Edmunds Answers

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  • avatar morin2 01/20/13 10:40 am PST

    The tow rating is the same for both years and it is only 1500 lbs - and only when the vehicle is properly equipped for towing. Most people do not recommend towing at the very max tow rating. A tow package was an option on the RAV-4 but it may be difficult to find the factory package on the 4 cyl models. It would be easier to find a tow-ready v-6 RAV-4. If the RAV-4 does not include the tow package, then you will need to have modifications made in addition to the receiver style hitch mount: transmission cooler, heavier alternator, high capacity radiator, and wiring (the RAV-4 does not come with a plug-in behind the tail light for this).

    I highly recommend going with a used v-6 model with the optional factory tow package and the wiring already installed. Although the v-6 models are more expensive, the cost of modifying a non-tow ready 4 cylinder model will exceed that cost difference. The mpg difference between the two is trivial and will depend on how you drive. The best way to know if one has the optional equipment is to see the original window sticker - where the optional factory tow package will be listed. The presence of a tow hitch alone will be misleading, since that could be installed on one without the tow package as easily as on one with the tow package.

    Used v-6 models will be in greater demand now that the newest RAV-4 will not have the v-6 option.

Answers

  • morin2 01/20/13 10:40 am PST

    The tow rating is the same for both years and it is only 1500 lbs - and only when the vehicle is properly equipped for towing. Most people do not recommend towing at the very max tow rating. A tow package was an option on the RAV-4 but it may be difficult to find the factory package on the 4 cyl models. It would be easier to find a tow-ready v-6 RAV-4. If the RAV-4 does not include the tow package, then you will need to have modifications made in addition to the receiver style hitch mount: transmission cooler, heavier alternator, high capacity radiator, and wiring (the RAV-4 does not come with a plug-in behind the tail light for this).

    I highly recommend going with a used v-6 model with the optional factory tow package and the wiring already installed. Although the v-6 models are more expensive, the cost of modifying a non-tow ready 4 cylinder model will exceed that cost difference. The mpg difference between the two is trivial and will depend on how you drive. The best way to know if one has the optional equipment is to see the original window sticker - where the optional factory tow package will be listed. The presence of a tow hitch alone will be misleading, since that could be installed on one without the tow package as easily as on one with the tow package.

    Used v-6 models will be in greater demand now that the newest RAV-4 will not have the v-6 option.

  • MrShift@Edmunds 01/20/13 12:04 pm PST

    I agree---a 4 cylinder RAV4 is not a good choice for towing a 1,500 lb load (GTW).


    In addition to the proper trans cooler and trailer hitch wiring harness, be sure to find a trailer hitch that is made specifically for the vehicle---installation is a lot easier that way.

    Also, check your state's towing laws regarding the requirement for trailer brakes and a brake controller---I think you're okay without, but check in any case.

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