RAV4 Celebrates 25 Years, Toyota Gifts It New Trims

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
rav4 celebrates 25 years toyota gifts it new trims

Believe it or not, the ubiquitous RAV4 has been around for two-and-a-half decades, appearing on the scene as a right-sized trucklet available in either two- or four-door guise. Remember when the RAV could be had with a removable roof? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

Twenty-five years on, the model has grown in size and cemented itself as a leader in its segment. Fun fact: the original four-door RAV was just 162 inches long, about two feet shorter than a Camry of the day, on a wheelbase of 94.5 inches. For 2022, Toyota has added a couple of extra trims and fiddled with some of its styling details.

First out of the gate is an SE trim for the popular hybrid model, a sentence which puts an exclamation point on the fact that RAV4 is now almost a brand onto itself with a variety of trims on its gas-powered, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid variants. Taking a similar tack to other SE-trimmed vehicles in the Toyota family, this one adds the likes of monotone paint and various blacked-out exterior trim details. It can it optioned up with a moonroof and a better sound system.

Across the line, RAV4 models with XLE grades and above get updated headlamps – Toyota says they’re for both style and for capability improvement, but the TTAC cynic says the brand is simply chasing ever-changing IIHS rules for being awarded a Top Safety Pick+ label. New LED fog lamps make no difference to this effort but nevertheless are introduced for XLE Premium, Limited, Adventure, and TRD Off Road models. The snazzy XSE Hybrid gets the same sleek vertical lights that debuted on the XSE Prime last year.

Interior tweaks are minor but notable, with all hands gaining a locking glovebox (thanks, economies of scale) and LED interior lamps which should have been standard by now, anyway. Fancy trims will get more illumination for their various and sundry interior switches, helping the place to perform a reasonable impersonation of Fremont Street.

We’ve noted this in the past but it’s worth repeating that the plug-in hybrid models, which were ostensibly developed as fuel-saving options, are the fleetest of foot when it comes to outright acceleration when comparing the different RAV4 models. In hybrid mode, it can generate a combined 302 horsepower and crack off a 0-60 mph sprint in just 5.7 seconds. This feat actually makes it the second-quickest Toyota next only to the new Supra. These are not words we could have written when the RAV4 showed up on our shores in 1996.

And if you’re wondering how those size numbers mentioned above the fold compare with the current model, a ’22 RAV4 measures 180.9 inches in length riding on a 105.9-inch wheelbase. More details on this year’s model, including pricing, will be released before Santa Claus shows up for the holidays.

[Images: Toyota]

Join the conversation
4 of 18 comments
  • Mike-NB2 Mike-NB2 on Nov 14, 2021

    I recall when the RAV4 first came out and it was a quirky but highly useful vehicle. I'm not sure how to describe it now, though the average age of RAV4 drivers around here has to be north of 70. It's become an 'old folks' vehicle here, much like most things in the Toyota lineup. Subaru has gone this way around here too.

  • Ravenuer Ravenuer on Nov 14, 2021

    Please explain, what does Pepperidge Farm have to do with the RAV4?

    • See 1 previous
    • Theflyersfan Theflyersfan on Nov 15, 2021

      1980's TV commercial, old man remembering the old times and eating Pepperidge Farm cookies. Family Guy made it into a funny threat and then the memes took over.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?