I actually own 2 1997 RAV4's. These cars have been very economical and no problem mechanically. I am in the mountains of North Idaho where there is lots of snow and ice. They perform very well on all-season tires. I am now looking for a third RAV4 and I will pass the older model off to another child of mine.
One less thing to worry about with our daughter away from home at college. The RAV just does not fail. Other than standard brakes/oil/tires, no repairs in 84000 miles. Paint stays rust free, shines with a wax job. Not going to light em up at the raceway, but will always get there.
Fun to drive, goes in rain and snow, and has an "attitude" that fits the 20 year old driver.
Less spartan interior. Solid performance does not have to include bare plastics and little sound deadening.
Purchased the RAV new in 1997. Had the brakes replaced twice, timing belt once as routine and nothing else besides ongoing maintenance. Drives beautifully in all weather conditions. I'm a small person (5"2") and love the way I can see and maneuver in this SUV. Gas mileage is great. At over 208,000 miles, it continues to be quiet, smooth and very dependable. I will drive it until it dies! I'd purchase another RAV in a heartbeat.
Overall size and comfortable seating. Versatility when back seats are moved for hauling small loads. Fun to drive!
Easy on gas, fun to drive, roomy, sporty
and everything (almost) works well.
What's not to love? Even the paint looks
great after 8 years (and no garage). I
had a dead battery once, big deal. The
biggest problem I have had were lame
brain other drivers bumping into me in
parking lots. The doors had bad problems
with not wanting to open in the winter
and one door lock stopped working
altogether one summer (had to operate on
it and fixed it). If that hadn't
happened, I would have kept this car for
ever. However, I am buying another one,
so that shows you how much the positives
outweigh the negatives.
Reliable as an old red tractor. Starts
in the winter and handles well.
Comfortable for long trips and the gas
milage is great (26 city, 30 highway).
The doors have bad ju-ju. Freeze in the
winter. One one of the locks just
stopped working. No one can fix this for
less than $1000. The center console is
uncomfortable and the top fell off.