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Toyota RAV4 pre-2006

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  • The RAV4 definity has no rear bumper. You need to open the rear door and you will see. BTW, my wife's son backed into a telephone pole once. The spare wheel took the impact resulting in a nippled spare wheel cover. So now we can easily tell whose RAV4 is whose from the rear. (as we have two RAV4s)

    I like our RAV4s and would stick with it over the CRV or other small SUVs based on Consumer Reports ratings.
  • I heard that the October issue has a review for the RAV4, has anyone read it?
  • The RAV was compared to the Escape, Vue and new Chev Equinox. All were '04 or '05 models. The RAV4 came 1st, then the Escape, the Vue and the Equinox last. It went on to rank the 16 small SUVs it has tested and the order was 1st - forester, 2nd - RAV4, 3rd - Matrix and 4th - CRV; rest I forget. CR also said the 2 best "all around" small utes are the Forester and RAV. Having had 2 Subarus in the past, I'm happy with the RAV.
  • There are some companies that make a bumper for the back of the RAV4. I saw a woman driving around with what looked like a gigantic leaf spring jutting out from the bottom rear of her RAV4. It wasn't just a bumper protector, but an actual bumper that seemed to stick out at least as far as the tire.
    I looked online but could not find it.
    Bottom line is.. if you get hit in the back in a RAV4/CR-V or back into a stanchion prepare to get a lot of damage.
    I think the only small SUV's with decent bumpers are the Escape/Tribute/Mariner and the Forester.
    Almost every RAV4 I see in the city has the left rear corner bumper pushed in.
    Good Luck.
  • Does anyone have any advice about dealer-installed leather seats? I'm skeptical and the factory installed leather seems to not be much available, but we really want leather....
  • Thanks for the feedback rbleland. Good to hear your experience compared to the Subarus.

    To the person asking about leather seats being installed: This only applies if you are getting side air bags. I personally wouldn't do it if the second side air bag comes out of the side of the seat (I feel there is a potential for error). Can anyone say if that is where the other side air bag comes from? The RAV4's I've looked at had "side air bag tags" on the seat but no plastic "hatch".

    If you are not getting side air bags I don't think there is any reason not to, seats are easily removed and installed.
  • revitrevit Posts: 476
    Please email Consumer Union (Consumer Reports) to retract their recent recommendation (Oct 2004 issue) of the 2004 Toyota RAV4.

    After checking the IIHS, I unfortunately learned that the Toyota fared poorly in IIHS side-impact tests, furthermore, the driver and passenger suffered significant inquiry. Even more disturbing is after visiting several Toyota dealerships with anticipation of purchasing this vehicle with side airbag protection, the option could not be found. The majority of RAVs are only available with just front and side airbags...Toyota should make them standard. I "GET THE FEELING" Toyota is more concerned with profits and the safety it claims.

    This problem was VERY disappointing and definitely questions the credibility of Consumer Union.
  • What do you mean when you write that the majority of RAV4s are "only available with just front and side airbags." What other kind of airbag should they have?
    Maybe more of the 2005 RAV4s will have the side airbag option installed--I read that the new model year begins in October. If you refuse to buy the models that lack side airbags, Toyota will get the picture. Admittedly, it's hard to find a vehicle that's reliable and safe and affordable.
  • revitrevit Posts: 476
    Try to find a new RAV4 at a dealership and it is very unlikely; Consumer Reports needs to retract the recommendation as the vehicle is very unsafe for the majority of them on the road.

    This is not just with the RAV4, but the case for any Toyota model where the side airbags are optional.

    The crash tests on the 2004 Toyota RAV4 are POOR.
  • revitrevit Posts: 476
    Anyone have any updates on when Consumer Reports plans on retracting the inaccurate safety review on the Toyota RAV4?
  • Yup, heres the update... what did they tell you when you contacted them?
  • revitrevit Posts: 476
    You seemed to have left off something from your message...did Consumers Union actually respond to your email?

    Just like their reviews, their communications is poor.

    Hard to believe they claim the Toyota RAV4 too be so safe when it did so poor in the crash test.

    OVERALL SIDE EVALUATION: POOR
  • I am very happy with my Rav4. My problem is not the back bumper but just recently got sideswiped and now have a deep scratch on the raised panel on the driver's door. It looks like this panel just pops off. Would it be possible to fix this oneself? Anyone have any experience with this or know the facts?
  • I would think it's either glued or attached by something that punctures the door. You can try to remove the door panel and see if you see attachments and go from there.
  • Watch out for air bag sensors and wiring if you have side airbags. Very dangerous if they are triggered and you are in the way.
  • revitrevit Posts: 476
    Good luck as very few have side airbags which results is extreme damage.

    Poor Toyota...too bad safety is not a priority.
  • olizerolizer Posts: 38
    How did people ever manage to survive before: air bags, side air bags. ABS, skid control,disc brakes, etc, etc, etc.............Get over it!
  • That is the point, some of the times they didn't survive! I would be worm chow if it wasn't for such safety features. Do you even wear your new-fangled seat belt?
  • revitrevit Posts: 476
    The point is the crash tests serve a purpose and there is no excuse for Toyota not to have the side airbags as standard equipment. Airbags save lives and the crash test prove. However, Consumer Reports failed to test the vehicle for how it is generally equipped...very disappointing.

    Toyota tries to be so concerned about safety, yeah fails when it comes to their actual vehicles.

    DO NOT BUY A TOYOTA RAV4 unless you want an UNSAFE vehicle.
  • gogiboygogiboy Posts: 732
    is coming from on his last post, but I don't entirely agree.

    We tried in vain to requisition an 04 Rav w/side airbags back in March and waited 5 months to find out that Gulf States Toyota couldn't or wouldn't get one equipped that way for our dealership. According to our salesman, a total of two w/ side airbags had been shipped to the five-state region over the preceding three months. For whatever reason, this is the way Gulf States was handling this option--I don't know what they are doing for 05.

    As a result, my wife and I bought an 02 Rav. Is it less safe than equivalent Ravs with side airbags? Almost certainly! Do we feel it an unsafe vehicle? No, or at least no worse than our other two vehicles that lack side airbags.

    However, to suggest that purchasing a RAV is an unsafe choice is an exaggeration. Lets face it, many SUVs are less safe when compared to sedans and coupes due to their higher center of gravity and tendency to tip a wheel in avoidance maneuvers. Let's not forget that many truck-based SUVs do not have to comply with safety standards that are applied to all standard cars (sedans/coupes). Isn't buying a convertible inherently more dangerous than an equivalent sedan--even if both have side impact airbags--should the car be involved in a rollover.

    I guess my point is that most vehicle purchases involve certain safety trade-offs. There are a sizable number of cars on the road that have no airbags or anti-lock brakes including plenty of Volvo wagons and sedans that were, and are, touted for their safety features. Should someone who can't afford the newest car or truck with the latest safety features be told not to buy a car because it's unsafe? My problem is with the word "Unsafe" vs. "less safe".

    I do agree that Toyota should make this either a standard feature--as with the Honda Cr-V--or a widely available option. I think a better way to get Toyota of America to equip vehicles with side air bags is to let the dealership know you consider it an important option and are delaying purchase until you can get one so equipped rather than labeling other stock as unsafe.
  • revitrevit Posts: 476
    gogiboy, you are correct! If you look at the crash test results, a vehicle equiped with side airbags provide better crash test results than a vehicle without side airbags.

    It is not that RAV4 is "unsafe", however, when you compare it to others in it's class such as the CRV with standard side airbags, the RAV4 is more prone to the driver and passenger suffering injuries. Above all, the point of this posting was that Consumer Reports which for some people that don't even look at what they are buying, but simply go by what CRs says you should own, they put the RAV4 as their best small SUV. So given what you have confirmed about the availability of getting a Toyota RAV4 with side airbags, their recommendations have a lot to be desired as they are recommending a vehicle with POOR crash results.

    However, this is the case with any Toyota when the airbags are optional...you will likely never find one on the lot. A sales person actually told a friend of mine one time when he was looking at the RAV4 that they were not really necessary, yet I imagine if he actually had one in stock, he would have used it as the vehicle having an advantage over the competition. It all comes down to value and price and Toyota should equip their vehicles accordingly and stop trying to play both sides of the story.
  • gogiboygogiboy Posts: 732
    I think we fundamentally agree on this issue. I don't know why more 04 Ravs aren't equipped with side airbags since it was an option we really desired. For some reason the NE US gets quite a few equipped that way. By surfing the net we actually found one equipped exactly the way we wanted it including the airbags at a dealership on the eastern shore of Maryland--problem is we live in OK. Although my wife's family is from MD, we didn't want to fly to MD and conduct the break-in of the Rav on the 1400 mile drive back to OK.

    I generally have had much success with Consumer Reports' recommendations and I believe that CU, the publisher, attempts to balance a lot of competing, and sometimes conflicting, information from the various agencies who test for crash worthiness. I'm not defending them in this particular instance, but the folks who rate the products do stick their collective necks out on various occasions to report unsafe vehicles (Acura and Suzuki SUVs come to mind). I also read the Consumer's Guide on both the Cr-V and Rav. They much preferred the CR-V, but it had nothing to do with safety.

    In the end safety wasn't as paramount an issue for us as it might have been if we had kids or had prior serious accidents. Our own insurance agent quoted us nearly identical rates for both the 04 Rav and 04 CR-V. He attributed the slightly higher rate on the Rav ($60 more/year) to Toyota replacement parts being more expensive than Honda.
  • revitrevit Posts: 476
    But the said thing is that Consumer Reports in the article actually applauds Toyota for the excellent crash test...it really makes no sense. In addition, their views contradict one after the next and their verbage used for particular automakers is more than apparently biased.
  • smpoolsmpool Posts: 33
    Is the next generation RAV 4 due out in fall 2005 as an 06 model? Has anyone heard anything about the changes? Will it get any bigger?
  • 5553543255535432 Posts: 150
    I absolutely agree with you. As a sign of protest I'm not renewing my magazine subscription this year till CR. retracts their praises for the RAV 4.(not that $20.00/yr matters to CR.).I'm swaying all my co-workers to opt for the CRV with side airbags. I've convinced 4 out of 5 so far. I've got a Rav 4 2003 myself and I intended to keep it at least for ten years, but the daily grind of seeing mutilated T-BONED bodies in the operating room where I work as a nurse in orthopaedics and neurosurgery leaves me soo scared of riding my Rav 4 to work 40 miles roundtrip.TO THE tOYOTA FAITHFULS, pls let those sidearbagless RAV 4 rot in dealers lot.Get Toyotas but not the RAV's and other Toyotas without sideairbags.I feel they are coffins on wheels, the replacement vehicle that I wanted, an SUT from Honda with standard safety features even on their low end models still comes out on 2006, till then I'm stuck to this cute C O F F I N on wheels.
  • petlpetl Posts: 610
    Don't blame CR. CR rates vehicles on their reliability (based on the CR questionnaire) and on how well they perform (based on CR testing). They have always done this. They have recently included crash test results from organizations that perform them (CR does not crash test vehicles). They recommend vehicles based on (1) reliability and (2) how well they perform, that's it (some that perform well may still not be recommended because of poor reliability issues). The only vehicle that CR did not recommend because of safety reasons was the Suzuki Sidekick (it tipped too easily during their normal testing).

    There are many vehicles that don't perform well in crash tests. Incidentally, most accidents are caused by driver error. CR now provides readers with this information in order that they can decide for themselves what vehicle best suits their needs. If you decide that the RAV (or any other vehicle) is not safe enough for you and your family, don't buy it. Don't blame CR.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    So you're gonna wait until 2006 for your next vehicle, even though you think you're driving a coffin on wheels?

    If you really believe that, and you're that concerned, trade to something safer today. Don't wait.

    Wouldn't that be the smart, safe thing to do?
  • 5553543255535432 Posts: 150
    Yup your right, can't put a price tag on peace of mind. However my other car is a 2003 Honda Pilot that my wife drives to work 90% of the time. I get to drive it when we are together and the RAV 4 is left in the garage. Never felt so safe in it, coz of a firsthand experience of meeting a family of 4 who walked away from a freak accident bruised, but alive, Pilot totaled.They got a pilot again.
    Does anyone have any idea if I could trade in my RAV4 and lease a CRV, or maybe a pickup with side-airbags V6 only manual or AT is ok. I'll be keeping it for two years till that SUT comes out so reliability ain't an issue for me. Any suggestions please, asap. I'm devoting this entire weekend to dispose my RAV 4 C O F F I N of a joke.

    Thanks in advance for all the responses.
  • gogiboygogiboy Posts: 732
    CU also did not recommend an Acura SUV (not the MDX) a few years ago. I think they even had a photo of it tipping on three wheels on the cover.

    My recollection is that CU was sued by Acura, but eventually prevailed in court. Maybe someone else remembers.

    I agree with Revit about CU's methodology as far as recommending new cars. If your bottom line is safety it is easy to get those figures from the various insurance and Government agencies who rank the performance of most cars/truck/suvs.

    The best way to get the attention of Toyota of America is to complain to your dealer and/or refuse to but a Rav4 without side airbags. I don't blame Toyota for failing to include them when they were a much rarer option on most all cars except luxury models. However, I do think now is the time for action.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    "Does anyone have any idea if I could trade in my RAV4 and lease a CRV, or maybe a pickup with side-airbags V6 only manual or AT is ok."

    Why not??
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