I am interested in buying a 1998 Rav4 from a dealer. It has over 180000 miles on it. I don't know much about Toyotas, so before I buy, I am going to take it to a mechanic for as thorough of an inspection as possible. But my question is: Where did this vehicle rank in terms of like durability/ dependability, things like that in 1998. Another question is: are Toyotas more expensive to maintain? If something were to go wrong, are Toyota parts more expensive, less, or about average in comparison to makes.
Toyota vehicles are proven to be reliable. However, with the mileage on this vehicle, you can expect things to need repaired more often than on a vehicle with less miles. The Rav4 is a good vehicle and will be no more expensive to repair than other vehicles of the same type, so don't worry about repair cost. As far as parts, they are very close in price to American built vehicles.
Try to find maintenance records of the vehicle. If the prior owner took good care of it and maintained it, you should have few problems. Make sure your mechanic checks the operation of things like the 4wd unit. Have him test drive it and check for noise from wheel bearings, engine accessories.