I am writing this review as I await the salvage yard to take my dear RAV4 away from me after five great years of service following a REC.
The number one thing to recommend this car to any potential buyers on the used market is that I drove this car on several camping trips ranging from Georgia to Rhode Island and never had a problem or worried that I may encounter one.
I honestly believe this car was the best city car ever made.
Its ability to maneuver through Philly while surviving the rigors of neglected streets was astounding.
The two problems that I had with the car were this: 1.-The engine is incredibly weak, even with a manual transmission.
2.-No room for adults in the back seat.
Peppy engine in lower gears
Very safe and predictable handling
Locking differential option:
Available only on the 2000 year model with 4-wheel drive with the manual transmission.
It enables you to switch the drivetrain from All-wheel drive (where each wheel operates independently based on road conditions [more power may go to the left front wheel or the rear right wheel, etc.]) to full 4-wheel drive (where all wheels drive at the exact same speed).
If you can find that model, which was only made for 6 months in the 1st half of 2000, you will not regret buying it.
Just remember it is a car with some SUV qualities.
It is not an SUV.
That is why I loved it.
Not enough space for passengers in back seat.
Hideous interior if you don't get leather.
I had the leather seats and all black interior and I loved it.
But when I was originally looking I wrote off the RAV4 because the cloth interior was so ugly.
Typical Japanese Import:
Poor body integrity
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