2006 Toyota RAV4 SUV Limited 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
I didn't know until after I had already purchased the car that they were bad coils in the 2006. The coils blow on a regular basis. It is very expensive to repair, and the dealerships don't help you. I even contacted Toyota and they said it was my own problem not theirs.
I bought this car from the dealership, new. They did all the service. This year, with car still under 90K miles, the engine blew. This car had never been abused. Oil and engine had been maintained on schedule. I'm a 63 year old female - no hard driving was taking place in this car. The car was taken in for all standard service points. Was driving back from the airport and heard this sound - sounded like a rod or something - and drove it straight to the dealer. Cost to repair - estimated at $6000 to $7000 or so, before repairs were made. I was not happy. After several conversions and an expression to the dealership about my lost faith in Toyota - I had hoped to own this car to over 200,000 miles or more - they eventually involved the factory. In all fairness, the factory ended up picking up all but about $1500 or so, which I paid. My faith in Toyota has been shaken significantly - I guess in 2006 there was still the legacy of the previous management regime and their lost focus on reliability. Beware.
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.
Power is great, handling is very good. Lots of cargo space, and good towing capacity. Controls are simple and intuitive. 4wd has been capable when needed. Toyota still seems to make one of the most reliable automatic transmissions in the industry, though sometimes it slams into gear if you change the throttle in the middle of a shift. Plenty of headroom, and the rear seats are comfortable for adults and roomy enough for carseats (and they recline!).
Get rid of the cartridge style oil filter! This thing has been the bane of my existence, not to mention costing 2-3x as much. Plagued by electrical gremlins that surface about every 6 months, particularly with the 4wd. Engine has sounded terrible at startup for a long time, and recently the VVT exploded at 101k miles. Shift linkage broke, necessitating climbing under the car to shift in and out of gear to make it home.
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.
Side air bags, 6-CD changer, lots of storage space