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Introducing my new baby - 1997 3 Door

766 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  LugNut
Why do you want a classic car?
Sometimes you just want to get in the car, drive off and switch off. With the 1997 RAV4, there are no lamps that light up while you're driving to tell you that you're braking too late. The car doesn't try to tell you that the tire pressure is off, what the weather is like, or that service is overdue. Nor does it give you a warning tone or a flashing light just because you're not wearing your seatbelt for a moment. Only you are relevant here
It is unusual and magical at the same time, it radiates calm. You can just travel around and listen to the engine or enjoy the music.

Why pick the RAV 4 Gen1 3Door?
Here are some thoughts

Place of residence
I live in Austria. We have mountains, snow and wonderfully beautiful landscapes. So 4x4 is not absolutely necessary, but the RAV4 is a lot of fun in the snow!

We are used to some comfort these days. Here's what I'm looking for:

The RAV4 meets these criteria
  • Air conditioning
  • automatic transmission
  • electric windows
  • Full insulation of the cabin and the floor (retrofitted)
  • Sound system with 6 new speakers for excellent sound (retrofitted)
  • Rear view camera (retrofitted)
What is missing
  • Cruise control (unfortunately was not offered in Europe 馃檨).
  • Good seats. In direct comparison, the Avensis has first-class seats
What I absolutely love
  • The 3 door looks unique. It is a small, short and an offroader. A real exotic on the road.
  • Headlights made of glass. Never fogged. (Kind of nostalgia from childhood).
  • Front windshield tinted green
  • Particularly beautiful body lines on the side (subjective, but the successor no longer has that)
  • Bull bar - street legal! In Austria rather a rarity, since it has long been banned.
  • Fulltime 4x4 cover on the spare wheel J
But why Toyota at all?
As it turns out, Toyotas are very well built. I own three Toyotas, and this is my experience:
  • Toyota Avensis T25 Sedan [2003] after upgrading, mostly my dad drives it. We are approaching 200000 miles! It still has the original engine, turbo, EGR, alternator, .... only the clutch has been replaced twice. (City traffic & manual transmission are not friends).
  • Toyota Avensis T27 Sedan [2011] which my wife drives to work every day. Once electric handbrake and fuel injector failed. Extremely comfortable for long trips [3-4 times a year 600 miles to Switzerland and back].
  • And since one year my car has been the RAV4 XA10 3 door (1997).
No rattling of the plastic, no worn or broken switches. Everything is in place.
So why not a Toyota?

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Automotive parking light Wheel Car Tire Automotive side marker light
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Man, those things are cute! (Altho the hitch sticking out the back does detract.)
Moved your post to 4.1 so more members can admire it!
Looks very nice.

Cruise control can be added. However, watch out for a recalled aftermarket one.

Lots of mountain-roads there! Which engine? The standard petroL 3S-FE?
The European market here is special. The only engine available from the factory is the "3S-FE 2.0" with 129HP. Also, automatic is extremely rare. I waited a long time for it until it was not available for sale.

I have asked about the cruise control at a workshop, the installation takes 7 hours and costs ~500鈧. For this I have to travel 150miles to the workshop.

Do your RAV4s have cruise control from the factory ?
My Canadian 1997 2dr has factory Toyota cruise control. Not all models came with cruise, just the higher end packages. Mine also has the power windows, power mirrors, 2 sunroofs, larger speakers, tilt steering column, clock, rear wiper and washer etc. But it has no air conditioner, and has a manual transmission.

Congrats on your RAV4. That one is a beauty. It looks like it has aftermarket wheels. If so, then double check that your tire iron or lug wrench will fit the lug nuts and the recesses in the wheels. Often aftermarket wheels are different, or the recesses are a bit too small. If it doesn't fit, then maybe buy a breaker bar and suitable socket to carry. It would be awful to be on the side of the road with a great full-size spare tire, and have the supplied wrench not work. Check too if your spare wheel matches. If the spare is still the original Toyota wheel, it may need original Toyota lugnuts to be used.
My 2000 AWD L Special Edition did come with OEM cruise control. So did the 2000 FWD L that I sold long ago.
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