Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
The Toyota RAV4 has been the ideal choice for drivers looking for a comfortable SUV with off-roading performance. Each component of the vehicle's design is enjoyable for the casual driver and impressive to the off-roading specialist as well. To help you decide if the Toyota RAV4 is the right choice for you, we researched this topic in-depth.
The features that make the RAV4 an excellent choice for off-roading situations are:
- The Engine
- High-Tech Safety Features
- Durable Suspension
- High Ground Clearance
- Easy Handling
These features of the Toyota RAV4 separate it from its SUV counterparts in the same category. Now we will take a deeper dive into why these features give the RAV4 off-road capabilities.
Can A Toyota RAV4 Go Off-Road?
What gives the RAV4 off-roading capabilities is in its construction. These cars are durable and take the impacts of off-roading with ease. Here is why these five components are crucial for off-roading.
Beneath the hood of the RAV4, the engine is the real driving force that powers the vehicle through the trails. All newer models of the RAV4 have a 2.5 Liter 4-cylinder engine with 203-horsepower and 184 lb-ft torque. These engines are known for their longevity and solidifying Toyota as a must-buy car company.
This compact yet powerful engine will push you up steep hills while also offering an impressive fuel efficiency of 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. If you opt for the optional all-wheel-drive, you will notice a slight decrease in fuel efficiency.
High-Tech Safety Features
Things can get hectic while off-roading, so having the necessary safety features will help to keep you safe. The RAV4 has a lengthy list of safety features, so we will only cover the most important for off-roading.
Most importantly, to stay safe while off-roading is the use of RAV4's Star Safety System. This system includes vehicle stability control, brake assist, smart stop technology, and electric brake-force distribution. The RAV4 also has your back with a high-quality back camera that alerts you of any potential hazards.
One of the essential components of an off-roading vehicle is the suspension. The uneven surfaces of off-road terrain heavily impact parts like the coil springs, shocks, and ball joints.
If you don't have the proper suspension, you could cause devastating damage to your vehicle, such as a broken ball-joint. The results of a broken ball-joint would leave your car immobile.
The RAV4 meets these demands with a durable suspension with stiff shocks, enhanced rebound control, and bump stops. The improvements to the suspension are most noticeable while driving on uneven dirt or up hills.
High Ground Clearance
The added height of an off-road vehicle will help keep the car's underbody from receiving damage. Driving over a rock will cause an imbalance of your car's tires, and a car with a lower ground clearance would receive substantial body damage underneath.
In a section down below, we included the ground clearance heights of all models of the RAV4. Fortunately, even the most basic model of RAV4 has a high ground clearance that will comfortably drive over dirt, rocks, or hills.
An off-road vehicle needs to have responsive steering and braking controls for a safe experience. The RAV4's steering is light and easily maneuverable to help you drive in tight spaces.
The ride quality is good even while driving over bumpy conditions like a rock or dirt road. You will feel the terrain conditions under your car that can signal that you may be going into rough terrain.
Depending on the model of RAV4 you purchase, the higher-class models have upgraded all-wheel-drive and torque vectoring technology that will give you a better grip of the ground.
As we mentioned earlier, the RAV4 packs-in safety features, including for braking to create a reactive braking experience that will prevent sliding, skidding or slow stops.
What are the RAV4 Off-Road Features?
Numerous features make the RAV4 an excellent choice for any off-road excursion you plan. From the interior to the tough exterior, here are the RAV4 off-roading features that matter most.
The interior of the RAV4 gives you more control over the vehicle when off-roading than most SUVs. The upholstery inside the RAV4 can get dirty with all-terrain floor mats and embroidered seats constructed from Toyota's tough SofTex leather. For easy navigation, all RAV4 models have a sophisticated touch-screen system.
In both off-roading and normal driving conditions, the Toyota Safe Sense Technology alerts you to potential objects you may hit. The alerting system is especially vital in off-roading situations when there is a higher likelihood of objects being in the vehicle's way.
The RAV4's exterior is what makes it the right choice for off-roading. In 2020, Toyota gave the RAV4 a makeover by giving it a higher ground clearance and heavy-duty coils to handle any terrain.
No matter the model you choose, the RAV4 will provide a comfortable off-roading experience for the driver. However, if you are serious about off-roading choosing a higher-level trim like the Adventure or TRD Off-Road package will make driving off-road easier and more reliable.
Does RAV4 have 4WD?
While most RAV4's come with standard front-wheel drive configurations, Toyota offers all-wheel drive options for shoppers. With full-wheel drive options on all trim levels, you can choose any version of the RAV4 to have 4WD.
This all-wheel-drive option is standard in some trim levels like the Adventure grade RAV4. The all-wheel-drive for the RAV4 is unique and uses Dynamic Torque Vectoring to deliver equal power to all four wheels.
This feature also gives the driver the ability to manually shift the wheel's power side-to-side for additional help when driving off the beaten path. Exerting equal power on all wheels is crucial for off-roading and gives you more control over your car.
What is RAV4 Ground Clearance?
Depending on the trim level you choose for your RAV4, the ground clearances will differ. Some models' added ground clearance gives the driver more space from the ground when off-roading.
The ground clearance for each model of RAV4 are:
RAV4 LE & XLE Ground Clearance - 8.4"
XLE Premium, Limited, Adventure, & TRD Off-Road Ground Clearance - 8.6"
As you can see, the base versions only a short height disadvantage compared to the more specialized models. The LE and XLE can still do an excellent job driving on the other terrains.
What is Adventure Grade?
The Adventure Grade is one of the toughest built versions of the RAV4. The added technological features of this trim-level are necessary for anyone looking to drive their RAV4 off-road often.
The most important feature of the Adventure Grade trim level is the sophisticated AWD system with the ability to disconnect from the rear-axle when AWD isn't needed. Disconnecting from the rear-axle will also improve fuel efficiency.
The AWD system includes a torque vectoring system that shifts the engine's torque to the left or right side of the vehicle for enhanced handling.
Terrain Response System
The Adventure Grade RAV4 helps drivers adapt to their terrain with an advanced terrain-select system. Located on the RAV4's center console, the driver can choose between rocks and dirt, mud and sand, or snow driving modes.
The terrain response system offers an added security measure to the driver that accurately applies the ideal power to the wheels. Close to the terrain select system is a decline or incline driving mode that can slowly crawl down steep terrain or drive up a hill with ease.
If you drive in harsh winter climates, you can purchase an additional Weather Package with heated and ventilated seats. Included as well is a heated steering wheel and mirrors that prevent fogging from harsh cold winds.
What is the TRD Off-Road Package?
The TRD Off-Road Package includes all of the Adventure Grade features, plus recent features added this year. Plus, TRD has unique exterior features, unlike any other model of RAV4. The TRD Package strengthens all of the necessary components that take the most punishment during an off-road expedition.
The suspension of this model is specially-tuned with a rugged performance that doesn't budge. It is similar to the suspension of off-road rally cars. A higher clearance from the ground and 18-inch wheels with Falken Wildspeak Trail tires prevent the bottom of the vehicle from taking any damage.
Along with the added performance features, the RAV4 Off-Road Package has a different image than the other models. This model of RAV4 has an aggressive grille and fender design with roof rails to help you carry equipment.
This year has been a huge one for the advancements of RAV4 in driving in off-roading conditions. This year's added TRD Off-Roading Package has created a more rugged version of the RAV4 built to withstand any harsh terrain conditions.