2002 Toyota RAV4 L 4x4 1.8 from North America


A low performance expensive mistake!


Problems with braking system. This vehicle has issues when driving on snow covered roads. When attempting to apply brakes the vehicles front end starts to make loud grinding noises and the steering wheel starts to pull to one side or the other. The noise is so loud that other drivers look and get out of the way. The car then goes into a mini skid until you completely release the brakes. When the car was first purchased we had this happen within the first few months and was told that was normal. Normal because it has ABS. I have informed the dealership that my experience with ABS differs from theirs. The problem is that every time this occurs in the snow we rush down to the dealer and when they get the car they say they didn't hear or feel it. Because the snow has melted. One time the service department was closed and I caught the Owner of the dealer and took him for a ride. He was amazed at the sounds coming from the car and wrote out a letter for us so we could prove this is really a problem. Nobody seams to care about the letter or the DEFECT in the ABS.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th March, 2004

12th Mar 2004, 15:33

I drive my 1997 in the snow all the time, I do hear that noise, but most ABS vehicles have the same noise. It sounds like you may be applying a bit too much brake for the snowy conditions. All my experiences in the snow have been great, and any other owners I ever talk to say the same, maybe you should try a winter driving course.

11th May 2004, 19:01

It's ABS working the way it is suppossed to. I'm surprised the dealer wrote the letter, although I doubt if it was the service manager. I know it isn't great to think that the car is designed to 'out-think' you, but in general, ABS has saved a lot of lives. I only wish there was a switch to turn it off in the snow!

3rd Jun 2004, 21:05

I would never own another car with ABS. The system in my former car, a 2002 Cavalier would engage on any surface that was not glass smooth, i.e., over railroad tracks, manhole covers, slightly bumpy roads. It was scary as many times I almost didn't stop in time.

23rd Jan 2009, 06:28

2002 Rav4 has computer problems that show up just as the warranty expires. Not only is this bad but it wipes out the transmission also. Cost is very expensive, almost more than the car is worth. I am working with Toyota right now but they are little to no help.

7th Sep 2009, 12:18

I would never advise anyone to purchase a Rav 4. I have owned 3 Tacomas, but the Rav 4 most certainly does not live up to the Toyota name. The ECM and the transmission have both failed on this car, and Toyota is not willing to do anything about it. There have been hundreds of complaints about the 2002 Rav 4s having the same problem. As a matter of fact, one of the major players in the Toyota Company had to change his telephone number because he was getting so many complaints at his home number. This could have all been prevented if the Toyota Company would have just simply done the right thing. I will never purchase another Toyota.

2002 Toyota RAV4 NV 1.8 from UK and Ireland


Fun to drive and funking looking, but more suited as a 4x4 rather than a 4x2


I have had the car from new almost a year now, and I have had a few things go wrong.

1) Wheel alignment not correct, three visits to put correct, very annoying, should have been correct on delivery inspection before I got the car.

2) Speedo head had to be replaced, very common on cars build between 09/02 to 12/02.

3) Gearbox sensor had to be replaced twice.

4) Airbag sensor had to be replaced, as the warning light would not go out.

5) Driver window motor replaced, failed at 3000.

6) Dashboard bracket had to be installed to stop the dash making a rattling noise, very common problem so I was told by my dealer.

7) Seat base plastic casing broke, replaced.

8) CD changer replaced twice, and the third is currently not working.

Before this car, I have only ever owned two Renaults, a Megane and a Clio, not one of these cars presented me with a fault within the three years of owning each.

General Comments:

Overall it's a good car, not sure if I would buy another one, my brothers Nissan X -Trail drives and handles better, has more room for all passengers and seems to more reliable and better build.

The handling on my car, 1.8 front wheel drive only, seems to have lacked grip on too many occasions, this has almost cause a few accidents near the crossroads near my home, as when I lost grip the car doesn't move in front off on coming traffic. I feel very uncomfortable driving the car in the wet as there is too much wheel spinning. I think the Rav was only even meant to be a four wheel drive. Hope changing the tyres will improve this.

However the performance from this car is excellent, and the fuel economy is unthinkable for a car of this size, fill ups are fewer that I ever expected. Noise levels inside the cabin are very low, well except for the annoying dashboard rattling. Not sure if it's just me driving on the M25, or the design of the car, but am on my third windscreen, after being hit by stone chips on three occasions, my insurance company must love me.

Would recommend a Rav, but only the more expensive 4x4 version, and would consider the 5 door, as I'm finding my car a little too small, you can't bring your friends away for a weekend, without a roofbox or a trailer, there's no boot on the car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd June, 2003

11th Aug 2003, 08:54

Totally agree with Steven. I have a 1.8 VX 4x2 short wheel base (Feb 2001) and feel totally uncomfortable driving it in real bad weather (rain and snow. However, except for the common crackle in the windshield (which I fixed myself) and a bad antenna connection, the car is very, very reliable.

I do think it handles extremely well in good road conditions and the brakes and ABS work very well.

I would advice everyone who wants to buy new, to wait for the October 2003 Rav4 Face lift and then get the 4x4 version (LWB or SWB), even if it does cost more than a 4x2. With the face lift, I hope they will replace some of the plastic interior (it scratches easily) and add a couple of airbags.


16th Dec 2008, 06:15

I think my Rav4 4x2 is wonderful.