1999 Toyota RAV4 SUV Review | Edmunds.com

1999 Toyota RAV4 SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Toyota RAV4 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 127 hp @ 5400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 1999 Toyota RAV4

  • Info is not yet available.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Unique styling, pleasant on-road manners, and a long option list for personalizing your RAV4.

  • Cons

    Anemic power reduces its otherwise capable off-road/people hauling ability.

  • What's New for 1999

    Leather seats and color-keyed body cladding are now available as part of the "L Special Edition" package. Color-keyed mirrors and door handles can also be had this year and the spare tire is now a full-size steel wheel with a soft cover.

Full 1999 Toyota RAV4 Review

What's New for 1999

Leather seats and color-keyed body cladding are now available as part of the "L Special Edition" package. Color-keyed mirrors and door handles can also be had this year and the spare tire is now a full-size steel wheel with a soft cover.


The mini-SUV business continues to grow with more manufacturers jumping into the fray every year. Largely comprised of car-based AWD vehicles, this new market will gain even more entrants soon as Ford, Land Rover, and Mercedes introduce small trucklets to the US. One of the early players in the game was Toyota, which recognized this potential boom early on and jumped into the action in 1996 with the RAV4.

A 2.0-liter, 120-horsepower engine hooked to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission powers the front or all four wheels of the different RAV4 models. All-wheel drive models use powertrain components from the now-defunct Celica All-Trac. Four-wheel antilock brakes are optional on all RAV4s. Minimum ground clearance is 7.5 inches on the four-door models; two-door RAV4s get .2 additional inches of clearance.

The RAV4 is an adequate around town driver, handling more like the car from which its platform is derived than a traditional SUV. Power is on the low side, however; the 120-horsepower engine works hard to drag this mini-ute up even small hills. The interior is not a bad place to spend time, offering fairly comfortable seating for four adults in the four-door models. The cargo area of the four-door is larger than one would expect, too, offering more room behind the rear seat than a Ford Crown Victoria. Two-door models are fine for singles or couples without children. The rear seat is tiny, and less than 10 cubic feet of cargo volume is available with the back seat up. On the plus side, Toyota does offer the RAV4 in convertible form while Honda's CR-V only comes with a hardtop.

We are fond of the RAV4, but there are a number of choices in this growing segment and we can't help but think that the more refined and powerful Honda CR-V might offer shoppers more of what they are looking for in a small truck: power, utility, and value.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Great compact suv

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Vehicle: 1998 Toyota RAV4

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.

A true statement of toyota

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Vehicle: 1998 Toyota RAV4

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.

A winner as used 4x4

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Vehicle: 1998 Toyota RAV4

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.

Great vehicle

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Vehicle: 1998 Toyota RAV4

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.

Great car but...

by on
Vehicle: 1998 Toyota RAV4

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.

My purple tortoise

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Vehicle: 1998 Toyota RAV4

I've had my '98 RAV4 since 2004. It's ridiculously reliable...no repairs needed, just maintenance and it's got over 130,000 miles on it. My only real gripe about the car is the mileage. I'm surprised to read several reviews that praise it's mileage! For a 4-cylinder that has zero power, I am disappointed that it only gets 18mpg. I would have expected more. The cupholders are also not really usable. Not in a good location or capable of holding tall cups w/o spilling. Don't get me wrong...I love my RAV. It gets me from A to B with no problems. Knock on wood!

Talk About The 1999 RAV4

1999 Toyota RAV4 Discussions See all Started By

I have to recharge the battery of my 1999 Toyota RAV4 when I haven't driven it for a few days. The battery is not that old. How do I check if it's the alternator or another problem please?...

My first post here, We are looking into buying our first SUV. Although, I would like to get the MDX because I really like it, but at this time we can't afford it. So we are thinking of the Rav4 used....

Planning to buy Rav4, 1999 with 42K miles. Looks okie. Seller wants $8900, as i never bought any car before. Pls help me to shower some light....

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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