What year of Toyota RAV4 is best to buy used?

Can’t buy a Toyota RAV4 new? Here are the best RAV4 model years to buy – and the ones to avoid.

If ever there were an award for 'most-talked-about car around Australian dinner tables', it's likely the Toyota RAV4 would claim the trophy.

Toyota's medium SUV has been in demand since the fifth-generation model landed in Australia in 2019.

Offering economical hybrid variants, the option of all-wheel drive, affordable servicing and a seriously practical interior, the redesigned RAV4 rocketed into Australia's top 10 most popular vehicles... and stayed there.

However, that surging popularity – combined with production delays due to semiconductor shortages and the COVID-19 pandemic – created a perfect storm for supply and pushed Toyota RAV4 wait times up to two years.

Toyota RAV4 stock – what's the latest?

So, what is new Toyota RAV4 stock like today? The situation is slowly improving – but buyers should still expect to wait a year.

"We still have very high demand for Toyota [vehicles], which is incredibly good, and we're very thankful to all the people that give us that opportunity. We don't take it for granted," Toyota Australia sales and marketing boss Sean Hanley told Drive in early September 2023.

While Mr Hanley said wait times are "starting to come down", they remain at 18 months and up to two years or more for popular models like the RAV4.

However, don't expect a different story in the used market.

"Used stock is still difficult to come by and still holds its price extremely well and sells quickly," an Australian new and used Toyota dealer told Drive.

If you can't get your hands on a new Toyota RAV4, what's the best model year to look for when buying a used RAV4?

What year of Toyota RAV4 is best?

The current generation of Toyota RAV4 was introduced to Australia in 2019, so if you're simply looking to buy a RAV4 that looks the most like a brand-new model, you should aim for a 2019 model or later.

Keep in mind that it's believed this current generation will be replaced by a new generation in Australia around 2025.

As for the number of kilometres on the odometer – "if possible, a kilometre reading equal to 15,000km per year is desirable," a local Toyota dealer told Drive. So, for a used 2019 Toyota RAV4, aim for no more than 75,000km on the clock.

When buying used, it's important to also consider the following factors – even before you consider price:

  • Has the vehicle been maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's servicing schedule?
  • Has it previously been used as a rental car, press car or rideshare car?
  • Is it still under warranty?
  • How many kilometres has it done?
  • Does it have the essential features you need?

What year of Toyota RAV4 should I avoid?

Ultimately, the year to avoid is dependent on your individual needs, budget and the condition of the car.

However, it's worth noting that Toyota only introduced a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty on all of its models from January 1st, 2019.

That means 2019 models should have a year or less left on their warranty if you buy them in 2023, while pre-2019 models will be out of warranty.

Additionally, if the RAV4 you're eyeing has been used as a rideshare or hire vehicle, Toyota applies a different warranty term to these cars of five years or 160,000km – whichever comes first.

That means if you're buying a used taxi, Uber or rental car with a model year of 2019 onwards, you should double-check the odometer reading to see if it's still covered under the manufacturer's warranty.

What year of Toyota RAV4 has Apple CarPlay?

If Apple CarPlay is a deal-maker, the smartphone mirroring functionality was added to RAV4 models when the current shape was released in 2019.

However, a software update was required to activate this functionality, and this only took effect in 2020.

An October 2022 update saw the Apple CarPlay system become wireless.

Similarly, Android Auto capability was added to the RAV4 in 2019 and was activated via a software update in 2020 – but it still requires a wired connection on new models.

What year of Toyota RAV4 has a hybrid?

If it's a hybrid you're after, you'll need to buy a 2019 model-year car or later as a hybrid powertrain was only introduced to the RAV4 when the current shape was released in April 2019.

"Hybrids are way more popular than petrol models on the used car market," our Toyota dealer contact told Drive.

That means you might retain some resale value, but you should also be prepared to pay a higher price and possibly some supply issues.

What year of Toyota RAV4 has a CVT transmission?

From the 2019 model year, most RAV4 variants gained a six-speed or 10-speed continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

The only exceptions were the base GX variants, which had the option of a six-speed manual transmission, and the flagship, petrol-powered Edge variants, which were equipped with an eight-speed sports automatic transmission.

In the previous generation (sold from 2013 to 2019), buyers had the choice of a six-speed manual, six-speed sports automatic or seven-speed continuously variable transmission.

The manual RAV4 was discontinued in 2022, meaning the only non-CVT option left today is the petrol-powered RAV4 Edge variant with its eight-speed sports automatic.

All hybrid RAV4 variants are equipped with a CVT.

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Susannah Guthrie

Susannah Guthrie has been a journalist for over a decade. Previously, she has been the digital director of both Harper's Bazaar and Elle, a senior editor at The New Daily, the host of 'A Taste of Travel' on Channel Ten and a motoring columnist for CarSales. Susannah holds a Bachelor in Media and Communications from the University of Melbourne and cut her teeth as an intern for Time Inc in New York City. She has also completed a television presenting course with the National Institute of Dramatic Art. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and her son.

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