More room, more power, improved styling, whiplash injury-lessening seats.
No V6 engine option, engine makes power too high in rev range, most desired equipment is optional.
Completely redesigned, RAV4 grows in size and gets a more powerful engine, along with edgy new styling.
A solid and pleasing package, if a tad bit small.
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2001 Toyota RAV4 2WD 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.12 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Back in 1996, the term "cute ute" was coined when Toyota released the RAV4, an acronym for Recreational Activity Vehicle with 4WD. While Suzuki had been plying these waters for years with the Sidekick (and its Chevy Tracker twin), it wasn't until the car-based RAV hit the market that small SUVs became popular.
For 2001, Toyota has redesigned the RAV4. Available in five-door wagon configuration, the new RAV is taller, wider, longer and heavier than the original flavor, which results in more cabin space. To offset the weight gain, a new, all-aluminum, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is under the hood, mated to either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic driving the front or all wheels.
Making 148 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 142 foot-pounds of torque at a lofty 4,000 rpm, a front-wheel-drive RAV4 with a stick shift should accelerate from zero to 60 mph in about 10.5 seconds. Adding weight, in the form of 4WD, passengers, cargo or an automatic transmission, will slow the already sluggish RAV in the stoplight drag race. Toyota needs to offer more power. Despite the inclusion of variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i), the new, larger, and heavier RAV4 has difficulty getting to speed. But, on a positive note, the RAV4 is certified a low emission vehicle.
Exterior styling takes cues from the existing RAV4, and melds them with a dash of Lexus RX 300 here and Infiniti QX4 there, which is entirely a good thing. Inside, overtones of Celica can be seen in the gauge cluster, steering wheel, and metallic trim pieces. Overall, the RAV has been nicely tidied up, while still adhering to the tenets of the cute ute philosophy.
Standard equipment is sparse, with most of the good stuff like antilock brakes, aluminum wheels, air conditioning, remote keyless entry and a power sunroof optional. An option package bundles power windows, doors and locks with A/C, cruise control and a six-speaker sound system with both cassette and CD players. Upgrade to the "L" package and you get these goodies plus heated exterior mirrors, floor mats, dark tinted glass, fog lights, and special exterior trim. The "L" package is also your ticket to leather upholstery. A limited-slip differential is a stand-alone option on 4WD versions.
New whiplash-preventing seats, combined with added passenger room, make the RAV more comfortable. Cargo area has also grown, to a maximum of 68.3 cubic feet with the rear bench seat removed (space measures 29.2 cubic feet with the back seat in use).
Five new colors are available: Titanium, Impulse Red, Vintage Gold, Rainforest Mica, and Spectra Blue Mica. They complement carryover colors Natural White and Black, and all can be mated to either Gray or Oak (or both) interior hues.
Equip one with leather, and you just might confuse it with a Land Cruiser -- from a distance. On second thought, naaaah.
Read what other owners think about the Used 2001 Toyota RAV4.
Great Toyota Reliability.
Have owned for 12 years with no major mechanical problems.
It has been the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned.
At 203k miles now and think I should hit 300k.
No rust on the body in a bad NorthEast climate.
Not the most exciting vehicle to drive, but it is very economical with a solid 4WD system.
You really can't beat Ravs for their overall value.
5 out of 5 stars
Raving Over My 2001 RAV4
Jo Gordon, 08/02/2017
2001 Toyota RAV4 4WD 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 4A)
I bought my 2001 Toyota RAV4 used from a dealership in Maryland in Spring of 2017. I had bought a Chrysler Town and Country used for my father to take him to doctor appointments and I needed a vehicle to transport both of my elder parents. Unfortunately, my father had to have his leg amputated early on into the year and I was stuck with a large mini-van that now had very little use. … So I went out shopping for a SUV that wasn't going to stick me with sticker shock or expensive insurance. The dealership had the RAV4 listed for $7200 and this was the basic model - it was the 2.0 engine with front-wheel drive, cruise control, power mirrors and locks, cassette/cd stereo, but no moonroof or leather seats. I have never owned a SUV and still had my 1998 Toyota Corolla which I loved as well and only had 84,000 miles on it. I only test drove the car once and fell in love with it. It handles very well - takes curves like a charm, loves the asphalt and the gas mileage was way better than my Chrysler Town and Country mini-van at only 19 mpg. The only minor complaint - it's a bit noisy and bumpy on crowned asphalt roads. But other than that, I wouldn't trade this car in for anything. Oh, by the way, we talked the dealership down and got the RAV4 for $6900 plus a Shell gas card worth $50! So now I have two Toyota vehicles sitting in my garage and wouldn't sell them for nothing - 2001 Rav4, 85,000 miles and a 1998 Toyotal Corolla LE with 84,200 miles on it. All you need to do is change the oil every 3,000 miles and you have a vehicle that will last a very long time. One happy Toyota owner!
4.88 out of 5 stars
2001 RAV4 Bullet proof reliabilty
2001 Toyota RAV4 2WD 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
We bought in Dec. 2000 brand new to replace Tercel. Love compactness with great interior room. Fun to drive fits anywhere. Bulletproof reliability. Wife never wants to sell. Replaced timing chain at 60K and had O2 sensor done at 62K. I really wonder if dealership is the best place for repairs, very expensive. Live in New England and put on Bridgestone Blizzaks in Nov. runs thru … foot of snow like AWD. Excellent value.
4.75 out of 5 stars
used RAV4 after 6 years
2001 Toyota RAV4 2WD 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
We bought our RAV4 used after a lease turnin @ 36K miles. We've put 46K on it so far. At first we drove it 100+ mi. a day commuting. Now we're both retired and it get's a lot less use, but it is 1 of the best cars we have ever owned in so many ways. On the road we get 30-31 mpg on reg. I've towed 1,500#s of stuff from norCal to Canada effortlessly. I've heard lately some owners … have had auto. tranny disasters. We have seen nothing of that so far. I wonder if it's how others use their RAV4. We don't do much stop & go. Finally had to replace the front brake pads at 73.6K mi. I've owned Toyotas both new & used since `75 and have never regretted it. We hope to keep this car forever