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Toyota Rav4 Remote Start: Does It Have One?

The technology in cars has drastically improved over the last two decades and it just keeps getting better. Soon enough cars will be self-driving machines and owners will be able to have more time to themselves while getting to a destination!

Until that happens, remote start is the next best thing.

Some Toyota Rav4 models come with an engine remote start option. Your Toyota Rav4 will not come with a factory remote start system unless you have upgraded your vehicle with Toyota’s Rav4 Audio Plus feature which comes with either an 8- or 9-inch touchscreen installed with the Audio Plus feature.

Having a remote start feature in your vehicle is ideal for those hotter or colder days, where starting your car’s heating and/or cooling system makes the interior much nicer to get in for your optimal comfort. Keep reading below to find out which Toyota Rav4 year models and trims have the outstanding remote start feature for added luxury.

Does Toyota Rav4 Have Remote Start?

Some upper trim models of the Rav4 come with a standard engine remote start feature. Other trims can have the feature installed as an additional package when purchasing the Rav4.

If your Rav4 is an upper trim model and is offered with the option to upgrade to an Audio Plus system, you may have the remote start function available on your car.

The remote start function in the Rav4 Hybrids starts with the electric motor first before it starts the gas motor. It can take around seven seconds before the gas motor kicks in and starts to cool or heat the car as desired.

Rav4 trim levels that are not offered with the extra optional feature of the Audio Plus package, like the Rav4 LE, the Rav4 XLE, and the Rav4 Hybrid LE, do not come with the Audio Plus feature, nor are they offered with the option to install this extra element.  

How to Tell if Your Rav4 Has Remote Start

Do you know if your vehicle has a remote start? You might have bought a car that has this sneaky and warming engine remote start and not even know it!

The best way to tell if your Toyota Rav4 has a remote start engine is by testing it out.

With your Rav4 key, try the following steps:

  1. Press the lock button
  2. Press the lock button a second time
  3. Hold down the lock button for approximately 4- 5 seconds

If after 5 seconds your vehicle’s lights do not start flashing, you do not have the remote start function. If you want to be double sure and hold down the key’s lock button for a few extra seconds you can try that too.

Sometimes, as mentioned earlier, if you have a Rav4 Hybrid car, it can take a few extra moments for the gas motor to start after the electric motor slowly ticks over and kicks in.

There are two other ways that you can check if you have the remote start feature on your Rav4:

  • Look for an 8- or 9-inch touchscreen on the dash of your car that has Audio Plus installed. If you have a smaller 6 – 7-inch screen, you do not have Audio Plus.
  • Note down the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and check in with your local dealership. They can access a car database to check if your vehicle came from the factory with Audio Plus and/or the remote start feature.

Keep in mind, if you have purchased a used Toyota Rav4, the previous owner may have had the remote start installed after having already purchased the car from the dealership. This is why you might want to try option one first, you might be in for a pleasant surprise!

What is Remote Start?

Remote start is an automatic feature installed in cars designed specifically for heating and/or cooling the car in advance of the driver and his or her passengers getting into the car. Remote start allows the driver to start the vehicle from a distance.

The remote start is controlled by a button usually on the car’s main key or is designed with a separate key fob function or through a smartphone app connected to the car’s smart system.

To have this feature installed, the vehicle needs to be able to bypass the anti-theft system so that the car can start without a physical key.

Which Rav4 Comes with Remote Start?

The beloved compact crossover Rav4 SUV is still a favorite vehicle and one of the best-selling SUVs on the market today and that’s even without drivers having additional fancy technology features.

The Rav4 is an affordable SUV, great for small families, and with its AWD abilities is also an excellent limited-off road-capable vehicle (within reason). The Rav4 has been a reliable car since its introduction to the American car market in 1996 and having additional features like the engine remote start just ups the game again.

Already a good-rated car for the engine’s sturdy and reliable ability to start in colder weather climates, the remote start is a game-changer because you can have the car heated up to your preferred temperature while you’re still getting ready for work.

It’s time to find out if your vehicle comes directly from the factory with an engine remote start feature.

Here are the Toyota Rav4 trims that have the benefit of remote engine start:

  • Third Generation (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, & 2012

Almost all third-generation (2006 – 2012) Rav4 Trims have the option to add the remote start engine feature.

  • Fourth Generation (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, & 2018)

Toyota made some necessary upgrades to the Rav4 for the fourth generation and now the 2013 – 2015 Rav4 SUV offers the optional remote start in their AWD Limited trim only as an optional feature.

In 2016, however, the remote start feature is offered in the XLE, the Limited, and the SE, as an optional feature.

2017 and 2018 brought in new models of the Rav4 and now the XLE, SE, Limited, Adventure, and Platinum trims are all offered with the option to opt-in for a remote start feature that comes with the Audio Plus upgrade.

  • Fifth Generation (2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, & 2023)

As of 2019 the LE and XLE Toyota Rav4 trims are not offered the option to upgrade with the Audio Plus and neither is the LE Hybrid. Because these trims can’t be upgraded to the Audio Plus feature they also can’t have a remote start.

All other models of the Rav4 need to be upgraded with the Audio Plus feature to have the remote start feature installed in the Rav4. This includes Hybrid vehicles too.

If you have purchased an upper trim level of the Rav4, you most likely have the remote start feature which doesn’t come as a standard option on any of the Rav4 trims.


Depending on the year and trim of your Rav4, you may have the additional feature of the dependable engine remote start.

Manny Toyota Rav4 vehicles from the third generation until now, have either had factory remote start or a third-party remote start feature installed with additional comfort and entertainment packages for the driver’s optimal comfort.

Follow the steps outlined above under “How to Tell if Your Rav4 Has Remote Start” to find out if you’ve been lucky enough to score this feature while purchasing your used Toyota Rav4. If you have a newer Toyota Rav4 and have opted in for the upper trim level complete with Audio Plus, you will also have the benefit of the remote start feature.