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The Toyota RAV4 is known for a lot of things. From its spacious interior to its long list of safety features, there’s a reason the RAV4 is so popular among new and used car shoppers. However, when it comes to scooping up a used Toyota RAV4, there are a few things worth keeping in mind.

A RAV4 in the mountains
2018 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

Which used Toyota RAV4 should you buy?

The Toyota RAV4 made its stateside debut as a subcompact SUV in 1996. reports that it was available with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive and was based on the platform used for the Celica sports coupe. The second-generation RAV4 was introduced in 2001 and was slightly larger, offered up a roomier interior, and emphasized its chiseled styling.

The RAV4 was redesigned in 2006 and added 14 inches of overall length and more than three inches of width. It was also made available with three-rows of seating and a 269-hp V6 engine. Fourth-generation RAV4s, which hit dealerships in 2013, ultimately dropped the available third-row. Toyota did, however, introduce a RAV4 Hybrid with standard all-wheel drive. 

Now in its fifth-generation, it’s more rugged-looking than ever before. Riding on Toyota’s New Global Architecture platform and with a standard 203-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine under its hood, the RAV4 comes standard with a long list of sought after interior and active safety features.

Used Toyota RAV4 safety ratings and reliability rankings 

There’s no denying that the Toyota RAV4 is a safe vehicle. reports that in 2017, Toyota’s Safety Sense P active safety suite became standard on all RAV4 models. Standard safety features on current models include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control.

The RAV4 has also been recognized by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) as a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ several times too. It’s also earned itself a four or five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration too.

And when it comes to reliability rankings? According to Consumer Reports, reliability does vary. While most model years earned a five out of five reliability verdict, some model years ranked a point or two lower.

Be on the lookout for these common issues

When buying a used Toyota RAV4, there are some common issues that you should be aware of. reports that car buyers should steer clear of the 2008 model, which had a significant number of engine issues. The 2007 model has also been the recipient of several complaints, most concerning excessive oil consumption.

The Toyota RAV4 has been recalled before too. Before scooping up a used model, be sure to confirm with the NHTSA whether there are any open recalls that require a mechanic’s touch.

The perks of buying a certified pre-owned RAV4

If you aren’t sold on buying used, consider the benefits of purchasing a certified pre-owned RAV4. All certified pre-owned models undergo a rigorous multi-point inspection and are covered by a 12-month/12,000-mile limited comprehensive warranty. All certified pre-owned models also come with one year of roadside assistance coverage.

Should you consider other options?

A used RAV4 isn’t your only option if you’re in the market for a spacious, yet still compact, SUV. The RAV4 is in competition with several other vehicles, including the Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Chevy Equinox, and the Nissan Rogue. 


Is the Toyota RAV4 Just a Cheaper Lexus NX?

Is a used Toyota RAV4 the right choice for you?

If you’re on the hunt for a reliable, compact SUV that offers plenty of safety features, you can’t go wrong with a used RAV4. Don’t just take our word for it, though. Take this Toyota out for a test drive, and you’ll likely feel the same way.