Used 1997 Toyota RAV4

1997 Toyota RAV4
List price range
1997 Toyota RAV4

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Cons - Not Available


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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 anti-lock 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.

1997 Highlights

New fabric debuts on the two-door RAV, and a sunroof is finally available on the four-door. Improvements have also been made by using sound-deadening material in the dash area, reducing engine noise in the passenger compartment.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Toyota RAV4.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

LOVE my 1997 RAV4
teresa31,12/28/2012
I purchased my '97 Rav4 14 years ago with approximately 30,000 miles on it. Today it has 103,000 miles and is still going strong. The paint looks fantastic. The sunroof has never leaked. Seats still look great. It isn't a "peppy" driving vehicle but it is the most reliable car that I've ever owned. It goes in ANY weather. The amount of storage with the seats down is unbelievable. In 14 years the only repair (other than scheduled maintenance) has been to replace the oil pump. Since they had to pull the motor I had all belts replaced at that time (at approx. 85,000 miles). I've test driven a few newer vehicles with all the bells and whistles, but they don't compare to my 16 year old Toyota.
LOVE MY RAV4!!!
Cathy,11/25/2015
Bought my 1997 in 1999 with low mileage. It has been wonderful. I spend a lot of time in it and it has always been reliable. It has safely transported my kids and their friends as well as my grandkids in comfort and safety. HAVE looked at newer models but I don't like them - too big, wasted interior space. i.e. dashboard too deep and too busy.
Excellent quality
Ray,05/28/2010
Had this car for over 13 years. No mechanical defects and 270,000 miles. Usually got around 28 mpg. It didn't have the pep that some later models had but it always got me where I needed to go.
It takes a licking and keeps on ticking
Kimbo873,06/10/2010
We live in Florida and my husband surfs the roof racks are great to hold his boards. We have put many,many miles over 202,000 and This car is still going. Love everything about this car.
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Features & Specs

MPG
19 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
120 hp @ 5400 rpm
MPG
19 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
120 hp @ 5400 rpm
MPG
21 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
120 hp @ 5400 rpm
MPG
21 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
120 hp @ 5400 rpm
See all Used 1997 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 1997 Toyota RAV4
Used 1997 Toyota RAV4 Overview

The Used 1997 Toyota RAV4 is offered in the following submodels: RAV4 SUV. Available styles include 2dr SUV AWD, 2dr SUV, 4dr SUV AWD, and 4dr SUV.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Toyota RAV4?

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Which used 1997 Toyota RAV4s are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 1997 Toyota RAV4s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Toyota RAV4 for sale - 10 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $15,498.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 6 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $20,793.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota RAV4 for sale - 9 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $12,325.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota for sale - 4 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $16,515.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Toyota RAV4?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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Check out Toyota RAV4 lease specials