudo and Daihatsu Rocky in the market, the RAV4, upon its debut in 1994, introduced to the Japanese market a new type of 4WD.

Unlike the body-on-frame construction and sub-transmission of the "true-blue" cross-country Escudo and Rocky, the RAV4 was a compact 4WD meant for on-road driving. It followed the same design principles as the passenger car, featuring a frameless monocoque body that housed its front-wheel-drive-based full-time 4WD system. But if the RAV4 was any different from the rest, it sure didn't show it, as it bore the ruggedly stylish look of an SUV.

The RAV4 was always geared towards easy driving, including its high driver's seat position. Both male and female drivers rushed to own this practical SUV. Interestingly enough, the RAV4 grew more in popularity outside of the domestic Japanese market, especially in the United States.

1st & 2nd Generation


The first-generation RAV4 was released in 1994 with a 2.0L 3S-FE inline four-cylinder engine capable of 133 hp. Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive were available as options, as were hardtop or a soft rolling top in addition to two or four passenger doors.

Then there was the introduction of the second-generation RAV4 in 2001. Like its previous generation, this version of the RAV4 was also available with three or five doors but no longer featured a convertible soft top option. Engines for this generation were the 1.8L 1ZZ-FE (only for the 2WD) and the 2.0L 1AZ-FSE inline four-cylinders that made 123 hp and 150 hp, respectively, a 2.4 L 2AZ-FE inline four-cylinder that produced 158 hp, and a 2.0 L 1CD-FTV inline four-cylinder turbodiesel which made 150 hp. Transmissions for both generations were either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic.

3rd Generation


The RAV4 was redesigned for its third generation in 2005, aimed more toward drivers across the shores. It got a new platform and increased overall body dimensions.
This third-generation RAV4 features two wheelbases, a shorter one sold only in Japan, Europe, and New Zealand, and a longer one sold in Australia, New Zealand, and North America (although this can be found in Japan with a few modifications as the Toyota Vanguard).

The short wheelbase version gets a 2.4L 2AZ-FE inline four-cylinder that makes 168 hp, while overseas versions receive gas engines ranging from 2.0L to a 3.5L V6, as well as two 2.2L inline four-cylinder turbodiesels.

4th Generation


2012 saw yet another redesign of the RAV4 for its fourth generation. A rear liftgate replaced the side-opening rear door, and there was no longer a spare wheel mounted on the back.

Like with the third generation there was a more extended wheelbase version meant for the overseas market. However, the short wheelbase version of the previous generation remained on sale in Japan.

Engines for this generation were 2.0L and 2.5L inline four-cylinder gasoline, 2.0L and 2.2L inline four-cylinder turbodiesels, and a gas hybrid 2.5 L 2AR-FXE inline four-cylinder for the hybrid RAV4.

5th Generation


The RAV4 has been in its fifth generation since 2018. This generation marked the return of the RAV4 to the Japanese market after a hiatus. Its new unibody chassis is 57 percent more rigid than the previous fourth generation.

It also uses a multi-link rear suspension, making for better handling, ride comfort, and less interior cabin noise. Besides the standard gas RAV4, a hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric variant are also available.

Engine Performance & Technology


Toyota builds all engines found in all five generations of the RAV4. The engine sizes range from 1.8L all the way up to a 3.5L V6, which is available only in its third-generation model. From the second-generation (2001) onwards, some engines used in the RAV4 have come with VVT (Variable Valve Timing) that improves power, torque, and fuel consumption.

Specific models of the RAV4 also feature a Dual VVTI engine that adjusts timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts (versus intake-only in the VVTI) to deliver even more power and fuel efficiency.

Safety & Reliability


Toyota outfits the RAV4 with a whole host of safety equipment and systems to make driving the RAV4 as safe as can be. There is an anti-lock braking system (ABS), and electronic stability control is standard in most models.

Also, Toyota's Star Safety System includes the preceding technologies and electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, and traction control. Toyota's Safety Sense 2.0 crash avoidance is also available for the fifth generation.

Trim Configurations


As we mentioned, some generations of the RAV4 come with short and long-wheelbase versions, giving you the freedom to choose a RAV4 that fits your family size. In Japan, the first and second-generation RAV4 came in the RAV4 L and RAV4 J trims, while the third-generation RAV4 was available in the X, G, and Sport. The X and G got either front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, whereas the Sport model that came with over-fenders is four-wheel drive only.

For the environmentally-conscious and those looking to save on petrol, the RAV4 has been available in electric/hybrid variants ever since its first generation, such as the short-lived first-generation RAV4 EV (1997 to 2003), second-generation RAV4 EV (from 2012 in the US), and hybrid version that is part of the fourth-generation.

The suburbia is no match for the RAV4. Get this best-selling compact crossover SUV at great prices here at BE FORWARD!

BE FORWARD : Excellent cars stocked in Japan, Singapore, UK, UAE, Thailand, and Korea, safely delivered worldwide to your location.

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Toyota RAV4 Overview

Toyota's RAV4 is a powerhouse and one of the pioneers of the popular compact crossover 4WD SUV segment. Since its release in 1994 and across its five generations and counting, the RAV4 has consistently been one of Toyota's bestsellers thanks to its practicality and efficiency. Read on to learn more about this great vehicle's history and the many options available to you.

RAV4 Origin


While there were already compact 4WDs like the Suzuki Escudo and Daihatsu Rocky in the market, the RAV4, upon its debut in 1994, introduced to the Japanese market a new type of 4WD.

Unlike the body-on-frame construction and sub-transmission of the "true-blue" cross-country Escudo and Rocky, the RAV4 was a compact 4WD meant for on-road driving. It followed the same design principles as the passenger car, featuring a frameless monocoque body that housed its front-wheel-drive-based full-time 4WD system. But if the RAV4 was any different from the rest, it sure didn't show it, as it bore the ruggedly stylish look of an SUV.

The RAV4 was always geared towards easy driving, including its high driver's seat position. Both male and female drivers rushed to own this practical SUV. Interestingly enough, the RAV4 grew more in popularity outside of the domestic Japanese market, especially in the United States.

1st & 2nd Generation


The first-generation RAV4 was released in 1994 with a 2.0L 3S-FE inline four-cylinder engine capable of 133 hp. Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive were available as options, as were hardtop or a soft rolling top in addition to two or four passenger doors.

Then there was the introduction of the second-generation RAV4 in 2001. Like its previous generation, this version of the RAV4 was also available with three or five doors but no longer featured a convertible soft top option. Engines for this generation were the 1.8L 1ZZ-FE (only for the 2WD) and the 2.0L 1AZ-FSE inline four-cylinders that made 123 hp and 150 hp, respectively, a 2.4 L 2AZ-FE inline four-cylinder that produced 158 hp, and a 2.0 L 1CD-FTV inline four-cylinder turbodiesel which made 150 hp. Transmissions for both generations were either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic.

3rd Generation


The RAV4 was redesigned for its third generation in 2005, aimed more toward drivers across the shores. It got a new platform and increased overall body dimensions.
This third-generation RAV4 features two wheelbases, a shorter one sold only in Japan, Europe, and New Zealand, and a longer one sold in Australia, New Zealand, and North America (although this can be found in Japan with a few modifications as the Toyota Vanguard).

The short wheelbase version gets a 2.4L 2AZ-FE inline four-cylinder that makes 168 hp, while overseas versions receive gas engines ranging from 2.0L to a 3.5L V6, as well as two 2.2L inline four-cylinder turbodiesels.

4th Generation


2012 saw yet another redesign of the RAV4 for its fourth generation. A rear liftgate replaced the side-opening rear door, and there was no longer a spare wheel mounted on the back.

Like with the third generation there was a more extended wheelbase version meant for the overseas market. However, the short wheelbase version of the previous generation remained on sale in Japan.

Engines for this generation were 2.0L and 2.5L inline four-cylinder gasoline, 2.0L and 2.2L inline four-cylinder turbodiesels, and a gas hybrid 2.5 L 2AR-FXE inline four-cylinder for the hybrid RAV4.

5th Generation


The RAV4 has been in its fifth generation since 2018. This generation marked the return of the RAV4 to the Japanese market after a hiatus. Its new unibody chassis is 57 percent more rigid than the previous fourth generation.

It also uses a multi-link rear suspension, making for better handling, ride comfort, and less interior cabin noise. Besides the standard gas RAV4, a hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric variant are also available.

Engine Performance & Technology


Toyota builds all engines found in all five generations of the RAV4. The engine sizes range from 1.8L all the way up to a 3.5L V6, which is available only in its third-generation model. From the second-generation (2001) onwards, some engines used in the RAV4 have come with VVT (Variable Valve Timing) that improves power, torque, and fuel consumption.

Specific models of the RAV4 also feature a Dual VVTI engine that adjusts timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts (versus intake-only in the VVTI) to deliver even more power and fuel efficiency.

Safety & Reliability


Toyota outfits the RAV4 with a whole host of safety equipment and systems to make driving the RAV4 as safe as can be. There is an anti-lock braking system (ABS), and electronic stability control is standard in most models.

Also, Toyota's Star Safety System includes the preceding technologies and electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, and traction control. Toyota's Safety Sense 2.0 crash avoidance is also available for the fifth generation.

Trim Configurations


As we mentioned, some generations of the RAV4 come with short and long-wheelbase versions, giving you the freedom to choose a RAV4 that fits your family size. In Japan, the first and second-generation RAV4 came in the RAV4 L and RAV4 J trims, while the third-generation RAV4 was available in the X, G, and Sport. The X and G got either front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, whereas the Sport model that came with over-fenders is four-wheel drive only.

For the environmentally-conscious and those looking to save on petrol, the RAV4 has been available in electric/hybrid variants ever since its first generation, such as the short-lived first-generation RAV4 EV (1997 to 2003), second-generation RAV4 EV (from 2012 in the US), and hybrid version that is part of the fourth-generation.

The suburbia is no match for the RAV4. Get this best-selling compact crossover SUV at great prices here at BE FORWARD!

BE FORWARD : Excellent cars stocked in Japan, Singapore, UK, UAE, Thailand, and Korea, safely delivered worldwide to your location.

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