Is Toyota Rav4 Good For Off-Road Driving? (We Checked)

If you’re in the market for a new off-road vehicle, you may be wondering if the Toyota RAV4 is a good option. At first glance, the RAV4 may not seem like the most capable off-road vehicle, but don’t let its appearance fool you.

The RAV4 has a lot of features that make it a great choice for those who like to take their adventures off the beaten path.

One of the most impressive features of the RAV4 is its ground clearance. With up to 8.6 inches of ground clearance, the RAV4 can handle rough terrain without getting hung up on rocks or other obstacles.

Additionally, with all-wheel drive, you get good traction on slippery or uneven surfaces. This means you can confidently take on muddy trails, rocky terrain, and steep hills without worrying about getting stuck.

Rav4 back

Overall, we believe that the Toyota RAV4 is a solid choice for off-road driving. While it may not be the most rugged or hardcore off-road vehicle on the market, it has the capabilities and features to handle a wide range of off-road conditions.

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a serious off-road enthusiast, the RAV4 is definitely worth considering.

Off-Roading Capabilities of the Rav4

When it comes to off-roading, the Toyota Rav4 can hold its own against other SUVs in its class.

The Rav4 does well on various terrains, including mud, sand, and rocky terrain, and we are impressed with its performance.

The Rav4’s ground clearance of 8.6 inches allows it to tackle rougher terrain with ease. The available Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive system also helps distribute power to the wheels that need it most, providing better traction and stability on uneven surfaces.

In addition, the Multi-Terrain Select feature allows us to choose from different modes depending on the terrain, such as Mud & Sand, Rock & Dirt, and Snow.

The Rav4’s suspension system also helps absorb bumps and shocks, providing a smoother ride on rough terrain. The SUV’s approach and departure angles of 19 and 21 degrees, respectively, also make it easier to navigate steep inclines and declines.

While the Rav4 is not designed for extreme off-roading, it can handle moderate off-road trails with ease. Its off-roading capabilities make it a great option for those who enjoy outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and exploring.

Ground Clearance of the Rav4

When it comes to off-road driving, one of the most important factors to consider is ground clearance. The Toyota Rav4 offers a respectable amount of ground clearance, which is one of the reasons why it is often considered a good option for those who want to venture off the beaten path.

The ground clearance of the Rav4 varies depending on the trim level and the model year.

For example, the 2023 Rav4 Adventure has a ground clearance of 8.6 inches, while the base model has a ground clearance of 8.4 inches.

These numbers may not seem like much, but they are more than enough to handle most off-road obstacles.

It’s important to note that ground clearance is not the only factor that determines how well a vehicle performs off-road. Other factors, such as approach and departure angles, suspension, and tires, also play a significant role.

However, the Rav4’s ground clearance is definitely a good starting point.

In addition to providing enough clearance to tackle most off-road obstacles, the Rav4’s ground clearance also helps to improve its overall ride quality.

With more space between the ground and the vehicle’s undercarriage, the Rav4 is better able to absorb bumps and uneven terrain.

This means that you’ll enjoy a smoother ride, even when you’re driving in rough conditions.

Can a Rav4 go on the beach?

rav4 inside

When it comes to off-road driving, one of the most common questions asked about the Toyota Rav4 is whether it can handle driving on the beach.

After all, driving on sand can be challenging, and not all vehicles are up to the task.

We can confidently say that the Toyota Rav4 is a great option for driving on the beach. With its all-wheel drive system, high ground clearance, and sturdy build, the Rav4 is more than capable of handling the challenges of driving on sand.

That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning on taking your Rav4 to the beach. First and foremost, it’s important to make sure that you’re driving on a designated beach area where vehicles are allowed.

Driving on a non-designated area can result in fines and damage to the environment (and getting stuck!).

Additionally, it’s important to be mindful of the tide and the condition of the sand.

Driving on wet sand can be easier than driving on dry sand, as the wet sand provides more traction. However, it’s important to be aware of the tide, as driving too close to the water can be dangerous.

Overall, if you’re looking for a vehicle that can handle off-road driving, including driving on the beach, the Toyota Rav4 is a great option. With its combination of power, performance, and versatility, it’s an excellent choice for anyone who loves to explore the great outdoors.

Underbody Protection

When it comes to off-road driving, protecting your vehicle’s underbody is crucial. The Toyota RAV4 comes with a standard skid plate that covers the engine and transmission, which is a great start for off-road enthusiasts.

However, for those who plan on tackling more challenging terrain, additional protection may be necessary.

We recommend investing in aftermarket underbody protection, such as a full set of skid plates. These can be made from materials such as steel, aluminum, or even composite materials. They provide additional protection for the fuel tank, transfer case, and other vulnerable components.

In addition to skid plates, we also recommend installing rock sliders.

These are metal bars that run along the sides of the vehicle and protect the rocker panels from damage when driving over rocks or other obstacles. They also provide a convenient step for getting in and out of the vehicle.

Overall, while the Toyota RAV4 comes with some basic underbody protection, investing in additional aftermarket protection is highly recommended for those who plan on doing serious off-road driving.

Modifications for Off-Roading

When it comes to off-roading, the Toyota Rav4 can handle a lot, but some modifications can make it even better.

Here are some modifications that we recommend:

  • Lift Kit: A lift kit can provide extra ground clearance, allowing you to tackle more rugged terrain without worrying about scraping the bottom of your vehicle.
  • All-Terrain Tires: Upgrading to all-terrain tires can provide better traction on dirt, sand, and rocks. They can also help with mud and snow.

  • Skid Plates: Skid plates can protect the undercarriage of your Rav4 from rocks and other debris.
  • Winch: A winch can be a lifesaver if you get stuck in mud or sand. It can also help you pull yourself out of a tight spot.
  • Off-Road Lights: Off-road lights can provide extra visibility when driving at night or in low-light conditions.

These modifications can enhance the off-road capabilities of your Toyota Rav4, but keep in mind that they can also affect the vehicle’s fuel economy and handling.

It’s important to do your research and choose modifications that are right for your needs and driving style.

Best Year for Off-Roading

After conducting thorough research and analyzing the specs of various Toyota RAV4 models, we have determined that the best year for off-roading is the 2022 RAV4 TRD Off-Road model.

We have a full overview here of the RAV4 models and years.

This model is specifically designed for off-road adventures and comes with features that make it stand out from other RAV4 models.

rav4 open trunk

The 2022 RAV4 TRD Off-Road model comes with a Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive system, which helps improve traction and stability on rough terrain. It also has Multi-Terrain Select, which allows drivers to choose between different driving modes based on the type of terrain they are driving on.

This feature helps optimize the vehicle’s performance and stability on different surfaces, such as mud, sand, or rocks.

In addition, the 2022 RAV4 TRD Off-Road model has an increased ground clearance of 8.6 inches, which is higher than other RAV4 models.

This allows for better clearance over obstacles and helps prevent damage to the undercarriage while driving on rocky terrain.

Furthermore, the 2022 RAV4 TRD Off-Road model comes with a durable suspension system that can handle the impact of rough terrain. It also has Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires, which provide excellent grip and traction on different surfaces.

Overall, the 2022 RAV4 TRD Off-Road model is the best year for off-roading due to its advanced features and capabilities. It is a reliable and sturdy vehicle that can handle various off-road challenges with ease.

Comparison with Other Mid-Size SUVs

When it comes to off-road driving, the Toyota Rav4 is not the only mid-size SUV on the market.

We compared the Rav4 to a few other popular models in its class:

Model Ground Clearance (inches) Approach Angle (degrees) Departure Angle (degrees) Breakover Angle (degrees)
Toyota Rav4 8.6 19.0 21.0 17.5
Honda CR-V 7.8 18.9 25.3 18.0
Jeep Cherokee 8.7 17.7 25.0 18.9

As you can see, the Rav4 has the highest ground clearance of the three, but the lowest approach and departure angles.

The Honda CR-V has the lowest ground clearance, but the best departure angle.

The Jeep Cherokee has the highest departure angle and breakover angle, but only slightly more ground clearance than the Rav4.

When it comes to off-road capability, the Jeep Cherokee is the clear winner. However, it is also the most expensive of the three.

The Rav4 offers a good balance of capability and affordability, while the Honda CR-V is the most budget-friendly option.

Best Mid-Size SUVs for Off-Roading

When it comes to off-road driving, mid-size SUVs are a popular choice for their balance of size, power, and maneuverability.


Here are a few of the best mid-size SUVs for off-roading:

  • Toyota 4Runner: The 4Runner is a classic choice for off-road enthusiasts, with its body-on-frame construction and available four-wheel drive. It also has impressive ground clearance and approach and departure angles.
  • Jeep Wrangler: The Wrangler is an iconic off-road vehicle, known for its ruggedness and versatility. Its solid front and rear axles, high ground clearance, and available four-wheel drive make it a capable off-roader.
  • Land Rover Discovery: The Discovery is a luxurious mid-size SUV that doesn’t sacrifice off-road capability. Its Terrain Response system allows you to adjust the vehicle’s settings for different types of terrain, and it has impressive approach and departure angles.

Of course, there are many other mid-size SUVs that are capable off-roaders, but these are a few of our top picks.

When choosing a mid-size SUV for off-road driving, be sure to consider factors like ground clearance, approach and departure angles, four-wheel drive availability, and overall durability.

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