Cohort Outtake: 1998 Toyota RAV4 – Remember When They Were This Small?

RAV4 small(image: Eric Clem)

I know we talk a lot about cars growing with each subsequent redesign, but I couldn’t resist highlighting this comparison. When the Toyota RAV4 was first introduced, its 2-door model rode on an 86.6 inch wheelbase, and filled out a whole 147 inches length and 66 inches width. Even the 4-door models were only 163 inches long. The RAV4 has grown significantly over the years, especially from the 2nd to 3rd generations.

2014 RAV4 cc(image: Toyota)

Comparing the current RAV4 to the one in the first image will reveal an 18 inch wheelbase gain, 33 inch gain in length, and 6 inch gain in width. While no longer the subcompact cute-ute it once was, I doubt anyone at Toyota is upset, as U.S. sales of the RAV4 have steadily increased to nearly four times what they were when the RAV4 came to America in 1996. Americans seem to prefer larger and more feature-laden cars, and the RAV4 has successfully taken advantage of that.