The Toyota RAV4 is a sport utility vehicle (SUV) produced by the Japanese manufacturer Toyota. It was the first compact crossover SUV,making its debut in Japan and Europe in 1994, and began sales in North America in 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 better fuel economy of a smaller car.