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2008 RAV4 Limited V6
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Used Toyota RAV4 Buying Guide | U.S. News & World Report

Which Used RAV4 Is Right For Me?

Now in its fourth generation, the Toyota RAV4 compact SUV has been a staple in the brand’s crossover lineupsince launching in 1995. Customers found the cargo space and carlike handling a winning combination in the RAV4, which stands for Recreational Active Vehicle with four-wheel drive.
“[The] RAV4 was the first vehicle in the segment, so we’re inventors of the small crossover category, and we’re really proud of that,” said Kibo Kitahama, Toyota national marketing manager for crossover utility vehicles.
As part of Toyota’s “core four,” along with the Camry, Corolla, and Prius, the RAV4 is one of the brand’s top-volume vehicles for its segment.

Reliability, Versatility, Practicality

There’s no denying that the five-passenger RAV4 has longevity: 90% of RAV4s sold in the last 10 years are still on the road, according to IHS Automotive. Known for its quality and reliability, a used RAV4 is covered by Toyota’s 160-point inspection certified preowned program that provides a one-year/12,000-mile comprehensive warranty and a seven-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. About 38 percent of Toyota certified used vehicle buyers are new to the brand, suggesting that customers are attracted by high resale values.
The RAV4 is especially suited for twenty- and thirty-something buyers moving through different life stages, according to Kitahama. “It combines SUV utility and performance with a carlike ride at an affordable price, which is very attractive to younger buyers and young couples starting out,” he said. “At the same time, we’re definitely not alienating empty-nesters.”

Third-Generation RAV4 (2006-2012)

Some buyers might find the third-generation RAV4, which came with some features that Toyota discontinued in the current generation, a more attractive proposition than newer models. Older models came with an optional third row and V6 engine. Both options were dropped because few customers ordered them and Toyota decided it wanted to differentiate the RAV4 from the brand’s 3-row Highlander midsize SUV, which also comes with an option for a V6 engine. “Customers were telling us that if they really need a third row, they move to a larger vehicle like Highlander or to a van, like Sienna,” said Toyota spokesman Sam Butto.
Another key difference between generations is that the third-generation models came with a spare tire affixed to the back of the vehicle. Now the spare tire comes inside the car.
“We found that we were able to maximize the design and keep the 73.4 cubic feet of cargo space even when moving the tire back inside the car,” Kitahama said.
Critics say the cabin is spacious and comfortable but lacks quality materials. The crossover can fit 73 cubic feet of cargo when the back row is folded. Cloth seats and a CD stereo with an auxiliary audio jack come standard, but you may find on some models optional features such as leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, satellite radio, a power sunroof, a JBL stereo, Bluetooth, navigation, and a rearview camera.
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