Four-wheel-drive systems are usually found on larger vehicles and compact SUVs such as the Toyota RAV4.
Read on to find out more about the Toyota RAV4 drivetrain system.
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We’ll look into which Rav4 models come with 4WD.
Do Toyota RAV4s have 4WD?
Toyota RAV4s have all-wheel and 4-wheel drive features that work interchangeably. In 2016, Toyota included an upgraded model with a standard all-wheel drive. Moreover, it comes with responsive 4WD technology that detects your road conditions.
Check our brand new review of the RAV4 here.
1st Generation Toyota RAV4: 1996 – 2001
The Toyota RAV4 was introduced in 1996. This generation was part of the new Toyota niche to bring more options to buyers who wanted affordable SUVs.
It was a crossover of a rugged SUV and a comfortable car.
This generation of Toyota RAV4s produced six models with various updates each year. They all came with a standard front-wheel drivetrain. However, an optional all-wheel drivetrain was available on the more expensive Toyota RAV4 models.
This made it a robust mini SUV to take off-road or when the weather wasn’t favorable during the snow season. Something that wasn’t common in this period for compact SUVs.
Moreover, Toyota introduced an exclusive electric version of the RAV4 in 1997, but it was only available to the public in 2003 and came with variants of drivetrain systems.
The Toyota Rav4 models last long as you can also tell from the many first-gen models on the streets today.
2nd Generation Toyota RAV4: 2002 – 2006
The second generation of the Toyota RAV4 was made more prominent and capitalized on the first generation’s immense success. With more room and power, this generation of the Toyota RAV4 produced five models that were released with conventional updates.
The most significant upgrade was the Sport Package with cosmetic enhancements was offered. The Toyota RAV4 kept its standard front-wheel drive with the optional all-wheel drive.
The second-generation Toyota RAV4 didn’t come with many changes except for the increased space and a more modern exterior design.
3rd Generation Toyota RAV4: 2007 – 2012
Front-wheel drive still came as a standard drivetrain for the third-generation Toyota RAV4. The good news is that you still had the choice of an all-wheel drivetrain.
Each of the six models produced in this generation by Toyota was made to be bigger and perform better than the models from the previous generation.
In 2012, Toyota decided to release an electric version of the RAV4, which changed the way that this compact SUV was viewed. This car model came with either a two-wheel drivetrain or an all-wheel drivetrain.
This version of the RAV4 was powered by a 37 kWh battery pack.
4th Generation Toyota RAV4: 2013 – 2018
The all-wheel drivetrain of the original Toyota RAV4 is still prominent in this generation. The only difference with the fourth generation is that everything has been made more conventional.
Other changes were implemented, such as mounting the spare tire on the floor.
A significant amount of attention was made to enhancing comfort with this generation. Other safety features were included to ensure that the all-wheel drive remains reliable.
One fundamental change to increase fuel efficiency was losing the V6 engine.
You can see a good overview here of all the Rav4 engine sizes.
The all-wheel drive with the option of a four-wheel drive off-road ensured better road capabilities for this range.
You can read more here about the good and bad years for Toyota Rav4.
5th Generation Toyota RAV4: 2019 till present
2019 debuted the latest Toyota RAV4 generation that you get to enjoy till the present. Since then, it’s made four model years that have been game-changers.
The gas RAV4 comes with a front-wheel drivetrain, while the all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive are standard with the Adventure trim.
Else, you can opt for it if you choose to buy the other trims.
The most impressive thing about the AWD/4WD for this generation is that it comes with torque vectoring. You can also use the terrain select function depending on the type of mode you need. This generation of the Toyota RAV4 is all about practicality and enhanced functionality.
Check the fuel economy on the RAV4 hybrids here.
The 2022 TRD Off-Road model comes with a standard four-wheel drivetrain.
This generation of this compact SUV is all about performance that meets conventional standards.
What similar compact SUVs offer 4WD?
If you’re searching for a compact SUV like the Toyota RAV4 that comes with 4WD or AWD, there are other options you should consider:
- Honda CR-V,
- Mazda CX-5
- Chevy Equinox
- Subaru Forester
- Nissan Rogue
- Jeep Compass
- Jeep Wrangler
- Ford Escape
When you buy a compact SUV, you look for its capabilities and how it performs. You can rely on an SUV with 4WD or AWD systems to deliver what you need. You want the confidence to drive on slippery or rugged roads.
You can have peace of mind when you know that your SUV will give you efficient traction, power, and grip as you cross over dangerous terrain.
How do I check if my RAV4 has 4WD?
The drivetrain of your car is a significant component that you should know. When you know the type of drivetrain your car has, it helps you take better care of it. The good news is that your Toyota RAV4 has a more sophisticated system.
Depending on where you’re driving, you can rely on the electronic controls to shift from an all-wheel drivetrain to a four-wheel drivetrain. The shift from each drivetrain occurs when you slow down and drive under uncomfortable terrain.
The four-wheel drive system detects your drive and effectively transmits traction and power to all wheels.
Fortunately, there’s a dash mount button that you can use to change the system. This button triggers the front-to-rear power distribution on your Toyota RAV4.
However, you don’t need to worry about using this button as your car detects changes automatically.
Your Toyota RAV4 also employs a front-wheel drive to save gas when driving in ideal road conditions. Then, it’ll change between all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive when road conditions change.
Additionally, Toyota will have a badge on your car to state whether it’s a 4×4 drivetrain or not.
Is 4WD always on if my RAV4 has it?
The 4WD drivetrain system on your Toyota RAV4 functions automatically. The system ensures that your car is always in all-wheel or four-wheel drive as long as it’s running.
The system the RAV4 uses always does a 50:50 split of power to the front and rear of your car.
How effective is the 4WD on a RAV4?
There are mixed reviews about the effectiveness of the Toyota RAV4’s 4WD. On the one hand, the car has reasonable ground clearance.
We have a list here of electric cars with good ground clearance.
However, since they lack a center differential locker, an essential part of off-roading equipment, it isn’t as effective as other compact SUVs with 4WD technology.
Which compact SUV has the best-rated 4WD?
You should look beyond interior and style when looking for a compact SUV. It’s essential to find a car that can provide you with the ultimate performance no matter where you drive.