Toyota RAV4 In Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

The RAV4 has been around for over two decades and has seen a consistent yearly surge in sales thanks to its proven quality and reliability.

In this article, we’ll assess the RAV4’s efficiency in snow and winter conditions, emphasizing its features.

Let’s get into it.

Generally, SUVs handle snow better than cars.

Rav4 back logo

How does the Toyota RAV4 handle snow and winter driving?

The Toyota RAV4 models produced after 2019 perform well in snow and winter thanks to it’s high ground clearance and safety features. These include an All-Wheel-Drive system and a list of other advanced features in the Star Safety System.

You can check the ground clearance for each Rav4 model here.

Is a Toyota RAV4 Good in the Snow?

The Toyota RAV4 is stacked with traction-controlling features, an All-Wheel-Drive option, and over 8 inches of ground clearance. These make it ideal for traveling in snow and winter.

The RAV4 also comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, producing up to 203 horsepower and eight-speed transmission.

That’s enough power to plow through an incredible amount of snow.

What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?

The Toyota RAV4’s prowess in snow and winter driving is determined by several safety and comfort features.

Also, there’s a LOT of gear and accessories made for Rav4 (list of the most popular).

These features do not only revolve around the RAV4’s serviceability in winter but also impact the driver’s and passengers’ comfort.

They include:


The RAV4 has an All-Wheel Drive option which makes winter driving a lot smoother.

It is no news that traction loss is very common with most roads during winter: they get all slippery, and tires have difficulty gripping the pavement.

Here’s our full guide to the best tires for RAV4 cars.

The AWD on the Toyota RAV4 tackles this by supplying torque to all the wheels to boost traction.

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Ordinarily, only the front wheels get torque, but in extreme situations, the AWD saves the day by sending torque to the rear wheels.

Vehicle Stability Control

The Vehicle Stability Control features on the RAV4 as part of Toyota’s Star Safety System. The VSC ensures that the RAV4 remains at an optimal level of stability.

It goes about this by tracking the vehicle’s wheels and steering angles.

If it notices any imbalance, like the vehicle veering off, VSC automatically applies the brake to get the vehicle back on track.

Traction Control

The Traction Control is another one of the safety packages in the Toyota Star Safety System.

The TC anticipates and prevents wheel spin, which is one effect of traction loss, by closely tracking the RAV4’s wheel rotation.

If it detects any of the wheels spinning faster than normal, Traction Control reduces the engine output and then brakes the wheels.

This will stop the wheelspin and help recover traction.

Anti-Lock Braking System

If you’ve never experienced a wheel lock situation, that’s probably because you have always had ABS-installed vehicles.

The Anti-Lock Braking system exists on the RAV4 to prevent wheel lockup.

A wheel lockup happens when you brake excessively on slick surfaces, and it could end badly for your vehicle.

The ABS makes sure this never happens by constantly monitoring wheel speed and regulating the RAV4’s braking pressure as required.

Electronic Brake Force Distribution

The Electronic Brake Force Distribution has the same job description as the ABS. Both features are there on the RAV4 to prevent a wheel lockup, but the EBD uses an entirely different approach.

The Electronic Brake Force Distribution is an ingenious feature that shares brake pressure to the wheels in proportion to their individual load.

Doing this ensures none of the wheels receive extreme brake pressure that can trigger a wheel lockup.

Please also read our article about how long the Toyota RAV4 lasts.

Does A Toyota RAV4 Have Snow Mode?

The snow mode is a smart feature on modern vehicles to help them attain optimal performance on snow-covered roads.

Besides its pile of safety features, the Toyota RAV4 has a snow mode as part of its multi-terrain select system.

Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on RAV4?

All Rav4 models are good for off-road driving.

The RAV4 already performs excellently in snow, and installing snow gear would further improve its performance.

If you are looking to shop for snow gear for your RAV4, here are some you should consider:

  • Snow chains
  • Snow cocks
  • Snow tires
  • Tire studs

Before buying any of these, we advise getting acquainted with local laws regarding their use.

Some regions have strict regulations concerning the use of snow gear, and it’s just safer to make sure you aren’t in violation.

Another very vital thing to do before buying is getting correct measurements to get snow gear that fits well. Getting the correct gear really could make all the difference.

How Much Snow Can a RAV4 Handle?

With an 8.4-inch ground clearance, the RAV4 would run smoothly on up to 5 inches of snow.

You could even go 6 inches with the appropriate snow gear.

How Do RAV4s Handle Low-Winter Temperatures?

Rav4 back

The RAV4 runs on a fuel-injected engine, which means you won’t have any issues starting it during intense temperatures.

The fuel injection system counteracts the effects of low winter temperatures, keeping the engine at an optimal level.

If you have any concerns regarding your RAV4’s performance during winter, it could result from other malfunctions.

It could be a dead battery or blocked filter; we advise having it examined by a mechanic to be sure.

Make sure to also read our article about 10 Toyota RAV4 statistics you should know

Can a RAV4 Drive on Ice?

One of the trickiest winter conditions to drive on is ice; lots of people flat out avoid it because of previous experiences.

If you own a RAV4, you can drive on ice, but don’t let the driver assistance features on your car make you overconfident.

You’ll need to be extremely careful when navigating on ice. The RAV4’s ground clearance leaves it at risk of a rollover accident if not handled with great care and vigilance.

Does the RAV4 Have 4WD?

Here is a fun fact: The “4” in the Toyota RAV4 actually stands for four-wheel-drive.

However, the RAV4 has always sported a front-wheel-drive system with an All-Wheel Drive option since 1996.

As of now, the RAV4 does not have 4WD.

What About Older RAV4 Models and Winter Driving?

Toyota has always intended that the RAV4 be suitable for off-road conditions, which is why the very first model featured AWD.

Pretty much, every RAV4 model since 1996 is suitable for winter driving.

However, we advise getting RAV4 models with the Star Safety system available on Toyota vehicles since 2011.

We also have an article about where Toyota RAV4s are made

Do RAV4s Need Snow Tires?

Snow tires are arguably the most important snow gear for winter driving.

If you are going to be navigating snow frequently with your RAV4, snow tires would be a great addition.

They are specially designed to help maintain traction and guarantee safe braking on snow due to their flexibility.

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