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Presently driving a 2000 Subaru Forester and I am seriouly considering the new RAV4. I took one for a test drive and found it to be a great vehicle. I am SO disappointed that the spare tire is still hung on the back like so many lower priced SUVs. The side opening rear hatch is another sore point for me after have a flip up which is so much more convient and easy. I also noticed that as the vehicle got bigger so did the rear door AND its' weight. I wonder how the vehicle would look with the spare removed? Anyway I'm still seriously considering it in spite of my sour opinions. Anyone feel the same about a great vehicle mared by the rear end? So much for my venting. Ed :(
 

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If you could somehow modify the door yourself or get a hold of a European RAV4 X rear door (or talk Toyota into selling a spare-free door in North America), the rear end would look exactly like this...





It's been a huge bone of contention that the bare rear door doesn't make it outside of Europe (so far) -- even Japan doesn't lose the hanging spare. The RAV4 X in fact doesn't get a spare at all and accomplishes this feat by equipping run-flat tires at all four wheels.
 

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You should see the Hummer H3 and it's spare tire and side opening rear door. That's huge. It swings open the correct way though for the U.S. like the Jeep Liberty does.
 
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Looks a like a much cleaner and higher class designed vehicle without the spare tire hanging on the back. The outside tire looks like the company gave up and just stuck it on. Does the version without the outside tire still have the side opening door or was that improved also? I can only hope the US will get the cleaner version with a door that opens upward. Thanks Ed
 

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Yes, it's still a right-hand-hinged side-swinging door -- note the indentation in the lower right corner of the door that leaves room to clear the bumper upcropping.

RAV4 was always designed that way and Toyota likely considers it one of the RAV's trademark features -- goes back to the first production model in 1994 and probably even the concept vehicle.
 
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Someone mentioned an H3. Lordy: if I wanted an ugly, high cost to operate vehicle to drive on 10 inch deep mud farm fields the H3 would be it. However, I would never compare the H3 to a RAV 2 or 4. JMO Thank you
 

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flyingn said:
lower priced suv's have the tires out back?? How about the G500? One of the most expensive suv's on the market have em on the rear door..
Ahh... but a Gelandewagen is a real rock-crawler (as are many of the SUV's listed below... or at least claim to be...) -- that's where the design of an easy-access spare becomes more of necessity than a fashion statement.

Others with spare on the rear that aren't/weren't "lower priced": Honda CR-V & Passport, Isuzu Amigo, Isuzu Rodeo, Trooper, Trooper II, Vehicross, Hummer H1, H2, H3, Jeep Wrangler, Land Rover Defender, Discovery, Freelander, Mitsubishi Montero.

Yes, I know I listed several discontinued vehicles, but they're still on the road.
 
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I heard rumor that the 07 CR-V is losing the outside spare and going hatch this time.
Like I said just a rumor for now.
 

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That's entirely possible... While the RAV has not altered the basic rear door's design since inception, the CRV has already changed between generations: first a two-piece half-height side-swinging door, half hatch-window affair, then a one piece side-swinging door with a flip up window.





 
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Discussion Starter #11
I'm thinking suvs like the M500/Acura and the like which apper to be a more eligent/classy design rather than a tackon. I think that for an Afracan safari the tires mounted on the outside back, top and sides have a real purpose and one of them is NOT looks. I suppose Toyota my think that the outside tire look is maybe a more macho rough rider look for some.
 

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actually edward its mounted outside to give MORE interior room. Its gotta go somewhere and a tire that big is gonna chew into the interior spare no matter where you put it. Thats a fact of life. I like the tire out back. have it on my Suzuki too.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
My hope is that the USA will get the version without the spare outside. I think they have run-flat tires and a shorter wheel base version. Anyone heard anything is this regard?
 
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I can only hope then flyingn. Toyota has only two model years before I add a new car to my home.
 
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Hmmm...I like the spare mounted on back...where else would you put it? Underneath?...inside to hog up the cargo space? I say, keep it as it is.

As far as the side opening. I like this also! I like not having a "tailgate" getting in the way when I'm trying to put stuff in, plus I am kinda short and definitely don't want a door to go up high like a hatchback/minivan. I also like the direction it is opening? Maybe because I'm right handed? I never even realized that it was backwards? Of course, I never park on a street....always parking lots and driveways.

YEARS ago we had a Rodeo, and it was a pain opening up the cargo door. You had to unlatch the spare that went one way, then lift the window, and finally open the door. Being that I use the cargo area EVERY day of my life...this was a royal pain. (of course, this was an older model...I don't think the newer ones had the exterior spare).

One of the reasons I have always loved RAVs is because of the interior cargo area, the side door opening, and the read door mounted spare . It is neat how each of us have different likes and dislikes in this world.
 

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It *is* nice in the back... Only thing is, it affects the size of the rear window and placement of the rear bumper. Would've been nice to have the option, or at least one model without a spare, ala Europe's RAV4 X (run-flat tires). With the large stow-space beneath the cargo section, it may have been possible to hide a spare there... unfortunately, a service donut would fit best without raising the floor a bit.

The side swinging door is both boon and bane for head-in parking -- you know you'll almost always have room to open it (unless you back in), but if it sticks out too far, there's still a chance it can get clipped by a passing motorist that's not paying attention to their driving.

For parallel parking, you always have to leave room for it to open if you have any intentions of accessing the cargo area. And unless you park with the driver side along the curb, an open rear door blocks ease of access.
 
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