Toyota / RAV4 / Cruiser 5-dr wagon
IT’S not hard to see why Toyota’s RAV4 remains the small SUV to beat.
Its tenacious hold on the soft-road market is due to its virtually perfect understanding of the needs of small SUV buyers.
It’s not so big that it’s intimidating, yet it has ample space for at least four full-size adults, as well as the elevated driving position many people have come to prefer.
It’s a handy small wagon that is reasonably economical – and it offers the promise of journeying to remote, faraway destinations not available to regular two-wheel drive vehicles.
Unlike its main competition, it offers a 4WD system that works for you at all times – on dry roads, wet roads and unsealed roads – adding that extra margin of security that can sometimes make all the difference.
Model release dates: October 2003 - January 2006
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ONE of the most influential vehicles of the modern era, the original RAV4 three-door, circa July 1994, ushered in the car-based sport-utility vehicle (SUV).
Underneath it was part Camry (engine, some driveline components) and part Celica GT4 (suspension), with plenty of Corolla bits thrown in as well.
By June 1995 there was the longer-wheelbase RAV4 five-door (SXA11R), while a Series II model from November 1997 added equipment, safety, refinement and engine efficiency, seeing the segment-defining Toyota through to its impressive second generation iteration of 2000.
The 2.4-litre RAV4 tested here is the first facelift of the successful second generation.
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a New RAV4
$30,590GX 2WD (a)
$35,390GXL 2WD (a)
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Philips Motor Monthly
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