In 1994, Toyota introduced the RAV4 to the market. As a small crossover
the first-gen RAV4 was small, stylish, and truly drivable.
It came on a special platform that allowed it to share some Carina and Corolla components.
The RAV4 joined the American crossover scene in 1996, along with the Honda CR-V.
The bigger and hotter SUVs in the game at the time were the Toyota Land Cruiser
Mitsubishi Montero, Pathfinder, the 4Runner, and Chevy Blazer, to name a few.
At the brink of the SUV craze, these larger SUVs were everything, as they combined the comfort and fuel economy of a sedan
the adaptability and payload space of a truck.
But, with so many large and more desirable SUVs on the scene, why did Toyota make the RAV4 in a more compact size?
The brand’s designers sought to upend the status quo by creating a stylish union of SUV characteristics with tiny car maneuverability
And it worked. The RAV4 made a strong statement around the world, carrying the same “best of both worlds” formula for years.
The first time the crossover really took off was in 2017 when it sold over 400,000 units.
he RAV4 has consistently maintained that amount or higher every year thereafter, outselling the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Chevrolet Equinox, and Ford Escape.
In 2020, Toyota reported reaching up to 10 million global sales spanning five generations. Now in its fifth generation, the Toyota RAV4 is a success around the world. But what makes it stand out?