Toyota RAV4 Ground Clearance: 5 Models Checked (By Year)

The RAV4 has been around for over two decades and has undergone many changes since its inception in the early 1990s.

This class has many competitors, and ground clearance measures a vehicle’s offroad ability. As a result, the RAV4s ground clearance has changed several times over its evolution.

Today’s models have more ground clearance than any RAV4s that have come before:

Here’s How Much Ground Clearance a Toyota RAV4 Has:

The RAV4 lost a full inch of ground clearance somewhere in transition during its 3rd generation refresh. The ground clearance for the RAV4 ranges from 6.1 inches for some models to 8.4 inches in its fifth generation.

This makes the Rav4 ideal for off-road driving.

This also means that the models produced later than 2019 (5th gen) are the Rav4 models that do best in snow and icy conditions.

1st Generation Toyota RAV4 (1996 – 2001)

The first generation of the Toyota RAV4 was offered as a three-door hatchback in 1993.

The five-door model arrived in 1996. In 1997, it was claimed car of the year by Automobile magazine.

Now, 25 years later, the RAV is still going strong and is one of America’s most popular compact crossover SUVs. When introduced in 1993, the RAV4 was smaller than it is today, square, and had three doors.

Powered by a 2.0L inline four-cylinder, it would be years before the RAV4 had a V6 shoehorned under the hood.

Ground Clearance of the First-Generation Toyota RAV4

The RAV4 had different ground clearance based on whether it was two or four-wheel drive.

  1. When equipped with front-wheel drive, the ground clearance is 7.3 inches.
  2. When equipped with an all-wheel drive, the clearance increases to 7.5 inches.

2nd Generation Toyota RAV4 (2000 – 2006)

The next generation of the RAV4 arrived in 2000 as three and five-door models.

The engine offerings expanded at this time also, and a 1.6L and a 2.4L were added to the RAV4 lineup.

This generation of the RAV4 became sportier, and the interiors were getting more refined than they were in the first, more practical models.

Ground Clearance of the Second-Generation Toyota RAV4

Like the generation before, the 6.3-inch ground clearance is of the two-wheel drive model.

When equipped with four-wheel drive, the ground clearance rises to 6.7 inches.

3rd Generation Toyota RAV4 (2006 – 2012)

Building on its popularity, Toyota gave the RAV4 a new platform for 3rd row seating.

The slightly sculpted body has a softer appearance than its older stable mates.

However, sadly, the three-door bodied model didn’t cut the refresh, and they only offered the RAV4 in one body style, the five-door.

In 2009, Toyota offered the first V6, a 3.5L, in the RAV4. The increase in power and torque put its capabilities above that of its four-cylinder powered mates for the first time.

Ground Clearance of the Third-Generation Toyota RAV4

The most significant change that came with Toyota’s new platform for the RAV4 is that all models now have a ground clearance of 6.3 inches, whether front or all-wheel drive.

4th Generation Toyota RAV4 (2013 – 2018)

The fourth generation of the Toyota RAV4 was redesigned from top to bottom.

The V6 was dropped from the lineup, and the offerings returned to the 2.0 and 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engines.

They added a full hybrid model to the RAV4 lineup for the first time. Unfortunately, the five-door configuration was the only body style available on any model.

However, it came in two- and four-wheel drive, giving the RAV4 more traction and towing power than models powered by gas engines without electric assist.

For more information on Toyota RAV4 Cargo Capacity, check out our article here!

Ground Clearance of the Fourth-Generation Toyota RAV4

For the first time, the RAV4 gets ground clearance measures that noticeably vary across trim levels.

Ranging from 6.1 to 7.5 inches of ground clearance, the added inch plus of these models gave this small SUV more curb hopping ability.

5th Generation Toyota RAV4 (Late 2019 to present)

Entering the market in November 2018 as a 2019 model, the fifth-generation RAV4 finally gets the ground clearance it deserves.

The 2023 RAV4 offers a ground clearance of 8.6 inches on the TRD Offroad trimmed RAV4.

However, the Hybrid versions of the Toyota RAV4 only get 8.1 inches of ground clearance. That is ample ground clearance unless you have plans to take it offroad. If so, then you have options that can get you there.

Ground Clearance of the Fifth-Generation Toyota RAV4

The designers got it right on this generation of the RAV4. The ground clearance across the line is 8.4 inches, except for the Hybrids, which are 8.1 inches.

That height above the ground puts the RAV4 in a different category than previous years.

Because here, you are getting into offroad clearance heights that former models lacked or could even attain without a lift kit.

Which Toyota RAV4 Model has the Most Ground Clearance?

The 2023 Toyota RAV4 TRD Offroad has more ground clearance, 8.4 inches, than any other model.

For more information, check out these Toyota RAV4 Engine Sizes: 6 Models Compared!

Is a RAV4 Considered a High-Clearance Vehicle?

Not quite, but with a lift kit, the 2023 Toyota TRD Offroad would be.

Or any other RAV4 that you lift to 8.5 inches or more.

How Much Ground Clearance do Similar SUVs Have?

  • Mazda CX-5 7.6 inches
  • Chevy Equinox 8.0 inches
  • Subaru Forester 8.7 inches
  • Nissan Rogue 7.4 to 8.4 inches

What Compact SUV Has the Most Ground Clearance?

The 2022 Ford Bronco has a ground clearance ranging from 8.3 to 11.6 inches, depending on the trim level.

However, that is the highest ground clearance of any other vehicle in the compact SUV position.

How Much can you Lift Up A Rav4?

Raising a RAV4 over 2 to 3 inches requires modified axles and suspension components.

A lift of 2 to 3 inches pushes the limits of the RAV4 only a little. However, lifting a RAV4, or another vehicle too high, can shorten the life of your SUV.

Also, the higher you take the body of an SUV from the ground, the more top-heavy it becomes.

How Much Do Lift Kits Cost for a RAV4?

The parts in a lift kit can run between $350 to $1000 and more.

However, if you have the work done, the cost will be between $200 and $500. Therefore, you can spend between $500 and $2000 to lift your RAV4 two inches.

If you want to lift your RAV4 higher than two to three inches, plan on spending a lot more than the overhead costs.

Can you Lift a RAV4 With Bigger Tires?

First – make sure you have the best tires for your RAV4 – some that work for your needs.

Taller tires will add ground clearance to your RAV4. The largest recommended tire size for the RAV4 is 245/65 R17.

When new, this size tire will add about an inch of ground clearance.

It is also the largest tire you can put on your Toyota RAV4 without adding a lift kit.

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