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Hi all. I've been reading for a few weeks since discovering the forum and have gleaned lots of useful information that I plan on making use of in the future.

I'm newly married, and my wife is disabled. I currently drive a honda civic sedan, and it has been a trooper for me for over 10 years (still runs like a dream at 15yrs old) But everything changes eventually. I remember thinking when I bought the car that I would be very lucky if I could keep it for 10 years - it has really exceeded my expectations.

I guess I never really thought too much about entry and exit of a sedan. Until now. Plus, The last few months I've been struggling/cursing/etc with moving a wheelchair into and out of a trunk where it barely fits.

The writing was on the wall, and it said: "it is time for a new way of (car) thinking".

October/November were filled with my initial searching for a vehicle that would fit a few basic requirements:
1) Easier entry/exit from the passenger side, but not too high to be a struggle
2) Cargo area with enough room to comfortably put a manual wheelchair, and enough deck height that it wouldn't be a strain for me to lift in and out on a constant basis
3) Small. I'm used to a small sedan's size, and didn't want to hassle with getting used to a much larger vehicle's traffic proportions.
4) Learned on a stick, own a stick now. I really don't like automatics much. MEWANTSTICK! 8-} (poor 2006 buyers don't even get that option. By the time I discovered that little nugget I was not too surprised judging by how sticks are disappearing from some other vehicles)

So, you can probably guess my researching story from here...Basically, I settled on the standard options of subaru forester, honda cr-v and toyota rav4. I looked at a lot of other options (suzuki grand vitara, saturn vue, mercedes, bmw x3, jeep liberty, hyundai tucson, yadda yadda), but slowly narrowed my list down. Since size/length was a big issue, even some of my final candidates had extreme limits as well (CRV, but only up until they moved it to it's current size back in ~02).

I was impressed by the RAV4 on my 2 biggest buying factors. My wife could easily enter/exit the vehicle - It was surprising how many of the candidates failed on this point. The other bonus was that her chair could even fit in the cargo area, under the tonneau cover without being collapsed. That just about sold it for me right there.

Up front, I much preferred the RAV styling over any of the other candidates, and when I took one for a test drive, that really decided me. 8-}

It took me a looong while and a lot of anal-retentive searching to find what I was looking for (L-package, manual in the color I wanted most). A couple really good local used candidates slipped through my fingers because I wasn't ready to buy just yet.

To wrap this up and spare you from the paragraphs I could write about the buying process (really, you'll thank me some day ;-}), I found a brand new 2005 L-package stick, but I had to range far and wide to find it. Since the RAVs hold their selling value well, I wasn't doing myself much of a favor looking for recent used versions anyway (very little savings for the added wear/mileage). I get to see my baby in a couple days for the first time.

I probably won't do much in the way of mods for awhile, as I went a couple K over the top of my budget to end up with a new car. I'm not very mod-happy anyway (but you guys have this insidious way of putting these thoughts into our heads that It Can Always Be Better). I'm just going to enjoy the car as-is for now...unless something really annoys me. Even so, I'll know where to look when I do!

Ramble, ramble. Thanks for being patient if you've read this far.
I'd love for the RAV to be another 10 year car for me. Maybe more. I'm betting it will be a fun ride. 8-}
 

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Welcome bloorav. I can dare to guess that your new baby is blue? 8). Wow 15 years! Japanese cars tend to last that long IF they are taken care of well. I hope i can keep my baby for that long too :D. You'll really enjoy it, youl'll see. Of course there are a few things that some people, including me, don't like about the rav, like the road noise (which isn't really a bid deal for me), and the seats being uncomfortable (big deal for me :(), but overall, it's a great car. It fits everywhere! :D :mrgreen:.

BTW, i always enjoy reading about how people find their ravs and love them. It's nice to know people who understand the way i feel about my baby. It has about 3 years 2 months and i still stare at it as if it were brand new. I just love it so much :D.

Hope to see you around more often on the forums and welcome again! :)
 

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Hello and Welcome.

I bought a Silver 2005 S in August myself, so I can surely relate. At 6'4 and 300#, easy entry/exit was my biggest thing too, though I had no problems with my 2003 Honda Accord (I'd still have it today were it not leased -- which I hated)..

If I were to recommend one single upgrade you could make to your new RAV4, it would be to spend about $60 - $80 to buy a 2006 Scion TC stereo head unit off of e-Bay to be able to listen to MP3 CD's. Putting in that upgrade also seems to have resolved any issues I previously had with the radio reception on the stock Toyota stereo.

Plus, it's nice to be able to plop in a CD with 110 or so songs on it and not have to worry with changers, etcetera.

Wayne
 

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bloorav Welcome and I'm sure you'll enjoy your RAV.

I want to keep mine for a long time too and one of the keys is oil changes. I had a '03 Accord too and I hated the seats and the fact that there is no space for anything else.

Enjoy our forum. We may get heated sometimes but we all have one common love on here and that's the RAV. You should really just "like" your car but LOVE your wife. I do.

Later. M. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Marcutio said:
bloorav Welcome and I'm sure you'll enjoy your RAV.

You should really just "like" your car but LOVE your wife. I do.
Wow. I'm glad everybody loves MY wife! ;-}

Really no worries on that score though. I've been a bit obsessed with the research end of things for quite awhile, and she has humored me through that, plus the absolutely-necessary calling out of EVERY RAV4 I see on the road. 8-}

*cough*

Now that we've been able to actually DRIVE the car around a bit, we are both having a lot of fun and we really appreciate our decision.

Wonderful lovely wife with a pretty awesome car...a great combination!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wayne said:
If I were to recommend one single upgrade you could make to your new RAV4, it would be to spend about $60 - $80 to buy a 2006 Scion TC stereo head unit off of e-Bay to be able to listen to MP3 CD's. Putting in that upgrade also seems to have resolved any issues I previously had with the radio reception on the stock Toyota stereo.

Plus, it's nice to be able to plop in a CD with 110 or so songs on it and not have to worry with changers, etcetera.
Thanks Wayne,

I've already been looking with interest at the idea of replacing the head unit with a scion one. I remember seeing some specs on it, but I didn't know how it would compare to the stock head unit in the RAV (I have the 6 speaker setup). The only impression I have of the combination as a whole is that it all sounds pretty muddy and muffled. There's very little clarity to be had with the stock system and it will be one of the first changes I make.

The stereo and speakers I have in my Civic were a wonderful and not that expensive addition to my driving experience (A fairly decent alpine head unit and some fair infinity kappa 6" in the front and rear.) I just need to know if the stock speakers in the RAV are any good or if the listening-to-music-through-a-pillow effect can be blamed on the speakers.

Additionally, I was reading with interest about the Scion changer. I don't need a changer since I have entered the world of iPod. All my CDs sit in the closet now. The posts about the changer mention that one of the CD slots can be hijacked for exclusive aux-input from the ipod. Fine, but if I went with the single disc model, would I be able to do something similar? Until now I've been using a FM transmitter, but would like to have the clarity of an exclusive channel for the ipod output. I'm a total n00b as far as all this goes, but I'm willing to do some research if pointed in the right direction. It sounds like dealing with the head unit at least should be a relative snap.

Thanks for any help!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
garfieldgurl said:
Welcome bloorav. I can dare to guess that your new baby is blue? 8).
Yes. 8-}

garfieldgurl said:
Of course there are a few things that some people, including me, don't like about the RAV, like the road noise (which isn't really a bid deal for me), and the seats being uncomfortable (big deal for me :(), but overall, it's a great car. It fits everywhere! :D :mrgreen:.
Well, so far I'm actually LOVING the lack of road noise. My 1990 civic was not the best in that regard so right now it feels like I'm driving in a library. But - I did read with interest about the noise dampening materials/projects that others have tried and I'll probably do that at some point to make the ride even quieter.

I haven't driven the rav for that long yet, nor for very long distances, so I can't speak to the seat comfort level (or lack thereof), but it DOES seem firm. Thanks for the warning but now you'll have me worrying about my first long road trip. 8-} *not fond of the seat fabric in the RAV either*

garfieldgurl said:
BTW, i always enjoy reading about how people find their ravs and love them. It's nice to know people who understand the way i feel about my baby. It has about 3 years 2 months and i still stare at it as if it were brand new. I just love it so much :D.
I'm loving it so far! I'm still SO shocked at how small it is. There was a period of time for awhile where I was just looking at pictures of RAVs in isolation, so the vehicle seemed so much bigger than it actually is. Face to face with the real thing I can't get over how dinky it looks compared even with other sedans!
 

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bloorav said:
The only impression I have of the combination as a whole is that it all sounds pretty muddy and muffled. There's very little clarity to be had with the stock system and it will be one of the first changes I make.
I don't claim to know much about the iPod, though I've often thought of buying one.. Others here will be more helpful with that.

I just wanted to put in a changer (which I couldn't believe the RAV didn't come with) then someone suggested the Scion deck to me. I bought an 1804 deck off of ebay (single changer) for $60 but it does MP3 CD's and I'm fine with that, versus $200 for an iPod, then bookoo denero for a new non-OEM deck.

That's the weird thing about me. I'm old-school in that I want the best, but OEM is preferable. If I had my way, I'd install a Nav system from oemvalue.com but I don't have the money right now.

Oh yeah, the Scion Decks also have different sound modes (like "hear" and "feel") which help the sound quality a LOT over the stock deck (mine is also the base 6 speaker model).

Let's talk for a moment about long trips. I Love my 2005 S model. Mostly I drive mostly in town, or on trips of no more than two hours (Huntsville to Nashville, or perhaps Birmingham). Since August, I have been to New Orleans twice on business, and that's a 7 hour trip counting gas stops.

If I were to wish for one thing I could never have, it would be a six-speed transmission OR a lower fifth gear to reduce the RPM to around 2400 at 80mph.

I never noticed the road noise until stuck in the RAV4 for about 4 hours, then it got a little old... Now that I'm in town with it, it doesn't bother me in the slightest.

Wayne
 

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Hi bloorav,
My father has Parkinson’s and when going to Dr. visits or the farm the RAV is excellent for him to get in and out of.
The leather seats in the L Package helps too. My neighbors dog Happy luvs it, She thinks everything that is mine is hers. She heads straight for the drivers seat and does not seem to want the passenger one. :lol: :lol:

I have had my RAV for 3 years and am still very happy with it.
I guess I need to get the Scion or something because I have had only 1 CD in player for 8 months :roll: :) (been really busy).

Cheers,

Walt
 
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