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RAV4 Build: Our Shop Vehicle Goes from Stock to Stellar

Toyota RAV4’s Beginnings

The RAV4, meaning “Recreational Adventure Vehicle with 4-wheel drive”, made a statement immediately upon its release in Europe and Japan in 1994 and North America in 1995.  The iconic Toyota RAV4 was brought to market to provide consumers with the comfort of an SUV, combined with the adventure of a 4-wheel drive. Known for the fuel economy and maneuverability of a compact car, the RAV4 is a perfect blend for both common, daily driving and for adventure seeking on tough terrain. The first of its class, the Toyota RAV4 paved the way for the midsize crossover utility vehicles (CUV) worldwide. Steadily becoming more and more popular with the rise of outdoor recreation and the overlanding craze, the Toyota RAV4 continues to be a top contender in sales and an overall choice when it comes to safety and reliability. 

We Chose the RAV4 for its Versatility

The 2021 launch of our company REIKA Vehicle Solutions, which manufactures wheels and lift kits, fell right in line with the fast-growing CUV community. We wanted to provide a solution for outdoor enthusiasts who wanted to customize their rides with a strong, lightweight and attractive wheel, while also offering solutions to those who need a little extra lift to get up and get out there. We decided that our first shop vehicle would be a 2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE. The capability of this vehicle, along with excellent safety features, AWD and useful tools implemented into the drive system, enticed us to test out its capabilities and we were not disappointed. We’ve taken our RAV4 on trips through the soft sands of the deserts, up into the mountains through snow, and over obstacles on the trails of Utah – it has not once let us down.

A few important safety features included with the RAV4 are the lane tracing assist, lane departure with steering assist, road sign assist and the full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control. All of these safety features make driving this vehicle feel safe and secure on any type of journey. Another incredible feature of the RAV4 is its Multi-Terrain Select, which allows you to select the drive mode for the terrain you are on. The four modes are: mud and sand, rock and dirt, snow, and normal, all of which have proven to be extremely useful on our trail runs. Our 2021 RAV4 XLE is equipped with a 4-cylinder, 2.5-liter engine and is capable of producing 203 HP with 184 pound-feet of torque giving the extra push needed when accelerating through mud and up steep terrain. 

The RAV4 Transformation

Over the past year, our RAV4 has transformed from the original stock vehicle to a RAV4 that is ready to join the overlanding phenomenon.  From the get go, we decided to throw on a set of our best-selling R20 Teton wheels with a +38 offset and a set of All-Terrain Nitto Grappler G2 245-65-17 tires to give our RAV4 an aggressive stance. In addition, we added our REIKA VS 2” lift kit, allowing for the new wheel and tire set up to achieve optimal clearance without any interference. Traveling often and needing a little extra cargo room, we added a Yakima roof rack to the top for our full-size spare. 

Knowing we would be displaying our vehicle at the Overland Expos, attending community events and getting to know some of the nicest people in the industry, we linked up with a few great companies. Beyond Wraps decked out our RAV4 with cool REIKA graphics, Light Force donated exterior performance lights and we installed a Rhino Rack to haul our gear.  

Fast forward to a few months before Overland Expo 2022, we released a new finish for our R25 Detour wheel – a beautiful bronze. Linking up with one of our good friends from Milestar Tires, we installed a set of our new R25 Detour wheels in bronze, with Milestar Patagonia M/T tires. The latest feature added to the RAV4 comes from a terrific company called C6 Outdoor.  They provided us with a versatile, heavy duty, lightweight 2-person roof-top tent called the Rev Tent. Weighing only 25lbs, setting up, tearing down and maneuvering the Rev Tent was very easy. 

Ready For Fun

That brings us current with the modifications on our shop RAV4. If you’re deciding whether or not to join the RAV4 life, we encourage you to take the leap. Our experience in building up the RAV4, taking it on adventures and displaying it at shows has brought us closer to the community and has allowed us to build positive relationships in the softroad, offroad and CUV communities.  Come check us out at the Overland Expos to see the build and stay tuned to REIKA Vehicle Solutions as we look for new products for the next adventure.

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