The Toyota RAV4 has been part of the automotive landscape for so long that you forget where it came from. Remember the really early ones, available in a funky two-door convertible format? That was the early 1990s, and automakers knew SUVs were hot and were throwing all sorts of ideas at the wall to see if they’d stick. The convertible RAV4 had a bunch of strange company in America, like the Isuzu Amigo, the Suzuki Sidekick, and even the obscure Daihatsu Rocky.
But while the original RAV4 had spunk, the concept car that inspired it was considerably cooler. Meet the 1989 Toyota RAV-FOUR Concept, which debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show next to the production Toyota Sera (gullwing doors!) and the 4500GT Concept (which went nowhere!). Toyota called the RAV-FOUR a “neo-urban 4WD car”—unusual verbiage for a crossover and SUV era that was about to begin.