Introduced in 1994 as the unlikely combination of burly SUV payloads with compact car sensibilities – smack in the middle of an oil glut, no less – the RAV4 illustrated just how proficient Toyota had become at setting the kinds of trends that were notorious for leaving other auto manufacturers flatfooted.
And today, well into its 5th production generation, and boasting over 400,000 units sold in Australia alone, the RAV4 still isn’t showing any indication of stepping back from being the leader of sales or innovation in its class. The class that it invented, coincidentally.
The RAV4 rage
RAV4s have another characteristic in common with other great Toyota platforms, as well: they don’t shy away from owner customization. They’re the rage of customizer niches, in fact. From super-hasty grocery getters to full-tilt off roaders, the sheer range of Toyota RAV4 accessories can get pretty extreme – the platform accepts accessories just that nicely – but for most drivers, it only takes a few practical mods to change the entire driving experience. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of incredibly simple RAV4 add-ons on the market that fit the bill perfectly, swap on in an afternoon, and they don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Let’s be honest: sometimes you want to open the windows while you’re driving, let the car air out, and feel the wind. The problem, however, is that even if you only open it partially, you’re letting in every bit of road dust and wind noise imaginable.
Heavy duty, adhesive-backed window visors are the quick, long-lasting solution that allow you to roll down your windows and enjoy fresh air anytime without the dusty, noisy inconvenience. There’s no cutting or drilling required; and these impact resistant acrylic visors install in minutes with pre-installed 2-sided automotive tape. Plus, their dark matte finish and low profiles complement the RAV4’s sleek-sided contours with OEM-like delicacy.
Once installed, the benefits from being able to crack your windows couldn’t be clearer:
· No dust or road noise intrusion while you’re driving;
· Reduced temperatures while you’re parked; and,
· Maximum air circulation at all times.
Small stone and rock chips on the leading edge of the bonnet may just be a part of owning a vehicle, but that doesn’t make it any better. Nor does that mean you have to willingly accept it. Bonnet protectors are designed to deflect the road-borne debris that takes the gradual toll on your paint and windscreen, but without obstructing your vision or distracting from the natural lines of the vehicle.
Formed from the same impact resistant acrylic as weathershields – and frequently sold in matching sets together with them – bonnet protectors are an easy-care accessory that no one should think about going without, even if they only spend modest lengths of time on the road.
And we’re not talking about generic plastic guards. These are designed specifically to fit the contours of each of the five generations of RAV4 bonnets. They install quickly with clips and fasteners, so again, there’s no cutting or drilling. Ultimately, what’s not to appreciate about a shield that:
· Adds an instant barrier of protection to your bonnet’s finish;
· Fits the exact year and profile of the RAV4 you own; and,
· Removes just as easily as it installs to allow waxing or detailing the bonnet.
If you want to tow a trailer, of course you need a towbar. That it has to be rated for both the correctly sized trailer and towing vehicle goes without saying, but that doesn’t mean being having an unattractive section of steel shackled to the back of your vehicle has to be part of the deal.
A heavy-duty towbar can be bolt directly to factory mounting points on a RAV4 in under an hour. The best part is, they’re partially concealed and don’t require bumper removal or a bumper cutout. In short, with their rich enamel-dipped coatings, they resemble OEM equipment in every way. First and foremost, though, they’re essential components for towing, and what you get is:
· A rated towing capacity between 1500kg – 1900kg;
· 50mm square hitch receiver with ball; and,
· Anderson-plugged wiring harnesses.
Nudge bars are very much a matter of personal preference; but there’s no disputing that anything that puts a protective barrier between the front of your vehicle and everything else on the road is at least worth considering. Unlike the imposing presence of a bull bar, a bolt on nudge bar can still protect your bonnet and grille from needless damage without diminishing the RAV4’s visual appeal.
With their durable steel or aluminium construction, they’re ideal for light off roading and urban environments where fast-moving tumbleweeds and runaway shopping trolleys are always an eminent hazard. With just enough of that sleek, but rugged styling to keep the aesthetics interesting, you can also expect a nudge bar to be:
· A fuel conscientious alternative to far heavier bull bars;
· SRS airbag tested and Australian Design Rule (ADR) compliant; and,
· Suitable for mounting other accessories like spotlights and light bars.
With all things considered, it’s no wonder why RAV4s are looked upon so highly. They’re the go-to vehicle in virtually every class of compact, SUV and crossover. That’s an unbelievable amount of automotive ground to cover, but they’re doing it. And doing it with style, no less.
Regardless of which generation it is, if you own one, you can rest assured that the selection of high-quality Toyota RAV4 accessories is long enough to keep any driver’s interest peaked. After all, that’s what the whole driving experience is all about, right? This weekend, why not take a couple of hours and drop a few easy mods on your RAV4 as well. You’ll be glad you did!