The Toyota RAV4 is a fantastic vehicle for city and off-road driving. For this to be possible, certain cars are typically either equipped with all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive. This gives each wheel its own power and makes navigating through rougher terrain possible. While 4WD and AWD perform a similar function, they have key differences. We've done the research to tell you how the RAV4 works under the hood and gets through tough terrain.
The RAV4's crossover capabilities are made possible through its AWD powertrain. However, this is not the case for all RAV4s. You can purchase a RAV4 with either 2-wheel drive or AWD.
If you still have some questions, don't worry. Just keep reading below to learn more about the Toyota RAV4, AWD, and 4WD.
What Is AWD?
All-wheel drive is the more modern of the two powertrains. The defining factor in an AWD car is a part called a rear differential. It works with a clutch pack to send power to both sets of wheels (front and back). The all-wheel-drive technology is extremely sophisticated. If you are confused as to what all this means, don't worry, we'll break it down for you.
If you're driving off-road going up and down a rocky path, chances are you will need the front wheels to pull the vehicle some of the time, the back wheels to pull you part of the time, and all four wheels to pull you the rest of the way.
Instead of having all four wheels getting power and pulling you the entire time, the vehicle is able to sense what wheels need extra power at certain times. It is a seamless process that focuses on adaptability and consistency. If done correctly, an AWD car is going to adapt and perform without you having to really do any of the work.
AWD is perfect for off-road and on-road driving. It provides excellent performance overall.
How Does Toyota RAV4 AWD Work?
For this explanation, we'll be taking a look at the 2020 Toyota RAV4 - their newest model. RAV4s are able to have up to 100% power sent to the front wheels and up to 50% power sent to the back wheels. This allows for a powerful drivetrain that adapts to your driving needs.
The adaptability technology is thanks to what Toyota calls the "Dynamic Torque Control" in their vehicles. This sophisticated system makes it possible to send very pinpointed amounts of power to certain wheels. Their sensors are able to take speed, throttle, steering, yaw, and the road into consideration when determining power needs.
What Is 4WD?
4-wheel drive is similar to all-wheel drive in that it strives to make your off-road experience a great one. Where the differences really show is in its highway and normal-terrain driving.
4WD has similar parts but instead of being able to give power where and when it's needed, it monitors and adjusts speeds from side to side. This means that when you flip a switch into 4-wheel drive, your vehicle will now be ready for action.
It will perform flawlessly off-road. However, if you start driving on the highway or other paved roads in 4-wheel drive you will have to be careful, as the front and back wheels will have to spin at similar speeds. There are not automatic adjustments made by the car. However, most of the time the rear wheels have more power than the front. This is the opposite of AWD.
If you're taking a sharp curve, your left and right sides will likely be spinning at different speeds. But your front and back wheels are spinning at the same speed because of the way they are connected. This can lead to binding and sliding in wet weather or even normal climates. 4-wheel drive is not fine-tuned to work well in normal driving conditions.
Is The Toyota RAV4 AWD Good In Snow?
Yes. All-wheel drive is meant to react to all kinds of weather conditions. For lighter snows, you can expect peak performance, as AWD vehicles tend to perform very well in these conditions. If there is snow on the ground in rougher terrain, like all cars, you may have to be careful when you drive. Most crossovers such as the RAV4 still have their limitations since their body style may not be able to deal with extreme conditions.
Is 4WD Good In Snow?
Absolutely. 4WD is built to be used in extreme situations. While they are not the most practical for daily use, they perform excellently under harsh conditions. As always, be careful. Even 4WD is not made to replace a snowplow. While it can make a big difference having 4WD, make sure you use good judgment when deciding if your car/truck can make it through heavier snowstorms.
How To Put A Toyota RAV4 In AWD?
Toyota's Dynamic Torque Control allows for automatic switching between 2-wheel drive and all-wheel drive when needed. You don't have to do anything under most circumstances. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you want the most power possible, you can find the "Lock" button on the dashboard and press it. This brings power to the rear wheels so you can take on whatever situation you have found yourself in.
This mode can be used anytime, but for the most part, you should rely on Toyota's Dynamic Torque Control to give your car the right amount of power it needs. They have engineered a system that allows you to drive without worrying about your AWD powertrain.
How To Put A Toyota RAV4 In 4WD?
Since Toyota RAV4s only come in AWD, they have no need for a switch to go into 4WD. Most Toyota models that do have 4WD simply have a switch to the right of the steering wheel that you can turn while you're completely stopped to select either 2WD, 4WD high, or 4WD low. These vary by models, so check with your exact Toyota model to confirm how to put your vehicle in 4WD.
The Toyota RAV4 is an excellent vehicle that embodies what it means to be a crossover. Its AWD powertrain works effortlessly and efficiently on the highway and off-road. If you love off-roading but also want a car you can use as a daily driver, then the Toyota RAV4's AWD technology is the perfect system.
Before you go, be sure to check out these guides -
Where Is The Toyota RAV4 Made?