The Toyota RAV4 (Japanese: トヨタ・RAV4, Hepburn: Toyota Ravufō) is a compact crossover SUV (sport utility vehicle) produced by the Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota. This was the first compact crossover SUV; it made its debut in Japan and Europe in 1994, and in North America in 1995, being launched in January 1996. The vehicle was designed for consumers wanting a vehicle that had most of the benefits of SUVs, such as increased cargo room, higher visibility, and the option of full-time four-wheel drive, along with the maneuverability and fuel economy of a compact car. The vehicle’s name is an abbreviation of "Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel drive" although not all models come equipped with four-wheel drive.
For the third generation model, Toyota offered both short- and long-wheelbase versions of the RAV4. Short-wheelbase versions are sold in Japan and Europe; long-wheelbase versions in Australia and North America. Toyota of Japan also sells the longer-wheelbase version as the Toyota Vanguard (トヨタ・ヴァンガード, Toyota Vangādo) at Toyopet Store locations. Japanese versions are sold at two different Toyota dealerships, Toyota Corolla Store and Toyota Netz Store.