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  • 2006 Toyota RAV4
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A compact crossover SUV introduced in Japan in 1994 and Europe and North America in 1996 the Toyota RAV4 was meant to catter to consumers who wanted a vehicle that had facilities such as increased cargo room, a higher visibility, the option of four wheel drive along with the maneuverability and fuel economy of a smaller car. The huge success of RAV4 made the Toyota Motor Corporation build and mark other compact SUV’s such as the Honda CR-V, the Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute and the Subaru Forester.

First Generation

The first generation of the RAV4 was a two and four-door version. This car generation combined advantages of a sport-utility with the manageable size and drivability. The car could be had with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

In 1998 the US market made available a restyled RAV4 with the front and rear fascias, and a soft-top two-door. One year later the two-door hard-top was dropped leaving the four-door and soft-top models. In this way the Toyota RAV4 of the 90’s combined the sporty good looks with a convenient size and an economical engine.

Second Generation

In 2001 a second generation RAV4 was presented in a single trim level with front or all wheel drive. The European’s and Asian’s preferred the two-door RAV4 whereas the American’s were offered only a four-door model with a 2.0L I4 engine producing 148 hp. All RAV4’s had 16-inches wheels, anti-lock brakes, stability control, air conditioning, height adjustable, driver’s seat cruise control, a CD stereo, power windows, mirrors and heated seats. In 2004 the RAV4 was the best selling compact SUV because it was restyled having a 2.4L I4 engine delivering 161 hp. In 2006, the Toyota Motor Corporation redesigned the RAV4 into a fully functional crossover SUV. The engine produces now 166 hp. It also includes a new 3.5L V6 engine from the Toyota Avalon making the car unique to North America.

Third Generation

This third generation has a third row-seat for two small children but available for the US and Canada only. The RAV4 can be available in front wheel drive or four wheel drive only in North America, most countries selling the four wheel drive version. The Asian and European markets offer the 3rd generation RAV4 built on two wheelbases whereas the long-wheelbase for the North America market. The wheelbase stretches from 101 inches to 173 inches and width expands to 71.5 inches. The cabin has fewer hard plastics, the rear seats slide back and forth 6.5 inches allowing passenger space or cargo capacity to be optimized. The suspension system is redesigned in such a way to enable a good balance between control and comfort.


The four-door Toyota RAV4 is offered in three-trim levels: base, Sport and Limited, giving the buyers a wide area of choices, depending on their tastes. The base trim include 16 inch wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, a CD stereo, power windows, mirrors and locks. The RAV4 Sport has 18-inch alloy wheels with wider tires, a sport-tuned suspension, color keyed overfenders and a roof rack. The top-line Limited is styled with 17-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver seat and a six-disc CD changer. The buyers can make options. Those who have a Sport or Limited Toyota RAV4 can be offered a third-row seat or a moonroof, or a DVD-based rear system for Limited only. Add to that the fact that the four wheel drive system automatically sends torque to the rear wheels when a loss of traction is detected. The automatic transmission is standard. The V6 RAV4 can tug 3,500 pounds when equipped with the optional towing package.

Regarding safety Toyota’s VSC has a stability control system and traction control given by the four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes which are standard. What is more RAV4’s with 4WD are equipped with Hill-start Assist Control and Downhill Assist Control. Side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags can be optional.

Inside the car, all controls are simple to use. The overall feel is upscale, with less hard plastic. These are electroluminescent gauges like a Lexus’ and an illuminated cupholder. To get a flat load floor one has to flip a lever. Due to its flat load floor, the RAV4 can hold a maximum of 73 cubic feet of cargo.

Perfectly adequate on pavement, the 2006 Toyota RAV4 really belongs to this environment. It has become the nicest riding, the most powerful and technologically advanced SUV on the car markets.

What do you think?
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  (2) posted on 11.29.2008


  (6023) posted on 04.13.2006

I don’t think that a V6 could have only 91.2 Mph top speed when the 2.0 litres engine has nearly 113 Mph. What do you think about this?

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