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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-22-2014, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Should I buy a Used Toyota RAV4?



Vehicle Overview

Toyota’s RAV4 compact crossover entered its third generation on the market for the 2006 model year. Having grown in size, two features previously not found on the RAV4 were added: a V6 engine option and a third row of seating.


The 269 HP 3.5-liter V6 was paired to a five-speed automatic while the entry level 166 HP 2.4-liter four cylinder engine came equipped with a more traditional four-speed automatic transmission. Either engine could be had with front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive.


Trims Packages

The RAV4 was offered in three basic trims, Base, Sport and Limited. Either engine was available in these trims as well as the choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

Top 3 Reasons to Buy

Many consumers found the previous RAV4 was a bit too small, but did not want to move up to the larger mid-size Toyota Highlander. The 2006-2012 RAV4 became the perfect size for them.
A rarity in the class, the optional V6 engine actually made the RAV4 a very quick vehicle; one of the quickest compact crossovers on the market.
Even if the third row isn’t particularly spacious, having the extra spots should you need them every now and then can be pretty handy.

Top 3 Problem Areas

A Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) was issued two years ago for the five-speed automatic found in V6 equipped RAV4s. The final drive gear assembly may exhibit a whine noise that can be repaired a local Toyota dealership.
The V6 editions of the RAV4 are prone to water pump issues. Although most issues occur with the 2006-2009 models and later versions of the RAV4 V6 had a different part number for the water pump, 2010-2012 models have had the odd water pump failure.
During low speed, tight cornering a knocking noise can be heard from the front suspension area. Although four-cylinder versions can be susceptible to this issue, it appears V6 models are affected more often.

Before You Buy

Unlike a lot of Toyota products, this generation of RAV4 has had more than its share of problems. If looking to get an earlier third generation RAV4 ensure the various recalls have been performed. As well, if looking at a V6 model, ensure it is not suffering from any of the problems listed above.

Check the condition of the brakes and tires and be sure there aren’t any warning lights illuminated in the gauge cluster.


Best Bang for Your Buck

Early versions of the third generation RAV4 have a lot of complaints logged on the NHTSA website, specifically 2006 and 2007 model years. Aside from the issues, safety was improved on the RAV4 for the 2009 model and again in 2012.

We would recommend a 2009 or later RAV4 with the four-cylinder because it has proven to be less problematic. If the V6 is a must, go for a 2008 to 2012 model, ideally in Sport trim because it offers a good mix of equipment and value.

Jeff aka The Pun
Community Manager
AutoGuide.com

Last edited by JuneBug; 12-22-2014 at 02:24 PM.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-26-2014, 07:34 PM
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We just bought a 2011 4 cylinder Base model used with 24K miles. So far, so good, but we'll watch out for the water pump.

I'm not sure I would recommend the sport version necessarily. It has low-profile tires, which not everyone wants. Just be aware of this.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-26-2014, 11:47 PM
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i just bought a 2010 rav4 limited v6 with 64k 4wd

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-27-2014, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isophorone View Post

I'm not sure I would recommend the sport version necessarily. It has low-profile tires, which not everyone wants. Just be aware of this.
No, the Sport models came with 18" rims with normal profile tires. The Sport models with the SAP (Sport Appearance Package) had no spare tire and 4 run flat tires, also normal profile. Along with the stiffer springs, all models of the Sport had a rougher ride than the base or Limited.

Help RAV4World members help you by providing your car's operating location in your profile page. Climate can cause a RAV4 in Dallas Wisconsin to experience a different set of issues when compared to the same model in Dallas Texas.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-27-2014, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuneBug View Post
No, the Sport models came with 18" rims with normal profile tires. The Sport models with the SAP (Sport Appearance Package) had no spare tire and 4 run flat tires, also normal profile. Along with the stiffer springs, all models of the Sport had a rougher ride than the base or Limited.
Actually, the run flats were not available until the RAV4 had the mid-cycle refresh.. I think it was around 2010? I had a 2007 Sport, and it had the spare tire on the back. And yes, the tires were definitely not low profile.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-27-2014, 09:05 PM
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Run flat tires came when the SAP was released in 2009.

-----2012 V6 Sport, Tow Prep, & 4x4-----
HU: Kenwood DNN991HD & back-up cam,
JDM HID Projector Headlights w/Toshiba D4S Bulbs, JDM Vanguard Tail Lights
Front DRL's, LED Bumper Park/Brake lights,
Laser Interceptor Quad & Passport Max2
Red "SPORT" Theme
----------
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 01:44 PM
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In October 2008, I bought a new 2008 Base RAV4, V6, with 17"alloy wheels, towing package, roof rack, and not much else. It has 90K miles on it to date. It has not been perfect, but I have been happy with it. I would buy one again, knowing what I know now.

As far as recalls, these have been accomplished:
- Gas pedal mod
- Smart stop re-programming
- Rear suspension control arm adjustment, and the subsequent re-do of that recall, epoxying the adjustment on the control arms

As far as issues experienced to date:
- Water pump went at about 55K miles. Actually, it did not completely fail before replacement (under warranty), but it began making a lot of noise which indicated there was a problem.
- Intermittent fuel pump whine. One of those frustrating items that never acts up when the car is in for service, so the dealer can never "positively identify the problem." There is a TSB out on this that may or may not cover my vehicle, but the described symptoms are exactly what I have experienced. The fix is a relatively inexpensive replacement pump controller part, located under the hood along the firewall. I will be replacing that myself at some point, but she has been on good behavior for several months, so no need right now.

Likes:
- V6 power and 3500 lb towing capacity
- Spacious and easily accessible storage bin under the cargo floor ( 3rd row seat models do not have this).
- Easy to install upgraded sound system components, USB power ports, etc. The dash trim panels and other interior panels come off fairly easily and without damage and broken clips etc., as compared to other vehicles I have owned.

User issues/gripes:
- The heat can be slow to warm up the cabin unless on hurricane-level fan setting.
- The gas and brake pedals are pretty close together. Nice for heel/toe driving, rotating your foot between the two pedals on a planted heel. BUT, on one occasion I did inadvertently and simultaneously hit the gas while I was pressing the brake pedal. That was a wakeup call.
- Very aggressive tip-in curve for the gas pedal makes for jumpy and uncomfortable starts from rest, unless you are VERY delicate going to the gas the pedal. It takes some concerted practice to be smooth, and I am still not 100% successful, especially when I need to pull out a little more assertively, say, for a left turn across fast approaching traffic.
- Spark plug change procedure is pretty involved for the rear 3 plugs, due to tight access clearance and the need to remove a lot of components to gain access.
Haven't done it yet, but that is coming up.

Some people have complained about poor fuel economy, but I consistently get about 22-24 mpg in a 50/50 mix of city/highway driving.

2008 Base V6 Automatic
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 02:11 PM
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22-24 mpg is what some get in an I4. So good for you.

Also the rear 3 plugs in the V6 is always a pain in any car. I had to do the same in my Mazda6. But once I know what do to, the next time, it took me 15 minutes to reach the rear plugs!!!

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