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Toyota RAV4

Carpedia  ·  December 27, 2019

Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 entered the market in 1994 as a compact crossover SUV, making its mark as the first CUV, soon to be the most popular car segment ever to hit the market. It was first sold in Japan, Europe, and Australia in 1994. It entered the North American markets as well in 1996. Toyota aimed the crossover at consumers who wanted a vehicle with the cargo space of an SUV and the easy maneuverability of a compact car. 

The RAV4 name is an acronym for Recreational Activity Vehicle: 4-wheel drive, although it should be noted that not all RAV4 variants offered a 4-wheel drive. In some markets, Toyota also sold the FJ Cruiser, which may be considered the counterpart of the RAV4. However, in the majority of Toyota markets, the RAV4 was the only crossover SUV it offered.

The First Generation (1994-2003)

The first generation of the RAV4 took inspiration from two other vehicles manufactured by the company at the time, including the Corolla and the Carina. Two body styles were made available, one with 3-doors and another with 5-doors. Both 5-speed manual gearbox and 4-speed automatic transmissions were available, depending on the variant. Some of the models came with a front-wheel drive instead of the 4-wheel drive offered for the majority of RAV4’s.

Toyota decided to give the RAV4 some stylistic upgrades in the years 1996 to 1998, changing its exterior look without making significant changes to the interior. The engines received a minor power upgrade.

In Australia, the 1994 models offered a 2.0L regular unleaded petrol engine capable of delivering 96 kW of power and 180 Nm of torque. In 1994 and 1995, only the base trims were available. Then, in 1996 in Australia, Toyota also introduced the Winter trim, which had a 3-door body style. This 3-door trim was renamed as the Oasis a year later, and then as Cruiser in 1998 and the MAX in 1999. A 5-door World Cup trim was also launched in 1998.

Toyota also manufactured an all-electric version of the RAV4, called the RAV4 EV, but which was sold for a limited period only in select markets, including California. Subsequently, Toyota discontinued it after 2003. Meanwhile, the Japanese automaker stopped producing the first-generation RAV4 in 2000. 

The Second Generation (2000-2005)

As part of the second generation of the Toyota RAV4, the company maintained the 3-door and 5-door body styles for the crossover SUV. The Australian market received the new 5-door and 3-door Edge variants of the RAV4, and the upscale 3-door Cruiser model also made a comeback. A new engine was installed in all models that significantly elevated the performance of the vehicles. The engines still came with a 5-speed manual gearbox and 4-speed automatic transmissions but delivered superior performance even though they still maintained a 2.0L capacity, with 110 kW of power and 192 Nm of torque. 

A new trim, called Advantage, entered the Australian market in the year 2002 and had a 5-door body style. It shared the same engine and transmission specifications as the other two trims currently in the market as part of the RAV4 lineup in the previous and current year. 

In 2003, the Cruiser variant received a significant engine upgrade. The vehicle now carried a 2.4L petrol engine capable of delivering 120 kW in power and 224 Nm of torque. A new model called CV, with both 3-door and 5-door variants, was also launched in the market, which shared engine and transmission specs with the Cruiser. The Edge model kept its old engine and transmission capabilities, and a new model called Extreme, available in both 3-door and 5-door variants, also adopted the Edge’s engine and transmission. The Edge and Extreme models were discontinued the following year. 

In 2005, Toyota added a CV Sport variant to the RAV4, and all of the models, including the Cruiser and the CV, received an upgraded 2.4L petrol engine capable of delivering 120 kW of power and 224 Nm of torque. This version was primarily designed to boost sales for the vehicle. It stayed in the RAV4 lineup only until the launching of the new models in the following year.

The Third Generation (2005-2012)

Toyota designed the third-generation RAV4 using a new platform, which included the Electric Power Steering technology. The company sold the long-wheelbase model in the Australian market. A refreshed version was launched around the world in 2009, which included a new engine along with some other visual upgrades. 

In 2006, the company launched the Cruiser L variant with a 5-door body style, with 125 kW rated power output and 224 Nm torque. In 2007, it discontinued the 3-door Cruiser and CV models and introduced three new variants. The new models – called the CV6, SX6, and ZR6 – came with a new 3.5L (201 kW and 333 Nm torque) engine paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission and had a 5-door body style.

The 2.4L Edge model made a comeback in 2009, and in 2010 another variant with similar specs, called Altitude, also entered the market. Toyota also launched a 2WD Cruiser and a 2WD CV in 2010, with a 2WD Altitude a year later. 

The Fourth Generation (2012-2018)

A 2.2L diesel engine was launched in 2013 as part of the 4WD Cruiser, and the newly launched GX and GXL variants, all of which had a 6-speed automatic transmission or 6-speed manual gearbox options. This diesel engine was capable of delivering 110 kW of power and 340 Nm of torque. A new petrol engine was also introduced, with 2.5L of capacity, capable of an output of 132 kW and 233 Nm of torque. It came with both 6-speed manual gearbox and automatic transmission options as well.

A 2WD GX model was launched in 2014, with a 2.0L engine running on CVT auto transmission and 6-speed manual gearbox, capable of 107 kW in power and 187 Nm of torque. 

The Fifth Generation (2018-present)

The fifth generation of the Toyota RAV4 entered production in late 2018 and was launched in most global Toyota markets in early 2019, although it didn't commence in Australia before May 2019. It featured a front-wheel-drive architecture that Toyota had recently launched, called the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K), which has also been used by the company in the Camry (8th generation), and Lexus ES (7th generation).

Four variants of the RAV4 were released in Australia as part of the fifth generation, called GX, GXL, Edge, and Cruiser. Two engine options were made available as part of all of the models except the Edge, namely, 2.0L petrol-based engine and a 2.5L hybrid one. The Edge had only a 2.5L petrol engine option. The 2.0L engine delivered 126 kW of power and 203 Nm of torque, and the 2.5L engine had 151 kW of power and 249 Nm of torque. The hybrid 2.5L engine delivered 163 kW of power and 279 Nm of torque. 

A 6-speed manual gearbox or CVT transmission was available in the GX trim, whereas the GXL and Cruiser versions and all of the hybrid variants launched as part of the GX, GXL, and Cruiser lineup, had just the CVT transmission option. As for the Edge trim, it had an 8-speed automatic transmission. 

For your Toyota replacement parts, visit and find the parts you're looking for from our featured car parts sellers across Australia!

By Jeannette Salanga (JMSL)

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