Toyota RAV4 pre-2006



  • grahame1grahame1 Member Posts: 1
    I really like everything I hear about Toyota and in particlar the RAV 4 which I first saw on a trip to the Detroit Auto Show in Feb. I have never owned a 4 cyl though and would like some comments. I am close to retirement and have no plans to haul trailers of any kind and the longest trip will be to Florida once a year.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    grahame1, #53:
    I've had 4s, 6s, and 8s. I think my new RAV is just fine with a 4, even with the auto trans (which is pretty sophisticated).
    Toyota engineered and balanced this rig pretty well. The minor acceleration loss in a certain speed/rpm range is made up for by the good gas mileage.
    Good luck.
  • maggi1023maggi1023 Member Posts: 2
    I've had a 4 cylinder before and much bigger high performance engines. It has a lot more power than my previous 4 cylinder. I went to 4 cylinder because I drive a lot & wanted the better gas mileage. It works perfect for that. Supposedly you can attach a small trailer to it but I really don't think that would work well. If you're not hauling a lot of really heavy stuff in it, the power's just right.
  • jeildjeild Member Posts: 8
    I have a 4X2 5-spd and am getting an average of 29 mpg driving at 65-70 on the highway (some days with traffic, other days on tough uphill/downhill freeways). it's giving me great mileage for a small SUV. i've read in car & driver that they love the tailgate+bumper option because of the fact that they don't have to lean over so much to put stuff in the back -- especially when that bumper gets dirt and mud all over it. I think this was when they evaluated all small SUVs on snowy mountainside (as a side note: RAV got high marks for packing the most beer cases -- about 40 with the rear seats removed). cheers. :)
  • jeildjeild Member Posts: 8
    I've had my RAV for about a month now, and I noticed that when I start it the RPM shoot up to about 2000 and even after I've started driving it, it does not go down to below 1000 until after about 5 minutes. Even shoots up while I'm shifting gears. Is anybody else noticing this on their RAV? I have a 4X2 5-spd. Is this normal? I guess I'm too lazy to check the manual...
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    I have the auto trans, and the revs at startup are higher than at warm idle (like having the choke on in the old days), but I don't think the revs are as high as 2k, and it does not last 5 minutes before they start dropping.

    Mine seems to be just a cold-engine higher-idle feature. Also, the auto trans delays going into overdrive during the first couple minutes, for the same reason, I guess. I figure it is all part of the computer-controlled sophistication of modern cars.

    Also, check over at

    I am SURE you'll get a lot of feedback there.

    Good luck.


  • gsogymratgsogymrat Member Posts: 97
    I went to the Toyota dealership to check out the RAV4. It looked very cute. I asked the salesperson about towing my camper with it and he said forget it (it's 200lbs over the RAV4 towing limit). I didn't test drive it, since it didn't meet my needs but it looks nice for someone who wants a small SUV but doesn't need to tow. He suggested a 4Runner or the Highlander but they are SO expensive. Obviously the rest of the world makes a lot more money than I do.
  • greedy214greedy214 Member Posts: 2
    I'm sold on the RAV4. Anyone know where I can get a deal on a 4WD in the San Diego area?
  • babsanbabsan Member Posts: 4
    greedy.. today I actually saw a RAV advertised for the 1st time in the SD Tribune. Rose Toyota had one (1) 4wd with 2000 off MSRP.
    I bought my RAV for Kearny Mesa Toyota, but the fleet manager at Rose ('Masood' something) gave me a better price when I had paid for my car at the other place, so I couldn't take him up on the offer. I think I wrote his full name/ phone number etc in the 'RAV4 deals' topic back in January.
  • borisgudonovborisgudonov Member Posts: 36
    Hello, all. I have a friend who has a Rav4. When she starts the engine, sometimes it will cut off right after it starts. It does it one and sometimes two times. Dealer says it's the Idling Speed Control Valve and they want to charge her 300 bucks or so. I've seen stuff that they replace that they just insert into its spot and that's that. Are they trying to take advantage of her? She got this car new (it's a 97) and she is very good to the car in her driving habits and maintenance. Does this thing even exist? What else could be causing this problem?
  • greedy214greedy214 Member Posts: 2
    Babson, Thanks for the info. I'll give him a shot and i'll let you all know what happens.
  • newton2001newton2001 Member Posts: 1
    I had a 1997 REV and had no trouble at all with it. I liked the new 2001 so I got one. I have had the rattle in the dash worked on three times, a rattle in the rear speakers worked on once, the power door locks have not worked twice for me I have had them checked but nothing repaired. The ride is hard and the wind makes driving hard difficult at times. The motor does not run very well when cold it acts like a motor with a choke that is set wrong had this worked on but no help. The trans. does not shift into high for quite awhile unless I speed the REV up to 45 mph or more. The trans shifts down when I put on the brakes going down a hill and will not shift back up until I speed up to 45 mph or more. The dealer told me when I bought the REV that it had driving lights and that I could get a roof rack for it but when I got it home I found that it did not have driving lights and I also found out that I could not get roof racks for it. The dealer will do nothing about this. I bought the REV from a dealer in York PA. Has anyone else had any of these problems and have they had any luck getting them fixed. Sad in PA.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    Re Newton post #64

    You might try going to

    A lot of people posting there have the dash rattle problem. Some have had it resolved, and they can tell you about the Tech Service Bulletin Toyota put out on this problem.

    Also addressed there are hard ride, roof racks, and cold idle speed.

    About the hard ride, check your tire pressure. It should be 29 lbs psi, but a lot of RAVs leave the dealer's over-inflated (mine were over 45 all around). It seems Toyota puts a lot of air in the tires for the boat ride over to the US to avoid flat-spotting the tires, and the dealers aren't checking this before selling the RAVs. Getting the pressure right might cure your problem. It has worked for others.

    Good luck.


  • dwrichadwricha Member Posts: 24
    To Dimka448, Thank you for providing that informative website. I will be well better informed on buying a new car for my wife. She currently has a 1993 Honda Prelude in which we purchased new. It has 145K miles and I have to admit, it runs strong and it's in excellent shape.
    I have a 1997 Toyota Land Cruiser and I personally wouldn't consider any other SUV out there except a Land Cruiser or Lexus LX470. Now that my wife has mentioned that she really like the Toyota Rav4, being that the Prelude is in great shape, I'm thinking that it maybe time to start researching, and so far, I'm very impressed with the Rav4 and Toyota's build quality,not to mention, the more important safety features of the Rav4. Toyota's don't come cheap and if you're not an informative consumer, some dealers will try and drain you for every dollar they can get out of you. So it's best to do your homework before walking into a dealer to negotiate a price.
    I see a lot of positive from you owners of the Rav4 and that's a good sign for me to start looking into trading in the Prelude for the Rav4 and not get taken. This email is just to thank all of you Rav4 owners that has provided enough infomation to help in my decision making process, in choosing this particular vehicle. They hold their value, and they are build well, I can see this with my Land Cruiser. Thanks to you all!!!!!
    The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!!!!
  • transmission3transmission3 Member Posts: 1
    I have recently had a problem with my 1998 RAV4. I noticed that my speedometer was getting quite jumpy and after a while, the speedometer didn't get over 30mph. During a snow storm I put my truck into 4WD and when I got home, I couldn't disengage it. I took the truck to the dealership for service and they told me that the speed sensor needed to be replaced and that was tied into the problem with disengaging 4WD. Unfortunately, I have replaced the speed sensor and the truck still isn't fixed. The dealership is now telling me that the transmission needs to be fixed. Please let me know if you or anyone you know has had this problem.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    You also might try the Forum.1 (first generation RAVs) section over at

    (or are they backslashes? I forget.)

    Between that site and this one, you may find your answer.

    Good luck with a fix.


  • dyasudadyasuda Member Posts: 1
    Just wanted to send out two very big thank yous because I just picked up my Titanium Silver 5-speed 4x4 RAV4 Limited last Friday. The first one is to Dianne, the Carson (California) Toyota fleet dealer who gave me a great deal. She beat Edmund's TMV by a whole bunch! Couldn't find any car buying services on the internet that could beat her price. Not only did she give me a great price, but she made the whole process as easy on me as possible and never tried to sell me any extras at the end of the deal. For a first time new car buyer, she couldn't have made the whole process any easier on me. Thank you to Nader too, who works with her. The other big thank you is to all of you for the endless amounts of invaluable information that is provided in these discussions here on I could never have confidently made a deal on this car without all the knowledge that all you out there supplied to me. Thank you everyone!
  • gfreybergergfreyberger Member Posts: 2
    I am in the market to buy my first brand new car. Mine has recently been totalled in a rear end collision. The problem is that a good friend of mine said he could get me a 2001 RAV 4 with a ton of options for $21,000. This is a great price (only about $500 over what the dealer pays). However, I am a law student that won't graduate until the end of the month. I also don't have a job lined up. The payments that I could possibly afford would have to be extended overa 60 or even 72 month finance period, which he said he could do. I would be able to buy the car out at any time without a penalty, and could refinance at any time. I guess I am just leary of buying a car over 5 or 6 years, but I don't want to pass up this good of a deal on a car that I really like. What would any of you do in this situation?
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    In your situation, I hope I'd have the patience to wait. If you need to look at a loan with a 72 month term, maybe you can't really afford it. Debt can be a killer; it really eats up a lot of people.

    Who knows, a year from now you might have a decent income and be able to afford a new RAV (if that's still what you want), and they might be going for dealer's invoice at the end of a month, model year, or such.

    Maybe you could consider picking up a low-mileage used vehicle for now, one coming off lease after 3 years or so, which would be much more affordable. And if you want to sell it in a year to buy something new, you won't have to take a big depreciation hit.

    Sorry if I am coming off as too sensible. I know what it is like to have a new car jones.

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    I'd buy a used beater if I had to have a ride (esp. if I had student loans too) and get my job and rent under control first. Great car deals come down the pike every 5 minutes. Hey, you asked for opinions:-)

    OT, this link link may be of interest.

    Vans, SUVs and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Board
  • argo77argo77 Member Posts: 3
    I've had my new RAV4 with automatic transmission about three weeks now. I've noticed a hesitation on a couple of occasions now when I re-accelerate. The engine is not cold. Is this due to the the "newness" of the vehicle or should I have this checked out?
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    "rugged bumpers"?
    Vans, SUVs and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    argo77, what do you mean by 're-accelerate'?

    I also have an '01 auto trans RAV. I've noticed that a few times when I've slowed down from cruising speed, then tried to speed up again (re-accelerate?), the RAV doesn't readily respond. It seems like the maybe the tranny stayed in 4th or 3rd gear, rather than downshifting. I'll have to pay attention next time as to what the speed is when this happens. Possibly the RAV is programmed to do this to some extent, for fuel economy. Is this the kind of thing you mean?
  • jeildjeild Member Posts: 8

    A bit more readable than the first link posted (that font is waaaay too small for me!), plus there's a nice picture of our beloved RAV getting its rear window smashed... (ouch!!).

    I just want to find out everyone's reaction after reading this article. Were you aware of this when you bought the car? I know I was... I saw those crash tests on TV and even though I knew RAV had this problem, I was willing to live with it, as long as I had the full spare when I get a flat.

  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    Wow. Looks like a very expensive fix. I hope my crash luck holds up (knock wood). I've never plowed into anything (knock wood). And I've never been rear-ended (knock wood) other than a tap.

    I still like the vehicle, very much. I don't know if having the bumper bash info before my purchase would have kept me from buying my '01 RAV4. I did call my insurance agent before buying, and found the rates reasonable. But who knows? They may rise now.

    I do hope that occupant safety was a prime consideration when designing the RAV. I am told that generally Toyota does pretty well in this department.

  • argo77argo77 Member Posts: 3
    Exactly right on my terminology. I have
    experienced this on slowing down to make a turn. Thanks for you reply.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    argo77, #73 & #79

    Yeah, I understand. I'd like to be able to anticipate when this bogging down / locked tranny feeling will happen, so I can hit the Overdrive Off button, and at least be sure I have 3rd gear available. I can't drive like a fiend the way it is!

  • jeildjeild Member Posts: 8
    I think the article was meant more for the insurance companies than for rating the safety of the vehicle. Getting very expensive repairs on the car versus bodily injury in a crash are two distinct things. It seems to me that the trend nowadays is that vehicles have "crumple zones" rather than bumpers that withstand impact (I'd rather have the vehicle absorb all the impact than being whiplashed by bouncing off of something). The only thing safety-wise that I'm disappointed in is the lack of side airbags (I heard even Echo comes with this as standard equipment).
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    jeild post #81

    I agree with you about the bumper bash and how it may not adversely affect personal safety (even possibly enhance it), but I wish I could be sure that Toyota intentionally traded off bumper damage for energy absorption via crush zones, to protect occupants.
    Or was the bumper bash test damage strictly the result of Toyota's cost-cutting?
    I sure hope the results of this bumper bash do not cause my insurance rates to go up, but I really think they will.
  • kwh66kwh66 Member Posts: 1
    My wife and I have been looking for a vehicle to replace her old, beat up '89 Honda Civic. We started with the Subaru Forester, the Honda CRV, the Mazda Tribute, and the RAV. Each vehicle had compelling strengths as well as weaknesses (actually, I hated the CRV all around). We loved the pep of the Forester, but it was too small and, in my opinion, an ergonomic dud (cupholders and controls poorly positioned, lateral leg room was poor up front). We loved the relative spaciousness of the Tribute, but prefer manual transmissions over automatic. In the Tribute, if you want a 5-speed, you have to settle for the base model with it's puny 130hp engine. So, we test drove a Tribute LX V6 automatic (200hp). Again, we HATE auto trans for the same reasons that are mentioned by others above. The Tribute (automatic) was no fun to drive, but we kept it as a standby should we not have any luck getting a RAV.

    We spent more than two months trying to find a 5-speed, 4WD RAV4L with ABS, no leather, no sunroof, 5-spoke alloy wheels, roof rack, and keyless entry. The 5-speed, ABS combo proved very difficult to find in my region (I live in central New Jersey). On a trip to my credit union to get my financing, I mentioned our difficulty to the loan officer, and she recommended we check out Bob Ciasulli Toyota on Rte. 36 in Eatontown. That was this past Saturday. It's Wednesday evening and our new RAV4L is sitting in the driveway as I type this! If you're in the area and are looking for a hard to find RAV, stop by there and see Marv Badach. He found and delivered what we wanted in no time. Because of the demand in our area, dealers aren't moving much, but we worked out a deal for $22,500. I can live with that. Let's hope we're spared the rattles and vibrations others have had.

    P.S. I test drove an automatic RAV4L and knew that I would rather pass on the RAV altogether than settle for the auto trans. It just didn't cut it.
  • rav4ravirav4ravi Member Posts: 1
    I saw this forum and immediately become a member to share my experience.

    I also face this problem of re-acceleration.(Refer #75). How to avoid this behavior ? Whether Toyota knows about this ? Shall we ask Toyota ? Whether it is fuel economical to use cruise control for short distances (say 5 miles)?

    My feelings:
    1.I am proud of having a RAV4 which is my first vehicle purchased in USA
    2.RAV4 '01 is not having the thermometer which the lower end models (Carolla) have.
    3.The spare tyre seems to be difficult to remove (even with 2 people)
    4.The mudguards could not prevent the mud splashing over the body
  • scnamescname Member Posts: 296
    Hi: I'd like to get an age sampling of RAV4 owners. I'm 44, male, don't plan to buy the RAV4 because it looks like a teenager' car. Everything else about RAV4 is very good.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Hi rav4ravi,

    Welcome to Town Hall (I like your user name <g>).

    Until another owner steps in with some replies to your questions, you may want to look around the Recalls, Technical Service Bulletins, and Other Good Stuff links for other info about your RAV4.

    Vans, SUVs and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    scname, post #85, reply re age:
    I have an '01 RAV4; I am 51 (and I look it, alas).

    You really think it looks like a teenager's car?
    Someone else here (maybe you?) told a shopper not to buy a RAV if you are an "old" guy, that you'd just look silly. Harumph.

    At first I thought the new RAV looked like a third-world truck (Malaysian?), but the styling grew on me, and I bought it. No regrets.

  • gpvsgpvs Member Posts: 214
    Age - my brother has a 2001 rav4 and he's around 44.
  • gsogymratgsogymrat Member Posts: 97
    Has anyone towed with their RAV4? I test drove a 4x2 L and was pretty impressed. I have a small pop-up camper and I would like to be sure that it could pull it.
  • jporterfield1jporterfield1 Member Posts: 3
    I have sold rav's to people from 18 to 73 and they all buy it for diffrent reasons. You just have to figure out if it is right for you
  • dianne4toyotadianne4toyota Member Posts: 343
    Most of my CA Rav4 buyers are 18-35. Oddly enough, the out of state buyers for me for Ravs are older.

  • engageengage Member Posts: 5
    I am intending on test driving a Rav4 but am wondering about how roomy the driver's seat is.

    I am Six foot three inches tall and am wondering if someone with my height can comfortably fit into this car (I tried to test drive a Ford Escape for instance any my legs couldn't fit under the steering wheel). Any comments and/or sharing of experiences would be appreciated.

  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    re engage, post #92

    I am 5'11", and have long legs (although I seem to favor sitting a bit more forward than most people my height). Anyway, I find my '01 RAV has enough legroom for me. I have the steering column and wheel adjusted most of the way up. Seat comfort on a 4-hour ride was decent (and I have a bad back).
    FYI, rear legroom is pretty good too. I checked that out because when I go out with friends, I like to drive, and I wanted them to fit comfortably in the back seat. Good ingress/egress.
    Headroom is very good (although I do not have a sunroof). And the console storage compartment lid provides a good-enough right armrest (unlike the Tribute and CR-V).
    Happy hunting.
  • alfatorav4alfatorav4 Member Posts: 1
    I'm looking to buy a RAV4 in the SF Bay Area and have been told by numerous dealers that Toyota is not actually making them with anti-lock brakes (regardless of the fact they list this as an option). Has anyone seen 2001 RAV4s with anti-lock breaks? I suspect that I am just getting a line from the dealers that want to sell something off of their lots rather than order the RAV4. Thanks
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    Seems some regions of the country get the ABS allocated to them by Toyota, and others do not (or get very few).
    I couldn't find ABS locally (Southern NJ), so I bought a RAV without it.
    If you are set on ABS, put your order out on the web, noting ABS is a 'must', and see what kind of response you get. You might find one.
    Also, there is a 'diane' who posts here from a Toyota dealer in Carson City CA (near you?). She might help you; she has helped others. You could scroll back in this topic and probably find her, then get her e-ddress from her profile.
    Ordering usually takes months (2, 3, 4 or more), from all that I've read here and at
    Good luck.
  • gsogymratgsogymrat Member Posts: 97
    I test drove a black 4x2 RAV4 L yesterday and was pretty impressed. The vehicle appears a lot bigger on the inside than it does from the outside. I really liked the styling of the interior: silver screws, round air vents, textured door handles, etc. I also liked the shape and fabric of the seats. The rear seat had more leg room than expected and the option of removing the seats is a plus. The engine power was adequate and it handled pretty well. I did notice some wind noise when on the highway but it was a pretty windy day, so I'm not sure if that was normal. The vehicle seemed very well put together. I didn't care for the swingout rear door; I would rather it raise and be out of the way. In fact the salesperson accidentally banged the Highlander parked behind it when he opened the back (I was SO glad that he did that and not me). Another BIG selling point was the gas mileage. I would buy it but the towing capacity is 1500 lb max and I have a 1700 lb camper. I asked the salesperson if he thought I could get away with it and he said no. He recommended the Highlander but that is out of my price range. If I did not have to tow I would seriously consider a RAV4.
  • dianne4toyotadianne4toyota Member Posts: 343
    I am Dianne, and it's Carson...California.
    ABS isn't readily available on any 2WD Ravs; it's on all 4WDs for CA though. A 2WD with ABS requires an order build. FYI!

  • toyoguytoyoguy Member Posts: 1
    I purchased an '01 RAV4L 4x4 w/auto,abs,cloth about a month ago. I absolutely love driving this vehicle. My wife and I drove over 1200 miles traveling around the southeast a few weeks ago and it is comfortable for each of us to drive. I need to add here that my wife is a petite 5'2" woman and I am a large 6'4" man. Headroom, leg room, visability, comfort after driving for 12 hours straight -- all wonderful for each of us. I owned a Honda CRV a few years back. There is no comparison between it and the RAV. The redesigned RAV is far more comfortable, smoother, and enjoyable to drive than the CRV. I can appreciate the generous headroom and legroom thanks to what I refer to as a "scooped out" interior over the previous RAV design. The dash seems to have been moved closer to the front of the vehicle and headroom is great due to the dome like design. The only things I need the dealer to look at right now is the dash (rattles when driving over hard bumps...I know about the TSB) and the brakes or something in the front end that creaks when I come to a complete stop. Overall I am very satisfied--I will have to let you all know how it goes at the dealership when I take it in for service. I don't expect any problems though. Thanks to everyone who has posted their experiences, both good and bad. Reading everyone's comments honestly helped me to get a feel for real world life with this vehicle before I made the purchase!
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

    Vans, SUVs and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • 2001rx2001rx Member Posts: 8
    My car is a 2001 Lexus RX300. Today I bought a RAV4 off the lot for my daughter. It's Mica Blue and has AWD, ABS, Auto, Quick Order Pkg, etc. Paid a little less than Edmond's TMV.. Very pleasant buying experience at Santa Barbara Toyota. Easily beat Costco's referral price and CarsDirect on-line price (without mentioning them in making the deal). I found the driver's seat to be very comfortable, performance sprightly, and handling in an urban area more fun the my RX (tighter turning radius, quicker turn-in with the optional 60 series tires). As might be expected, the RAV4's ride couldn't compare with the RX, and neither could the sound system. Overall, I'm quite impressed with the RAV4.
  • punchbowlpunchbowl Member Posts: 6
    Those who warned us about the lack of available RAV4s with ABS were right! Try to find one on the lot! Does anyone know just how important ABS is? Should I wait a few months to get it or should I jump on what's available out there today. Isn't ABS a total must this day & age???
  • sulobsulob Member Posts: 1
    I drove the new and old RAV4 with auto transmission and neither had enough power for mountain driving or passing. When is Toyota going to give us an option for more power?
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Member Posts: 1,110
    punchbowl post #100: "Isn't ABS a total must this day & age???"

    It's your call.

    I opted to go without ABS, since I could not find a RAV with ABS available on the lot and did not want to wait and take my chances with a factory order.
    I've owned vehicles with and without ABS. I'd prefer to have it, but... Remember, ABS does not improve stopping distance; it does allow manueverability under full braking, which is a big plus.

    I think the only must-haves are airbags and good crash protection for the occupants.

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