There’s something attractive about 4 x 4’s , there’s no doubt about it. Even people that will never use them to a tenth of their potential, if that, swear by them. For others, such as myself that deal with snow 6 months a year, 4 x 4s are a welcome luxury. Back when the 1994 Toyota RAV4 was introduced, must four-wheel drive vehicles were based on trucks and genuine off-roaders, which meant that they handled poorly and were particularly hard on gas. Toyota saw the way the wind was blowing, and with the RAV4, blew the competition out of the water. They basically designed the first SUV, based on a car chassis, with available all-wheel drive (it wasn’t even standard!), and that drove like a car. It was a smash hit, particularly with women.
What really helped the RAV4 was its excellent engine. Powered by a 16-valve, four-cylinder 2-liter engine that produced an honest 129 horsepower, it could reach a to speed of 105 miles per hour, and accelerate 0-60 in under 12 seconds. While these numbers are not stellar, they are quite respectable in an all-wheel drive vehicle.
The RAV4 offered the look, design, driving position and performance to attract buyers, and that’s really all that matters. Despite its terrible name (RAV4 means ‘Recreational Active Vehicle with four wheel drive, the Japanese really have a knack for clunky acronyms), the 1994 Toyota RAV4 was a smashing success, and it’s a testament to its true visionary status that it is still in production today, and still selling quite well, thank you!