Road & Travel Magazine

Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate Views & Videos
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory
Bookmark and Share

by Steve Siler

Toyota RAV4
2003 Toyota RAV4

The RAV4 is the Toyota of compact SUVs. Given Toyota's reputation for reliability, durability and assembly quality, there's a strong argument for buying one without ever actually even seeing one. But seeing is believing. And the RAV4 delivers on all those fronts while throwing in a dash of style to boot.

Now about that style. Some people think it's a bit cartoonish (a quality that isn't altogether out of place in this class of vehicle). Others think it's edgy and playful. One thing no one argues about, however, is that it takes risks, and styling risks are seldom taken by Toyota Motor Corporation.

Something else that is beyond debate is the RAV4's utility. Its cargo area is spacious, and the aperture of the rear door opening is so vast you could practically drive another RAV4 right inside of it. The second-row seats are removable, too. Other interior standouts include a highly stylized instrument panel and center stack, as well as a excellent outward visibility.

Under the hood of every RAV4 is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 148 horsepower. This isnt' the most power in this class by a long shot, but it does deliver some of the best fuel economy. There is no V-6 available. Safety features include front air bags, front seat belt pretensioners and available ABS with electronic brake force distribution