What Does RAV4 Stand For?

Here at Garage Dreams, we like cars of all types.

While some motoring publications only write about supercars or luxury vehicles, we believe that every car has an interesting story to tell.

That’s why we research and write content on “exciting” cars like the Honda S2000, Toyota Supra and Nissan Skyline GT-R, as well as more “ordinary” cars like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.

In today’s edition of Car Facts we are continuing with the recent theme of looking at the origins of car names. For example, we recently looked at where the name Corolla comes from, as well as the Camry nameplate.

Today we are once again looking at a Toyota car – this time the ever-popular RAV4.

The RAV4 is so popular, that chances are you’ve probably seen at least one on the road today already!

While the RAV4 might not be the most interesting car in the world, it is undeniably popular and well-regarded. Here in New Zealand, there is a massive wait if you want to get your hands on a new one (and we understand the same applies in many other countries as well).

But what does RAV4 stand for?

It’s a interesting name for a fairly ordinary (albeit extremely competent) car. Let’s get to the bottom of the meaning of the RAV4 name.

In this edition of Car Facts we take a closer look at the meaning of RAV4.

What Does RAV4 Mean?

RAV4 stands for “Recreational Active Vehicle with 4 Wheel Drive”.

That full name is a bit of a mouthful, so it’s not hard to see why Toyota shortened it.

The naming convention for the RAV4 is somewhat unique by Toyota’s standards, as most of their cars have “proper” names like Corolla, Celica, Supra, etc.

However, another car with this ‘shortened naming’ is the Toyota MR2 (which stands for “Midship Runabout 2 Seater” of all things).

While the RAV4 has never been the last-word in driving dynamics or excitement, it is undoubtedly an excellent do-everything car that is loved by its owners for the blend of practicality, reliability and comfort.

This has helped the RAV4 to win a loyal following and excellent sales figures. In fact, according to Car and Driver the RAV4 is currently the best-selling vehicle in the USA that isn’t a truck!

So if you’ve just bought a RAV4 (along with hundreds of thousands of others) or if you’re on a waitlist due to short supply, at least you now know that RAV4 stands for ‘Recreational Active Vehicle with 4 Wheel Drive’.

All we can say is that thank goodness Toyota decided to shorten the name!

If you’re a RAV4 fan, then let us know in the comments below – we would love to hear from you! Also let us know below if you’d like to see a Toyota RAV4 buyer’s guide – if we get enough interest, we will look to do one.


  • Sam

    Sam focuses mainly on researching and writing the growing database of Car Facts articles on Garage Dreams, as well as creating interesting list content. He is particularly enthusiastic about JDM cars, although has also owned numerous European vehicles in the past. Currently drives a 3rd generation Suzuki Swift Sport, and a Volkswagen Touareg (mainly kept for taking his border collie out to the hills to go walking)

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