Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), also known as "sticker" price, is a recommended selling price that automakers give a new car that is above the invoice price paid by the dealer. It is a price that does not include any options that can be added to a particular car style. When shown as a range, the prices are starting MSRPs, without options, for multiple styles for that model.
This price range reflects for-sale prices on Cars.com for this particular make, model and year.
Best Bets get above-average mpg, class-average or better reliability, class-average or better crash-test ratings, and our recommendation.
These city and highway gas mileage estimates are for the model's standard trim configurations. Where there are optional features, packages or equipment that result in higher gas mileage, those fuel-economy estimates are not included here.
Expert Reviews 1 of 2
By George Moore
June 1, 1997
Oftentimes, there is a particular charm to being small. When you attach four wheels to it, the facet takes on a special meaning.Whether you can call the 1997 Toyota RAV4 sport utility vehicle "charming" is a matter of conjecture. Consumers Union calls
it the "Best Small Sport-Utility Vehicle."The RAV4 is a mini-SUV, as defined by its 86.6 inch-wheelbase and its 147.2 inch-overall length. That's really a small package, but what it lacks in size, the little Toyota makes up in
versatility.Currently, the RAV4 is the only sport-ute to feature four-wheel independent suspension, courtesy of the basic floor plan it shares with previous generation Toyota Celica and Camry passenger cars.This gives the mini-SUV a car-like ride
without losing its utility aspects. The design enhances the stability via a wide front and rear track that forms a broad base.With the short front and rear overhang of the strong unibody construction, the vehicle has a high degree of maneuverability.
The versatility goes up with the 4X4 four-wheel drive version.With 4X4 hardware on board, the RAV4's shortness lets it attack acute approach angles to ascend or descend steep inclines.The entry-level model features front-wheel drive. It performs
quite admirably, but doesn't quite have the off-road capabilities of four-wheel drive.The vehicle's all-wheel drive design is similar to previous generation All-Trac Camry, Corolla and Celica models.For added off-road traction, the RAV4 4X4 offers
a standard locking center differential.On optional automatic transmission models, the center differential locks automatically when excessive slip begins between the front and rear wheels. When the standard five-speed manual transmission is used, there
is a switch that allows the driver to manually lock or unlock the center differential.Toyota juggles the gear ratios on its two-wheel and four-wheel drive RAV4s when the vehicles use the five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions. The
final drive is quite a bit lower (ratio-wise) in five-speed form than as an automatic.Driving all this mechanism is a dual overhead cam, 2.0-liter (121.8-cubic-inch/1,998 c.c.) 16-valve four-cylinder engine. The motor is rated at 120-horsepower, which
is fairly basic output for this type of powerplant. Torque is 125 foot-pounds, which is sufficient to handle about 1,500 pounds of towing capacity.It is interesting to note that there is not a major difference in fuel consumption between a two-door
front-wheel drive with a five-speed and a four-door four-wheel drive with an automatic. At the top of the list is the front-drive's 24/30 city/highway consumption versus the automatic's 4X4 number of 22/27.The RAV4 offers seating for up to five
passengers. The driver cockpit arrangement is the standard two bucket seats in front and 50/50 split rear seats in the back. The rear seat back can be folded either forward or backward, or the entire seat folded forward. This opens up 34.7 c
ubic feet of storage space in the two-door and 57.9 cubic feet in the four-door.By removing the front headrests and reclining both front and rear seat backs, the seats can be converted into a bed.As might be expected in a mini-vehicle, cargo space
is not immense. However, it is sufficient to haul most items.The instrumentation is standard fare in that the four-gauge system consists of a speedometer, tachometer, temperature and fuel level. There also is the trip odometer.For a moderately
priced sport-ute, the trim level and accessory equipment is pretty good. The interior features fabric seating, full carpeting, cupholders, front door panel pockets, intermittent front and rear wipers, a rear defogger and a digital clock.Not too bad
for a 4X2 two-door with a five-speed whose base price is a little more than $15,000. Going to four-wheel drive will run you an added $1,400.If you want to go upstream, there is the 4X4 four-door with a four-speed automatic. It has a ma nufac
turer's suggested retail price of just a touch over $18,000. Add to this destination charges and options.