Toyota RAV4 XA10: A love affair too good to let go

Thursday June 25 2020

Built as a Sports Utility Vehicle, the XA10

Built as a Sports Utility Vehicle, the XA10 comes with enough cargo room, higher visibility and full time Four Wheel Drive option. PHOTOS | RACHEL MABALA 

By Peter Mwayi

Often times, people get into relationships that later become tricky. Try as they may, they fail to get past the relationship and more often than not, that relationship determines who they end up with later in life. Such is the case with drivers that have had an experience with the Toyota Rav4.

Silas Kipto, a police officer who hails from Kapchorwa, tells a story of strength and endurance when explaining the unbreakable bond that people from the Elgon Mountains have with the 1995-1998 RAV4 known as the XA10.

Built as a Sports Utility Vehicle, with enough cargo room, higher visibility and full time Four Wheel Drive option, the RAV4 suits the Kapchorwa terrain perfectly. It is also better preferred than larger vehicles such as double cabins because of its high fuel economy and easy manoeuvrability.

Crossover SUV
The RAV4, (Robust Accurate Vehicle: 4WD, originally called the Recreational Activity Vehicle: 4WD) is one of few Compact SUV or crossover SUV (CSUV) made by Toyota. CSUVs are sports utility vehicles with the chassis and bodywork integrated into one another (unibody) unlike older cars that had the structural frame separated from its body (body on frame).

The platform of the CSUV is shared with that of a passenger car and unlike truck-based SUVs, the CSUVs have better interior comfort, more comfortable to ride in and have superior fuel economy.

However, they have less off-road capability and this combined with their lack of an all-wheel drive, poses a challenge in their strength as sports utility vehicles.


The XA10 series, constructed on a platform similar to the Carina and Corolla elements, was launched in Japan in May 1994 having been designed and productions started in the second half of 1991 on the three-door version and in 1993 for the 5-door version.

In March 1995, the five-door was launched and introduced to the US in January 1996, with standard dual airbags.

It has a 2.0-litre producing 89 kW (119 hp; 121 PS) engine with all four cylinders mounted in a straight line (straight four) and either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

Named the 1997 Automobile of the Year by Automobile Magazine. The 1996-1997 model has headlamps with a bracket push in type, dual filament bulb. The front running/turn signal lamps used older round socket dual filament bulbs. The rear used round socket type bulbs as well.

The 1998 model RAV4 was slightly restyled on the front and rear fascias, and later a soft top three-door, which was never popular in Uganda, was made available. The RAV4 Power was increased slightly to 95 kW (127 hp; 129 PS).

From 1997 to 2003, Toyota produced the RAV4 EV, a plug-in, all-electric variant of the RAV4.
It is a “zero emission” model only offered for public sale for seven months in 2002, in very small quantities. Toyota practically invented the compact crossover with the first RAV4 in the mid-1990s, and subsequent models have remained very competitive on the market.

Models such as the fourth-generation RAV4 that has been around since 2012, and the 2017 RAV4 have integrated comfort with strength.

Drivers of the AX10 attest to its low maintenance costs saying spare parts are readily available.

According to Ivan Nsalika, a mechanic, a person looking to acquire a used RAV4 AX10 only needs to be concerned about the condition of the engine. He says other spare parts are readily available and easily replaceable, adding that it can also use parts from other Toyota cars which places it at an advantage.