RAV4 Bashing.....

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 11:30
ThreadID: 9583 Views:10051 Replies:13 FollowUps:15
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Hi All!

I have been on just about every 4WD Forum on the net and it seems that everyone loves to put down the RAV4 when it comes to it's offroad abilities yet how many of the 4WD Rednecks have actually driven one? And if they have, did they really test it out or go around the block?

Before i go on, i do not own one myself, yet, but have ordered the 2004 model.

I will not argue the points raised about ground clearance as i agree and that is where OME kits come in with a 40mm lift kit.

What i will argue is the fact that everyone believes that for a vehicle to venture offroad ie beach, country tracks, fire trails etc that they need a transfer case and sit 10ft in the air!! i am not talking about rock hopping or driving up a rock on a flat beach (as seen in many photo's just to justify their lack of manhood), i am talking about sensible use of a recreational vehicle. From what i have seen and the feedback i have recieved from people who have experienced the RAV4, it seems they can only commend the way it did anything and everything they wanted it to do apart from the extreme sport activities.

My only criteria was that it was to be a Toyota and i was originally going to go for the Hilux V6 SR5 but after driving it i found it to be an absolute Dog in performance (124KW & 296 Nm) especially when you consider it's engine capacity (3.4L) and fuel consumption (15L/100km at best!), Compared to the Prado's 4.0L (179KW & 343Nm). Not only does it lack onroad performance but the interior is as basic as a car from the late 80's and it costs $50,000 on road with aircon and canopy (For weatherproof storage). I bought the top of the line RAV4 5 door Cruiser for only 32,500 on road + $800 for OME lift Kit!

Looking at specifications on paper, the RAV4 has a Wider track, Same width wheels (7 inch wide but the RAV4 has 235 tyres where as Hilux has 255), has a lower roof line and equal ground clearance with the 40mm lift kit than the Hilux and the same approach departure angles with standard suspension as the new Prado, better power to weight ratio, fuel consumption, creature comforts, cheaper running costs for half the price!

I will never go on those tracks designed for abseiling nor will most other people even though they own full size 4WD's so i cannot justify $50,000-$70,000!!

You have to remember that manufacturers rate their vehicles very modestly to avoid litigation and long term costs (warranty issues) on their behalf but if you are sensible then most vehicles can out perform their specs.

One eg. i have a bleep box 1988 Ford Telstar and every weekend i have the car fully laden with a trailer with a total weight of 2500Kg's doing 400Km's every w/e! I was told the car would die on me after only a few trips and if it didn't i would be going through clutches like mad. In 40,000 km's i still have the original clutch that was in the car at 147,000 km (it was not new either) when i bought the car and it runs like clock work and the brakes have not been changed either! I contribute the reliabilty of the car to driving style and caution!

So before the rednecks sitting 10ft in the air decide to bag the RAV4, please go out and drive one a bit longer than just around the block and don't base your comments on the people you see getting bogged or stuck on one of your outings coz no matter how good the equipment is, it will only be as good as the operator.

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Reply By: mik*2 - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 11:42

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 11:42
hey no problems here, thats what makes this forum so good, apart from the friendly rivalry between Toyota and Nissan, you'll still get people wanting to help you out, and no bleep taking....most of the time.
Buy what ever suits you, not what other people think...

AnswerID: 42202

Reply By: SMURFF - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 11:50

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 11:50
Actually, i have to give credit where credit is due......

This Forum and it's members are are the most helpful of all forums visited!!.....only a few narrow minded fools.

The other forums are just plain down right rediculous!

I might go and post this topic in 4WD Monthly or Overlander! They will ban me instantly! LOL.

You fella's are very tactful and if any criticsm is given it is done constructively!

AnswerID: 42203

Follow Up By: Steve L - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:47

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:47

Doesn't even sound like you've tried the other forums - they're a lot more tolerant than you suggest, and include lots of members with different vehicles. Only common tenet is a love of 4WDing and touring this great country.
FollowupID: 304668

Follow Up By: Member Colin - NSW Bungendore - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 11:18

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 11:18
Not sure what the 'other' Forums are like now, but I withdrew from Overlander Forum about 2 years ago for the reasons you mentioned and a disagreement with the 'editor' over 'their' attitude to the treatment of the environment.
My conclusion was that at that time the Overlander Forum was a bunch of rock bashing rednecks who only had eyes for big 'proper' 4WD's!

Good luck with the RAV4 - a pity you were restricted to a Toyota as a Subaru would suit your requirements !??Subaru Forester
"size isn't everything"
FollowupID: 304787

Follow Up By: SMURFF - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 11:28

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 11:28
Hi Colin,


Regarding the Subaru....I actually had a look at the new XT Turbo.....FAST is the only thought that comes to mind! The only thing i don't like is they seem a little cheap in the interior materials and feel (no offence intended). Also the price i was offered to purchase the RAV4 was too good to ignore.


FollowupID: 304788

Reply By: Member - Wim (Bris) - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 12:07

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 12:07

If the RAV suits your purpose and you are happy with it then it is the vehicle for you.
All the best and I hope you enjoy all your future travels as a lot of us are doing who do not drive a top of the range Nissan or Toyota.

RegardsThis 4WD stuff is addictive,
time consuming & expensive.
AnswerID: 42207

Follow Up By: SMURFF - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 12:22

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 12:22
Point taken....I wasn't really looking for top of the line. I wanted the creature comforts such as power windows, mirrors, a/c, comfortable seats, steering wheels etc because they all contribute to the enjoyment of driving a vehicle for pleasure not just necessity.

Reason for the Hilux SR5 is its the only grade with a reasonably comfortable interior yet it is still inferior when compared to a Barina! A Prado GXL, in my opinion is great but a little big for around Sydney every day and double the prive of the RAV4.

Tolerance is the key word and acceptance that these mid size AWD's (RAV4, X-Trail mainly) are up to the task of normal offroad and can hold their own against heavy weights.

FollowupID: 304659

Reply By: Brian - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 12:39

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 12:39
Have a mate with one and suits him down to the ground, the only critisim that I have of it is the fuel economy. For such a small car it is very poor.

AnswerID: 42211

Follow Up By: dingodigger - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:27

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:27
the hilux's origins are that of a work vehicle so the basic interior is what was put into the vehicle on purpose.

carpet floored interiors with all sorts of luxury bits and pieces have shortcomings when it comes to work vehicle specs.
sure the sr5 has all the bits and pieces on it but its still really a hilux interior with carpet and electric windows etc.

hey the RAV4 has its place and i dont deny that its not a top performer in its class but comparing it with a ute like a hilux is with another type of vehicle.

FollowupID: 304665

Follow Up By: SMURFF - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 14:11

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 14:11

I agree with your comments about the Hilux and i prefer the vinyl floor for obvious reasons but shouldn't the price reflect it's basic features considering the Prado also has Heavy duty components (chassis, drivetrain, better engine) yet it managers to equal the comfort if not exceed that of a commodore for approx the same price and it is a much larger vehicle.

FollowupID: 304673

Reply By: bruce.h (WA) - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:39

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:39
gday smurf

did i miss something ,dont quite follow the point of your post ,who are you trying to convince us or yourself . we all buy our cars based on our own needs & requirements,the only person you have to justifie your purchase to is yourself,it supprises me that as of yet your post has not recieved any of the bagging you complian about as it seems to me to be an open invite to do so.
enjoy your purchace & stop putting yourself infront of the train becauce it will hit you.
regards bruce
AnswerID: 42222

Follow Up By: SMURFF - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:54

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:54
Hi Bruce,

I was referring to previous posts that involved the RAV4 and majority of them are in other Forums i just happened to post my gripe on this one after reading a few comments made on other posts.

I wasn't trying to justify the purchase mearly trying to remove the blinkers from the eyes of hardcore 4WD'ers who seem to be a little narrow minded and need to be informed of actual fact and not fiction. Stereotyping comes in all forms and this is true of the 4WD scene.

I have stood on the platform of many stations and watched the 4WD train come rushing through which is why i am saying that maybe it should stop occasionally and take on some passengers....

FollowupID: 304671

Reply By: SMURFF - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 14:01

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 14:01

After Steve L's follow up, i will back up my argument.

Go to any Forum (This Forum is quite good so exlude it) and do a search on "RAV4" and you will see what i mean!

If it doesn't have a live axle front and rear, a transfer case and burn oil (diesel) then it is not a true 4WD.

Not trying to ruffle feathers just trying to understand the origin of the stereotype.
AnswerID: 42227

Follow Up By: Moose - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 14:50

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 14:50
Good luck with the RAV. There's always someone who thinks their vehicle is the best and wants to bag others. Let them - they are entitled to their opinion. In reality the best vehicle is the one that suits your needs best. There will always be compromises. BTW I for one don't agree that it has to be a diesel to be a real 4WD and I would hope that most people agree. There are many factors in how well a 4WD will perform and a major one is driver competency. Some of the things you mention (live axles, transfer case) don't mean much if you just use the 4WD for general touring - in fact the lack of live axles would no doubt result in a better ride. As I said the best vehicle is the one that meets your particular needs best.
FollowupID: 304679

Reply By: Member - Bob - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 17:33

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 17:33
"Only criteria was that it had to be a Toyota" That sounds a bit narrow minded from someone so sensitive about being bagged for driving a softroader ;-)Bob
AnswerID: 42257

Follow Up By: SMURFF - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 08:47

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 08:47
Hi Bob,

I can agree with you there, very limited having to be a Toyota but at the end of the day Money talks and Bull bleep walks so since the ms' works for toyota we get a fairly big discount hence my narrowmindedness and the actual reason for buying a new "Soft" offroader. Otherwise Holden and Nissan would have become part of the selection criteria.

FollowupID: 304772

Follow Up By: Member - Bob - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 13:58

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 13:58
Sounds like an excellent reason to run with a TojoBob
FollowupID: 304801

Reply By: Member - Peter (York) - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 19:28

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 19:28
Smurff, as aNissian owner ( ex Toyota owner ) I also think your comments re people baging others is a bit off when you start calling others "rednecks" .Not all hardcore 10ft in the air drivers act as your so called typical redneck , many of us are Granparents ,family men or mums we just love the outdoors and our 4x4s and we love to add all the little bits to them if they are really needed or not . Have you got of the train and driven a Nissian off road or just around the corner .Please dont let the comments of a few idiots convince you that all 4x4 owners are the same .Smile and enjoy you new Rav ,I hope it gives you many years of safe travel.Telfer mines rd camp
Peter York 4x4
AnswerID: 42268

Follow Up By: SMURFF - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 08:54

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 08:54
Hi Peter,

I know 4x4 owners are not all the same and generally most of them are pretty down to earth and very knowledgable,but it is the few minority, just like in all sports, that rear their ugly head when it is not needed.

I think i might join a club to see what they are all about. I am a bit reluctant since the last time i joined an auto club the reception was very cold since i was only 17 and my "Classic Triumph Stag" was in better condition than all the 50+ year olds and i think they were jealous since i had restored it myself!


Thanx for you support and many safe travels to you too.
FollowupID: 304773

Reply By: Dennis (Brisbane) - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 00:49

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 00:49
Good little vehicle.....

But the lack of transfer case (low range) is their biggest downfall.

Mate just sold his for no other reason, loved the vehicle except it was terrible trying to tow anything off road or pulling his boat up a ramp. He needed the low range just to crawl sometimes.

He went and bought a Pathfinder (auto) just for the ability to select low range.

Something to consider if you ever intend towing anything Smurff.
AnswerID: 42305

Follow Up By: SMURFF - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 08:59

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 08:59
Hi Dennis,

That seems to be the majority of opinions.....Good but needs a transfer case.
A friend of mind has a hilux 4x4 and he says it is handy to have the low range for crawling and carrying/towing heavy loads up steep driveways/embankments etc but just normal recreational driving he very rarely uses it. Although being a na 2.8L Diesel and lacking alot of power he appreciates having the low range for emergencies.
FollowupID: 304774

Follow Up By: Dennis (Brisbane) - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 12:31

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 12:31
We all very rarely use low range (as a % of total driving time).

But there are times and places where it is useful, even if it is just so you can lower your driving speed to cross an obstacle and reduce the chance of damaging the vehicle.

If you tow stuff it can be a life saver, I even use low range to back my trailer up oursteep driveway, saves my clutch, saves me any heartache.

My mate was punishing the clutch and the vehicle whenever he tried to pull his boat (4.75 tinny) up a ramp that was slippery. It was a top of the range RAV4 5 door escape, only 40k old. Like I said, he loved it but it just needed the option of being able to select low range like some other vehicles in the class offer.

If the deal you get precludes everything else, buy the RAV, but keep an open mind to other vehicles that are in the same class. The Pathfinder that my mate bougt is a larger vehicle, has a utsy motor, has decent clearance and has low range. Went great on the sand at Bribie last time we were there.
FollowupID: 304793

Reply By: Space Bastard - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 12:04

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 12:04
I'm just curious about the RAV 4's lack of a transfer case - is first gear in the RAV really low (to compensate), or is there some other electronic traction control system like the landrover freelander has got which uses a system like ABS on all four wheels when activated?

If not, how does it go on a steep descent?
AnswerID: 42341

Follow Up By: SMURFF - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 12:14

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 12:14
Hi Space Bastard,

The RAV4 comes Standard with ABS so i guess that will definately help. There is a Safety Option that Includes Traction and Stability control as well as all more curtain airbags etc but i didn't see the need for it.

When you think about it in an auto you have bugger all engine braking so it wouldn't make much difference in a Manual without low range. Take it slow and easy and it should be fine i suppose.
FollowupID: 304792

Follow Up By: Dennis (Brisbane) - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 12:38

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 12:38
It has a normal 1st gear Space, ride the brake is the only choice.

But perhaps the real point is that if it is that steep perhaps you shouldn't be there in a RAV?

For what they are designed for, a great little car, but they have to be driven to their potential, within their limits, same as every other vehicle on the planet.

FollowupID: 304794

Reply By: SMURFF - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 13:14

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 13:14
After all the replies recieved, it will be very interesting to take the RAV4 (when i take delivery) out to see what it is capable of! Unfortunately i don't know anyone who is into 4WDing my mate with the Hilux 4x4 doesn't like going more than 30mins from Sydney! (exadurating).

Is there a 4x4 club that i might be able to visit around the Stratfield, NSW area that has an open mind and enjoys assisting people regardless of what they drive?
AnswerID: 42347

Reply By: colin - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 19:48

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 19:48
how many times have i been to Bribie and frazer and had to tow rav 4 and other non low range vehicles out from soft deep sand, they are a good vehicle in the right places, but dont expect miracles. Col
AnswerID: 42391

Reply By: Dave from Fraser Coast 4WD Club - Saturday, Jan 10, 2004 at 09:40

Saturday, Jan 10, 2004 at 09:40
It's been said earlier, you need to know your vehicle's limitations, and a RAV is more limited than a 'real' 4wd, the flip side is that you will have power to weight ratio than many of us will envy.

Bottom line is that if you are happy, then so be it. If you're gonna get it dirty, be reasonable about what you expect to be able to do.

And as with all 4bys, have proper recovery points and carry your own gear. From my experience on Fraser, it is generally the softroaders that depend on others for straps etc, obviously 4bying is not a high priority for these people, otherwise they would be more self sufficient.

I've driven Ravs and quite like them, just have fun with it.

Oh and the Redneck tag is a little harsh isn't it?
AnswerID: 42457

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