The Toyota RAV4 is a compact crossover SUV that first found its way onto the pavement in 1996. It was initially constructed off of the same platform as the Toyota Corolla, which allowed the RAV4 to display nimble car-like handling. The model also featured a large rear door, which made loading cargo exceptionally easy. Available in both front and four-wheel drive, the RAV4 was equipped with a 2.0L inline four-cylinder engine capable of 120 horsepower mated to either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. 1998 welcomed in some slight changes to the RAV4 parts, which included a revised front and rear as well as a new soft-top two-door body-style being made available. The engine was upgraded as well, receiving a boost up to 127 horsepower. A year later, the two-door hardtop was discontinued from the RAV4 lineup.
Toyota released the second generation of the RAV4 in 2000. The model was offered in two trims, base Edge and Cruiser, with both three and five-door body styles available. One of the most distinctive features of the model was that the second-row seats were made removable, which improved the vehicle's cargo-carrying potential. The base engine was a 2.0L four-cylinder, which was improved in 2003 to a 2.3L configuration that also showed off variable-valve timing. A Sport package displayed such extra parts, as a mesh grille, colored handles, heated mirrors, and a hood scoop. Overall options for the Toyota RAV4 were antilock brakes, air conditioning, stability control, cruise control, a six-speaker CD audio system, power accessories, and a height-adjustable driver's seat. The base Edge model was renamed as the CV come the 2004 model year, and showcased painted bumpers. A year later, another "Sport" variation called the CV Sport was introduced into the lineup.
Third-generation RAV4s made their way to the street in 2006. Slightly larger than the previous two generations, there were two wheelbases made available at its introduction – short and long. The shortened wheelbase version is marketed solely in Europe and Japan, while the lengthened wheelbase RAV is sold in North America and Australia, although it is available in Japan as the Toyota Vanguard. The base engine is a 2.5L four-cylinder capable of producing up to 166 horsepower along with 165 pounds-per-foot of torque, but a stronger 3.5L V6 that throws out 269 horsepower as well as segment-leading fuel-efficiency can also be had. Trim levels for the third generation are the base, Sport, and Limited. Base models are outfitted with cruise control, power accessories, and stability control. The RAV4 Sport delivers the same kind of theme as the previous incarnation, with most of its differences being in the exterior parts, although it does offer a sport-tuned suspension. As for the Limited, cruise control with braking deceleration, a tilted steering wheel, remote entry, and CFC-free air conditioning are all standard.
Compact SUVs rule the road right now. Drivers all over love the car-based handling with increased cargo and passenger space that these types of vehicles represent. The RAV4 has been a leader in this segment since it first rolled off the line and for good reason: this machine knows how to perform when the spotlight is on. The RAV4 is well-known for its jazzy performance, ultra-smooth handling, and comfort. What's more, it is also recognized as one of the most stylish compact SUVs around. Ever improving, the RAV4 has begun to reach legendary status.
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