The Toyota RAV4 is among the world’s best-sellers for years. It would seem that all has already been said about the model, but still, there are things that not everyone knows.
Here we’ll talk about six little-known facts about the Toyota RAV4.
Fact 1: the Toyota RAV4 pioneered the modern concept of a crossover
The model first debuted in 1994 and went on sale in 1996. It is the first modern kind crossover SUV (an SUV with a unibody construction). The original 1998 Subaru Forester followed next: it was unveiled in 1995 and came onto the market in 1997.
Thus, in the mid-90s, Toyota and Subaru introduced models which would change the automotive landscape and consumer preferences for decades to come. Today crossover SUVs are a large segment with consistently growing popularity.
When creating the RAV4, Toyota took basic advantages of sports utility vehicles, like raised ground clearance, drive to all four wheels, cargo versatility, and added fuel economy and passenger car-like drivability to them. Voila, it was a 100-percent hit – to the time and place.
Fact 2: The name ‘RAV4’ contains a clue
The “RAV” abbreviation means Recreational Activity Vehicle (recreation + activity, two in one). The number “4” in the name means Four-Wheel Drive, albeit the model actually offers front-wheel drive as standard and AWD as optional.
Fact 3: The RAV4 is one of the first all-electric vehicles
At present the model has gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid (RAV4 Prime) versions. It turns out that the RAV4 at one time had an electric version, and even in two generations! Toyota produced the RAV4 EV in 1997-2003 for fleet and sold/leased it in small quantities (about 1.5 thousand) in California.
That car had a 27-kWh Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack, could go up to 120 miles (193 km) on a single charge, and had a 60,000 mi (97,000 km) battery warranty. The second generation, developed together with Tesla, was limited to 2,600 units and went on sale in 2012, again in California only.
The 2nd-gen RAV4 EV shared the battery pack and electronic components with the Tesla Model S launched in June 2012, The vehicle came with a 115 kW (154 hp) motor, a 41.8-kWh lithium-ion battery, and had an EPA-rated driving range of 103 miles (166 km).
Fact 4: The Toyota RAV4’s fuel efficiency is almost unrivaled
The crossover is one of the best in its class when it comes to fuel efficiency. The fuel economy figures are 30 mpg combined for the gas-powered model and 40 mpg for a hybrid. The RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid provides 94 MPGe in electric-only mode and 38 mpg in hybrid mode.
Fact 5: Compact outside and as spacious as a midsize SUV inside
The Toyota RAV4 has compact exterior dimensions which allow the vehicle to slip into small parking slots and make graceful U-turns on narrow streets. At the same time, the model provides near-midsize cargo space, on par with many midsize 5-passenger SUVs. It offers 37.6 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat or 69.8 cubic feet with the folded rear seats.
Fact 6: The model behaves well beyond the pavement
The model features smooth on-road driving, but its behavior off-road is also quite decent. With the proper equipment, for example, the TRD Off-Road package, it can tackle some pretty tough trails. All-wheel drive is available for each RAV4.
The RAV4 TRD Off-Road has raised ride height, protective TRD-stamped stainless steel front skid-plate, Mud, Sand, Rock, Dirt, and Snow driving modes for extra traction, all-terrain tires, and a specifically tuned suspension.