Toyota Harrier or Toyota RAV4?

Thursday February 27 2020


By Paul Kaganzi

Hello Paul, help me choose between a 2006 Harrier and a 2006 RAV4. Edgar

Hello Edgar, the 2006 RAV4 and 2006 Harrier are third generation Toyota sports Utility vehicles (SUV) which cannot be compared. The RAV4 is a smaller more practical subcompact SUV while the Harrier is a bigger full size SUV with superior features.

Design. The RAV4 is a short wheel base and comes with a long wheel base version, the Vanguard sold in Japan as a JDM. RAV4’s practical, smaller and lower profile (Dimensions LxWxH mm: 4395x1815x1685) makes it less of a hassle to park in tight spaces while it is easier for the very young and elderly to board. The sleeker, bigger and ‘taller’ Harrier (Dimensions LxWxHmm:

4729x1844x1740) has bigger on road presence, better legroom, a more spacious interior for four adult passengers, more load space and higher ground clearance for superior light off road ability.

Interior, convenience and safety: RAV4 has a simple to use and easy to access instruments, dials and gauges. The simplicity is overshadowed by the utilitarian plain plasticky finish of the dashboard, centre console and interior trim. The entertainment is plain, but offers basic amenities such as dual zone air conditioning and power windows with central locking.

Harrier on the other hand offers an interior that exudes more luxury with chrome spurts and genuine maple or walnut wood trim. Harrier has better interior noise suppression and offers dual zone climate control.


RAV4 offers a convenient keyless entry/push start button system and a backup camera with a small monitor integrated in the rear view mirror. RAV4’s electronic power steering is convenient with better steering response.

Harrier offers more comfortable all power adjustable seats, rain sensing and self-activating wiper system, Adaptive Front light system (AFS) which uses sensors to adjust the intelligent light beams to gradient changes. The RAV4 offers basic safety features such as dual front passenger airbags, pretensioning seatbelts to hold you tighter in the event of rollover or collision and ABS - Anti Lock Brakes to prevent skidding during emergency braking.

The Harrier offers all the RAV4 safety features and more. Harrier provides eight airbags which cover the front passengers with frontal and knee airbags, side curtain airbags for all passenger roll over or side impact protection.

Harrier offers the optional Radar pre forward collision system which warns you of impending forward collision in the event of poor visibility or fatigue. Vehicle stability control augments ABS to prevent spinning out of control when different sets of tyres lose traction.

Engines, drive, handling and maintenance. RAV4 offers the smaller less powerful but more fuel economical 2.0 litre engines the 145 horse power 1AZFE and 147 horse power 1AZFSE.

RAV4 and Harrier share the more exciting and powerful but less fuel efficient engines the 2.4 litre 177 horse power 2AZFE and the 3.5 litre 295 horse power 2GRFE V6 cylinders.

Of course the smaller inline four cylinder engines are cheaper to run and easier to maintain. Both the RAV4 and Harrier come with optional 4WD as well as AWD - All wheel Drive which deliver power to all wheels to improve safety and poor terrain access.

The Harrier’s sleeker and bigger profile, superior suspension matrix and better driver stability aids offers better high speed manoeuverability and handling on road or light off road.

Before you buy a used car check for maintenance records, mileage fraud and look out for the possibility of an engine with an oil burning problem common with poorly maintained 2AZFE engines. A look at the dipstick or an engine compression test can help when in doubt.