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Evolution Of Toyota Rav4 From 1994 To 2021

Nwogbunyama Emeka

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Toyota Rav4 suv

The Toyota Rav4 is the first compact crossover SUV made by Toyota. The Rav4 was an answer to customers who wanted the benefits of an SUV coupled with good fuel economy. It is also a very desirable compact crossover SUV by Nigerians. The good number of the Rav4 on our roads proves this statement right. The compactness and beauty of the vehicle makes it a great choice of car for the ladies up to this very moment.

The Toyota Rav4 has been around since 1994 and has spanned through four generations ever since then. In this post, you’ll see how Toyota Rav4 has changed over its 26 years of existence.

Below are the four generations of Toyota Rav4 compact crossover SUV.

First Generation (1994 – 2000)

Toyota Rav4 suv





The first generation Toyota Rav4 came around in 1994 as both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive compact crossover SUV. The engine for the first Rav4 ever is a 2.0-liter straight-four engine which produces 119 horsepower. It was made available in 5-speed manual transmission or 4-speed automatic tranny. This generation of Rav4 was available in three-door and five-door configuration.

Toyota Rav4 suv

Second Generation (2001 – 2005)

Toyota Rav4 suv

The second generation Toyota Rav4 just like the first generation came in three-door and five-door configuration. It came equipped with ABS, air conditioning and electronic stability control. Toyota’s competitors couldn’t boast of these features in their cars then.

The engines for this generation, there were four engines customers could choose from. The first is a 1.8-liter inline-four engine which produces 123 horsepower and was only available for the two-wheel drive. The second engine is a 2.0-liter inline-four engine that produces 150 horsepower. The third is a a 2.4-liter inline-four engine that produces 158 horsepower, and then a D-4D diesel engine.

Some Rav4 came with anti-lock braking system, electronic stability control,  cruise control, a six-speaker CD stereo and power windows, mirrors and seats.

For the 2003 model year, a Sport Package that included a new grille, new sports seats, upgraded headlights and heated side mirrors, made it to this generation.





Third Generation (2006 – 2012)

Toyota Rav4 suv

The 2006 Toyota Rav4 marks the beginning of this generation. It comes in only five-door configuration. In appearance, this generation of Rav4 is quite different from what we used to have in the previous generations. However, it still uses the 2.4-liter four cylinder engine. It also came with a 3.5-liter V6 engine.

The Rav4 in this generation is larger than the one in the previous generation and is also fitted with third-row seats for children.

For this generation, customers had the option of  buying the front-wheel-drive or the all-wheel-drive Rav4. This generation also received a mid refresh for the 2008 model year. This refresh include a redesigned engine and a change in the front and rear of the Rav4.

For the 2012 model, the Rav4 underwent another light facelift.

Toyota Rav4 suv

Fourth Generation (2013 – 2018)

Toyota Rav4 suv

The fourth generation Rav4 came completely redesigned. It was unveiled at the November 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. In this generation, the spare tyre is not mounted on the rear door of the Rav4. This may be due to the new rear liftgate rather than the side-opening rear door in the previous generations.

In this generation, the V6 engine in the previous generation was dropped and all other engine choices were just four-cylinder.

For the 2016 model, the Toyota Rav4 came with a facelift. The facelift included redesigned LED front and rear lamps and updated speedometer dials with full color TFT multi information display.

Toyota Rav4 suv

Fifth Generation (2019 – Present)

Toyota revealed the all-new, fifth generation RAV4 SUV at the New York International Auto Show in 2018. It is the first Rav4 to take the Toyota New Global Architecture platform.

The new RAV4 remains true to its impressive heritage as the original pioneer of the SUV segment, making significant advances in powertrain technologies, dynamic performance, intelligent safety provisions and all-round quality. You can read extensively about this generation of Rav4 via the link HERE.





Emeka is a Contributor at Autojosh. A graduate of Electrical/Electronic Engineering with a B.Eng degree. Emeka is a car enthusiast who is interested in traveling, writing, movies and driving. He also loves drinking garri with cold water.

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