Toyota RAV4 Towing Capacity

Toyota RAV4 Towing Capacity Guide: All Years & Models


The Toyota RAV4 towing capacity often sparks curiosity among potential buyers and owners. The RAV4 is built to cater to a wide range of needs like daily commutes or light off-road adventures. But, how much will a Toyota RAV4 tow?

The Toyota RAV4 towing capacity is 1,500 to 3,500 pounds (680 – 1,587 kg). The exact capacity depends on the model year, engine size, and trim level. 

As you explore the various RAV4 trims, you’ll encounter an array of towing capabilities, encompassing the standard gas engine, hybrid, prime, adventure, and off-road models. Each offers its own unique blend of performance and towing prowess to suit a variety of needs and preferences.

What Camp Trailers Can a Toyota RAV4 Tow? See a full guide on trailers that can be towed by a RAV4.

The Towing Capacity of RAV4 by Trim:

  • The RAV4 towing capacity is 1,500 pounds (680 kg).
  • The RAV4 Hybrid can tow up to 1,750 pounds (794 kg) across all trim levels. 
  • The RAV4 Prime (the plug-in hybrid) can tow up to 2,500 pounds (1,134 kg).
  • The RAV4 Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims have the highest towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds (1,587 kg).  

It is important to check the owner’s manual to ensure compatibility before towing. (source: Toyota Specs)

How can you get better gas mileage in your RAV4? See how to increase gas mileage in your RAV4 (tips that work).

Toyota RAV4 Towing Capacity By Year

The gas-engine Toyota RAV4 has seen several iterations over the years, with each generation offering different towing capacities. To provide a clear understanding of the RAV4’s towing capabilities throughout its history, we’ll break down the towing capacity by generation.

Curious about your RAV4’s fuel efficiency? We’ve got you covered!

First Generation (1994–2000)

2.0L inline-4 engine

  • Towing capacity: 1,500 pounds (680 kg)

The first-generation RAV4, featuring a 2.0L inline-4 engine, had a modest towing capacity of 1,500 pounds. While not designed for heavy towing, it was still capable of pulling small trailers or recreational equipment.

Second Generation (2000–2005)

2.0L inline-4 engine (2000-2003)

  • Towing capacity: 1,500 pounds (680 kg)

2.4L inline-4 engine (2004-2005)

  • Towing capacity: 1,500 pounds (680 kg)

The second-generation RAV4 maintained the same 1,500-pound towing capacity, despite a mid-generation engine upgrade to a 2.4L inline-4 in 2004.

Third Generation (2005–2012)

2.4L inline-4 engine (2005-2008)

  • Towing capacity: 2,000 pounds (907 kg)

2.5L inline-4 engine (2009-2012)

  • Towing capacity: 1,500 pounds (680 kg)

The third-generation RAV4 continued with a 1,500-pound towing capacity for the 2.4L engine, but the upgraded 2.5L engine introduced in 2009 increased the towing capacity to 2,000 pounds.

Did you know that Toyota used to make V6 RAV4s? See details about the RAV4 V6.

Fourth Generation (2012–2018)

Base models 2.5L inline-4 engine

  • Towing capacity: 1,500 pounds (680 kg)
4th generation RAV4 towing capacity
4th Gen RAV4

2018 adventure trim 2.5L Inline-4 engine

  • Towing capacity: 3,500 pounds (1,587 kg)

While most fourth-generation RAV4 models maintained a 1,500-pound towing capacity, the Adventure trim introduced in 2018 offered a significant increase, with a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

Fifth Generation (2019–present)

Base models 2.5L inline-4 engine

  • Towing capacity: 1,500 pounds (680 kg) 

Hybrid 2.5L Inline-4 engine

  • Towing capacity: 1,750 pounds (794 kg)

Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims 2.5L Inline-4 engine

  • Towing capacity: 3,500 pounds (1,587 kg)

The fifth-generation RAV4 continues with the same towing capacities as the previous generation with base models (two-wheel drive and AWD) having a 1,500-pound towing capacity. However, the Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims increase to an impressive 3,500-pound towing capacity.

As you can see, the gas engine RAV4’s towing capacity has evolved over the years, with more recent models offering greater capabilities for those who need to tow heavier loads.

Can a Toyota RAV4 go off-roading? See a comprehensive Toyota RAV4 Off-Roading guide and Review.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Towing Capacity

In recent years the RAV4 Hybrid has become a popular SUV among eco-conscious drivers. With its combination of efficiency and performance, many potential buyers are curious about the towing capacity of the RAV4 Hybrid.

Is the RAV4 Hybrid worth it? See a complete guide to determine if the RAV4 Hybrid is worth it for you.

First Generation RAV4 Hybrid (2016–2018)

  • 2.5L inline-4 engine with an electric motor
  • Net system horsepower: 194 hp
  • Towing capacity: 1,750 pounds

The first-generation RAV4 Hybrid was introduced in 2016 and featured a 2.5L inline-4 engine paired with an electric motor. Because of the added electric motor, this new hybrid model offered a slightly higher towing capacity than its gas-engine counterpart, with the ability to tow up to 1,750 pounds.

Second Generation RAV4 Hybrid (2019–present)

  • 2.5L inline-4 engine with an electric motor
  • Net system horsepower: 219 hp
  • Towing capacity: 1,750 pounds

The second-generation RAV4 Hybrid, which debuted in 2019, received an upgraded powertrain, resulting in a net system horsepower of 219 hp. Despite the increased power, the RAV4 hybrid towing capacity remained unchanged at 1,750 pounds.

Here’s a video showing the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid in a towing test

Though the RAV4 Hybrid’s towing capacity might not match that of the Adventure and TRD Off-Road gas-engine trims, it still provides a respectable capacity for those looking to tow smaller loads while benefiting from improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.

Toyota RAV4 Prime Towing Capacity

The Toyota RAV4 Prime, introduced in 2021, is the plug-in hybrid version of the popular RAV4 lineup. Combining an impressive all-electric range with robust performance, it has quickly gained attention from those seeking sustainability and power.

Why is the RAV4 Prime so expensive? See 7 reasons why the RAV4 Prime is so expensive.

RAV4 Prime (2021–present)

  • 2.5L inline-4 engine with an electric motor
  • Net system horsepower: 302 hp
  • Towing capacity: 2,500 pounds

The RAV4 Prime has a 2.5L inline-4 engine coupled with an electric motor. It delivers a combined 302 horsepower which makes it the most powerful RAV4 to date. When it comes to towing, the RAV4 Prime towing capacity is 2,500 pounds.

While the RAV4 Prime’s towing capacity does not reach the level of the Adventure and TRD Off-Road gas-engine trims, it provides a good balance between towing capabilities, eco-friendly performance, and exceptional horsepower. This makes the RAV4 Prime an attractive choice for those who want the versatility to tow moderate loads without compromising on efficiency and power.

Toyota RAV4 Adventure & TRD Off-Road Towing Capacity

The Toyota RAV4 Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims offer enhanced performance and features. One enhancement includes the ability to tow larger loads. 

Which RAV4 is best for towing?

The RAV4 Adventure and TRD Off-Road models are the best for towing due to the fact that they have the highest towing capacity of 3,500 pounds (1,587 kg).

The Adventure and Off-Road models are engineered with a more robust suspension system, improved cooling, and other structural enhancements that contribute to their increased towing capabilities.

RAV4 Adventure (2018–present)

  • 2.5L inline-4 engine
  • Towing capacity: 3,500 pounds

Introduced in 2018, the RAV4 Adventure trim features a 2.5L inline-4 engine and comes with a higher towing capacity than its base model counterparts. Because of its ability to tow up to 3,500 pounds, the Adventure trim is well-suited for those needing to tow larger loads like recreational vehicles or boats.

RAV4 TRD Off-Road (2020–present)

  • 2.5L inline-4 engine
  • Towing capacity: 3,500 pounds

The RAV4 TRD Off-Road trim, launched in 2020, also features a 2.5L inline-4 engine and shares the same impressive 3,500-pound towing capacity as the Adventure trim. However, the TRD Off-Road trim comes with additional off-roading features, such as a unique suspension system, all-terrain tires, and exclusive exterior styling elements.

White 2018-2023 Toyota RAV4 lift

Both the Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims offer the highest towing capacity in the RAV4 lineup, making them ideal options for drivers who require more towing power.

Are you interested in lifting your RAV4? See everything you need to know about Toyota RAV4 lift kits and which is the best kit for you.

Does the Toyota RAV4 Offer a Towing Package?

Yes, the Toyota RAV4 offers a factory-installed towing package as an optional add-on for nearly all trim levels. For those considering a Toyota RAV4 and planning to tow, knowing whether the vehicle offers a towing package and what it includes is essential.

What is Included in the Toyota Factory-Installed Tow Package

Toyota’s tow package is designed to maximize the vehicle’s towing capacity and ensure safe and secure towing. This comprehensive towing package typically includes:

  • Trailer hitch: A robust and durable tow hitch that securely attaches to the vehicle’s frame.
  • Wiring harness and connector: Ensures proper connectivity between the vehicle and trailer, enabling essential lighting and signaling functions.
  • Trailer ball: Provides a secure attachment point for the trailer’s coupler.

For the Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims, the towing package may also feature additional components, such as a heavy-duty radiator, engine oil cooler, and transmission cooler, to enhance the vehicle’s ability to handle the increased demands of towing.

Aftermarket Towing Package

If your RAV4 doesn’t come with a factory-installed towing package or you’re looking to upgrade your current setup, aftermarket options are available. These aftermarket packages can include a trailer hitch, wiring harness, and connector, as well as a trailer ball. 

From my experience aftermarket trailer hitches for the RAV4 work just as well as the OEM hitch, especially for options like bike racks, cargo carriers or racks, and small trailers.

Curt Class 2 trailer hitch (1-1/4 inch receiver) or Class 3 trailer hitch (2-inch receiver) – See either option on Amazon.

Are you interested in mods and accessory ideas for your RAV4? See the 45 best Toyota RAV4 mods & aftermarket accessories.

It is crucial to consult your RAV4’s owner’s manual and seek professional advice before purchasing and installing any aftermarket towing components to ensure compatibility and avoid potential damage to your vehicle.

What Can a RAV4 Tow?

Given the various towing capacities across different Toyota RAV4 models, understanding the types of loads that can be towed is essential for safe and effective towing.

Even with a towing capacity at the lower end of the RAV4 range, you can still tow a variety of items.

 Here’s a list of some common items weighing under 1,500 pounds that can be towed by a RAV4:

  • Small utility trailers: Ideal for transporting gardening equipment, home improvement materials, or other bulky items.
  • Pop-up campers: Lightweight campers that can be easily towed for a weekend getaway.
  • Personal watercraft: Such as jet skis or small sailboats, perfect for enjoying water activities.
  • Motorcycles or scooters: Transport your two-wheeled vehicles for a thrilling ride.
  • ATVs: Take your all-terrain vehicle on an off-road adventure.
  • Snowmobiles: Enjoy winter sports by towing your snowmobile to the mountains.
  • Moving trailers: Simplify your move by towing a small moving trailer.
  • Canoes or kayaks: Bring along your watercraft for a day of paddling.
  • Cargo carriers: Add additional luggage or camping gear on a hitch cargo carrier.
  • Bike racks: Take your bikes with you anywhere using a hitch bike rack.

Are you interested in freeing up some cargo space in your RAV4? See the 5 best RAV4 roof rack and cross bars.

While the list above provides an overview of what a RAV4 can tow, it’s important to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual and adhere to the recommended towing capacities to ensure safe and efficient towing.

Remember to also account for the weight of additional equipment, such as trailer accessories and cargo, when calculating the total weight of your tow load. Properly securing your load and regularly inspecting your towing equipment are crucial steps in ensuring a safe towing experience.

RAV4 towing trailer hitch and accessories

Impact of Towing on RAV4 Warranty and Maintenance

Towing can have an impact on your Toyota RAV4’s warranty and maintenance requirements.

Warranty Considerations

Before towing with your RAV4, it’s essential to review the terms and conditions of your vehicle’s warranty. While towing within the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines typically does not void your warranty, towing beyond the specified limits or making unauthorized modifications can lead to warranty issues. 

Some key points to consider include:

  • Adhere to the towing capacity Toyota guidelines: Always follow the towing capacities specified in your owner’s manual to avoid potential warranty issues.
  • Use approved towing equipment: Utilize factory-approved or compatible aftermarket towing equipment to ensure compliance with warranty requirements.
  • Proper installation: Ensure all towing equipment is installed correctly, as improper installation could cause damage and void your warranty.

Maintenance Tips for Towing

Towing can place additional stress on your RAV4, making it important to follow proper maintenance practices to ensure your vehicle remains in optimal condition.

Here are some maintenance tips to consider when towing:

  • Inspect your towing equipment regularly, including the hitch, wiring, and connectors, to ensure they are in good working order.
  • Check and maintain proper engine oil (see how to change RAV4 oil), transmission fluid, and coolant levels to prevent overheating and premature wear.
  • Ensure your tires are properly inflated, as improper tire pressure can affect vehicle stability and fuel efficiency while towing (see detailed RAV4 tire pressure guide).
  • Towing can put extra strain on your brakes, so be sure to have them inspected and maintained regularly.
  • Inspect and maintain suspension components, as they can be subject to increased wear and tear while towing.

By following the recommended towing guidelines and adhering to proper maintenance practices, you can help ensure the longevity of your Toyota RAV4 and maintain its warranty coverage. Always consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual and seek professional advice for specific maintenance requirements related to towing.

How to Enhance the RAV4’s Towing Performance

While the Toyota RAV4 is already well-equipped for towing, there are ways to further enhance its towing performance and capabilities. In this section, we’ll discuss some methods and upgrades to improve your RAV4’s towing experience.

Upgrades and Accessories

Consider investing in some upgrades and accessories to improve your RAV4’s towing performance:

  • Upgraded suspension: Installing heavy-duty shocks, springs, or even a full air suspension system can help improve vehicle stability and handling while towing.
  • Weight distribution hitch: This type of hitch evenly distributes the trailer’s weight across the vehicle’s axles, reducing sway and improving stability.
  • Sway control: Sway control systems, either integrated into the weight distribution hitch or added separately, can help minimize trailer sway and improve handling in windy conditions or during lane changes.
  • Brake controller: Installing an electronic brake controller allows smoother and more precise control of your trailer’s brakes, improving stopping performance.
  • Towing mirrors: Extendable towing mirrors provide improved visibility while towing, making it easier to monitor your trailer and change lanes safely.

Driving Techniques and Tips

Adopting specific driving techniques can also enhance your RAV4’s towing performance:

  • Accelerate slowly: Gradual acceleration can help reduce stress on your vehicle’s drivetrain and improve fuel efficiency.
  • Maintain a safe following distance: Keep a greater distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, allowing for more reaction time and reducing the need for hard braking.
  • Brake gently: Apply the brakes smoothly and gradually to avoid sudden stops and minimize the risk of trailer sway.
  • Take wide turns: When turning, allow extra room for your trailer to clear obstacles and ensure it tracks correctly through the turn.
  • Plan ahead: Anticipate upcoming traffic conditions, such as hills or curves, and adjust your speed and gear selection accordingly to minimize strain on your vehicle.
  • Avoid ECO Mode: Using the drive mode “ECO Mode” while towing isn’t helpful or efficient. See RAV4 “ECO Mode” a complete guide to learn all about and how to use Economy Mode.

By investing in upgrades and adopting mindful driving techniques, you can enhance your Toyota RAV4’s towing performance, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable towing experience.

Comparing RAV4’s Towing Capacity with Competitors

It can be helpful to compare the RAV4’s towing capacity to that of its competitors in the compact SUV segment to determine who has the advantage.

Honda CR-V

A top contender, the Honda CR-V offers towing capacities from 1,500 pounds for most models, up to 1,850 pounds for its Hybrid variant. This puts it on a similar footing with the RAV4’s standard and hybrid models.

Subaru Forester

Famed for its off-road abilities and practicality, the Subaru Forester’s towing capacity is 1,500 pounds across all trims. It lags behind the RAV4’s higher-capacity Adventure and TRD Off-Road models.

Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5’s towing capacity is 2,000 pounds for base models and up to 3,500 pounds for turbocharged versions. This makes it a worthy adversary to the RAV4.

Ford Escape

Offering various engine options, including a hybrid, the Ford Escape’s towing capacity ranges from 1,500 pounds for base drive models to 3,500 pounds for those with the optional towing package.

Chevrolet Equinox

The Chevrolet Equinox has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds with the optional towing package. Although its base capacity is lower than the RAV4, Equinox’s higher towing capacity rivals the RAV4 Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims.

Compact SUV ModelTowing Capacity Range (lbs)
Toyota RAV41,500 – 3,500
Honda CR-V1,500 – 1,850
Subaru Forester1,500
Mazda CX-52,000 – 3,500
Ford Escape1,500 – 3,500
Chevrolet Equinox1,500 – 3,500
This table provides a simple and easy-to-follow comparison of the towing specs for the Toyota RAV4 and its competitors in the compact SUV segment. Please note that the towing capacities mentioned are approximate and may vary depending on the specific trim level, engine options, and additional towing packages or equipment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a RAV4 pull a camper?

Yes, a RAV4 can pull a camper, provided the camper’s weight, including cargo, falls within the vehicle’s towing capacity. Lightweight campers like teardrop trailers or small pop-up campers are suitable options for the RAV4. Always ensure that you stay within the towing capacity limits specified for your RAV4 model.

Can a RAV4 pull a boat?

A RAV4 is capable of towing a boat, as long as the combined weight of the boat, trailer, and any additional gear does not exceed the vehicle’s towing capacity. Smaller boats such as kayaks, canoes, and personal watercraft are ideal for towing with the RAV4. Be sure to verify the weight of your boat and trailer against your RAV4’s specific towing capacity to ensure safe and efficient towing.

Which Toyota RAV4 can tow 3,500 lbs?

The RAV4 Adventure and TRD Off-Road models boast a towing capacity of up to 3,500 lbs, thanks to their robust construction, upgraded suspension, and other performance-enhancing features.

How do I find my RAV4’s specific towing capacity?

To determine your RAV4’s specific towing capacity, refer to the owner’s manual or consult Toyota’s official website, where you can enter your vehicle’s VIN or search by model, year, and trim.

Can I increase my RAV4’s towing capacity?

It’s generally not advisable to exceed the manufacturer’s specified towing capacity for your RAV4 model. However, you can improve towing performance by installing a towing package, ensuring proper weight distribution, and maintaining your vehicle according to Toyota’s recommendations.

Why can some RAV4s tow more?

Certain RAV4 models, like the Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims, have higher towing capacities due to enhanced suspension systems, robust construction, and more powerful engines that enable them to handle heavier loads. Additionally, they may come equipped with performance-enhancing features or optional towing packages specifically designed to maximize towing capabilities and ensure safe, efficient towing.

What factors affect the RAV4’s towing capacity?

The RAV4’s towing capacity is influenced by the model year, engine type, trim level, and whether the vehicle is equipped with a towing package or other performance-enhancing features. Additionally, proper vehicle maintenance and adherence to towing best practices can significantly impact towing performance.

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