The Toyota RAV4 is classified as a sport utility vehicle and is manufactured by Japanese carmaker Toyota. The RAV4 was the first compact crossover SUV from this company, first put on the market in 1994 in Japan and Europe and came to North America in 1995. This SUV was originally designed for those who wanted came with the benefits of an SUV, including lots of cargo space as well as higher visibility and easy maneuverability while still maintaining a reasonable fuel economy. While not all of these vehicles are designed with 4-wheel drive, this vehicle’s name stands for Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel drive.
The RAV4 is currently the only compact SUV or crossover to be offered by Toyota. Toyota has offered the RAV4 in short and long wheelbase models since 2006. The short wheelbase versions of the RAV4 are sold only in Europe and Japan, and the long wheel base models are available in Australia as well as North America. The XA10 is the first generation model of the RAV4 with a platform that is based on that of the Corolla and available in 2-door and 4-door versions. When the XA10 was launched, both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive were available, and it could be purchased with either a 4-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission.
The RAV4 EV is an all-electric vehicle with a plug-in design and a variant of the RAV4. This vehicle was first produced in 1997 and lasted until 2003. There was a zero-emissions model of this vehicle which was offered for only seven months in 2002 in certain parts of California and was powered by a highly sophisticated NiMH battery pack which was capable of storing 27 Kw H. The RAV4 EV is able to travel up to 193 km or 120 miles before it needs to be charged again and originally came with a 97,000 km or 60,000 miles battery warranty.
The XA20 model of the RAV4 went on sale in 2000 and was available as the Edge (base model) and Cruiser models (higher-end) with both 3 and 5-door configurations. The primary difference between these two vehicles was their exterior appearance. While Edge models had unpainted grey bumpers as well as side cladding and steel rims, the Cruiser models had body-colored bumpers and moldings along with allow wheels and ABS brakes. With all of the additional features that the Cruise models offer, it is a clear that this version is the higher end one.
The XA30 model was a completely redesigned version of RAV4 with a completely different platform that was initially introduced to the public in 2005 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The new RAV4 comes with an Electric Power Steering or EPS system. The third generation of this vehicle is available in three different versions, including short or long wheelbase models. The short-wheelbase models of this car are available only in Europe, Japan, and New Zealand. There is also the extended-length RAV4 which is sold with the Toyota Vanguard, though it has a heavily revised front-end as well as a revised grill and headlamps.
The Japanese versions of these models went on sale in 2005 at Toyota NETZ dealers. The three-door version of the RAV4 was discontinued, starting with the 2007 model. This meant that Toyota no longer had a mini-SUV until 2009 when the Toyota Urban Cruiser was released in Europe and North America. The RAV4 received a mid-cycle refresh in 2008 for the 2009 model, featuring a variety of changes, including a redesigned front end as well as a brand new 4-cylinder engine and a somewhat different rear end.