The Toyota RAV4 was first introduced in 1994 to Japan and Europe, and in 1996 in North America. The RAV4 is the smallest in the Toyota sports utility vehicle line, as it borrows the base from the Toyota Corolla to provide a smoother, more car-like drive. The Toyota RAV4 is currently in its third generation.
The first generation of the Toyota RAV4 was available as a two-door and four-door model; although the two-door model was discontinued in the United States in1999. It originally featured a 2.0 L, 4-cylinder engine, with 120hp, which was upgraded in 1998 to 127hp. The Toyota RAV4 is available in front wheel and all wheel drive and offered a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. For a short time, a Toyota RAV4 two-door soft-top option was available.
The first generation also produced the Toyota RAV4 EV, an electric plug-in version of the Toyota RAV4 which was manufactured from 1997 to 2003. It featured a NiMH battery pack. This version was only available for public sale for seven months in 2002, and only in California.
The second generation of the Toyota RAV4 responded to the need for more power and more room. Two models were introduced including the Toyota RAV4 Edge and the Toyota RAV4 Cruiser. Both models offered a three-door and five-door styling. The Toyota RAV4 Edge offered unpainted grey bumpers, moldings, mirrors and door handles, while these items were body-colored for the Toyota RAV4 Cruiser model. At this time, the line became strictly four-wheel drive.
Changes for the Toyota RAV4 between the second generation and third generation included an engine overhaul. Starting with the third generation in 2006, all Toyota RAV4’s added a V6 engine option. Third row seating also became standard for the Toyota RAV4 with the introduction of the third generation.
There are currently three trim levels available for the Toyota RAV4. The Toyota RAV4 base model features the option of a 2.5L 4-cylinder, or 3.5L V6 engine, both available in two-wheel and four-wheel drive. The Toyota RAV4 base model comes standard with audio system with CD and XM Radio capabilities, auxiliary audio jack, cruise control, remote keyless entry, power door locks, power windows and outside mirrors, cargo area, and black external moldings. Automatic Limited-Slip Differential and 16-inch steel wheels are also available on the Toyota RAV4. The Toyota RAV4 Sport offers features body-colored trim options, fog lamps, 18-inch alloy wheels and increased availability of option packages. The Toyota RAV4 Limited and comes standard with dual zone automatic climate control, premium audio system with 6-disc changer, Smart Key System, leather trimmed shift lever and steering wheel, hard-shell outside tire cover. Many additional premium option packages are available for the Toyota RAV4.