Thursday, April 18, 2013

Used Car Review - Toyota RAV4 (2000-2005)

Not satisfied with the first compact SUV option that was shown last Monday? Myk Belmonte has a second prospect for you and recommends that you read it first before making a decision.

2000-2005 Toyota RAV4

So, what do consumers want in a crossover SUV back in the 90s? Cargo room that does more than a sedan, check. Excellent visibility for drivers tall or short, they got it. Easy to drive and park, tick. Does not consume fuel like a drunk man, we have it. But the important thing of them all is the option of a standard full time four wheel drive, which Toyota obliged. Wrap these attributes in a body, a Corolla based platform, and offer it in both 2 and 4 door and 2 door convertible styles you get the first generation RAV4. Launched in 1994 in Europe and Japan and 1996 in North America.

Let's discuss more about the featured RAV4 shown in these pages. Launched in the middle of the millennium year under the platform code XA20, the SUV is still a sales success to the company's standards. You can't have a top down option but a diesel engine can be now purchased. During this period, a lot of crossover SUV's with new nameplates were launched in the market but this one is going strong in its second life.

Together with the Suzuki Grand Vitara that had a second generation introduced in the Philippines, the second gen RAV4 saw Phlippine shores in year 2000 but sales favored the older but popular CR-V. Two variants are available back then which are a 4x2 with a manual transmission and a 4x4 model paired with an automatic (a manual was available but was dropped in 2003 with the launch of the 1.8 model).

Value and Costs
Alongside with the rivals, prices are the same at the used car market. Same time competitors can be found in the territory of P300,000-P500,000. Some say it is a bit expensive for a 12 year old crossover but other SUV's of the same genre and period also fall in the same price range.

While this SUV has bulletproof reliability, the transmission among earlier models was problematic among US models and became a subject of a lawsuit. Do not worry about a patchy tranny, there is no reported case of this locally. Maintenance costs are comparable with other compacts of the early 2000s and parts can be outsourced anywhere.

Exterior and Interior
This generation was cute looks no more, saying goodbye from the predecessor's looks and possessing lines carried from the Toyota Harrier ot the Lexus RX, depending on the market you live in. Angular sides and slabs are present that would lead you to the side hinged rear, which is a liability on shopping mall parking lots. You can have your RAV either single tone or two tone back then.

Going inside, interior quality is topnotch over the first generation, which is a good thing that it blends in through the sporty theme. When it comes to driver friendliness, it is a mixed bag. While the handbrake, and gear level are located where they should belong, and it also goes the same with the audio and climate; the power windows are poorly located to be comfortably reached by the driver. You might not know this but the suspension and four-wheel drive mechanisms enter the passenger cabin and the wheel wells intrude to the front footwells. Rear occupants have a high seating position but their's is far from spacious. The cargo area is a bit limited but the rear seats fold down, which is an advantage.

Two engines with two different drive systems and transmissions are the choices available. First in the RAV4 chain is a 1ZZ-FE 1,794cc that has 145hp at 6,000rpm and 188Nm at 4,200rpm complemented with a 4x2 drive train. If you can recall this engine, it is shared with the Toyota Corolla Altis in their upper tier models, but a manual transmission was paired rather than the Altis's automatic. Next in line is the 1AZ-FE 1,998cc which possess 148hp at 6,000rpm and 190Nm at 4,000rpm which is available with a 4x4 system. Going to their driving characteristics, the 1.8 has adequate power but going at high speeds, it will make you wish that you had more grunt. The 2.0 is smooth and quiet that it is not plagued by 4,000rpm noises from inline four Toyotas of old, but sometimes, it has to be revved more especially that stepping more is needed to go on decent speeds. Hill climbing is a weak spot for the RAV4, especially that it tends to downshift and the weight penalty can be felt.

Driving Impressions
Dealing with the S part of the SUV, handling can be described as accomplished and steering reacts to your desires. Understeer is evident when cornering at speeds 80kph and above, while the suspension can transmit all road bumps which makes the riding and driving experience a let down, no thanks to the choppy and bouncy ride the passengers feel.

Finding the CR-V too large for your needs? Then the second generation RAV4 is for you, even though it has a hard time keeping up in the power segment. Compact to weave in traffic and a great companion for your city rendezvous, but not a good car when it comes to hill climbing.

The Good:
  • Car like driving
  • Quality is king
  • Cabin accommodates everyone
The Bad:
  • Underpowered 1.8 variant
  • Interior is somewhat cramped
  • Choppy ride
The Pick: 2.0

Engines: 1,794cc 1ZZ-FE and 1,998 1AZ-FE I4 gasoline
Power: 145hp @ 6,000rpm (1.8), 148hp @ 6,000rpm (2.0)
Torque: 188Nm @ 4,200rpm (1.8), 190Nm @ 4,000rpm (2.0)
Fuel Consumption: 7-8km/L (city), 10-11km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear double wishbone

Price (New): P960,000-P1,320,000
Price (Now): P300,000-P500,000
Rivals: Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Nissan X-Trail, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Forester, Mazda Tribute
On Sale: 2000-2005

Toyota Quezon Avenue - (02) 712-5001
Toyota Pasong Tamo - (02) 893-8084
Toyota Pasig - (02) 671-9854

Photos courtesy of

No comments:

Post a Comment