Clarty
Clarty New Reader
4/30/12 3:49 p.m.

Hey gang,

The drab old Passat's getting a bit long in the tooth, and I'm thinking of something else. Perhaps an SUV, but one that wouldn't be horrid to drive. As if by magic, light bulb appeared above my head and I thought: "1996-2000 Toyota RAV4!"

Anyone have experience with one of these? I'm committed to rowing my own gears, and would only really want the AWD version, which I've heard is permanently engaged.

Any elucidation you can give would be welcome.

Thank you!

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
4/30/12 3:52 p.m.

I don't think the AWD is always engaged. Every one i've been in had a button on the dash you pushed to engage AWD.

For a cheap tiny SUV that gets good MPG, i'd rock the hell out of one.

The only problem is that i would be tempted to do horrible things to it, since i know that getting a 3sgte (2.0 turbo out of MR2 Turbo, Celica AllTrac/GT4) wouldn't be terribly hard.

I'm thinking a 300awhp Rav4 hoonmobile with brush guards, skid plates, light bars, and knobby tires would be just the ticket.

Vigo
Vigo SuperDork
4/30/12 4:40 p.m.
I'm thinking a 300awhp Rav4 hoonmobile with brush guards, skid plates, light bars, and knobby tires would be just the ticket.

Look at those MPG flying right out the window!

Lol

I like the things fairly well. Wish they had depreciated more.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
4/30/12 4:42 p.m.
Vigo wrote:
I'm thinking a 300awhp Rav4 hoonmobile with brush guards, skid plates, light bars, and knobby tires would be just the ticket.
Look at those MPG flying right out the window! Lol I like the things fairly well. Wish they had depreciated more.

Eh, it'd probably still get mid 20s and be at least 8x more fun than it was before.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce Reader
4/30/12 4:44 p.m.

The 2 doors are super sweet little trucklets. I'll be watching this thread closely as I was just searching them on craigslist yesterday. I was wondering what it would take to put 200hp in one and whether the suspension could be coaxed into not behaving badly.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
4/30/12 4:48 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: The 2 doors are super sweet little trucklets. I'll be watching this thread closely as I was just searching them on craigslist yesterday. I was wondering what it would take to put 200hp in one and whether the suspension could be coaxed into not behaving badly.

If you don't need the AWD, start with a 1st gen base model Kia Sportage 5spd.

RWD, came with a Kia built Mazda "FE-DOHC" 2.0 that would laugh at 200whp.

Clarty
Clarty New Reader
4/30/12 4:57 p.m.
92CelicaHalfTrac wrote: I don't think the AWD is always engaged. Every one i've been in had a button on the dash you pushed to engage AWD.

I think that button is the center diff lock. I could be wrong, but I thought I remember hearing the RAV4 is permanent AWD, which made me like them better than the CR-V, which is FWD until you either push a button or a viscous coupling engages the rears.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce Reader
4/30/12 5:06 p.m.
92CelicaHalfTrac wrote:
mazdeuce wrote: The 2 doors are super sweet little trucklets. I'll be watching this thread closely as I was just searching them on craigslist yesterday. I was wondering what it would take to put 200hp in one and whether the suspension could be coaxed into not behaving badly.

If you don't need the AWD, start with a 1st gen base model Kia Sportage 5spd.

RWD, came with a Kia built Mazda "FE-DOHC" 2.0 that would laugh at 200whp.

See, this is why I come here.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
4/30/12 5:11 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote:
92CelicaHalfTrac wrote:
mazdeuce wrote: The 2 doors are super sweet little trucklets. I'll be watching this thread closely as I was just searching them on craigslist yesterday. I was wondering what it would take to put 200hp in one and whether the suspension could be coaxed into not behaving badly.

If you don't need the AWD, start with a 1st gen base model Kia Sportage 5spd.

RWD, came with a Kia built Mazda "FE-DOHC" 2.0 that would laugh at 200whp.

See, this is why I come here.

The suspension might be a bit weird on those, though.... i really don't remember.

If i ever get more money than i know what to do with, i'm definitely building a Sportage with eleventy billion whp, though.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla SuperDork
4/30/12 6:06 p.m.

After having the displeasure of owning a first gen manual trans AWD Rav.... RUN like the wind. 5th gear is not Overdrive and 70mph is ~3800rpms. The rear diff only actuates less than 15mph the rest of the time it's FWD only. They suck. U got to have ours ruin a pair of shoes when the cat caught the plastic underbody on fire. That was the 6th cat in 4 years and 80k miles.

jrw1621
jrw1621 PowerDork
4/30/12 6:31 p.m.

My wife had a '99 2wd, 4dr, automatic when I met her in 2000. We kept it till 2006 and 124k miles. It was ultra reliable and surprisingly very efficient at holding more cargo than it appeared it should.
With that said, I never much liked it.
At 6'1", I found there to be little room behind the wheel (more girl sized.)
I found the ride to be rough, very washboard like from the short wheelbase.
Poor handling from the high center of gravity.
Poor highway manners with a loud cabin from the poor aerodynamics adding to the fact that the rpms at highway speeds were pretty high.
Not a vehicle you wanted to be in during a cross wind.
Not very good mpg for the small size and lack of power (see poor aerodynamics)

It was a good car for "around town" but the deciding factor for selling it was that my wife travels had changed in that she was then traveling 50 minutes of hyw to get to work.

If looking at Rav4, consider CRV as well.

This was our fleet at the time:

Bobzilla
Bobzilla SuperDork
4/30/12 6:38 p.m.

The RAV was the one car that the auto was the better vehicle. We replaced the RAV with the Suzuki Grand Vitara. We traded ~8mpg on the highway but got a much better vehicle. PLus it actually had an actual transfer case and a seperate shifter for 2, 4hi and 4 lo.

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory Reader
4/30/12 7:33 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote: We replaced the RAV with the Suzuki Grand Vitara. We traded ~8mpg on the highway but got a much better vehicle. PLus it actually had an actual transfer case and a seperate shifter for 2, 4hi and 4 lo.

I was just thinking the very same thing! Suzuki mini suv's FTW. Plus I'll take mine as a body on frame 4x4 (excepting XJ and ZJ etc.)

Clarty
Clarty New Reader
4/30/12 8:28 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote: 5th gear is not Overdrive and 70mph is ~3800rpms.

That's better than my MG Midget: 4th gear is not overdrive, and 70mph spins the engine at around 5000 rpm!

ShadowSix
ShadowSix Reader
4/30/12 8:46 p.m.

I worked on a 200k miles RAV4 (first clutch in it) and was impressed with how well it had held together. Nonetheless, I've always felt like CRV's were the same as RAV4's, but better.

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