When the Toyota RAV4 arrived in the U.S. in 1996, it was one of the earliest subcompact SUVs available here in Pennsylvania. The Toyota RAV4 featured sedan-like frame construction and four-wheel drive—as a matter of fact, the name stands for “Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-Wheel Drive.” Here’s a quick look at the history of the RAV4, which you can find here at Krause Toyota.
The first RAV4 models were released in Japan and Europe two years before the crossover was available in the United States. The initial model included a 120-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. An all-electric version came out in 1997 but was discontinued in 2003. There was even a convertible model briefly.
The RAV4 got its first major upgrade in 2001. This involved an increase in horsepower (up to 148) and the addition of a front-wheel-drive option. A 2.4-liter engine was offered in 2004 that produced 161 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque. Many industry experts praised the RAV4 for its roominess and comfort.
The third generation of the RAV4 came out in 2006 and was all about size. With a 3.5-liter V6 and 14 extra inches in length, the RAV4 gained a reputation for power and a third row of seats. A new 178-hp, 2.5-liter engine was introduced in 2009, and the manual transmission was phased out here in America.
The larger version of the RAV4 was not as popular as the automaker had hoped, so when Toyota unveiled the fourth-generation RAV4 in 2012, the SUV lost 2 inches in length and 1 inch in height, as well as the third row of seats. The V6 was discontinued and the signature rear-mounted spare tire moved under the floor panels.
Families loved this version of the RAV4 because it was fuel-efficient, not too bulky, yet still capable. In 2016, Toyota introduced the RAV4 hybrid, which became a big hit with eco-conscious drivers.
Today's Toyota RAV4 at Krause Toyota
The fifth generation of the RAV4 introduced Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) in 2019 for a much smoother ride and better handling. In 2020, the TRD Off-Road edition was launched, boosting the SUV’s off-road capabilities. In 2021, Toyota introduced the RAV4 Prime Hybrid that can travel up to 74 miles solely on electricity. The fifth-generation RAV4 is the best-selling Toyota model in the U.S., showing that the RAV4 is only increasing in popularity and quality over the years.
You can find the latest Toyota RAV4 here at Krause Toyota, where you can test-drive it in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania, and see why it’s so beloved.