2006 Toyota RAV4 SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Toyota RAV4 SUV

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Toyota RAV4 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 166 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Toyota RAV4

  • With available V6 power under the hood, nimble handling on the street and a generous standard features list, the Toyota RAV4 is a top compact SUV choice for 2006.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Steers and handles like a car, thoughtful and roomy cabin design, exemplary build and materials quality, available third-row seating, refined and powerful engines.

  • Cons

    Cramped seating for third-row passengers, more expensive than many competing compact SUVs.

  • What's New for 2006

    The RAV4 has been fully redesigned for 2006, boasting a larger overall size and available V6 power.

Full 2006 Toyota RAV4 Review

What's New for 2006

The RAV4 has been fully redesigned for 2006, boasting a larger overall size and available V6 power.

Introduction

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 3-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 Toyota 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 CR-V and 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. This led to the second-generation Toyota RAV4, introduced for 2001, which bolstered the RAV back into the top of its class. But time marches on, and the competition has continued to improve.

The 2006 RAV4 marks the third generation of Toyota's compact SUV. Only now it's not so little anymore, as nearly all dimensions have grown. The styling is less busy than before and the RAV4 has a more serious, chiseled look. There is a certain premium feel of the new cabin with fewer hard plastics. The rear seats are not only split and able to recline, they also slide back and forth 6.5 inches to allow either passenger space or cargo capacity to be optimized. A third-row seat is optional. Big changes lie under the hood, as well. In addition to a standard four-cylinder engine, a 269-horsepower V6 is optional. A redesigned suspension system delivers a fine balance between comfort and control. In sum, the 2006 Toyota RAV4 has finally stepped up from being a "cute 'ute" to a fully functional crossover SUV.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The four-door Toyota RAV4 is a midsize crossover SUV offered in three trim levels: base, Sport and Limited. Standard features for the base trim include 16-inch wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, a CD stereo with MP3 capability and power windows, mirrors and locks. Above this, the RAV4 Sport has 18-inch alloy wheels and wider tires, a sport-tuned suspension, color-keyed overfenders, and a roof rack. The top-line Limited includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver seat and upgraded audio with a six-disc CD changer. Many of these features are available as options on the base trim. Other options include a third-row seat, a moonroof (Sport and Limited only) and, for the Limited, leather seating and a DVD-based rear entertainment system.

Powertrains and Performance

Both front-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive (4WD) versions of the RAV4 are available. The 4WD system automatically sends torque to the rear wheels when a loss of traction is detected. Standard power is provided by a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 166 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque. A 3.5-liter V6, which boasts 269 hp and 246 lb-ft of torque, is optional. Automatic transmissions are standard -- the four-cylinder gets paired with a four-speed automatic, while the V6 gets a five-speed unit. When equipped with the optional towing package, the V6 RAV4 can tug 3,500 pounds.

Safety

Four-wheel antilock disc brakes are standard, as is Toyota's VSC stability control system and traction control. RAV4s with 4WD or the optional third-row seat are equipped with Hill-start Assist Control and Downhill Assist Control. Side airbags for front occupants and full-length side curtain airbags are optional. The redesigned Toyota RAV4 has not yet been crash tested.

Interior Design and Special Features

As usual, all controls are simple and straightforward to use. The overall feel is upscale, with less hard plastic than previous RAVs, electroluminescent gauges like a Lexus' and an illuminated cupholder. The rear seats recline, and can slide forward or rearward 6.5 inches to allow either passenger space or cargo capacity to be optimized. Normal seating capacity is five; the optional third-row seat bumps it to seven, though this seat is truly meant only for children. To configure the RAV4 for cargo, all one has to do is flip a lever to instantly get a flat load floor. No removing headrests or flipping up seat cushions for the second-row seating is required. With its flat load floor, the RAV4 can hold a maximum of 73 cubic feet of cargo.

Driving Impressions

Intended for a life on pavement, the 2006 Toyota RAV4 really shines in this environment. Its taut suspension and quick steering make daily commutes or errands much more enjoyable than what would otherwise be the case in a traditional SUV, and the RAV4's ride quality is still pretty comfy when driven over broken pavement. Most drivers will be perfectly satisfied with the standard 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine as it provides adequate power for day-to-day driving. The optional 269-hp V6, meanwhile, is full of swagger. So equipped, the RAV4 can embarrass quite a few modern sport coupes in terms of acceleration.

Read our Toyota RAV4 Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


20 of 20 people found this review helpful

Great, but has had its

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Toyota RAV4 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

My wife has had this car since we met. It's her daily driver, as well as our trip vehicle. Overall, it handles very well. The engine is powerful, much more so than my 2003 Nissan Altima (with the same size V6). It handles confidently, and the brakes are string. The few times we've used 4wd in the snow and offorad trails, it worked well. The interior quality is okay, with a few minor issues. The powertrain reliability, however, simply hasn't been there. Since I've been around the car, it rattles loudly on startup. The 4x4 lights randomly light up, indicating a problem, but non found. Recently, the VVT module exploded, causing extensive engine damage. Caveat emptor.



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Safest car i've ever seen

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Toyota RAV4 4dr SUV 4WD (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

Overall performance was great, but the car really pulled its weight during a recent accident. My 17-year-old flipped the car three times going about 70 mph and landed on the driver's side in a ditch. The car was totaled, but thanks to seatbelts and side airbags, she walked away with barely a scratch. I would recommend this car to anyone.




Impressed

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Toyota RAV4 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I have loved driving my 2006 Rav 4 from the day I drove it off the lot! I t has amazing pick up and power..reliability has exceeded my expectations. The dealership played the most important part--outstanding experience in customer service and repair! Thank you Mountain States Toyota In Denver Colorado!



3 of 10 people found this review helpful

Problematic 2006 rav4 v6 limited

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota RAV4 Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

We were so excited to hear that Toyota was building a V6 RAV4. After owning a 1999 RAV4 L for many years, we were ready for a bigger and more powerful RAV4. But because we couldn't get a good trade-in value for our 1999 RAV4, we decided to keep it. That was probably the best thing we ever did. While this RAV4 with the V6 engine si fun to drive, owning it is not fun at all. From whining sound coming from the fuel pump, to grumbling sound caused by the AWD's ECU, to prematurely failed wheel bearings, to knocking steering wheel column, to rusted through "Stainless steel" muffler, to failing ignition coils, and leaking oil lines that almost bursted. Now we have to replace the water pump. Sigh



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

120k miles and still purring

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota RAV4 4dr SUV 4WD (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

I'm the 3rd owner of my '06 4cyl 4WD, base model RAV, which had a 110K miles on her when purchased from a private seller. She was well cared for by her previous owners, with the replacement of the rear window wiper motor as the biggest issue. Since owning her, I've maintained her well and she purrs like a kitten & runs like a race horse. I've read a lot of negatives reviews here, but neither I nor the previous owners (judging from car reports and Toyota service records) have encountered any of it. I couldn't be happier with the continued solid & reliable performance of my Made in Japan RAV4, and look forward to years with her. It's all in the personal care and maintenance you give them.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Toyota rav4 from hell

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Toyota RAV4 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

The car has ample power and plenty of space inside. That's the short list of pluses. On the negative side, the car has been a godsend to the Toyota Manassas shop where we purchased the it. Over 76,000 miles we've had to replace all six cylinder ignition coils, the water pump and, just last week, the transmission, a $4,200 repair (luckily covered by our Geico insurance). Then, as we were driving the car away from the shop, we hear a grinding noise on mild turns, a $600 repair to change one of the wheel bearings. Toyota's were supposed to be reliable. Ours was not. Only a Russian Jeep Niva I used to own in the 90s was worse (don't ask). But at least that car was cheap to fix.



Talk About The 2006 RAV4

2006 Toyota RAV4 Discussions See all Started By

katyc12
katyc12
12-17-2014
I have a 2006 Rav4 and every time I drive my car after it's been sitting for a while there is a very loud noise coming from the rear of the car, the noise usually lasts about 10 to 20 seconds and only...


callmedrfill
callmedrfill
01-31-2005
MT hinted that the next Rav4 is due THIS FALL, and will be bigger, with corporation's 3.3 V6 and an auto tranny....


bgeelhaar
bgeelhaar
05-10-2014
I have 2006 Toyota Rav4, 4 Cyl, 4WD, Limited with only 57,200 miles. For the past couple months, I have experienced issues with a humming/buzzing noise (similar to the sound of the old GM seatbelt si...



Read more about the 2006 Toyota RAV4

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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 21
  • cty
/
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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