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Toyota Rav4 In Snow: Is It A Good Choice?

It’s that time of year again when the frosty snow starts to fall and you either love it or you hate it. What makes the snow easier to tackle is a good snowball fight, plenty of marshmallow-filled hot chocolates, and a decent vehicle that can handle the icy and snow-covered roads. 

The Toyota Rav4 is a durable vehicle that can easily handle the snow with higher trim models. The Rav4 is designed to challenge snowy conditions with its 4WD-like ground clearance, its superior safety features, and Toyotas advanced all-wheel drive (AWD) drivetrain system.

Living in climates where snow is guaranteed means you want to have a vehicle that can handle those conditions. When you’re in the market for a new or used vehicle, do you consider the snow season before purchasing your car?

You can save yourself a lot of trouble, time, and money, by having a vehicle that easily outmatches the snow and the Rav4 might just be it!

Is the Toyota Rav4 Good in Snow?

The Toyota Rav4 is offered in numerous models and trims and depending on your chosen trim, the Rav4 is a good car in the snow.

Advanced and superior traction control and all-wheel drive (AWD) features make the Rav4 ideal for driving in wet, icy, and snowy environments.

This doesn’t mean we recommend speeding around the snow on unplowed roads without a care in the world, you do still have to drive slowly and carefully and always think safety first in these types of conditions. Think of yourself, your passengers, and others on the roads!

The AWD system included in the Rav4 means the engine is capable of producing enough power to all four tires when the system starts to feel the grip or traction loosening on the road. The system sends more power to the rear tires so that the vehicle is balanced and can control its handling on the roads.

Why Is the Toyota Rav4 Good in Snow?

Aside from the abovementioned AWD system being the perfect match for the snow, Toyota has incorporated numerous other features in the Rav4 that makes it a great car for driving in the snow.

Alongside its comfortable, spacious, and warm interior, here are some of the more technological features of the Rav4 that make it an optimal choice for places that get heavier snowfall in the winter:

All-wheel drive (AWD)

Yes, we have already mentioned this. But did you know that the Rav4 has more than just one AWD system?

You’ll find this basic AWD system in some of the Rav4 trims as well as some other Toyota vehicles like the Camry and the Avalon.

Basically, this system works to provide an electromagnetic transmission between the driveshaft and the rear tires to provide and alter torque as needed. Once the power has been split between both pairs of tires, the system can’t change the power from left to right if there’s any slipping under a wheel but will apply the brake on one corner where needed to equalize the traction again.

This superior TV-AWD system is designed adventure and is also found in other Toyota vehicles like the Highlander.

The TV-AWD has a driveline disconnect which means it can completely disengage the driveshaft system when all four tires aren’t necessary. This method enhances the power that can be sent to all four wheels, even individually, when traction is limited and needed.

The Toyota Rav4 hybrid has two electric motors so that one of them can control the engine and front two tires while the other motor drives and controls the rear tires only.

Both engines receive their power from the hybrid battery pack in the car but aren’t connected in anyway. The vehicle automatically detects when the rear tires are needed and will engage and disengage as necessary.

Anti-Lock Braking System

An anti-lock braking (ABS) system is an enhanced safety feature that you will find in any vehicle regarded to be good in the snow.

This automatic system works to prevent the wheels from locking up and avoid skidding by wheels locking up in icy (and other) conditions. ABS increases the braking distance, improves steering control, and allows the driver better handling and control over the vehicle.

Traction Control

Having better traction and grip on the road is a safety feature installed in many Toyota vehicles especially for off-roading abilities.

The traction control system works to detect and prevent wheel spin by reducing the engine output to the affected tire.

If the traction control fails, that’s where other systems, like the AWD, pick up the spin and start to put their effort in too.

Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD)

Working alongside the ABS is the EBD. The EBD is in place to ensure that the wheels don’t receive too much braking power which would usually cause them to lock up. EBD prevents this by reducing the amount of power spread to each wheel and balancing them out where needed.

Ground Clearance

The Rav4 has a ground clearance of up to 8inches which is standard for many 4WD vehicles. So, although the Rav4 is an AWD, it does have some 4WD advantages on its side and, being able to drive through the snow is one of them.

Which Toyota Rav4 Models Are Good in Snow?

Not all Rav4 cars have the AWD feature, and we wouldn’t recommend them to you if snow is a sure thing in your area.

The Rav4 has so many different configurations with each of its generation releases it’s hard to know which ones have the right features for icy weather and which ones you’re better off not considering at all.

To help you out and to make your decision easier with which Rav4 trim might be best suited for you, we’ve compiled a list of the Rav4 cars that are better suited for the snow. All Rav4 cars have been designed for limited off-road abilities since their introduction in 1994 but some might be better than others.

Although the Toyota Rav4 is an ideal vehicle for driving in snow and ice, we still highly recommended a safe and steady driving speed be maintained and recommend considering additional equipment like winter tires, snow chains, tire studs, etc. to assist with safe snow and ice driving.

Here are the Rav4 cars we recommend are good for driving in the snow:

  • All Toyota Rav4 Adventure models
  • Upper trims like the XLE premium, Adventure, and Limited trims
  • TRD Off-road trim

FWD is standard on most Rav4 cars, but they all offer AWD. We’d say that, if snow is likely in your area, upgrade for an AWD drivetrain for your peace of mind and safety when driving in the snow. Even if you’re only interested in the base models of the Rav4, you can opt-in for the AWD version. You won’t regret it!

Even though all Rav4 cars were manufactured for some off-road capabilities, the newer generations have upgraded safety features outside of the snow driving abilities that would be well-suited to colder climates. Any Rav4 AWD model from 2015 to now would be a good option but any year could work just fine in the snow with considerably safe driving practices.


The Rav4 comes with several features that are good for driving in snow conditions and the fuel injection system in the engine easily counteracts cold climates and handles winter temperatures well.

If driving in the snow is a concern for you, opt for a car that will keep you and your passengers safer than others and consider a Toyota Rav4 compact SUV.