I really enjoy driving my RAV4. I use it mostly for short trip driving in town, highway driving,and light off road driving. It handles great, and works well in all weather conditions. I use it for light off road driving, in pastures and meadows for hunting and fishing, and it performs fine. I have the front wheel drive model, and it still gets me around in the outdoors. The ECT Power button is pretty cool, faster acceleration for fun, and more power for towing light trailers, or making it up steeper hills. The reliability is great,and I like the way it looks. Acceleration in town is alright, on the highway it gets the job done, but it seems a little slow. All in all a great little SUV.
ECT button, fuel economy
a little slow accelerating on the highway (ect button helps a little)
Though I believe Toyota is the best car brand on the road, I admit I was still a little bit skeptical about buying a '98 with a little over 100,000 miles but this has definitely been one of the best decisions of my life! The thing I love most about my Rav4 is how safe I feel driving it. Especially for those snowy/rainy days in Ohio; the 4wd gives me so much peace of mind! I travel 60 mi/day for school & in the 8 months I have owned it, I have put over 10,000 miles on the car already. So far, the only expenses has been 3 oil changes & 1 pair of windshield wipers. Toyota dependability holds true with this Rav4! I LOVE THIS CAR! & I will never drive anything but a Toyota again.
5 Speed manual. Recommended - if you find a good one. In my top 30 list out of about 300 vehicles I've driven (owned over 100 of them). Getting 26 mpg highway (60-65 mph), after switching to Amsoil synthetics in engine, tranny, and rear end. Recommend this for long life as well. Very safe - handles well (2 door not so much), ride is surprisingly plush and comfy, great visibility, likes to rev, will run all day 75. My wife and daughter really like it. Mine has 130,000 miles on it now and i think it'll make 250,000 if looked after. Manual tranny is weak link - watch out for grinding gears and 5th slipping out. Expensive repairs unless you're real handy.
Ride, handling, comfy seats, good to high quality materials & workmanship, great engine. Fun to drive - good power in lower gears, likes to rev. Excellent fuel economy - probably 20-30% better than a 4x4 minivan. Uses regular gas. Locking diff nice. ABS desirable option.
Can be small and uncomfortable inside for big people. More power would be good for highway passing - which the later models did have more. Not sure how good the ones after 2005 are - but next generation 2001-04 supposed to be good. 1997 ones have less power (120 hp compared to 127 for 98-2000 models
Absolutely great vehicle. Bought with 112,000 miles- have driven for 1 1/2 years with no problems. Runs like a champ. Plan on giving to daughter to drive 5 years from now. Should easily get another 150,000 on this vehicle.
Handling and ease of parking Great vision out all windows
I have owned the car for 9 years and overall it has been very reliable. However, it has not been without problems. Cons: An emissions sensor had to be replaced at 70k (over $700 repair). The front struts had to be replaced at 75k ($1200 repair). The actuator rod for the driver door remote auto-lock mechanism failed at 80k (It's a $1000 repair). Finally transmission failed at 128k. Overhaul parts and labor put the repair at over $3400. A little underpowered and a little loud at highway speeds. Pros: Better than my Jeep Cherokee in the snow and rain. Comfortable driver position (I am 6'1"), good turning radius and great handling. Fun to drive.
Driver position, roomy and handling.
Suppress noise, increase power, increase fuel tank size.