Toyota RAV4 - 1996
Toyota RAV4 - 1996
The RAV4, the first compact crossover SUV, began sales in North America in 1996. Its initials stand for "Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel drive." The first generation RAV was too small for most Americans, but the second, which came out in 2000 kicked off a craze. It scored especially well with female buyers (both my wife and my daughter drive RAVs). With the launch of the third generation, a foot longer still than number two, sales doubled, and the RAV4 ranked third in 2010 segment sales with 170,877.

Last updated June 29 2011: 8:18 AM ET
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