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Toyota RAV4 pre-2006



  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    Amarillas - Here's my whole story and advice:

    Had the rattle from day one on a 2001 (bought Nov 00) Rav. The first time, dealer said that other Ravs had the rattle and they would call the Toyota Tech line to find out what the fix was. They did the first fix, but the rattle eventually came back (not as bad, but still annoying). Then, I took it back (about Nov. 01), and the dealer said that Toyota had a new fix for the problem. They put on a new cowl and did some other things with the cowl area per a new TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) from Toyota. It has been PERFECT ever since. I would ask them to call Toyota tech line to get the latest TSB, and make sure they do it. Otherwise, go to a different dealer, because some dealerships are not just no good. This can be fixed. It could be something else rattling, I guess, but just "turn up the heat" on your dealer or go to another.

    Good luck!
  • Still a good deal as most outside financing like the one advertise here on Edmund is around 4%.
  • ycnycycnyc Posts: 7
    Just a couple of qs. for all Rav 4 owners. I am interested in purchasing a 2003 Rav 4 L auto but I am concerned about a couple of things. On another discussion, several people were saying that the Rav feels tipsy and is likely to tip, and that a rear end crash will be absorbed by the spare and will break the rear windshield. the only car I have driven is a Honda Civic. I have never driven an SUV. For those of you who went from a compact sedan to a Rav, was it a big difference? did this take much getting used to (as far as turning speed, and just overall feel of the car, I don't want to drive a car that feels like its going to fall over any minute)? I want a Rav because I hate sitting so low to the ground as I do in my Civic, and i want the same type of reliability. Also, how is the gas mileage? I know it won't be as good as my Civic but I don't want to spend tons of money on gas either.
  • I bought this 2003 RAV-4 last October, and had this problem that dealer keep saying, " just got use to it"
    My RAV-4 PROBLEM : on S.F. Bay area, there is Hywy-24 from Oakland to Walnet Creek& IT has some section of VERY rough surface freeway with speed above 70-75 mph : Very Bounpy (Up & down motion on freeway speed on rough surface & on bad bumps : it seemed like no shock absorber that impact force to those bad bumps is like crash impact + floating motions *, all these add up to made the RAV-4 VERY UNSTABLE & Unsafe & feel like riding the horse.
    I have driven cars for 30 years, and I have driven the same Hywy 24 everyday to commute to work (95 miles per day) for 9 years. My other cars like 93 Honda Accord, 94 Acura Intergra, my former cars : 84 Maxima & 83 Civic + 74 VW Beetle had all driven on Hywy 24, and I never feel such horrible bounpy experience.
      Any one can tell me how to fight to get dealer to solve that problerm & complaint to the
    consumer protection agency for lemon car ?? What is the website for those consumer affair/ protection group ? I had visit the City Toyota- (DALY CITY)dealer servie dept 3 times & wait there for hours & got turn back for that is normal, "just got use to it "!!
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    The Rav is the MOST stable of the SUV's. It is the least tipsy of the SUV's (of course it is more tipsy than a small sedan, but that's physics). A rear end impact does lots of damage (just like the CRV, etc.) but it absorbs the impact well and is safe. That's what insurance is for - to cover the damage. The Rav is just as cheap as many small sedans to insure.
    It won't take you any time at all to get used to - take one for a test drive. Gas mileage - 25.3 mpg winter gas, 70% highway miles. As for the so called "bouncy" ride - I have no complaints - slightly more bouncy than a sedan, but it is a small SUV. I test drove it a lot before I bought it, and thought it was fine. Tire pressure may be too high? Other than that, it is normal!
  • lok888lok888 BostonPosts: 1,788
    totalnet - Just looked at the Toyota website in Hong Kong ( There are some accessories for RAV4, chrome grille, front bumper spoiler, etc. I wonder someone in west coast is importing these nice accessories. I assume they are Toyota factory accessories.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    This is the same issue a lot of people have reported that have bought a mini-ute for the first time, after driving nothing but cars. This vehicles is higher than regular sedans, and has a stiff sporty suspension, so it will bounce some on bad freeway sections, but that is normal, and again I find it surprising you did not notice this when you went to test-drive the car?

    If you are not satisfied with the dealer and you find yourself out Walnut Creek way on a daily basis, try using Walnut Creek Toyota - their service department is the best in the Bay, bar none. Plus they are open until midnight in the week. But you may find that your vehicle is truly operating in the manner it is supposed to.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    This may have already been covered here. But just in case:

    RAV4 tops the list for Small Sport Utility Vehicles in the most-recent Consumer Reports listing, edging into the excellent column on the bar graph (the only one of the 13 compared to do so).

    It is a paid-subscription site, and I don't want to try to link it, but the magazine can often be found in local libraries. I'm not sure what month's issue it is, but they are pretty well-indexed for preceding months in the back of each issue.

    You could even (gulp) buy a copy.

    There are a lot of people here on this site that berate CR, but they haven't come up with any better source for such info. So, you guys, please hold your fire. Thank you and god bless.
  • artdechoartdecho Posts: 337
    With the RX330 just being introduced, and the Highlander spinning off that new platform in a year or two, I hope Toyota grows the Rav a bit for the next generation. I can see the next Highlander growing a bit, adding a third row seat and dropping the 4 cylinder. That leaves room for the Rav to grow, get the Highlander's more powerful 4, and hopefully lose the side-opening rear door/external spare combo. A more powerful AWD Matrix can fill in at the bottom end. Good strategy, Toyota?
  • stragerstrager Posts: 308
    Had a chance to drive a friend's 2002 RAV yesterday for an extended period of time, both in the city and on freeway. Although the ride was reasonably comfortable, I was very disappointed by the light steering, and didn't quite find it fun to drive, as claimed by Consumer Reports. My expectation was for a firmer, more weighted steering. The often mentioned cowl rattle was also present, which I assume could be fixed by a TSB.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    if your demo was prepped "right." Often the tires are over-inflated for shipping to avoid flat spots, but the usual complaint is that the ride is rough, not that the steering is light.

    Maybe you should take another one out for a spin just to confirm (assuming you liked most everything else about the SUV).

    Steve, Host
  • stragerstrager Posts: 308
    Thanks for the suggestion, Steve, will check out one again. This wasn't a demo, but belonged to a friend who was visiting from out of town. Can excessive tire pressure give the steering a lighter feel, I wonder. The ride wasn't rough, but a little jittery, not uncomfortable.
  • Am considering purchasing a 4WD RAV4, but didn't realize that the 4WD was on all the time. Is this really worth it? Since there is no indicator how do you know if something goes wrong with the 4WD system? Does the 2WD provide enough traction on snow and ice? How does the 4WD RAV compare to the CRV?

    Also, got dealer quote for 20,900 on "L" pkg w/4WD, Keyless entry, Al. wheels and roof rack (this includes destination fee) is this a good price?

    Any insight is much appreciated.
  • lok888lok888 BostonPosts: 1,788
    junglist1 - I want to see if I also have a good deal. Here in MA: RAV4 4WD, auto, L package, ABS, moonroof, spoiler for $21599.00 (dest. fee included) plus $198 doc. fee. An 0% APR (was 1.9%) for 36 months. I am still thinking. I believe I have a good deal. Anyway I can push it for more??
  • I've talked to three different dealers who all say that Toyota doesn't make RAV4s with 4-wheel drive, the Quick Order package, and ABS. They say I have to either take the 2-wheel drive to get both the Quick Order package and ABS or I have to upgrade to the L-package if I want both 4-wheel drive and the ABS. I live in the Chicago area. Is this information correct?
  • A local dealer stated the invoice price on a RAV4 I was interested in and it was a couple of hundred dollars more than the invoice price given for the same vehicle on the Edmund's site. Is Edmund's correct or is the dealer just try to make their price look better?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    The extra was a regional ad fee? That varies (usually no more than 1% of MSRP though).

    Steve, Host
  • mathtypemathtype Posts: 33
    It surprises me to hear that users of a Toyota board would berate Consumer Reports (post #890). Toyota makes exactly the kinds of cars that CR loves. In fact, the April 2003 issue rates the RAV4 as the best small SUV (as far as I know, the only publication to rank it ahead of the CR-V and Forester) and also calls it one of the "most influential" cars of the last fifty years (for being the first car-based SUV). As for the latter, it's in pretty good company: BMW 2002, Corvette, Mustang, Beetle, and the like.
  • totalnettotalnet Posts: 67
    I was actually in Hong Kong for the past two weeks. Anyway, these kits are factory kits from Toyota. There is a website that imports these from Japan. They do cost a pretty penny.
  • lok888lok888 BostonPosts: 1,788
    totalnet - Thanks for the info. They are pertty pricy.
  • gumpgumpgumpgump Posts: 2
    Totalnet: I was choosing from CRV, X-trail and Rav4. They are all for display in an exhibition centre in Tianjin and will be replaced by the 04models in May(so I can get them very cheap). My friend further shortlisted for me to Xtrail and Rav but I still found it difficult to compare cuz there isn't Xtrail in the US. I guess u may know Xtrail(Nissan made and sold out US) since u were from HK. Both cars are luxury trim and the Rav has more factory made kit with it(for display) and is 14000 HKD more expensive than Xtrail.

    My heart tells me to go for the Rav since it looks really cool in blue and all the kits on. Still my head tells me to go for the Xtrail since it is larger/more powerful(2.5l) and pracical. Can you give me some suggestion please? I need to make a decision in two days. Thanks

    BTW, I live in Shanghai.
  • totalnettotalnet Posts: 67
    I really live in the US, but as I said in a message before that I just came back from Hong Kong. Nissan does not sell the Xtrail here in the US. Nissan only has the Xterra here, which is a totally different vehicle than the Xtrail.

    I can't say what your needs are. When I was doing my car shopping, the main reason I choose the RAV4 was the look and good price I got on it. There are lot more SUVs with more power and larger side than the RAV4 in the US. Having driven a 3L V6 and 4L V8 cars before the RAV4, I have not feel the lost of power as I would have expected. I end up saving alot on fuel cost. I feel the quality of both Toyota and Nissan are very good, having own 3 Toyota and 3 Nissan.

    I am asumming that you are going to keep it for a long time. You must feel good driving and not have second thought about your decision. Also, how are traffic in Shanghai? Having been in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, they some time can get pretty bad. But I can say the same thing for the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • lok888lok888 BostonPosts: 1,788
    totalnet - Did he mention the redesign 2004 RAV4 due in May? Maybe for Japan or Asian countries only (even European). US always gets it a year late. I believe there could be a facelift for 2004. If Toyota redesign the model every 5 years, why they get a facelift on 2003 model instead of 2004? Well, beside the "S" package (2003 model) with raised hood and new grille.
  • gumpgumpgumpgump Posts: 2
    Thanks to totalnet. Still a hard call for me. I might flip a coin to decide it. Anyway I don't think I will go wrong with any of them.

    The 04 models of Japaness cars should arrive in China only in June, my friend told me. And there might not be too much changes for the compact SUVs, as far as the dealers know. And if it is only a facelift, I think the Rav is already cool enough.
  • totalnettotalnet Posts: 67
    If Toyota stick with the 7 years cycle like the first generation RAV4, it going to be a facelift. I think the first generation RAV4 had a facelift in the 4 year of it's life cycle. Since all RAV4 are made in Japan, the US will get pretty much the same RAV4. Of course I heard Toyota is thinking of moving the production of RAV4 for North America to Canada.
  • mckee4mckee4 Posts: 47
    My wife and I just purchased a 2003 RAV4 Spectra Mica Blue with Quick Order Pkg., moonroof, and extra stuff added by P.O.E. and dealer. We got
    a cash price of $20.5K. MSRP was $22.6K. We went
    trought Fleet Sales and effectively got invoice
    + $200.00 over.

    My wife had her heart set on a white Sport model which was listed in the dealer inventory but was actually not. We would've had to wait for another
    to come in or special order and wait for several
    more months. However, she was determined to get
    something and she liked the blue color anyway. All in all the Sport Package didn't make a big difference to her either.

    Toyota seems to like piling on a lot of extras
    at the Port of Entry and dealership. We wanted
    some of the extras but others we did't, so we negotiated discounts or no cost on stuff we did and didn't want. The dealership even threw-in
    window-tinting for free.

    The process, even with the fleet-sales, was too long compared with our last vehicle purchase. Something the dealership/Toyota should work on.

    The RAV4 is perfect for my wife because she wanted
    small(er) and high(er) without extra largesse in
    the vehicle. She enjoys driving it immensely
    and has a reasonably high seat position. She
    has bad arthritis and this was definitely a factor
    getting in and out of any vehicle. Out of all of
    small-utes we tested the RAV4 fit her best.
    She effectvely can slide in and out of the seat
    with no problem w/o stooping or bending too much.

    I've driven the RAV4 myself and was impressed
    with the overall quality and drivability. Wish
    it had another 40-50 HP though. It'd be a hoot
    to scoot around in then. My Ford Escape has
    201 HP and never feels winded, but I pay in less
    gas mileage too. The first fill-up on the RAV4
    averaged 24 MPG city with a little hwy. mileage.
    Not bad and I expect that may go up a little.
  • lok888lok888 BostonPosts: 1,788
    totalnet - I think we had the last generation of RAV4 for only 5 years (from 97 to 00). And maybe 6 years for Japan when it's debut in Japan in 1996. Was it in 1995 in Japan? Anyway, is Toyota planning to stick with 7 years cycle? I can see what they did on the Sienna, 4Runner and Land Cruiser. On the other hand, they pretty much stick with 4 years cycle on Carmy and Corolla. We even see they debut their new year model 6 months earlier most auto markers, like Sienna, RX330 and current model of Corolla.

    mckee4 - Thanks for sharing this. My wife is planning to trade her Accord for RAV4. She loves the styling and fun to drive. We are not ready to buy yet because I recently bought a SUV. $$$ issue!! But the deals that I've got have been great with very good price and low APR. I think Toyota will put only 20 more power horsepower (16? hp) if they have plan to redesign it, just try to compete with CR-V.
  • totalnettotalnet Posts: 67

    Found out on a RAV4 site that the first gen RAV4 came out in 1994, so my first message about the model year was wrong. I think Toyota does 4 years ccyle on high volumn cars like Camry and Corolla. As much as I like the RAV4, it doesn't sell as much as those two models.
  • ravenousravenous Posts: 13
    Got 27, 30, and 31 MPG from Baton Rouge, LA to Dallas, TX. (2003 RAV 2WD Sport Package, purchased 12/31/02). No complaints there. But I must admit that seat positions/arm rests leave a lot to be desired on a trip of any length. Not something I really paid attention to on the test drive!
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    I've done 10-hour trips in my '01 RAV.
    No comfort problems, even with my tricky back.

    I guess your comfort may vary.
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