Some vehicles are the very first in their segment, while others are the real pioneers that define — or at least popularize — that very same segment years later. Most passenger vehicle segments, like the truck, sedan, wagon and sports car, have been around forever. Others are relatively new in the annals of automotive history. So let’s check in on some of the pioneers of a few major car categories and see where they’re at from a price and condition standpoint right here on Autotrader!
It’s hard to believe, but the Toyota RAV4 has been in production for 24 years! Next year, it’ll be old enough to rent itself. The fifth generation of the venerable crossover pioneer, whose name means “Recreational Activity Vehicle: 4-Wheel Drive,” was just unveiled this past March at the New York International Auto Show. Back when it was launched in its home market of Japan, it was one of the first major production vehicles that looked like an SUV but shared most of its parts with a car. In this case, the Corolla and the JDM Carina. It came equipped like most other SUVs of the era, with available AWD in both 2- and 4-door layouts, but the RAV had more of a focus on economy than the rest. You got a straight 4-cylinder and FWD standard, and, naturally, you could get it with a manual transmission. Just like pretty much zero crossovers from the current era.
Did you know that the RAV4 was also one of the first all electric plug-in EVs available on the market as well? Between 1997 and 2003, Toyota offered the RAV4 EV for fleet sales in California. It featured a 120-mile range, which pretty good for 20 years ago, and it’s not bad today! There was a 2.0 EV version that Toyota developed alongside Tesla for the 3rd generation RAV4, you can still find them here on Autotrader for an average price of around $16,000.