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Car reviews - Toyota - RAV4 - 5-dr wagon

Overview

Toyota logo23 Aug 1995

TRULY one of the most influential vehicles of the modern era, the original RAV4 ushered in the car-based sport-utility vehicle (SUV). Toyota's recipe was brilliantly simple. The constant all-wheel drive Toyota (none of the front-wheel drive-only variants sold abroad were officially imported) eschewed the traditional 4WD practice of a separate chassis for a car-like monocoque body construction, but without losing the typical 4WD height, ground clearance and off-road look. Underneath it was part Camry (engine, some driveline components) and part Celica GT4 (suspension), with plenty of Corolla bits thrown in as well. With the resulting economy, handling, braking and weight benefits, the RAV4 soon enjoyed critical and commercial success, spurring on many other major manufacturers to the party. By June ’95 there was the RAV4 five-door (SXA11R), addressing the rear passenger and cargo area space issues. Its wheelbase and length increased significantly, making it a full five-seater. The 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.
Model release date: 1 July 1995 to 1 September 2000

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