Our 2004 Rav 4 has been a very solid performer and been reliable until today. At 78,000 miles (we just learned) the steering unit is leaking, the front brakes need rotors turned and pads replaced (2nd time). Also the water pump is leaking. All told - it looks like Toyota will charge $1200 to get things fixed. These are the first issues we've had, so I can't complain too loudly. Savannah Toyota has exceptional service and sales staff - so we don't mind supporting their business.
In the last ten years I've owned a Subaru Outback, a Volvo wagon, a Honda Element, and now this little Rav, and it is by FAR my favorite car ever. I love the lumbar support in the seats, the Euro-style look of the dash and the way the dash lights dim automatically when I turn the headlamps on, the way my body is situated in the seat in relation to the windscreen and moonroof, the fantastic visibility, the way it maneuvers on the road, and that it can fit my whole family and I can still park in compact spaces in the city. Mine is the automatic L series with leather interior, sea foam green and tan leather, prettier than it sounds. I would buy it again in a second.
I have two Gen 1 2L Manual AWD Ravs. This one is nicer. More room, more storage space, more comfortable, more power, quieter, better fuel efficiency (~ 500 km @ 50l on the 2l Gen 1's and ~ 560 km @ 50l on the 2.4l Gen2). The extra 0.4L makes a big difference. I especially like the way the engine compartment is laid out. Much more room to work on the motor. My only complaint is the drive by wire accelerator pedal. I find there is no fine control at low speeds so low speed creeping, driving is not intuitive. It is certainly a step backwards to go from cable to potentiometer with respect to feel and man-machine interface. BAD: The transmission vibrates in 5th under load :(
Excellent vehicle, extreme reliability is what Toyota is known for and the 04 Rav4 does not disappoint. 109,000 miles so far and the vehicle is just as sturdy and tight as the day I brought it home with 12 miles on the odo. I changed the Fan belt at , 52,000 and the brakes at 100,000 miles and thats it , still has the factory headlight bulbs, Toyota's durability really shines through in these vehicles. Its amazing, no rattles and little noises etc. after 109.000 miles. The seats have just been broken in , feel a lot more comfy now than when they were new. The styling is all Toyota, laid back and not flashy.