1998 Toyota RAV4 2.0 from North America


Versatile, efficient and fairly rugged


Oil leak around timing belt.

Sticky throttle body.

Rattling under engine when cold.

Whistling from the muffler.

General Comments:

This is the third car that I've had and it's my favorite of the three. It goes very well off road, Nothing serious of course, it's more of a softroader than an offroader. It is slightly underpowered mostly on hills, but it gets 30+ miles per gallon so I can deal.

Factory speakers are very decent, controls and pretty easy to figure out. One problem I have that really sucks is that sometimes when I signal for right turns, the stick thing buzzes at me. It's very annoying. If anybody has that problem or knows what it is, please let me know.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th August, 2009

1998 Toyota RAV4 Edge 2.0 from Australia and New Zealand


Solidly built, versatile, but underpowered


Rear Door hinges unscrewed themselves, resulting in a loose, clunky door.

Toyota Spark plug cracked inside the engine head, causing erratic running. Not picked up by dealer the first time! Fixed second visit under parts warranty.

General Comments:

The Rav 4 is a very well built car. The quality of paint, fittings and mechanical components are excellent.

I use the Rav for city commuting, which it does competently. The high seating position is very advantageous in traffic, and as it is basically the same size as a family wagon, there are few parking problems. The only down-side here is that visibility is limited: it is impossible to see the front of the car, and the high-mounted spare wheel restricts rear vision considerably.

The car is also used to drive on gravel and dirt tracks to access climbing areas. The constant four-wheel drive and great ground clearance really come into their own in this environment, and it is a superb lightweight bush vehicle.

The vehicle's styling is holding up well, with its big alloy wheels and flowing lines still looking good five years later.

There is plenty of room in the back, but child-restraint anchors are mounted at the rear of the load area, eating into boot space annoyingly.

There are two dink holders, but they are placed in bizarre spots. A shallow storage depression on the passenger's side is entirely useless.

Safety features are non-existent: no air bags or ABS.

The air conditioning unit is only just up to the job of cooling the interior on hot Australian days.

The stock sound system was a feeble Toyota tape deck. Although rated at 25 watts, the front speakers were only rated at 10 Watts and the rear ones at 20. These were replaced with a vastly superior after-market one, something I recommend!

The 2 litre engine moves the car along reasonably well, but the car could really use more power. With passengers and gear on board, it feels slow, and has to be thrashed to get going at a fair speed. The motor has little torque, and really needs to be revved. A recent drive in a 2.5 litre X-Trail really brought this fact home!

For the price, the older-style Rav is a sound buy. It does everything quite well, and though not exactly a keen driver's machine, it is reliable and has character.

The Rav is serviced in accordance with the 10 000 km schedule and goes as good as ever. I expect to see 400 000 from it!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th September, 2003

16th Feb 2007, 10:50

For readers info- the 1999 Rav4 does have dual airbags standaard.

18th Jan 2011, 01:33

We bought our 1998 Rav4 Auto, Air Conditioned wagon second hand over the Internet from a Brisbane car yard, and weren't disappointed. We have previously owned: a Ford Marquis, a Commodore, a Pintara, Mazda Metro, '88 RX7, 83 Porsche 928 and another Pintara wagon. We are now pensioner category, and were having difficulty getting into and out of low slung vehicles. We had always like the Rav4 from when they were first made. Drove tried several locally.

We are very happy with our Muppet (from rego), get 7K's/litre round town and 9-9.5 K's/l highway. Our aged bones have no problem in the seating area, and the luggage bay is very accessible. We like the side opening rear door (no sagging struts or banging head on ceiling). We occasionally travel 50 k's to our old cottage at the beach, and loading our gear and 3 cats in is not the hassle it was with our other cars.

As the car had done 240,000 k's over some of Australia's rough roads by previous owners, as testified in log book, we replaced both front struts and shocks, and both front outer CV boots. No other oil leaks or rust.

We don't go scrub dashing, sand duning or hill climbing, so hopefully we will get many years from our 'Muppet'. Any one considering purchasing an all-wheel drive couldn't go wrong in a 1998 Toyota RAV4 wagon.

25th Dec 2015, 17:46

My 1998 RAV has dual airbags and tows a 1200kg Adria caravan. A brill, very competent car at a reasonable price to buy. Much better quality than the equivalent Freelander.