I've loved this car, mostly because it's just the right size for me. I can pack up half of my belongings and drive across the country (which I have to do occasionally because of my job), but I don't feel like I'm driving a tank around the city. I also feel confident that I'm not going to be stuck on the side of the road in the desert. The lack of power is a problem. Accelerating onto the freeway can be a little scary. Driving through the Rocky Mountains, I've felt like I might start rolling backward. Turning radius is amazing, though. My husband, who is very tall, thinks it's horribly uncomfortable to either ride or drive, especially over long distances.
Purchased my RAV4 brand new. Check engine light was on after about one year. Catalytic conv or O2 sensors were always said to be the reason. At 100,000K it started to slip between 2nd and 3rd gear. Causes major issues! I just received something from Toyota saying that they will reprogram my ECM for no charge now, but unfortunately for me, this defect already ruined my transmission. Do not even think about purchasing a 2001-2002 RAV4 unless you have several thousand extra dollars to replace a transmission and ECM (avg.$4K). Trust me!!
I bought Toyota because I bought into the "foreign cars mean higher quality" marketing. I'm not so sure anymore. This is a major issue for me in a not- so-stable economy. I will not purchase another Toyota.
An overall good vehicle. Disappointed with Toyota's decline in quality. Not what it was 10-15 years ago. Had no major problems just small ones. The power door locks went out around 50k miles. Hatch door latch pin broke. Weather stripping pulled loose on window. Very noisy engine. Gets good gas mileage if you are on top of pre-maintenance.
Sleek styling. Good in snow. Drives like a car w/SUV features. Gas mileage.
Needs a rear hatch door that opens up. Improve on seating comfort.
Loved this car at first, started getting a lot of wind noise, and noise from rear, had it looked at, but found nothing. Now, with only 120,000 miles on it, it started slipping. Had it checked and transmission is gone, of course it's past warranty, plus the ECM (engine control module) would also need to be replaced, costing me $4,800.00.
I'm very displeased with the quality of this vehicle. I had numerous small problems that required several trips to the dealership, plus at only 60K, the AC compressor needs to be replaced (not covered by the warrenty). That and the fact that it is extremely underpowered, very noisy on the highway, and the back seats are very difficult to take in and out. It is very good on gas, rides and handles great in the city and has ample cargo room.
I give the Rav-4 raves for the interior cargo capacity. People have been amazed at what I can fit in the back with the seats removed. That and great gas mileage.
Most addressed in the 2007 update with a V6 option, more room, and fold flat seats.