Car News:  Oversteer

Remember When Toyota Made a RAV4 Convertible?

RELATED READING
See all Toyota RAV4 articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro January 2018

Here's something you probably didn't know: Once, not too many years ago, you could get a Toyota RAV4 with a convertible soft top. Yes, it's true: The Toyota RAV4, the family crossover you recently considered because it has a lot of safety features and a nice, roomy cargo area, had a convertible soft top. Shockingly, it was unpopular.

Here's what happened: The RAV4 initially came out in 1996, and back then Toyota seriously had no idea if anyone was going to be buying a compact SUV. We take for granted now that small SUVs are wildly popular, but back then it was a total gamble. There was no Honda CR-V (it came out the following year, in 1997), there was no Ford Escape (2001), there was no Chevy Equinox (2005) or Nissan Rogue (2008).

Instead, the other small SUVs on the market were all sort of aimed at the fun-having or off-roading crowd rather than the typical suburban family, as is the case with today's crossovers. There was the tough Jeep Cherokee, the Jeep Wrangler, the Geo Tracker, the Kia Sportage, the Suzuki Sidekick and … basically nothing else. And most of those models offered convertible versions.

And so Toyota adopted a "when in Rome" philosophy: Seeing that everyone else was doing a convertible, Toyota joined in. Actually, it's a bit difficult to get the information, since it's been 20 years, but it appears they first entered the market with a 2-door hardtop, then later switched to a 2-door convertible in about 1998. Not surprisingly, sales were weak, and it seems the convertible was cancelled after the 1999 model year, while the 4-door model went through 2000 before a redesign.

Interestingly, the 2-door RAV4 only died in North America: Foreign markets got a 2-door RAV4 in the next generation, which was sold from 2001 to 2006ish, although it doesn't appear a convertible was part of the lineup. When the third-generation RAV4 debuted in 2006, the 2-door was gone globally -- and now, a decade later, it's hard to believe it ever existed at all.

But it did, and above is proof -- a 2-door RAV4 convertible I recently saw with the top down and the owner enjoying the sun. Err… not quite. But the owner could enjoy the sun if they wanted.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Autotrader Find: One-Owner First-Generation Cadillac Escalade
Video | I Buried My 1983 Chrysler Lebaron
Here Are the Most Interesting Maserati Models For Sale on Autotrader

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Remember When Toyota Made a RAV4 Convertible? - Autotrader