5 Speed manual. Recommended - if you find a good one. In my top 30 list out of about 300 vehicles I've driven (owned over 100 of them). Getting 26 mpg highway (60-65 mph), after switching to Amsoil synthetics in engine, tranny, and rear end. Recommend this for long life as well. Very safe - handles well (2 door not so much), ride is surprisingly plush and comfy, great visibility, likes to rev, will run all day 75. My wife and daughter really like it. Mine has 130,000 miles on it now and i think it'll make 250,000 if looked after. Manual tranny is weak link - watch out for grinding gears and 5th slipping out. Expensive repairs unless you're real handy.
Very good city vehicle. I bought the car used with 76,000 miles. I researched before I bought a used car, and the RAV4 came very well recommended. It has not let me down so far. AC works great, noise on the highway is minimal, and no one can complain about the gas mileage. Only complaints are a rear door that rattles a bit over bumps, and a drivers seat that I wish would go back one click further (I am 6'1).
I really enjoy driving my RAV4. I use it mostly for short trip driving in town, highway driving,and light off road driving. It handles great, and works well in all weather conditions. I use it for light off road driving, in pastures and meadows for hunting and fishing, and it performs fine. I have the front wheel drive model, and it still gets me around in the outdoors. The ECT Power button is pretty cool, faster acceleration for fun, and more power for towing light trailers, or making it up steeper hills. The reliability is great,and I like the way it looks. Acceleration in town is alright, on the highway it gets the job done, but it seems a little slow. All in all a great little SUV.
Though I believe Toyota is the best car brand on the road, I admit I was still a little bit skeptical about buying a '98 with a little over 100,000 miles but this has definitely been one of the best decisions of my life! The thing I love most about my Rav4 is how safe I feel driving it. Especially for those snowy/rainy days in Ohio; the 4wd gives me so much peace of mind! I travel 60 mi/day for school & in the 8 months I have owned it, I have put over 10,000 miles on the car already. So far, the only expenses has been 3 oil changes & 1 pair of windshield wipers. Toyota dependability holds true with this Rav4! I LOVE THIS CAR! & I will never drive anything but a Toyota again.