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2001 Toyota RAV4 Sport Utility Crossover

4dr Auto 4WD (Natl)

Starting at | Starting at 23 MPG City - 27 MPG Highway

2001 Toyota RAV4 for Sale

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  • Average Retail is not available
  • $18,815 original MSRP
Printable Version

2001 Toyota RAV4 Sport Utility Crossover

Printable Version

2001 Toyota RAV4 Sport Utility Crossover


2001 Toyota RAV4

Source: The Car Connection

Sometimes it's not enough to be all new.

by John Pearley Huffman

Being "all-new" is never enough. If a vehicle is going to thrive in the market, buyers need to instantly perceive it as "all-better."

First impressions matter and, if anything, the 2001 RAV4 clearly looks all-better; like a finer-looking, sharper-edged, shrunk-down Mercedes M-Class. Second impressions matter too, and a drive in the RAV4 indicates that this trucklet should put Toyota again at the head of the mini-ute class it validated with the introduction of the original RAV4 in 1996.

Should, though, is not will. Because while this second-generation RAV is all-better, it's up against new competition ranging from Hyundai's Santa Fe to the Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute twins. All-better than the old RAV may not be better than all the current competition.

Thoroughly rethought

The original RAV4 was a product of grab bag engineering. Based on the Celica's platform, it borrowed mechanical bits from other vehicles in Toyota's line and felt compromised in several ways for it. Most notably, the first RAV4's space efficiency was significantly behind that of its archrival, the Honda CR-V. The new RAV is more its own beast, and that brings a new level of sophistication to the vehicle.

To cure small-inside disease, build a big outside. The new RAV4 is a bit bigger than its predecessor, but not much. While the 2001 RAV's wheelbase is dinky at just 98 inches, that's still 3.1 inches longer than the 2000 model and overall length swells to 165.1 inches from 163.8. The most significant growth is in width which is up to 68.3 inches from 66.7. Though the new RAV looks tall, it's actually 1/10th of an inch shorter than the old one.

The mechanical package is familiar in general specification but has been thoroughly revised in detail. While the engine remains transversely mounted in the nose, in place of the old RAV's 2.0-liter iron-block DOHC four is a new 2.0-liter all-aluminum DOHC four with variable valve timing. The old engine wheezed out a not-too-happy-to-do-it 127-horsepower at 5400 rpm with a 132 lb-ft torque peak at 4600 rpm. The new engine's 148-hp peak now comes at a loftier 6000 rpm, but the big improvement lies in torque production which now peaks at 142 lb-ft down at 4000 rpm. And Toyota says the new engine weighs in 40 pounds less than the old one. For an engine that's more likely to be found lashed to the optional electronically controlled four-speed automatic than the standard five-speed manual transmission, and to spend more time scaling grammar school parking lot speed bumps than hot-lapping Road America, this one's character is dang near perfect.

As before, the 2001 RAV4 is available with either front-drive or full-time all-wheel drive. With no low-range on the all-wheel drive transfer case, this is a system better suited to adding stability in slushy situations rather than lugging out of mud bogs.

Up front MacPherson struts keep the nose from plowing into the ground while a double-wishbone all-independent suspension keeps the RAV4 from dragging its hiney behind it. Braking is handled by 10.7-inch diameter front ventilated discs and 9.0-inch rear drums with optional ABS. The standard wheel and tire package is P215/70R16 tires wrapped around 16x6.5-inch steel wheels with a 16x7.0-inch alloy optional and P235/60R16 tires available on all-wheel drive models. Toyota claims softer spring rates, larger bushings and longer suspension stroke all improve ride quality over the previous RAV and along a mix of fire roads and highways in Montana.

Bigger, and nicer

Slightly bigger outside translates into a roomier inside. According to Toyota, front legroom is up a significant 2.9 inches and with the rear seat up cargo space goes from 26.8 cubic feet up to 29.2 and with the split rear seat removed, maximum storage capacity goes from 57.9 cubes up to a humongous 68.3. Just as important as the gains in inner space is the feeling of spaciousness; the lower front cowl and liberal glass area make this RAV4 seem even more generous in its accommodations.

Inside isn't just roomier, it's nicer. Despite the family mall-crawler mission most RAV4s will find themselves assigned to, Toyota has trimmed the tiny SUV with some sporting flair. The dash features three easy-to-read white-faced dials directly in front of the driver, while Toyota's corporate sound systems sit in a center binnacle just above the rotary ventilation controls and all are surrounded in "metallic" trim. Metallica mania carries on to the door trim where it's incorporated into the door pulls. The nice three-spoke steering wheel features thumb indents and a compact airbag. It's a nice cockpit with some trim whimsy not usually seen in Toyotas.

But the crux of an SUV interior is versatility and the RAV4's shines here. The rear bench seat is split 50/50 and slides, tumbles, reclines, and removes to produce seemingly infinite combinations. The flexibility is further enhanced by the presence of four cupholders (two front, two rear), cubbyholes for virtually any imaginable flotsam, and 12-volt power outlets in both the center console and rear cargo area.

Actually sitting in the rear seat proves pleasant too, though it's hard to imagine them being any flatter. The front seats have a healthy squish factor and not much lateral support, but they're comfy enough. If the cornering forces get extreme in this vehicle, that you're sliding off your seat is likely the least of your problems.

A better drive - but the best?

The new RAV4's ride clearly sets a new standard for this class and the handling is precise if not really inspiring. Head into a paved corner and the front end will push early and gently. It's not a sports car, but one gets the feeling that lowering the suspension and tightening it, that it could do a pretty good imitation.

As far as it goes, the engine's behavior is exemplary. It revs cleanly, silently and with sewing machine efficiency. Even in the thin Montana mountain air it never hiccuped or complained. For a four-cylinder engine, it pulls well no matter what the situation and the Toyota transmissions are their usual excellent selves. But the big question is whether this engine is enough. After all, Ford's Escape can be had with a 200-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 and that obviously elevates its performance to a level the RAV can't approach. If someone at Toyota is busy shoehorning the Camry's 3.0-liter V-6 into a RAV, we encourage their efforts.

Putting the Escape and RAV4 up against one another will be the true test of the mini-SUV class. The Escape carries the traditional appearance and reputation of Ford's larger SUV, while the RAV4 takes the not-really-trucklike paradigm established by the Lexus RX300 and upcoming Toyota Highlander and applies it to a smaller vehicle. It makes for a real battle in philosophies.

2001 Toyota RAV4

Base price range: $20,000 (est.)
Engine: 2.0-liter in-line four, 148 hp
Transmission: Five-speed manual or four-speed automatic, front- or four-wheel drive
Length/width/height: 165.1 in/68.3 in/64.9 in (FWD) 65.3 (AWD)
Wheelbase: 98.0 in
Curb weight: 2711 - 2877 lb (FWD/AWD)
EPA city/highway: 25/31 mpg (FWD), 23/27 mpg (AWD)
Safety equipment: Dual front airbags
Major standard equipment: AM/FM cassette radio, air conditioning
Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles

© 2000 The Car Connection

Printable Version

2001 Toyota RAV4 Sport Utility Crossover

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade

No consumer rating

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Passenger Crash Grade

No consumer rating

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Rollover Resistance

No consumer rating

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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std


Alarm Opt
Printable Version

2001 Toyota RAV4 Sport Utility Crossover

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 5 Years/60,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles

Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Warranty*
7-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty**
1-year of Roadside Assistance***
160-Point Quality Assurance Inspection
CARFAX® Vehicle History Report"****

Certified customers are eligible for standard new car financing rates*****

*Whichever comes first from date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. The Comprehensive Warranty covers any repair or replacement of components which fail under normal use due to defect in materials or workmanship. (Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.)

**Whichever comes first from original date of first use when sold as new. See your Toyota Certified Used Vehicles dealer for warranty details. Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii. For AL, FL, GA, NC & SC, warranty coverage differs in the following ways: 7-year or 100,000-mile Toyota Certified Limited Powertrain Warranty coverage begins on January 1st of the vehicle's model year and zero (0) odometer miles and expires at the earlier of seven years or 100,000 odometer miles.

***From date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. Covers most services, including flat tires, lockout service, jump starts, fuel delivery up to 3 gallons and towing for mechanical breakdown or collision recovery to the nearest Toyota dealership. Services provided exclude any parts required. Coverage not available in Mexico. See Certified Warranty Supplement for warranty details.

****Beginning December 1, 2005 CARFAX® Vehicle History Reports" are a required part of every Toyota Certified Used Vehicle. See your local dealer for details.

*****Rates mentioned are for standard new car rates, and do not include new car specials or subvented rates. Not all buyers will qualify. Financing available through Toyota Financial Services for qualified buyers only.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 7 years / 85,000
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection All TCUV vehicles must pass a comprehensive checklist that includes a 160-point inspection. This way you can rest assured that your pre-owned Toyota is in perfect condition. To see full inspection list visit http://www.toyotacertified.com/inspection.html
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance 1-year of Roadside Assistance from date of TCUV purchase.
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $50

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2001 Toyota RAV4 Sport Utility Crossover

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