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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

With the increased operating costs (i.e. gasoline) on the Tacoma, I've been thinking about something less expensive.

I use the 4wd in the winter mostly on ski trips. I also go on back country canoe trips 1-2 times a year. These usually involve long (>20 miles) drives on logging roads, sometime washouts or small rivers, etc. (Nothing over 12" deep!!)

I don't do any hardcore rock crawling or mudding. It's nice to have a lo range though.

Does anyone use the RAV4 in similar applications? I don't think it would be nearly as capable off-road as the Tacoma, but it looks like it has enough clearance and traction to do what I want. I still have to figure out where we would put all our gear... :roll:

When I looked at one at the dealer the construction (front and rear end) seemed much lighter than my Tacoma. I switched to light trucks when I got out of school (when I got a job :) ) because the car I was driving was getting too beaten up on the canoe trips. (Of course it was a GM, not a yota.) Getting stuck in the winter wasn't too great either, but this was more manageable.

Do you think the RAV4 would hold up to this level of use? I sure don't want to be replacing front end and suspension components on a regular basis!

Thanks for your help!
 
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I have used my RAV4 in the following conditions and it is in immaculate shape except one scratch that I put on myself. It has 63k miles on it and it drives like new..............

I have a lugguage rack and two bike racks on my ROOF.
I also have two small kids..

1) I have put 4 suit cases, 1 stroller, and 2 bikes on top of my RAV4 and driven to Florida from Michigan three times. Visited the everglades.. Did some 4WD fun. Ever seen a TAXI in the middleast? Loaded like a mule........

2) I have climbed very steep slopes with mountain bikes standing on top and 4 medium sized guys in the car. Awesome TORQUE.

3) I have camped out in the middle of nowhere many times crossed waters as deep as 18 inches atleast.

4) I have survived 4 Detroit winters without any sweat at all.

5) I have brought 2 queen size mattresses on the lugguage rack.

6) I have bought 6 FRUIT TREES and transported them on top. The whole RAV was a big bush driving on the road.

7) Three years ago when we moved, we only used the RAV for moving everything in the house because the rear seats come out and have a lugguage rack. The ONLY things I could not fit in my RAV were (Big screen TV 53 inches and the L shaped sectional sofa)

:cool:DEATH VALLEY !!!!!!!!! Need I say a single more word?

9) Most of all I have done all this with 26mpg + (average) and saved tons of money.


Should I continue????????


I am taking a California vacation March next year AGAIN. Driving from Kentucky to California this time. Last time it was Michigan to Cali.

On the way...

a - Go offroading thru the Utah/Nevadah STEPS...
b- Death Valley... AGAIN... I love that place... Auto manufacturers test their future cars there because the environment is so extreme.
c - Grand Canyon

etc...etc..

All that with RAV loaded like a Yemeni TAXI............ RAV won't hesitate anywhere.

Should I continue??

I hope you make the right decision. As far as my outdoor lifestyle is concerned, RAV 01 is the best vehicle I ever had... once the 06s comes out and if they offer me a STICK, I will be switching my Corolla with a 06 or just keep the Corolla and have two RAVs.. Depends on how much I am getting out of my Corolla...

Aren't u glad U asked?
 

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Hi Bill, welcome to the forums! :D Just curious, what year is your Tacoma, and what mileage do you get from it?

I was planning on getting a Tacoma to replace the RAV in a few years, however; with gas prices on the rise, I might have to reconsider that. :?

RAVs are great vehicles and can handle light to moderate off-road use, just be sure to get the 4WD versions! :D
 

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I've been thinking of picking up a used Tacoma as a winter beater/Lowe's Home depot runner myself.

While the RAV can certainly handle a lot of cargo, it doesn't have the versatility of an open truck bed.
 
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My Tacoma's a 2004 Double Cab with the 3.4L V6. I'm coming up on 2 years old this fall.

It absolutely rocks in the snow in the winter, and the box is real handy for hauling stuff. Nobody makes trucks this size anymore except Ford. :evil:

Gas mileage is pretty much what Toyota advertises in the summer and much worse in the winter. This is about 25 MPG highway, 20 MPG city. Note Canadian gallons are imperial, i think this is about 20% larger than U.S. gallons. I don't put enough mileage on it to save a whole lot of $$$ by switching to a smaller 4WD, and I'm not ready to go to a compact car.

So in the end, I've decided that it doesn't make any sense for me to replace it with a Rav4 right now, at least not unless gas prices go up another 50 cents/litre or so.
 
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billmcc64 said:
My Tacoma's a 2004 Double Cab with the 3.4L V6. I'm coming up on 2 years old this fall.

It absolutely rocks in the snow in the winter, and the box is real handy for hauling stuff. Nobody makes trucks this size anymore except Ford. :evil:

Gas mileage is pretty much what Toyota advertises in the summer and much worse in the winter. This is about 25 MPG highway, 20 MPG city. Note Canadian gallons are imperial, i think this is about 20% larger than U.S. gallons. I don't put enough mileage on it to save a whole lot of $$$ by switching to a smaller 4WD, and I'm not ready to go to a compact car.

So in the end, I've decided that it doesn't make any sense for me to replace it with a RAV4 right now, at least not unless gas prices go up another 50 cents/litre or so.
I agree with your assesment, if the only reason is to save gas it probably won't work.


I gave up on a ranger to get my rav4. Wouldn't go back for anything. You don't get much better fuel economy on the RAv4, the little 4 cylinder has to work really hard. I have been all over the southwest, past a few signs that said "warning: road ahead may be unpassable". Biggest problem for me was the OEm tires getting cut, I got two left flats on one of those roads as the same time! After my 6th flat, I moved to some heavier tires. the handling went to crap, but I haven't had a flat since. I think the rav can go anywhere you need, you may have to go a little slower that's all.

JON
 
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You've asked a very interesting question because I too had to ask myself the same question when I was car shopping last spring (and eventually bought the RAV4). I wanted a truck/SUV for several reasons, aside from the fact that my trusty 1995 Tercel was ready to conk out. I wanted something bigger so that I could haul my bike around without hassle. Also, I also wanted something with four-wheel-drive because when it snows in Vancouver, IT SNOWS the really wet snow, in which my Tercel was useless.

So why did I go with the RAV4 instead of the Tacoma? Cost (of purchasing), fuel economy, and "utility"... Sure, a Tacoma would have been nice, but I had to ask myself whether a Tacoma is really necessary for me. Sure, I still turn my head and stare at Tacomas on the street, but I don't regret my decision at all. My RAV4 is a lot easier to park and more fuel efficient than the Tacoma. This summer, my RAV4 is virtually a two-seater because I've removed the rear seats for my bike and my girlfriend's bike. :D

As for light-duty off-roading and rough roads... I've had limited experience in that department. Last week, I drove up to Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park, and I had to really take 'er slow on the gravel road because the ride just got a little too jouncy. In fact, I had to pull over to let an older 4Runner pass me. 8) No, the RAV4 is definitely no 4Runner or Tacoma when it comes to off-roading, but for gravel roads and rough roads, it will get the job done, in my opinion. One thing that I just realized (based strictly on observation) is that the RAV4's ground clearance is pretty low (compared to pickups and truck-based SUVs)... but so is the ground clearance with many small SUVs.

Good luck on your decision, and welcome to our forums!
 
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I have just recently used my RAV4 in pretty extreme driving off-road conditions. my journney started with a steep downhill and then went nuts ... lol ... i went through some pretty nice size mud puddles and steep hills .. rough terrain ... i havent found something to stop it yet .. !!!
 
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RAV4 replaced 4Runner

I've replaced my 99 4Runner V6 with a 2005 RAV4 4wd.

I bought a second set of rims and run Nokian Studded Snow Tires.

Pros:
Better mileage 25 mpg vs 16 mpg ($40 a month cheaper to run)
Faster up the hills and quicker 0-60
Better handling - sports car feel vs a truck
More Fun to Drive
Easier to Parallel Park
More cargo room - remove the rear seats 68 cubic feet
Don't have to mess with the 2WD/4WD selection
Handles our steep mountain stone driveway just fine

Cons:
Slightly lower ground clearance - not sure if this is a issue yet until we get into deep snow this winter
Radio in the 4Runner sounded better - need speaker upgrade in Rav4

I'm glad we made the switch, especially with gas at $3+ a gallon. I don't visit the gas station as much now.

"My wife wanted me to take her to some place expensive - so we went to the gas station!"
 
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I'm late for this post, but I did have a Tacoma before my past Tundra. I really, really, really miss the flatbed of my past trucks since getting the Rav4. I've had to ask friends to bring large/long or just plain awkward items home from the hardware store many times since I traded in my truck. It was also nice to have a place to toss muddy sports equipment & not have to worry about a big cleanup when you get home. Just hose out the bed!
 
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if you don't need to use "low" gear box setting on your tacoma you'll be ok with the rav4
 
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