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Toyota RAV4 pre-2006



  • 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 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 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.
  • 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 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 Posts: 52,571
    Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

    Vans, SUVs and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • 2001rx2001rx 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.
  • 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 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 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.

  • whidbeywhidbey Posts: 6
    I was wondering what everyone thought about the cargo space in the back. I am looking to buy a new vehicle that will carry my two kids (toddler and a new baby) and a 85 & 65 lb labs. The dogs will need to travel in the cargo area, occasionally for hours at a time. We have only done the peek thru the windows and my husband considers it too small for our needs. I am trying to find the "biggest" small car I can. I have been driving a Ford Probe for the last seven years and really want to avoid the mini van route quite yet. They are just too big for me. The RAV4 seems to rate above all others but I'm worried about being too cramped. Thanks
  • gsogymratgsogymrat Posts: 97
    I would not put 2 labs in the cargo area for any length of time. I think one would be okay but 2 is pushing it. I you fold the seats down of course you would have plenty of room.
  • It's true that ABS isn't very available on 2WDs at all but in Socal, it's on every single 4WD version. You may consider that route for the ABS.

  • Here in S.E. Virginia the climate is relatively mild and we rarely see snow. My driving is mainly commuter style and my main need is to transport my road bike. I've been debating the 2wd vs AWD issue for the RAV 4. I wonder if the AWD version would make for a noticeably steadier vehicle during driving in inclement weather? Is the AWD equipment more cumbersome and expensive to maintain other than the slight decrease in gas mileage? In other words for 95% of my driving FWD will suffice but would I be losing an important safety feature by not getting AWD in a RAV 4? Any help or thoughts are appreciated!
  • jnj521jnj521 Posts: 3
    Just an FYI for all 2001 RAV4 Owners. I just got a major problem fixed with my RAV. My check engine light came on about a month ago and I went to my local dealer. They got two weird codes on the computer and reset the computer. 2 weeks later the light came back on. They called their engineers and they have been getting a slew of these calls. They sent a guy from California to my dealership in upstate NY and fixed the problem by doing the following. They replaced the Cat Converter, Fuel injectors, 2 coils, spark plugs and rebuilt the computer. I was insured that this won't happen again. Apparently this was all related to emisions which makes sense. I had no performance troubles, no loss of power, nothing. Toyota was very attentive to this problem. Kudos. They gave me a rough estimate for the repair. Approx BS either. The Cat converter is $768 alone. So word to the wise, if this happens to you get your butt into the dealer for warranty service before warranty runs out. I know I cannot afford a 4-5K repair bill.
  • jnj521jnj521 Posts: 3
    I would remember that the RAV4 even in 4WD models is primarily front wheel drive. Very easy to control in snow and Ice . I have the 4WD model with no ABS. I had no trouble at all in the snow. However I would recommend the ABS if you get 2WD. The RAV is very proportional with weight distribution and very responsive steering and braking. Excellent drive train as well. Downshifts automatically(automatic). I have had mine for 6 months and love it, albeit a small glitch as stated above. Good Luck in your decision. By the way the cargo area of the RAV is very deceitful, I mean you would never think about putting anything large in there. I have transported a water heater in the box and a 36" TV in the box with no troubles.
  • al63017al63017 Posts: 149
    Just bought RAV.Wow what a great vehicle. Aztec Gold with L package,step rails,security,Alum. wheels, etc. sticker about 24,600---got 1300.00 off sticker then traded my 2000 Honda CRV. This is so much more plush and better looking. CRV is great just too plain. Drove 2000 RAV before buying CRV and thought it was terrible--but now 2001 a baby QX4 to me. Almost bought QX4 but decided perm. gas and 15 mpg was not worth it to me for vehicle I did not like any better. They are different vehicles but not enough for me to spend the difference. Only two people traveling in this vehicle so space not a problem. Liked looks of Montero Sport so I have been all over the spectrum on types of vehicles but reviews of sport are too many people that either hate or love them. Seems like Toyota, Honda, Nissan SUV's get almost all positive responses. My Toyota and Honda and Nissan experience with prior vehicles has always been positive. If you are near St. Louts I can give you details. They have 3 or 4 more on lot. Are these things really that hard to find??? I bought mine after seeing it at lunch that same afternoon. Been shopping for a few months so ready to buy. Hardly ever see these---how long have they been out? Really was not even considering this vehicle until I saw this one at lunch and liked to looks so much I checked it out and bought it on the spot. Great, great, great vehicle.
  • merritt4merritt4 Posts: 2
    Re #85 age -- I'm 45 and I think it is perfect.
  • merritt4merritt4 Posts: 2
    Doing a bad thing -- asking three questions at a time. But, oh well.. :) Brakes: Mmy 2001 4wd rav 4 makes an awful sound when the brakes are pushed for a hard stop -- not necessarily a fast stop. Could be going 5 mpg, but push the pedal hard. Grinding/rubbing/sometimes moaning. Toyota said that was "normal" I don't think so -- anyone else have that. Roof Rattle -- interior. I have a sunroof. Toyota fixed a track and the rattle went away for a couple of months. Maybe they didn't fix the right thing? And Cargo Cover -- I need to cover the "valuables" I put in the back cargo area. I've heard Toyota's is mega bucks. Any alternatives. Thanks in advance.
  • dmajdmaj Posts: 1
    Re: #36 & #37 msgs. I also have a deafening wind noise in my new 2001 2wd automatic. I have a roof rack and have adjusted the bars, with no luck. This is really loud. I've only had it the rav4 a couple of days, and I like everything else, but this noise is awful.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    You say you adjusted the roof rack bars. I'm not sure what you meant.
    Did you check that the arrows on the bars are pointing toward the front? Others have had excessive noise due to backwards installation of the crossbars.
    I had the roof rack (sold it - didn't want to buy it in the first place), but I noticed no wind noise while I had it on the vehicle.
    Good luck. ejp
  • bumper4bumper4 Posts: 4
    Someone mentioned a alder person does not look right in a Rav4. Nonsense. I saw a woman at least 80 yr old driving one and she looked great. My friend is 72 yr old and drives a standard and loves it. What next, a young person not driving a Cadillac? I am thinking about buying soon and wonder about the standard transmission performance on the Rav4. Could someone enlighten me on this? I now drive a Honda Accord and a Mr2, both being standard. My wife likes to drive both cars. Oh, by the way I am 70 and my wife is 68. I hope we look good driving the Rav4.
  • wallywyowallywyo Posts: 3
    My 96 RAV4 has developed a squeaky in the back door. It seems to only do it when it was cool or wet. As the day warms up, the squeak seems to go away. Any ideas?
  • al63017al63017 Posts: 149
    Just bought 2001 that had factory install. This was the first RAV that I looked at and bought it on the spot. Looked at some others after I bought this one to just see other colors and found some that did not have the step rails on the side and realized what a difference that makes. It is a totally different looking car with those chrome side step rails. I doubt that I would have bought the car or looked at them but those really caught my eye and really change the appearance. Sure this is not for everyone and it is a bit pricey but never, never would have thought it would have made such a difference to me at least.
  • rtorresrtorres Posts: 1
    Is anybody experiencing whistling noise coming from the sunroof.... and is this normal?
    2001 L package the vehicle.... can put up with the noise if I have to. Heard that the luggage rack will make noise but that doesn't seem to be in my case.... just the sunroof.
    please respond if same case..... thanks
  • argo77argo77 Posts: 3
    I'm thinking of adding step bars to my RAV4. I would appreciate any input on whether they hinder entry/exit in any way.
  • al63017al63017 Posts: 149
    I got the factory installed ones and they really added a bunch to the appearance of the vehicle. In fact that may have been what attracted me initially to the vehicle.

    I hit my pant leg every time I get in and out. I have since learned to step on the bar with my heel when getting out first and then step down. It is a bit to get used to but in bad weather it will be a necessity. If it is ice or snow it may be a bit hazardous to step on this first. So yes they do make getting in and out different but I like the appearance look enough to put up with it. By the way I would suggest something like the factory ones with all the chrome they add a nice touch. If gals are trying to do this with heels forget it, it is not worth slipping on them. If you wash your own car it makes it much easier to step on these and get to the roof. But I did run out of places to step as I got to the back of the roof so watch it.
  • bumper4bumper4 Posts: 4
    I will buy a new Rav4 soon and cannot make up my mind to whether to buy a Standard or sautomatic. Can a few of you who have one or the other give me some insight on the performance of both. I have driven the automatic but am not able to find a standard locally. Many thanks in advance. Bumper4
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    bumper4, post #120

    I bought the '01 RAV4 with the auto trans. I've had manuals before, but no longer want to deal with a lot of shifting in traffic. The new RAV auto trans is pretty sophisticated. I am impressed. I lock out the overdrive when I need to make a high-speed merge onto an Interstate. Other than that, I just let the tranny do its thing, and I am satisfied with the response. And the auto trans EPA mpg is rated slightly higher than the manual. After 5,000 miles, I am getting 25 mpUSg with 4WD in mixed suburban/highway driving, using regular gas.
    Good luck in your choice.
  • savvy4savvy4 Posts: 34
    My wife and I purchased the new 2001 RAV in Feb. of this year to replace her '95 Nissan Sentra. The new RAV is her daily driver, but I like it so much (I'm a 31-yr.-old big guy who's not embarassed about driving it, either), I drive it every chance I can! We managed to get a 2wd L package with a manual transmission, white ext./tan interior for $19,400...$300 over invoice. We had to drive 3 hrs. west to IA City, IA to get it, though. It was the only 2wd manual L-package RAV in our entire tri-state area (N.IL, S.WI, E.IA) at the time. Toyota has been sending our local dealers 4wd L-package automatics, primarily, and not much RAV quantity in general.

    I test-drove the auto 4wd and wasn't impressed with the inline acceleration for passing and overall highway driving, but it wasn't too bad. But, I place a premium on MAX performance and 90% of my daily drivers have been manual trannies in the past (I've owned 6 different Japanese "daily drivers" since '88, two of them from "premium" divisions). If you put any emphasis on performance at all and want every bit you can get out of your 4-cyl. motor while simultaneously getting decent fuel mileage, then the ONLY way to go is with a manual transmission. Larger 6's and 8's are better motor choices coupled to auto trannies. But, it depends on your needs. If I were purchasing a new RAV for primarily in-town usage, then the auto trans would suffice, especially if you're doing tons of stop-n-go driving. If you plan on commuting and do a lot of hwy driving, get the manual. Someone mentioned the auto trans got better cows fly? I don't think so. The new RAV in the 2wd manual trans config is the highest-mileage RAV there is; it's rated for 31mpg on the hwy. I haven't done an "official" mileage test on ours yet, but it's just broken in with only 1900 miles on it and seems to be getting outstanding mileage.

    Now...2wd vs. 4wd. I thought that subject was dead. Remember, the 2wd RAV is front-wheel-drive, and fwd's get great winter traction. If they didn't, then why would the majority of new cars have fwd? I lived in MT for nearly 4yrs. I was the first one to my local ski area after a large snowfall every time. I owned a '90 CRX at the time, fwd manual, of course. How'd I do it in the deep snow? Very carefully, a manual transmission, and winter tires. If you get a 2wd RAV and purchase a set of Bridgestone Winter Dueler tires (and another set of wheels would help so you could unbolt your factory tires/wheels and bolt on your winter set in a jiffy) to be used for your winter months, nothing will stop you. Everything, anything, and all possible things about winter, summer and all-season tires for cars and trucks are found at <>, the source for all tire knowledge. Don't work for 'em, don't know 'em, but I've purchased my last 8 sets of tires from them and a winter tire/wheel set that I've used for the past two seasons on my '96 G20. I got a nice set of OZ-brand aluminum 6-spoke wheels with Bridgestone MZ-02 winter tires mounted, balanced, and delivered to my doorstep via UPS for about $575. What's your life worth to you? If you want MAX winter driving safety, how come you haven't purchased winter tires yet? YES, they're that good. Do you wear your Birkenstock sandals year-round, even in the snow? Sure, they're great summer shoes, but they don't belong in a winter environment. So, why should you expect your "summer" tires to suffice in the winter? Oh yea, you have all-season tires, meant to be used all year round. Well, I thought all-season tires were cool until I found out about winter tires. All-season tires are like a jack of all trades. A jack of all trades is a master of none. They're meant to be used in all seasons, but they're never good or outstanding in any one season. I know people say they're tires are "good enough" for them. Well, that's fine. But, don't knock winter tires until you try 'em. Once you try them, you'll never want to use your "all-season" tires in the winter again.

    Wow, what a book...sorry. My reasoning is our RAV will rarely, if ever, leave the pavement. I rather go with the mechanical simplicity of the 2wd RAV (which also gets better gas mileage than the 4wd) and spend the $600 or so to get the winter tire/wheel set from the Tire Rack this fall instead of paying the $1000-$1100 premium for the 4wd option. The 2wd (front wheel drive) RAV is probably the best choice for most drivers in most situations. Besides, if you're into real off-roading (which requires 4wd), you should be looking for a 4-Runner or a Land Bruiser instead of a car-like RAV.

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