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Understanding the Towing Capacity of Your Toyota RAV4

Whether you’re in the market for a new Toyota RAV4 or you already own one, it’s crucial to understand its towing capabilities to ensure safety and efficiency when hauling a trailer. Knowing how much weight your RAV4 can safely pull will help you make informed decisions, whether for a family camping trip, transporting jet skis, or hauling motorcycles.

To assist you, we’ve created a detailed chart outlining the towing capacity of various RAV4 models. This information will not only help you gauge what your vehicle can handle but will also provide a starting point if you decide that the RAV4 might not meet your towing needs.

The Toyota RAV4 stands out as an excellent choice for towing smaller loads. It’s well-suited for pulling small campers, trailers, jet skis, motorcycles, and more. One of the key advantages of the RAV4 is its array of advanced safety features, which offer peace of mind when towing. Features such as trailer sway control and a comprehensive suite of driver-assistance technologies ensure that you and your cargo are safe on the road.

In this article, we will delve into several critical aspects of towing with the RAV4:

  1. Towing Capacity: We will provide detailed information about the towing capacity of different RAV4 models, helping you understand what your vehicle can handle.
  2. Comparing Competitors: Learn how the RAV4’s towing capabilities stack up against other vehicles in its class.
  3. Alternative Vehicles: Explore other vehicle options if you find that the RAV4 doesn’t meet your towing requirements.
  4. Hitch Installation: Get a step-by-step guide on how to properly install a hitch on your RAV4.
  5. Safety Features: An overview of the safety features that make towing with the RAV4 a secure and reliable choice.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of the RAV4’s towing abilities and the confidence to make the best choice for your towing needs.


Trailer Weight Rating (TWR) is the maximum allowable gross trailer weight, which includes both the trailer and its cargo. This rating assumes a vehicle with two occupants, a towing package (if available), and a hitch system. All RAV4 models feature a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an automatic transmission. Notably, the RAV4 Hybrid and RAV4 Prime include electric motors that can influence the maximum towing weight.

Towing Capacity for Non-Hybrid RAV4 (Gas Models)

The towing capacity for gas-powered RAV4 models varies depending on the presence of a towing package. Models without a towing package, including the LE, XLE, XLE Premium, and Limited trims, have a lower towing capacity compared to those with a towing package, such as the Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims.

Model Year With Towing Package Without Towing Package
2024 3,500 lbs. (1,590 kg) 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2023 3,500 lbs. (1,590 kg) 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2022 3,500 lbs. (1,590 kg) 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2021 3,500 lbs. (1,590 kg) 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2020 3,500 lbs. (1,590 kg) 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2019 3,500 lbs. (1,590 kg) 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2018 3,500 lbs. (1,590 kg) 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2017 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2016 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2015 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2014 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2013 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2012 3,500 lbs. (1,585 kg) (V6 with towing package) 1,500 lbs. (680 kg) (4-cylinder), 2,000 lbs. (905 kg) (V6 without towing package)
2011 3,500 lbs. (1,585 kg) (V6 with towing package) 1,500 lbs. (680 kg) (4-cylinder), 2,000 lbs. (905 kg) (V6 without towing package)
2010 3,500 lbs. (1,585 kg) (V6 with towing package) 1,500 lbs. (680 kg) (4-cylinder), 2,000 lbs. (905 kg) (V6 without towing package)
2009 3,500 lbs. (1,588 kg) (V6 with towing package) 1,500 lbs. (680 kg) (4-cylinder), 2,000 lbs. (907 kg) (V6 without towing package)
2008 3,500 lbs. (1,588 kg) (V6 with towing package) 1,500 lbs. (680 kg) (4-cylinder), 2,000 lbs. (907 kg) (V6 without towing package)
2007 3,500 lbs. (1,588 kg) (V6 with towing package) 1,500 lbs. (680 kg) (4-cylinder), 2,000 lbs. (907 kg) (V6 without towing package)
2006 3,500 lbs. (1,588 kg) (V6 with towing package) 1,500 lbs. (680 kg) (4-cylinder), 2,000 lbs. (907 kg) (V6 without towing package)
2005 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2004 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2003 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2002 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2001 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
2000 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
1999 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
1998 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
1997 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
1996 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)

RAV4 Hybrid Towing Capacity

The RAV4 Hybrid includes models such as the LE, XLE, Woodland Edition, and XLE Premium. Each of these models has a consistent towing capacity across recent years.

Model Year Towing Capacity
2024 1,750 lbs. (795 kg)
2023 1,750 lbs. (795 kg)
2022 1,750 lbs. (795 kg)
2021 1,750 lbs. (795 kg)
2020 1,750 lbs. (795 kg)
2019 1,750 lbs. (795 kg)
2018 1,750 lbs. (795 kg)
2017 1,750 lbs. (795 kg)
2016 1,750 lbs. (795 kg)

RAV4 Prime Towing Capacity

The RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid model, boasts impressive towing capabilities for a PHEV, ranking among the top five PHEV SUVs for towing capacity.

Model Year Towing Capacity
2024 2,500 lbs. (1,135 kg)
2023 2,500 lbs. (1,135 kg)
2022 2,500 lbs. (1,135 kg)
2021 2,500 lbs. (1,135 kg)

Braked vs. Unbraked Trailers

When reviewing your RAV4’s towing capacity, you may notice a distinction between braked and unbraked trailers. All RAV4s from 2013 onward in the U.S. are limited to 1,000 lbs. when towing an unbraked trailer. For models prior to 2013, consult the owner’s manual for specific limits.


When it comes to towing capacity, the Toyota RAV4 stands out among compact SUVs. If you’re curious about how the RAV4’s towing capabilities measure up against its competitors, the results are impressive.

Considering the RAV4’s curb weight of 3,615 lbs, it’s evident that this vehicle is one of the most capable in its class, especially when equipped with the towing package.

Here’s a comparison of maximum towing capacities among popular compact SUVs:

  • Toyota RAV4: 3,500 lbs.
  • Subaru Forester: 3,000 lbs.
  • Hyundai Tucson: 2,000 lbs.
  • Mazda CX-5: 2,000 lbs.
  • Kia Sportage: 1,632 lbs.
  • Honda CR-V: 1,500 lbs.
  • Nissan Rogue: 1,350 lbs.

As demonstrated, the Toyota RAV4 offers the highest maximum towing capacity in its class. If towing is a significant factor for you, the RAV4 Adventure or TRD Off-Road models are excellent choices to consider.

Exploring High-Capacity Alternatives

If the RAV4’s towing capacity does not meet your needs, there are other options available in different vehicle classes that offer greater towing capabilities. To find a vehicle that better suits your requirements, you might need to look beyond the compact SUV category.

Here are some examples of vehicles with higher towing capacities, grouped by their respective classes:

Mid-Size SUVs:

  • Jeep Grand Cherokee: 6,200 lbs.
  • Nissan Pathfinder: 6,000 lbs.
  • Land Rover Defender: 8,201 lbs.

Full-Size SUVs:

  • Jeep Wagoneer: 10,000 lbs.
  • Toyota Sequoia: 9,520 lbs.
  • Ford Expedition: 9,300 lbs.


  • Toyota Tacoma: 6,800 lbs.
  • Chevrolet Colorado: 7,700 lbs.
  • Toyota Tundra: 12,000 lbs.

Installing a Tow Hitch on Your Toyota RAV4

Are you ready to equip your Toyota RAV4 for towing? Whether you’re planning to haul a small trailer or transport your favorite outdoor gear, installing a tow hitch receiver is an essential first step. Here’s a detailed guide on how to install the hitch and some expert tips for safe towing.

Step-by-Step Tow Hitch Installation

To get started, you’ll need a tow hitch receiver. This is a square hole at the back of your RAV4, designed to accommodate a ball mount for towing.

Tools and Equipment You’ll Need:

  • Safety glasses
  • Support strap
  • Spray bottle with soapy water
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Exhaust removal tool
  • Torque wrench
  • 19mm socket and crowfoot adapter

Installation Steps:

  1. Prepare Your Vehicle: Begin by lowering the exhaust system, which is secured by three metal rubber hangers located on the driver’s side, passenger’s side, and center of the vehicle. Use a support strap to carefully lower the exhaust.
  2. Loosen the Exhaust Hangers: Spray soapy water on the grommets to make them easier to remove. Use the exhaust removal tool to detach the hangers.
  3. Expose the Weld Nuts: Remove the stickers covering the weld nuts that you’ll use to attach the hitch. A flathead screwdriver can help with this.
  4. Align the Hitch: Position the hitch so that its mounting holes align with the exposed weld nuts. Using a hitch jack or an extra set of hands can be helpful for this step.
  5. Install the Hardware: Insert the bolts with conical tooth washers, ensuring the teeth face the hitch. Start with the driver’s side, as the passenger’s side is usually tighter.
  6. Tighten and Torque the Bolts: Using a 19mm socket and crowfoot adapter, tighten the bolts to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  7. Reattach the Exhaust: Once the hitch is secure, reattach the exhaust system to its original hangers.

Expert Tips for Safe Towing

Towing safely is crucial to avoid damage and ensure the safety of yourself and others. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

  1. Check Tire Pressure: Make sure both your vehicle and trailer tires are properly inflated.
  2. Routine Maintenance: Ensure your RAV4 is well-maintained and equipped with the right towing accessories, including a proper hitch, hook-ups, and straps.
  3. Roadside Safety Kit: Always carry a roadside safety kit and be familiar with changing a tire.
  4. Functional Lights: Verify that all lights on your vehicle and trailer are working, including brake lights and turn signals.
  5. Weight Distribution: Distribute the weight in your trailer evenly, especially when towing heavy loads.
  6. Adhere to Weight Limits: Never exceed your vehicle’s maximum towing capacity.
  7. Driving in Reverse: Practice driving in reverse with a trailer attached to become comfortable with the maneuver.
  8. Safe Driving Speed: Drive at a slow, safe speed to maintain control.
  9. Monitor Engine Temperature: Keep an eye on your engine temperature, particularly on long trips or in hot weather.
  10. Use Toyota’s Safety Features: Utilize features like Toyota Safety Sense with pedestrian detection, a blind-spot monitor, and active cornering assist to enhance safety.

Comprehensive Guide to RAV4’s Towing Capacity

We hope our charts have provided you with the information you need to determine the towing capacity of the RAV4!

The Toyota RAV4 is an exceptional vehicle when it comes to towing, boasting a maximum capacity of 3,500 pounds. This impressive capability makes it a solid choice for many towing needs.

However, for those requiring even more towing power, the RAV4 might not suffice. In such cases, we suggest looking into mid-size SUVs, full-size SUVs, and trucks, which generally offer higher towing capacities suitable for heavier loads.

If the RAV4’s towing capacity meets your requirements, remember that you will need to install a hitch receiver if your vehicle is not already equipped with one.

Should you have any questions about towing capacity or need further assistance, please feel free to leave a comment below!



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