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Toyota RAV4 pre-2006



  • gogiboygogiboy Posts: 732
    My wife and I ordered ordered a Rav4 back in early March. At the time we were also ready to purchase an available Rav4 that was equipped with leather seats, but it was sold before we could get it. I asked the dealer about the longevity of the leather seats (having also owned only cloth and vinyl seats). I also pointed out that 1991-94 MR2s similar to mine, but equipped with leather seats that the driver's seat always looked terrible --especially compared to my cloth seats. Naturally the dealer said that the leather seats are much improved in the last 10-12 years (which may be true).

    Like dowen, we have two dogs and I just don't believe that the leather will hold up as well and I would expect that leather will require more upkeep to preserve the appearance. Bottom line is that it's $600 more for leather and it isn't likely to be anymore comfortable than cloth, but for many it is worth the extra expense and labor. Unlike most luxury vehicles most buyers won't expect the Rav4 to be equipped with leather should you decide to resell it at some point.

    Heated seats might be worthwhile, particularly up north, but we live in the south so refrigerated seats would be preferable for a larger part of the year.
  • ravnbikeravnbike Posts: 4
    Pass on the leather.

    Have had leather seats and cannot understand why anyone would want them. In my opinion leather seats are a worthless down-grade. Why pay extra to get seats that are hot/sweaty in the summer, cold in the winter, slippery and will crack in a few years if not cared for properly. Also the dogs will have a hard time staying in place and slide around on the seats.
  • Subarua Forester XT? It is THE sleeper off the year to say the least. 0-60 in less than 6 seconds with a 5 speed.
  • rblelandrbleland Posts: 312
    I'm not trying to answer for lbmcc, but in Jan 04 I got the RAV4 over the Forester XT. Not everyone cares about 0-60 in 5.3 secs w a 4000 rpm clutch-drop. The XT was admittedly very nice but was a lot more money than the RAV, requires premium gas, my spouse dislikes the bland Forester looks and, bottom line, I didn't need as much vehicle for a second car as the Forester offered. I have had 2 Subies previously and would say they are not quite as reliable as Toyotas generally.
  • lbmcclbmcc Posts: 15
    My wife did not like the Forester "look". We briefly considered the Outback. O-60 in ~6 seconds was not a variable in our car search equation. Toyota reliability and safety (espicially with the side impact airbags) were huge for us.
       She loves the vehicle. We have no regrets.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    You should be able to find a fix at an inactive posting site (which is why I can tell you about it here without breaking the rules),

    The guy who runs the site is burnt out after about 7 years, so it is on hiatus, maybe never to return.
    But you should still be able to use the search feature there for previous posts, for a little while longer.

    Some guy posted a pretty thorough do-it-yourself fix for the infamous dash rattle. I didn't have the rattle (except one time!), so I never needed a fix, and can't personally vouch for its effectiveness. However, feedback was that the DIY fix really worked.

    Good luck. Hope it saves your sanity.
  • mngtconmngtcon Posts: 7
    I've been told by a Southern California dealer, that RAV4's are not available with the side airbag option here in Southern California. Can anyone else confirm this?

    If true, are they available in Northern California with side impact airbags?

    He also went on to say factory leather was not an option in this area as well. Is this also true?

    My one reservation with the Rav (as well as any other smaller car) is the safety aspect. I have a toddler so I'm concerned about the thought of a side impact.

  • I have purchased Toyotas for the past 30 years in the Buffalo area. Here is how I would rate dealerships for best deal price, service, and courtesy:

    1. Northtown Toyota
    2. Culligan Toyota
    3. West-Herr Toyota
    4. Zigrossi Toyota
    5. Gambino Toyota

    I purchased my 2004 Toyota RAV4 L loaded for $225.00 over dealership cost.
  • gogiboygogiboy Posts: 732
    I can't comment on getting a Rav4 with side airbags in California, but I have some experience here in the southern midwest (OK). We ended up special ordering a a Rav4 through Gulf States Toyota, which covers (OK, TX, AR, MS and LA).

    My dealer did a check to see what was available in the 5 state region and found exactly 0 (zero) Ravs listed on any lot that were equipped with the side airbag, except for one which was special ordered for a customer last fall.

    This begs the question: why doesn't Toyota feel this is a necessary option--or more accurately why the distributors that order the vehicles equipped with "desirable" options don't seem to package the side airbags with other options more regularly.

    It would seem logical that Toyota would want to be competitive with the Honda CRV on this safety issue although only the CRV EX comes equipped with side airbags. It would be interesting to know how many contributors to this site have any info about availability of side airbags in their own regions.
  • mngtconmngtcon Posts: 7
    I am answering my question here . . . no RAV4s in Northern or Southern California with side curtain airbags. Northern Ca does have factory leather, however.

    I was also told, even if the option was available, these side airbags are more like small pillows, as opposed to a side curtain, so I'm not confident they would be effective in a more serious accident.

    Despite this, I may still get it.

    Best deal so far without really haggling has been $1100 under invoice regardless of options and trim (which includes the $1000 customer rebate promotion going on through 5/3/04). Seems like a good starting point. These dealers must have more room to come down (even at $100 under invoice without factoring in the $1000 rebate).

    Anyone else have a recent purchase experience to share.
  • nerpnerp Posts: 2
    Is the 2004 model year for RAV's over soon? We bought a new model last week, and there was a $750 rebate. We also got a more than expected on the trade. In retrospect, it felt like they wanted to move a lot of cars to make room for newer models. BTW, we started the negotiation at invoice + $500, and it then dropped to invoice - 250 after the rebate was factored in. Love the car, although it rained here this morning, so now it's had its first drive in the wet :o(
  • My 2003 RAV4 L has been back four times for the infamous "rattle". The last visit finally corrected the problem. Toyota has issued three different TSB's (technical service bulletins) that cover three different areas under the cowl.
    The creaking sound in the winter (if you live in a climate that gets below 32 degrees F) is the first one you will notice. This is the easiest to correct since it involves the glass. The other two TSB's are for the center of the dash and to the right of the dash.

    Let me tell everyone, that at least 98% of the 2001 thru 2004 will encounter one of the three rattles if not all of them. Toyota service techs, service writers and managers know of this problem. It just takes time to get all the rattles fixed.
  • Paulcudlip . Was your $225 over dealer cost based on invoice, invoice plus TDA, or some other source like Consumer Reports (the report that costs $12.00 that they say tells you everything) I have been to Northtown and Basil (in Lockport) so far but have not purchased yet. Can you recommend any one at Northtown. They seem very professional and I like the layout.
  • moridinmoridin Posts: 3

    good site. went to pep boys on the weekend to buy the parts needed and it wasnt more then $10. ill post again later when i try it for myself.

  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    Just comparing maintenance schedules on the net, it says every 30,000 to change coolant and spark plugs on rav4s. Isn't that a little soon? On the Chevrolet Equinox the spark plugs are good for 100K and the coolant is good for 150K.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    My '01 Scheduled Maintenance Guide shows coolant at 30k miles, but the plugs aren't due until 120k.
    (It also shows Echo due for a plug change every 30k, and 60k for the Camry and Sienna).

    Dunno if they changed the recommended intervals since '01.
  • aberaber Posts: 3
    Here's a follow up on my question...
    It sounded like it's possible to get a vehicle at or just above invoice (including destination charge). After finding that all dealerships have the same RAV4s with nearly the same options, I did some calling around and talked to the fleet managers getting price quotes (actually, I found an article in my AAA periodical that listed fleet manager working with AAA providing a "no hassle zone", and it happens to list special numbers to call which the fleet managers answer).
    Anyway, in the San Fransisco bay area, seems all the fleet manager quoted me between $300-$600 over invoice, and claimed that there was a $300 charge for advertising that had to be added on. I finally talked to a dealership that I had to drive over an hour to get to, and he quoted me $100 UNDER invoice (no advertising fee), and eventually said he'd give it to me for $200 under invoice since I was driving so far.
    I've had it a week now, and am real happy I spent the hour+ drive each way to save $500!
  • Has anyone noticed a lot of wind noise with the rav4 interior? I only 'recently' (2-3 months ago) began to drive on the highway and I noticed it was somewhat noisy.. and I felt like I was being pushed around when the wind picked up outside.
  • wsommarivawsommariva Posts: 157
    I have noticed no wind noise in my 2004.
  • rblelandrbleland Posts: 312
    Ditto the above - I notice no wind and little road noise in my '04 RAV; in fact, I am a lillle surprised at how quiet it is for its smaller size and short w/base.
  • Same here... I've had my Rav4 for 5 weeks now and I love how much quieter it is compared to my old Ford.
  • rblelandrbleland Posts: 312
    ....change your handle as you are no longer "undecided". LOL..;>)
  • wsommarivawsommariva Posts: 157
    My low tire pressure warning light came on. However, all my tires are properly inflated. Any ideas? I did reset the light and it went out and has stayed out - so far.

    Thanks in advance
  • rblelandrbleland Posts: 312
    I would do what you just did and see if it happens again. Probably won't but if it did, since the car is new, I might then ask the dealer's service shop about it.
  • wsommarivawsommariva Posts: 157
    I'm not too concerned. Next time in I'll have them fix it (if it happens again). How does it work, any ideas?
  • ravnbikeravnbike Posts: 4
    The tire pressure warning system is unreliable at best. It works by using the ABS speed sensors and looks for a wheel turning slower than the others.
  • wsommarivawsommariva Posts: 157
    If I spun my front wheels would that cause a false light?
  • No noise? I wonder if something is wrong with my RAV then.. it's hit the 6 month mark, I should probably take it in to check it out.

    I mostly notice the noise because it muffles my music and I have to turn it up.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    When the '01 RAVs first came out, there were a lot of people complaining of wind noise who found the crossbars on their roof racks were installed backwards by the dealers. Reversing the crossbars, with the arrows properly pointing forward, did the trick.

    Good luck.
  • dowendowen Posts: 14
    Did you check your spare ?? I was told by a salesman that this sometime happens. All your tires on the ground check out OK but the spare may be low.
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