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Toyota RAV4 pre-2006



  • jvkalrajvkalra Posts: 98
    This is my biggest gripe with Toyota, their absurd options game. These options create the perception that one can get the vehicle exactly the way one wants. In reality, I think its whatever Toyota wants to ship to the dealer to maximize their profits, because they feel it's a sellers market for the Toyota brand.

    I've heard that Toyota has some people at their Executive Offices in Torrance, who may be able to help you locate or special order what you want. Try calling the office of the Toyota VP of Sales. They'll put you in touch with the right people. Good luck!
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    I don't know any specifics of the early (first-generation) RAVs. You might want to check Consumer Reports (anti-CR types, please hold your fire) for the repair frequency.

    I do know from another site that there are a lot of 1996-2000 RAV owners who are, shall we say, very fond of their vehicles.

    Good luck.
  • mathtypemathtype Posts: 33
    I'm new to this board, so maybe I've missed something, but how could a Toyota fan be anti-Consumer Reports? CR says that the RAV4 is the best small SUV they've tested and they generally love Toyotas. In fact, it's due to their "frequency of repair" listings that I keep telling people that Toyota makes the world's most reliable cars (even though they have one of the world's worst marketing strategies).
  • raven18raven18 Posts: 33
    jt, I leased a '97 rav 4 and it was a fairly reliable vehicle. Mine was an all-wheel drive 4 cylinder with auto trans, it was top of the line at that time (they didn't have the L pkg. at that time) but power windows, moonroof, ect. Anyway, it wasn't a bad vehicle, the only problems I had with it were that it struggled a bit on inclines, and the front disc brakes wore thin in a short period of time (26,000 mi.) after having a brake job performed on it, including roters being turned (this service was at a toyota dealership) the roters became warped and the brakes were in worst shape than before the brake job. So, I take it that if you have to replace the pads, you may as well count on paying for roters too. I'm not sure if the roters I had on mine were of poor quality, if the tech that turned the roters down didn't know what he was doing, or it was the way in which I brake. I have owned several cars and haven't really every had as much problem with brakes. I currently lease a new beetle with 37k on it, and I still have more than half of the pads left, of coarse this is a 4 wheel disc car, and vw, so take this info for what it worth, hope it helps. Check consumers report, I believe it is fairly an acurate source for info on used vehicles. Good luck.
  • g_huskyg_husky Posts: 32
    About 20% of the RAV4 I'm seeing on lots in NYS have ABS. Only a few of these had leather, but most with ABS are pretty loaded with sunroof and other amenities.
  • rsbalkrsbalk Posts: 2
    I am looking for a cap that plugs in the socket of the lighter that I want to remove. I do not like the look of that. Any idea you may have for me would be much appreciated.

    Thank you
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    mathtype: On other threads here at edmunds, there is some CR bashing: that they are biased, that they are not properly scientific, etc. The price CR pays for success, I guess.

    I don't know of any other such source for owner's repair data, so I put a lot of stock in CR too.

    My comment was an attempt to deflect any potential 'incomings'.

    jtjackson: raven18 makes a good point about early RAV power, especially on inclines. I think the 96-00 RAVs were only rated 127hp. Which may be enough for your needs.
  • mathtypemathtype Posts: 33
    Has anyone ordered a RAV4 or other Toyota directly from the factory? If so,did you get the vehicle you wanted and how long did it take?

    I am considering this option. My dealer says that it will take four to five months (!) and that I won't know whether or not Toyota has accepted the purchase order for a month or two. On the up side, it need not be a loaded car; I can choose exactly the options I want (as long as they don't conflict with the restrictions already in place such as "L package requires alloy wheels," etc.).
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    mathtype: I know of a few people who have special-ordered a RAV4. Seems the typical wait was around 90 days (some 120 or more). This was about a year ago. Haven't heard any special-order stories lately.

    And some orders were 'lost', but the shopper did not find that out for many weeks. That would be a drag. But if you have a reputable dealer, who is truly interested in submitting your order just the way you want it, it could work out well.

    I don't know if you are near any high-volume dealers in a major city, but you might find a RAV equipped close enough to how you want it on the lot at a place like that.

    I think AWD and ABS can be harder to find in the warm-weather states.
  • sriley6544sriley6544 Posts: 12

    I talked to a dealer today about special ordering a RAV4. He indicated wait may be anywhere from 3 to 5 months.

    I'm located in NC and I'm looking for a RAV4 with Quick Order Package, ABS, Moonroof, 5 speed manual transmission, alloy wheels, keyless entry, and anti-theft deterrent. They did a search and could not find any cars with those specs and so I am considering ordering one (the ABS is the most difficult feature to locate in a RAV4).

    Sales rep mentioned that pricing would be nowhere close to invoice due to the special order - we are going to "negotiate" further tomorrow and depending what we can work out, I'll decide between the RAV4 and the Honda CRV EX w/5 speed transmission.
  • kc83kc83 Posts: 1
    I own a 97 RAV-4 with 97k miles and a new 2002 CRV with 3K miles. The RAV has been totally abused and looks like h*** but runs great. I replaced the brakes at 70k miles, but no other repairs.

    The CRV has already been to the dealers, having the transmission fixed, squeaks & rattles checked out, horn fixed, seatbelt fixed, etc, etc.

    I kept the RAV when I bought the CRV because the Honda dealer didn't want it as a trade-in, but I'm glad I did since I've been driving it while the CRV's being repaired. IMHO, there's no comparison in terms of toughness and quality. The CRV does have more power, more room, and a better suspension system though.
  • mathtypemathtype Posts: 33
    Here is the response from Toyota "National Customer Relations" to my plea for help in finding a RAV4 with ABS. Interestingly, this response contradicts the fact that Toyota has taken special orders for RAVs in the past. With this kind of "assistance," no wonder CRVs are outselling RAVs two to one.

    "We are sorry that you are having difficulty locating the vehicle of your choice. Our vehicles are equipped with options that we have found to be popular in the geographic area in which they are marketed. Because of this, some options may not be available in your area, while other options may be, but as part of a package. We conduct extensive market surveys and studies to assist in forecasting product features and equipment that will be desirable to the consumer.

    Our factory takes this market information into consideration when scheduling vehicle production. However, we are not equipped to take special orders from dealerships or customers for individual vehicles. Our network of dealerships and distributors is designed to take your request and make every attempt to locate the desired vehicle.

    Please visit the Build Your Own section of our website so that we can provide you with the most accurate information on what vehicles are available in your area."
  • stragerstrager Posts: 308
    The GM of my local dealership, who's a friend of mine has told me that special orders are not a problem at all, other than the long lead time for vehicles imported from Japan.

    In general, Toyota wants to discourage special orders for several reasons, that's why the official line is that they don't take special orders.

    IMHO, Toyota's extensive market surveys and studies (as they claim) to determine options is a solution looking for a problem to solve. This solution creates problems, instead of making it simple to buy a Toyota. Toyota needs adopt the Honda pricing model, or offer a true build to order system.
  • sriley6544sriley6544 Posts: 12
    I could not get my dealer to locate a RAV4 with
    ABS (they checked over 350 dealerships). Instead of pursuing the special order (which I don't think I could have gotten), I went ahead and got a CRV (EX w/ 5 speed manual transmission).

    I know Toyota has a good product, but they sure would be easier to do business with if they could become a little more flexible in their marketing.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    Apparently Toyota sees ABS as an item mostly desired in areas that get winter weather, and are distributing ABS-equipped vehicles accordingly. That's a shame.
  • rudy2000rudy2000 Posts: 32
    Yes, "suvshopper4" you're right. I "ordered" my Rav from (now out of business) and positively could not get ABS. Also, the Rav being light weight, really won't benefit from ABS. I've had to stop quite fast, and the brakes still didn't lock on me. So, even though one can't find Rav's with ABS, it's no big deal. Rudy
  • and as it turns out, I do have something to say. My wife and I cross-shopped Forester, CRV, and RAV. One of the "faults" of RAV was the optioning system Toyota uses. It is just too arcane and inclusive -- we would have to take too many things we did not want to get a few things we wanted. Honda was the opposite -- Get the LX and get this, get the EX and get this - period, end of story. Again, though, we'd have to take things we did not want to get things we did. But Honda was closer to what we wanted. But Subaru was perfect -- perhaps only for us about our unique take on the situation. We wanted ABS -- had to have it, AWD, and air conditioning. All standard on the entry-level Forester. No brainer. Plus, Forester was about as favorably received by CR as the RAV -- and later, Forester had the highest reliabilty rating of the three (CRV, RAV, FORESTER).

    IF Toyota had had a different optioning scheme -- it might have been a different story.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    No doubt about it, the Forester offers a lot for the money.
    For me, not choosing one was a matter of family-car stigma (from my youth), and styling/proportions (eye of the beholder, and all that).

    I agree, Toyota's optioning scheme is far from ideal for the buyer, but it greatly benefits the company. And their sales are strong across all their model lines, so I don't expect them to change things any time soon.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    2002 Toyota RAV4

    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • ckirk3ckirk3 Posts: 7
    Does anyone know of the changes Toyota is considering for the RAV in 2003? For example, side-airbags or an RIB (Rear Intrusion Bar)?
  • caseycwcaseycw Posts: 11
    Need anyone's thoughts/opinion/help regarding the Limited Slip Differential offered as an option in the 2002 RAV4. I want to get that on the car, but the dealer says it isn't necessary and can't find one anyway, anywhere.

    Anyone have any experience/knowledge of it?

    I live 8,000 feet up and work 9,000 feet up in mountains and believe the limited slip would be beneficial to the ~385 avg. inches of snow we get.

    Any thoughts/help would be greatly appreciated.

  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    I've heard that the Limited Slip Differential is a real nice item. Sounds like it could be useful with all the snowfall you get. (The ~385 inches is not a typo, right?)

    But you may have to special order from the factory, or get in touch with a dealer in a city in snow country, to get LSD.

    It is not surprising to me that you can't find one in CA (I'm assuming, based on your profile). Lots of people in warm climate areas report that they can't find ABS-equipped RAVs.
  • caseycwcaseycw Posts: 11
    Nope, 385 inches of snow is not a typo.

    I have seen some of the messages on special ordering and will continue to consider that.

    The dealer I am working with, Perry Motors in Bishop, is 45 miles away and very small. The dealer guy couldn't find any LSDs anywhere and doesn't think will be able to find any. He is familiar with the area and doesn't believe I need one. I still want it though!

    I will say I have had no trouble finding ABS here in CA. While I am not in socal, I have done research down there and had no trouble finding them with ABS. Good luck to those who are looking.

    Still looking for as much input as I can get regarding the RAV4s Limited Slip Differential option.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    Have you tried Diane at Carson (CA) Toyota?
    She has helped a lot of RAV shoppers. She had (has?) listed all the available units with options, etc., on a website (probably the dealer's).

    Latest thing I recently heard on special ordering, "ordered in March, arrived in May."

    Good luck.

  • yausayausa Posts: 2
    Does anybody know where to buy an original parts and accessories for RAV4.
  • fray2fray2 Posts: 1
    Any ideas as to why the mini-SUV manufacturers do not offer quad seating as an option? We already own one SUV, the Infiniti QX4, and are in the market for a 2nd SUV, but not as large as the QX4. We have no children, so we don't have a need for third row seating. But, in test driving the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Hyundai Santa Fe, the rear seat is quite cramped with three average sized people. So, why not go with captain's chairs and make the ride more comfortable for those in the rear. I have test driven the Buick Rendezvous, and it offers quad-seating, but is larger than I want? Any ideas??
  • nancy13nancy13 Posts: 9
    I have a 2002 RAV I purchased a couple months ago and the sunroof is leaking along the back edge. The water isn't pouring in but if I run my hand along the back edge I'll have drops on my fingers. I checked the tilt and slide button several times. I don't like the way the open/close (tilt/slide) button works...there seems to such a fine line between the two functions (atleast to me) it's hard to tell if the roof is fully closed. If I look at the exterior, the front edge of the sunroof is up above the edge of the roof just a bit, but the back edge of the roof is just even with or slightly below the roof line.

    Anyone have a similar experience...any suggestions would be welcome. I haven't taken it into the dealership yet.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    I've heard good things about buying parts on-line from Romania Toyota. Never done it myself, though.
    I think they may have formerly gone by the name of
  • i_luv_toyotai_luv_toyota Posts: 350
    is great. I ordered some maintenance items (oil/air filter, etc.) through them for my 2000 RAV4. Plus shipping is free with, I think, minimum $25 in purchases. You can also track whatever you purchase via UPS. It's worth it, better than spending big bucks at the local Toyota dealer!

    BTW, they can still be accessed through "".
  • I'm writing here on behalf of a friend of mine who has a 1998 Rav4L. Her right rear passenger door stopped working. The door is closed and cannot be opened at all, from the inside or outside. Both handles feel like they are not connected to anything.

    It's probably something really small that has either broken or has become disconnected with a hard door slam (she lent the car to another friend when this happened). I'm confident that we can find the problem if I can get the door open and get the inside door panels off. The real question is, how do I get the door open when both handles are non-functional?

    Does anyone here have any experience like this, or any suggestions for getting the door open? I'd really appreciate some help/advice. Thanks.
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