2005 Toyota RAV4 SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2005 Toyota RAV4 SUV

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Toyota RAV4 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 161 hp @ 5700 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2005 Toyota RAV4

  • With ample power under the hood, nimble handling on the street and a generous standard features list, the 2005 Toyota RAV4 is a worthy adversary for mini-utes like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Steers and handles like a car, thoughtful cabin design, exemplary build and materials quality, ABS and stability control standard, refined and fuel-efficient engine.

  • Cons

    Somewhat cramped interior, high repair costs in low-speed rear collisions, not much off-road ability.

  • What's New for 2005

    The JBL 3-in-1 audio system has been discontinued, and the sport package receives a unique metal mesh grille and silver sport pedals.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (24 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

Break failure

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Vehicle: 2005 Toyota RAV4 AWD 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

My wife bought the 2005 Rav4 4 years ago, and has had to replace the rear breaks 3 times, going on four now. Everything else about the car she loves, but the constant issue with the rear breaks is causing us to sell. In their infinite wisdom, Toyota cheaped out on the rear breaks making them disk breaks, not drum breaks which they should be. We live in northern Vermont, 3 mile up a gravel road and my wife has to drive over a mountain pass everyday driving to work. Needless to say, we need working breaks, and the Rav4 has not provided it. The dealership has worked with us a little bit, but we still have speny about $2000 over the past 4 years on breaks alone. Very disappointed Rav4 owners!

"almost" perfect....

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Vehicle: 2005 Toyota RAV4 AWD 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

Not very comfortable for driver on long drives. Vehicle is listed at 21mpg city and 28mpg highway. After the first year my mpg went down to 18 city and 25 highway. I can barely get 280 miles from a tank of gas in the city. Dealership says nothing wrong. (dealerships are all rip-offs) Exhaust has a rattle at low rpm's. Other than that, I love this car. After 3.5 years and 37000 miles, it has needed NO repairs other than scheduled maintenance. The most reliable car I've ever owned.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

My dream car

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Vehicle: 2005 Toyota RAV4 AWD 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

I love my RAV4. This car is great to drive and I love its safety rating. I find it to be very roomy and I am able to haul large items easily with the seats folded down. I like the gas mileage I get when I fill up also. It is easy to park, easy to handle and has get up and go when I need to accelerate. I am glad I got the 2005 RAV because I like the style and lines of the car compared to the 2006 model which is little bigger. I would recommend this car to anyone.

We rav toyota

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Vehicle: 2005 Toyota RAV4 AWD 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

My wife and I drove no car but Toyotas in last 30 years. RAV4 AWD is another great hit. Traction is so good that we no longer shovel snow on the drive way. Acceleration is remarkable given the size of the engine. Antilock brake is so effective on all road conditions, shine or rain.

Disturbing chirping noise

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Vehicle: 2005 Toyota RAV4 AWD 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

All that I can say is that I love the performance of my 2005 RAV4 except for the disturbing "chirping" noise that consistently occurs when going over mild bumps in the road. It is very annoying and the dealership cannot resolve the problem after making 5 service appointments. The noise seems to be coming from where the lower part of the windshield meets the cal panel. I'm not sure I spelled that correctly. Anyway, this problem ruins the entire fun of driving this vehicle. Sorry, I can't recommend a RAV4 to anyone. ... disappointed buyer.

Love that rav!

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Vehicle: 2005 Toyota RAV4 AWD 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

I have over 30000 trouble free miles on my RAV4. I had a leaking shock at 24k miles, and they not only replaced the broken one, they replaced the one on the other side so that the vehicle would have the same ride on both sides. Excellent vehicle.

Full 2005 Toyota RAV4 Review

What's New for 2005

The JBL 3-in-1 audio system has been discontinued, and the sport package receives a unique metal mesh grille and silver sport pedals.


In the mid-1990s, the Toyota brain trust took a close look at the SUV market and determined that not everybody liked the idea of piloting a three-ton land yacht in order to take advantage of the "U" in SUV. File drawers full of focus group questionnaires pointed toward a vehicle that combined the advantages of a sport-utility -- great visibility, sizable cargo capacity, all-weather capability -- with the manageable size and drivability of a car. With that in mind, Toyota's designers looked past their bulky truck frames and gas-guzzling engines and came up with a car-based SUV that merged trucklike utility with carlike maneuverability.

Introduced in 1996, the RAV4 (Recreational Active Vehicle -- four-wheel drive) combined sporty good looks, a convenient size and an economical engine into an attractive and affordable package. It was an instant hit, and as the first example of a car-based sport-utility, the RAV4 enjoyed phenomenal sales that brought with them an onslaught of new competitors hoping to cash in on the newfound niche. Vehicles like the Honda CR-V and Suzuki Grand Vitara soon hit the market sporting bigger engines and more refined interiors, promptly shuffling the aging RAV4 toward the bottom of the category it had single-handedly created. Despite a dose of additional power in 1999, the RAV was getting left behind, and with more competition on the way, Toyota knew a complete redesign was in order to keep its ground-breaking sport-utility at the top of its game.

This led to the current-generation RAV4, introduced for 2001. It has a refined look thanks to sharply upswept headlights and crisp lines that stretch the length of the vehicle. Squint hard enough and Toyota's latest mini-ute could even pass for a poor man's BMW X5, sans the neck-snapping V8 of course. Unlike some other SUVs, the RAV4 can't be ordered with a V6. Until last year, the mini-ute's weak, buzzy 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine was a notable disadvantage next the Honda CR-V's larger, more potent 2.4-liter four-cylinder and the Ford Escape's 200-horsepower V6. Toyota responded by installing a larger 2.4-liter engine under the hood that produces 161 hp and 165 pound-feet of torque.

Our other main complaint about the RAV4 was its short standard features list that forced buyers to pay extra for basics like air conditioning, cruise and power windows and locks. Now you'll find all of these on the standard equipment list, along with ABS and stability control. Meanwhile, front side-impact airbags and full-length head curtain airbags are on the options list. With these upgrades and freshened styling that's slightly less toylike, this fun-to-drive mini-ute makes great sense as a durable urban runabout and commuter vehicle -- which is just what most people need most of the time.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The four-door RAV4 is offered in a single trim level and comes with front-wheel drive (2WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). All RAV4s come with 16-inch wheels, ABS, stability control, air conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, cruise control, a six-speaker CD stereo and power windows, mirrors and locks. Upgrade to the "L" package and you'll also get heated mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dark tinted glass, foglights and body-color bumpers and door handles. The "L" package is also your ticket to leather upholstery and heated seats if you want them. A sport package adds a mesh grille, a hood scoop, color-keyed door handles, a roof rack, silver sport pedals, heated mirrors, gray-painted bumpers and overfenders and sport fabric seats. Other options include alloy wheels, a sunroof and keyless entry. Larger tires are also available on AWD models.

Powertrains and Performance

Both 2WD and AWD versions of the RAV4 are powered by a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 161 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can choose either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. Fuel economy is excellent, and buyers can expect to get 22 to 25 mpg in the city and 27 to 31 mpg on the highway.


Four-wheel antilock disc brakes are standard, as is Toyota's VSC stability control system. Side airbags for front occupants and full-length side curtain airbags are optional. The RAV4 fared well in government crash tests, earning four out of five stars for frontal impact protection and a perfect five stars for side impacts. It also earned a "Good" rating (the highest) in frontal offset and side-impact crash testing by the IIHS (the RAV4 is the first vehicle to earn a "Best Pick" designation for both frontal and side-impact tests). One other item of note is the RAV4's lack of a rear bumper. Low-speed crashes that damage the rear of the vehicle can lead to high repair costs.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside, buyers will find a set of stylish white-faced gauges. As usual, all controls are simple and straightforward to use. Thoughtful design elements include adjustable cupholders and well-placed storage bins. There's plenty of room for four passengers, but throw in a fifth and things get a little tight. Behind the rear seat, the RAV4 can hold 29.2 cubic feet of cargo. Remove the 50/50-split bench seat, which also slides, tumbles, folds and reclines, and the vehicle can hold an impressive 68.3 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

Intended for a life on pavement, the RAV4 really shines in this environment, where its taut suspension, quick steering and tight turning radius come together to produce one of the best-handling SUVs we've ever driven. Minimal body lean and sticky street tires combined with the traction of all-wheel drive provide reassuring handling in almost all situations. With a capable and refined 2.4-liter engine installed under the hood, the RAV4 has the power to complement its sharp reflexes.

Talk About The 2005 RAV4

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs