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Toyota RAV4 Winter Driving

jenjay2007jenjay2007 Posts: 1
edited July 2014 in Toyota
Hi Everyone,

I am looking in to buying a RAV4 4WD for the snowy and sleet condition up north. Is it a good choice or should I look at some other model? Another question is should I go for the 4 Cyl or 6 Cyl? Does the number of cylinder make much difference? I am looking in to the Sport or the Limited edition..any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you very much for any assistance.


  • chstr1chstr1 Posts: 3
    Living in Minnesota, I was concerned about not having 4 X 4. Then I drove a Toyota RAV4 with lock differential in the front end. End of that discussion.....I wouldn't waste the money on four wheel drive when you can have two wheels pulling on the front end. Granted, winter ain't what it used to be, at least not recently, but with the clearance of the RAV4 and the pull of two front tires, I have no plans to purchase another four wheel drive. No one talks about the lock hub in the front, because Toyota makes more money selling 4 X 4s. I own a Tahoe and a Honda SUV, but the RAV4 V6 with 2 WD is all I need (to borrow a line from Steve Martin). And that V6 engine; whew....what a thing of beauty. My Honda is a wanna be now.
  • I have the Rav4 base 4wd, 4cyl. This vehicle is great in the snow. I live in Colorado and believe me I have tested this vehicle out recently. You would only need the 4wd for very heavy snow or off roading. The 4wd system turns off once you reach 25mph anyway. I would agree with the other person in that you probably do not even need the 4wd. The vehicle is great in snow all by itself without the 4wd.
  • thecatthecat Posts: 535
    The 4wd system turns off once you reach 25mph

    Well, yes and no. Although the systen can be locked into 4wd and the lock turns off at 25. In the absense of the lock being engaged, the system is an on demand type so when the front wheels slip power is diverted to the rear and you may not even realize it.
  • ref77ref77 Posts: 1
    I live in Chicago and have had Honda Accords for the dozen years or so. I'm contemplating getting a RAV4. Snow has not been a major issue, although over the last few winters there have been occasions when the Accord just couldn't handle the snow. I'm intrigued about your comment re: locking differential on the 2WD Rav4; I assume the locking differential comes as standard equipment with the 2WD? It sounds like you can manually select this setting? How do you do this? Any drawbacks to using the locking differential in this manner? I've test driven the 2WD V6 RAV4...what a rocket! If 2WD works the way you say it does, I'm getting one NOW!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    If your front wheel(s) develop "slip" due to torque application above 25MPH you'd better be on a race track alone.
  • rmardenrmarden Posts: 1
    I live in NY and the dealers here say they can only get RAV4 sport and limited in the 4wd model. Anyone have a different experience?
  • Does anyone have any experience with snow tires on their 2006+ RAV4? I realize I probably wouldn't need them, but with the way some people drive in the snow, I'd like to have every bit of winter handling and performance I could possibly get.

    My biggest concern is with the TPMS. I've heard that some people have had difficulty in getting their dealer to reprogram the system to recognize four or five new sensors. Maybe I'd have to keep the same sensors, in which case I'd be best off going with just tires and having them swapped off the regular wheels in the spring and fall. If I could do it, I'd rather go with a -1 wheel and tire package and just swap out the whole thing myself.
  • I've noticed that depending on the region you're, you may not have the availability of certain vehicles. In Southern CA, you cannot get a 4WD truck to save your life, unless you go with the top of the line ones that cost an arm and a leg. I managed to get my Rav4 V6 4WD in So-Cal... with it being the only one in the area... but in Phoenix, which services areas that are in the mountains and need 4WD due to inclement weather, they carried mostly 4WD. Meanwhile, in MD, where I am from originally, they had a 50-50 split due. Honestly, the inventory demographics is determined by the upper management of toyota overseas, so it doesn't surprise me that they only deliver 4WD models to your area.
  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Posts: 1,207
    Boston is not far from NY. Here you can buy RAV4 'base' in 4WD, 4 cycl. Because we bought one.
  • jb347jb347 Posts: 7
    chstr1, very interesting. I live in western NY and we typically get around 95 inches of snow per year. I am intrigued by the notion of just getting the FWD (cheaper, better MPG), but obviously have concerns about the safety. My wife and I have a civic and accord, respectively, and have always felt relatively safe with the FWD. Anyone else go with the FWD in areas that get more substantial snow?
  • I am looking at getting a smaller SUV likwe the Rav 4 as a back up to by Suburban 4x4. I did put Goodyear's Fortera TripleTred tires. Awesome traction wet, dry or snow. Sure ain't cheap but I'd rather ride on the best. :blush:
  • mike1325mike1325 Posts: 2
    hey you seem to know alot about the rav4's 4wd system i was wondering how it worked bcuz i test drove 1 the other day and might get 1, but i noticed the lock button on the dash. i am considering getting the 4 cyl 4wd sport and was wondering if the car is in front wheel drive untill i were to press that lock button on the dash and over 25mph it would turn off?? meaning it would become a 2wd again? =/
    sorry to ask you but the guy at the dealer doesnt seem to know much about the car and ive been doing my research elsewhere but cant find anything about it, and correct me if im wrong but you cannot push that lock button unless its really necessary so if it were raining and i am stopped at a light and the light turns green being in front wheel drive i would just burnout on the spot...
    please answer asap i am getting the car very soon!
    thanks in advance!!
  • zivbndzivbnd Posts: 4
    JB, I have a 2007 RAV4 with FWD the 4 cyl. and it does fairly well in the snow. I keep to the roads that someone has broken a trail and it works pretty well. For deep snow, I just plow through at a steady speed and the RAV4 kind of floats along like a boat. I took it out every day this year in the big blizzards here in Arlington VA and had a good time with it. I did get stuck once when I tried to blitz through a particularly deep virgin section of snow, probably 18" deep. Not up to my knees but close. I didn't have a good experience with the original Yokohama Geolanders, but the new Firestone Destinations give me much better traction. I grew up in Montana and like to drive in snow, so getting good snow is an opportunity to play.
    Flip side, if I had it to do over again, I would either get the RAV4 w/4WD or the Ford Escape Hybrid. My mileage sucks, I average 19 mpg city and 28 mpg hwy. When I hypermile I can get my mileage up to 22 mpg but it isn't worth it, it only saves me about a gallon and a half a week.
  • juswheelsjuswheels Posts: 42
    edited April 2010
    I agree:

    I've driven through 45 plus winters. Here we get 150 plus inches every winter. I've seen days where nothing would get you through but in truth, not that many. This area was on the national news for over a week two years ago. A 10 day storm, high winds (75 MPH, plus) and extreme cold hit. I was driving a FWD Sedan and made it to work every day. If my memory is correct I was maybe 15 minutes late on one of the days but then so was everyone else , Wasn't so much the amount of snow on the ground but the fact that you couldn't see past the hood of your car. - LOL - .

    Just purchased a new 2010 RAV-4 FWD. Although it's only a week old and hasn't seen any winter driving I don't expect it will be any different than my previous Chevy sedan. IMOO - FWD is FWD. Doesn't matter if it's on a Chevy, Ford, Honda or Toyota, if you've gotten through a winter with a FWD sedan than you'll do just fine with a FWD RAV.

    Yes, there are a few days when having the AWD would be nice but (just speaking for myself) I don't see the wisdom of "Feeding" AWD for the entire year just to have a bit of an advantage 10 or 15 days a year.

    So many forget or don't seem to know that AWD really doesn't help during an ice storm nor will it help you in a white-out.
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227
    Mike, a RAV4 is either a FWD transmission or it is AWD (full time). The "LOCK" button is for the center differential and automatically cancels at 21 mph so it is not damaged by binding in turns on pavement. Locking so both drive shafts turn the same is only needed to overcome being stuck or where the chances of becoming stuck are high- deep snow or slick mud. Roy
  • thecatthecat Posts: 535
    edited April 2010
    Sorry for the late response. I haven't been here for some time. The 4WD system in the Rav4 is FWD until it senses slip and then power is diverted to the rear also. The lock sends power front & rear up to 25mph. Above that, it returns to FWD with rear power as needed.

    I put new G.Y. Triple Treds on in early fall. When the blizards hit here in MD. I was quite impressed with both the RAV and the tires. I drove through very deep snow without a problem. As long as you don't get high centered ... you can go through almost anything.

    With respect to your - "sitting at a red light in the rain" senerio .. as soon as the front wheels spin (less than you can feel) power is sent to the rear also. So, no ... no burnouts. You just can't do it.

    Hope that helps.

    - hutch
This discussion has been closed.