The Toyota RAV4 (Japanese: トヨタ・RAV4, Hepburn: Toyota Ravufō) is a compact crossover SUV produced by the Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota. Considered the first ever compact crossover SUV, it made its debut in Japan and Europe in 1994, and in North America in 1995, being launched in January 1996. The vehicle was designed for consumers wanting a vehicle that had most of the benefits of SUVs, such as increased cargo room, higher visibility, and the option of full-time four-wheel drive, along with the manoeuvrability and fuel economy of a compact car. The vehicle’s name is an abbreviation of “Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel drive”, or “Robust Accurate Vehicle with 4-wheel drive”, although not all models come equipped with the four-wheel drive system.
For the third-generation model, Toyota offered both short- and long-wheelbase versions of the RAV4. Short-wheelbase versions were sold in Japan and Europe; long-wheelbase versions in Australia and North America. Toyota of Japan also sold the longer-wheelbase version as the Toyota Vanguard (Japanese: トヨタ・ヴァンガード, Hepburn: Toyota Vangādo) at Toyopet Store dealership chain from 2005 through 2016. RAV4 for the Japanese market were sold at two different Toyota dealership chains, Corolla Store and Netz.
In 2019, the RAV4 was the best-selling SUV of any type in the world, and the fourth best-selling passenger car overall. North America is the largest market, with 535,000 units sold in 2019, followed by Europe (133,000) and China (127,000). By February 2020, a total of 10 million RAV4s had been sold globally.