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.
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.
I fell in love with this car before I even bought it. It just looked like it was fun to drive. I live in Florida but have driven it to Texas and New York. The drives were very comfortable and I didn't feel like I was driving a small vehicle. Even drove it during a snow storm and it handled great. Since it's raised a little you have good visibility all around. Mine is a manual 4-speed. I've never had any mechanical problems with it - I do have regular maintenance from a trusted Toyota mechanic (not the dealership) I've already decided that if I ever need any major work done I'll pay to have it done before I buy another car.