Review: 2005 Toyota Rav 4
Is this baby ute as versatile as a full-sized SUV?
August 08, 2005 - We moan and gripe about it all day, but we can't deny that sport utility vehicles are all the rage these days. For some odd reason, people like their cars to sit up high and have the ability to carry a lot of stuff all while conveying the ability to tackle treacherous off-road terrain. Many of these behemoths are incredibly large, have huge tires, huge engines and come equipped with every accessory needed to survive a month in the wilderness. Of course, these massive trucks never go off-pavement, but that's beside the point.
Not all SUVs are monstrosities on the road, though. Some SUVs, such as Toyota's RAV4, are basically small cars with a suspension lift. Okay, okay... so there is more to these baby SUVs than just a suspension lift on a Corolla, but our analogy works. Think about it: the RAV4 has a unibody construction (vs. the body-on-frame construction found on most "standard" SUVs), front-and-rear independent suspension, and a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder powering the front wheels. If those mechanical bits don't sound like they belong on a Corolla, we don't know what does.
Oh yeah, before we forget, we should mention that Toyota gave us a RAV4 to drive around for a while. As such, we're gonna go and write about the car-based SUV in this here article.
While the RAV4 is "technically" an SUV, it certainly doesn't have the "rugged" appeal that most SUVs possess. The current RAV4 design (introduced in 2001) certainly looks a lot better than the original "cute" design of the utility vehicle. The new RAV4 has a bit of that "techno"-inspired look found on the new 4Runner, making it look decidedly more "truck-like". At some angles, the new RAV4 looks great: we almost forget that it's a car-based ute. However, there are times we glance at the RAV4 and think it looks almost "womanly". Due to this styling, as well as its small size, we can't help but feel that the RAV4 is a "chick's car".