The Toyota RAV4 has been a volume seller for the brand, and with good reason. It’s reasonably priced, reliable, spacious and built well – all the qualities you want from a small SUV. It also has some very surprising off road ability, which is something most people don’t know.
Looking at its spacious back end, some people wonder if it’s possibe to get the RAV4 with 3rd row seats. Well yes, you can, but only in certain models.
The third generation RAV4, also known as the XA30, which was built from 2005–2012, came with a three row variant. The RAV4 with a third row was an extended wheelbase version which was only sold in Japan and North America.
In Japan, the long wheelbase version of the RAV4 was known as the Toyota Vanguard, and came fully loaded for its category, with steering-assisted stability control, keyless entry and sat-nav.
The extended wheelbase RAV4 offered in North America also came with a V6 option, with the engine being lifted from the Toyota Avalon. This gave the RAV4 a very quick 0-60mph time of just 6.4 seconds.
However, the V6’s free-revving nature and low-down torque was a bit too much for the all wheel drive system which relied on sensing the front wheels spinning before kicking in the back wheels.
This created an issue where the front wheels would spin, so you’d correct the steering and then when the back wheels started to spin up, in you were shot off in the wrong direction. Not a great experience.
The 2.4-litre four-cylinder was the one to go for, despite not making as much power.
You can see the third row seats and how they fold into the floor of the luggage compartment in this “for sale” video from a dealership in Colorado.
But what people really want to know is whether the RAV4 will eventually get a three-row option in future models.
Currently, the 2019 version won’t be produced with seven seats, however it hasn’t been ruled out. In an interview with GoAuto, North America group vice-president and general manager of the Toyota division, Jack Hollis, said that the company would be keeping an eye on the segment and customer demands.
“I think we have different options for seven seats, we have the Highlander (Kluger), we have growth of Sequoia and LandCruiser and different options,” said Hollis. “I think RAV4 in its compactness holds a certain space. But I will say there is always room for growing SUV entries. So whether we decide to bring one in a seven seater or something different, that is something that I will keep you waiting for those answers.”
There’s a possibility that the space for the third row could be impacted by battery packs for its hybrid version of the RAV4, so it may be that the three-row option won’t be available as a hybrid. We’re not sure whether that will make a difference to potential buyers, however.
In the meantime, the only option for those seeking a RAV4 with a 3rd row seating arrangement is to go for a second-hand vehicle.
However, a quick check on eBay also shows that there are several aftermarket setups that will allow a third row to be fitted. We wouldn’t necessarily recommend this as it hasn’t been safety tested like factory versions have been.
And if you add in the cost of fitting the third row to your existing car, it may be better to sell the car you have and buy a dedicated seven seat SUV.
Discover more by reading our SUV Reviews page.