Used 1996 Toyota RAV4

1996 Toyota RAV4
List price range

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

The mini-SUV market is booming. Geo introduced a four-door Tracker this year, Suzuki spruced up the Sidekick with a more powerful engine and body cladding, and Kia dropped a bigger engine and an airbag into its Sportage. Even the ancient Jeep Cherokee is selling like hotcakes, thanks to its powerful inline six-cylinder engine, low price, and rugged Jeep heritage.

Toyota, who in the past half-decade has taken on the luxury-sedan market with Lexus, the full-sized pickup market with the T100, and the traditional full-sized sedan market with the Avalon, now has its sights set on wealth-deprived twenty- and thirty-somethings who want an SUV but can't afford to fork out 25 to 30 grand for a 4Runner. The RAV4 (Recreational Active Vehicle with 4WD) is a new mini-SUV designed to capitalize on the low end of this booming market.

All RAV4s are powered by a 2.0-liter, 120-horsepower engine, hooked to either a five-speed or automatic transmission powering the front or all wheels. The RAV4 is the first sport utility with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive models use powertrain components from the now-defunct Celica All-Trac. Four-wheel antilock brakes are optional on all models. Minimum ground clearance is 7.5-inches on the four-door model; two-door RAV4s get an additional .2 inches.

We haven't driven the RAV4, but gave it a close examination at the Arizona Auto Show. The four-door is comfortable and typically Toyota in materials and design. Very functional, little flair, and durable in feel and appearance. The rear seat is a bit cramped for six-footers, but is comfortable enough for short trips. Fortunately, the split folding rear seat reclines a bit to increase head room. The cargo area of the four-door is larger than one would expect, offering more room behind the rear seat than a Chevrolet Caprice Classic. Two-door models are fine for singles or couples without children. The rear seat is tiny, and less than 10 cubic feet of cargo volume is available with the back seat up.

On paper and in person, the RAV4 is a sensible vehicle with loads of personality. Pricing, as with many Japan-built imports, is this sport ute's main problem. A 4WD four-door with automatic, ABS, alloy wheels, air conditioning, cruise, cassette and a tilt wheel is gonna run you $21,750. Add power locks, windows, and mirrors and the price escalates to $22,700. In contrast, a Kia Sportage EX runs less than $20,000 similarly equipped. Loaded Trackers and Sidekicks are also less expensive. Still, the Toyota is bigger inside, cuter outside, and comes standard with Toyota's reputation for quality. For many buyers, this will be enough to close the sale. However, we think the Jeep Cherokee is a better value than any of the mini-SUV's on the market, including the RAV4.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Toyota RAV4.

Great Car
mechanical1, 2/9/2012
4 Wheel Drive 2.0L 3S-FE engine 5 Speed I say "great" car in the title... However mechanically this car is a horror story to work on. Toyota really did not think about maintenance when designing this car. It's definitely not a Honda... Plan on small working spaces, and hard to reach bolts for any maintenance other then oil changes. When I bought it in 2010 the car was leaking oil out of just about every orifice. So when buying one plan on changing some seals Aside from all that this car is wonderful to drive. I've taken it up mountains, through rivers, over rainy freeways, dirt roads. It handles like a car, but can take the beating of a truck.
Little Ugly Monster
a79, 5/23/2013
I bought this car for A$5000 year ago when ODO meter was at 220,000. This had been a awesome car in terms of reliability, I dive this to work 5 days a week which is a 90km trip and never misses a beat. Great in hauling stuff around. Fuel economy was bad tlli I changed the fuel to Shell V, now it does little over 10km per litre. We make frequent trips to Dandenong ranges with steep hills and sharpe curves, fun to drive and never gave any problems. Low on safety features, no Air Bags. Loving this monster.
A GOOD Buy
Red, 11/12/2009
This little SUV is just the thing for good basic transportation. It now has over 160,000 miles on it and I expect to go well over 200,000. It averages over 27mpg combined city/highway driving. It's nothing fancy but it always gets me where I want to go. Besides regular maintenance the only things replaced have been the water pump, timing belt, and thermostat. This would be a great first car for anyone.
1996 RAV4 2 Door
1996 Toyota RAV4, 4/5/2009
Purchased my RAV4 as a tow car for large motorhome.I have an interchangeable brush guard and tow bar. Very easy to tow, fun to drive. 29 MPG, with 5 speed. Has front and back sun roof. Well built little car, serviced every 3000 miles, not one single problem. I like the cargo style door in back with fold down seats there is a nice storage area. It has 116,000 miles and is driven about 40 total miles each day to work. Blue paint still looks new. I will buy another one when this one wears out... however, I hope for another 100,000 miles.
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Features & Specs

MPG
19 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
N/A
MPG
21 city / 27 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
N/A
MPG
21 city / 27 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
N/A
MPG
19 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
N/A
See all Used 1996 Toyota RAV4 features & specs

Safety

IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Marginal

More about the 1996 Toyota RAV4
Used 1996 Toyota RAV4 Overview

The Used 1996 Toyota RAV4 is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include 4dr SUV AWD, 4dr SUV, 2dr SUV, and 2dr SUV AWD.

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