Toyota RAV4 Towing Capacity: ALL Model Years

Whether you’re shopping for a new RAV4 or you already own one, it’s important to know how much weight you can safely pull with a trailer.

You can use our chart to quickly find your towing capacity. We’ll also provide you with the information you need to get started, even if you decide the RAV4 isn’t capable enough for your needs.

Overall, the RAV4 is an excellent choice when it comes to towing smaller loads. From small campers, trailers, jet skis, motorcycles, and more. Plus the RAV4 has a lot of useful safety features that give you peace of mind when pulling a trailer. 

We’ll go into detail about the RAV4’s towing capacity, competitor capacities, alternative vehicles to consider, how to install a hitch, and more.

toyota rav4 towing

Towing Capacity Chart

Below, you’ll find towing capacity charts for the non-hybrid RAV4, RAV4 Hybrid, and RAV4 Prime.

Please note that these capacities represent the trailer weight ratings (TWR), which is the standard towing capacity measurement.

TWR is the maximum allowable gross trailer weight. It is calculated as the sum of the trailer and cargo weights. It assumes a vehicle with two occupants, a towing package (if available), and a hitch system. 

Note that all RAV4s come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission. The RAV4 Hybrid’s electric motor does add a little to the maximum weight allowed. However, the RAV4 Prime’s electric motor is much larger than the Hybrids. It boasts 199/89 lb-ft of torque (front/rear).

We verified this information with the Toyota RAV4 Owner’s Manuals.

Braked vs Unbraked Trailers

You may be surprised to find in your manual a small addendum to your RAV4’s towing capacity.

All RAV4s from 2013 forward in the U.S. are limited to 1,000lbs. when towing an unbraked trailer. For years prior to 2013, verify the total weight in the owner’s manual before proceeding.

The below towing capacities are for braked trailers.

RAV4 (Gas, Non-Hybrid)

The towing capacities will differ depending on your trim level. The gas trims that do not include a towing package are the LE, XLE, XLE Premium, and Limited trims.

For the RAV4 what matters most is the towing package, which began being offered with the 2018 model. The towing package mentioned below applies to the Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims. Note: the tow hitch receiver and wiring harness are available options on all trims.

Remember, the towing capacities below are the maximum weight you should pull behind your RAV4 with a braked trailer. If you are hauling an unbraked trailer, the weight you can tow will be significantly reduced. As such, some heavy loads may not be suitable for your SUV.

Model YearTowing Capacity
2024W/ towing package:
3,500 lbs. (1,590 kg.)

W/o towing package:
1,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
2023W/ towing package:
3,500 lbs. (1,590 kg.)

W/o towing package:
1,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
2022W/ towing package:
3,500 lbs. (1,590 kg.)

W/o towing package:
1,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
2021W/ towing package:
3,500 lbs. (1,590 kg.)

W/o towing package:
1,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
2020W/ towing package:
3,500 lbs. (1,590 kg.)

W/o towing package:
1,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
2019W/ towing package:
3,500 lbs. (1,590 kg.)

W/o towing package:
1,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
2018W/o towing package:
1,500 lbs. (680 kg.)

2WD w/ towing package:
2,900 lbs. (1,315 kg.)

AWD w/ towing package:
3,500 lbs. ( 1,590 kg.)
20171,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
20161,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
20151,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
20141,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
20131,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
20124-cylinder engine:
1,500 lbs. (680 kg.)

V6 engine w/o towing package:
2,000 lbs. (905 kg.)

V6 engine w/ towing package:
3,500 lbs. (1,585 kg.)
20114-cylinder engine:
1,500 lbs. (680 kg.)

V6 engine w/o towing package:
2,000 lbs. (905 kg.)

V6 engine w/ towing package:
3,500 lbs. (1,585 kg.)
20104-cylinder engine:
1,500 lbs. (680 kg.)

V6 engine w/o towing package:
2,000 lbs. (905 kg.)

V6 engine w/ towing package:
3,500 lbs. (1,585 kg.)
20094-cylinder engine:
1,500 lbs. (680 kg.)

V6 engine w/o towing package:
2,000 lbs. (907 kg.)

V6 engine w/ towing package:
3,500 lbs. (1,588 kg.)
20084-cylinder engine:
1,500 lbs. (680 kg.)

V6 engine w/o towing package:
2,000 lbs. (907 kg.)

V6 engine w/ towing package:
3,500 lbs. (1,588 kg.)
20074-cylinder engine:
1,500 lbs. (680 kg.)

V6 engine w/o towing package:
2,000 lbs. (907 kg.)

V6 engine w/ towing package:
3,500 lbs. (1,588 kg.)
20064-cylinder engine:
1,500 lbs. (680 kg.)

V6 engine w/o towing package:
2,000 lbs. (907 kg.)

V6 engine w/ towing package:
3,500 lbs. (1,588 kg.)
20051,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
20041,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
20031,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
20021,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
20011,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
20001,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
19991,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
19981,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
19971,500 lbs. (680 kg.)
19961,500 lbs. (680 kg.)

RAV4 Hybrid

The RAV4 Hybrid models consist of the LE, XLE, Woodland Edition, and the XLE Premium.

Model YearTowing Capacity
20241,750 lbs. (795 kg.)
20231,750 lbs. (795 kg.)
20221,750 lbs. (795 kg.)
20211,750 lbs. (795 kg.)
20201,750 lbs. (795 kg.)
20191,750 lbs. (795 kg.)
20181,750 lbs. (795 kg.)
20171,750 lbs. (795 kg.)
20161,750 lbs. (795 kg.)

RAV4 Prime

Model YearTowing Capacity
20242,500 lbs. (1,135 kg.)
20232,500 lbs. (1,135 kg.)
20222,500 lbs. (1,135 kg.)
20212,500 lbs. (1,135 kg.)

Surprisingly, the RAV4 Prime has a pretty good towing capacity for an PHEV (ranked top 5 in PHEV SUVs for towing capacity).

Interested in towing with your RAV4 Prime? Check out our RAV4 Prime towing guide here.

Not sure which RAV4 is best for you? Check out our RAV4 model comparison.

Competitors

Wondering how the Toyota RAV4’s towing capacity compares to other compact SUVs? The results are impressive.

Given the RAV4s curb weight (the weight of the vehicle) of 3,615lbs, it’s easily one of the most capable SUVs, if you get the towing package.

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

As you can see, the Toyota RAV4 has the highest maximum towing capacity when compared to other SUVs in the same class. If towing is important to you, then you’ll want to consider picking up a RAV4 Adventure or TRD Off-Road.

High-Capacity Alternatives

If the RAV4’s towing capacity is not enough for your needs, you’ll need to explore other options.

As we’ve just discussed, the RAV4 has the highest towing capacity in its class. This means you’ll need to venture outside of the compact SUV market to find a better towing capacity.

We’ve given some examples below, separated into different vehicle classes. We’re confident that one of these models will suit your towing needs.

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.)

Trucks:

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

(KBB)

Getting a Tow Hitch

Have you decided that the RAV4 will be enough for your towing needs?

To get started, you’ll need a tow hitch receiver installed. You may already have one. It is a square hole at the back of your RAV4 that looks like this:

hitch receiver

A tow hitch receiver allows you to attach a trailer to a tow vehicle using a coupling point (typically a ball mount).

If you own a 2006 to 2012 Toyota RAV4, you can purchase a hitch kit from Toyota.

Here’s what the installation process looks like:

If you’re installing your RAV4’s hitch, here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Gather your tools and equipment
    • Safety glasses
    • Support strap
    • Spray bottle
    • Flathead screwdriver
    • Exhaust removal tool
    • Torque wrench
    • 19mm socket and crows foot adapter
  2. Lower the exhaust that’s held in by three metal rubber hangers
    • Look for one on the driver’s side, passenger’s side, and down the middle
  3. Before you detach it, secure the exhaust using a support strap to help safely lower it  
  4. Utilize soapy water to help loosen the grommet
  5. Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the stickers that are covering the weld nuts you’ll use to attach your hitch
  6. Line up the two holes on the hitch with the two holes you just exposed by scrapping off the stickers
  7. Use a hitch jack to do this or have an extra set of hands to help with this
  8. Install your hardware (a bolt and conical tooth washer)
    • The teeth should face toward the hitch
    • Do the driver’s side first as the passenger’s side is normally tight and doing the driver’s side first can make for a more successful installation
  9. Tighten and torque all the bolts to the manufacturer’s specification using a 19mm socket and crows foot adapter
  10. Re-attach your exhaust with the original three hangers

Expert Tips for Towing Safely

It is important to place an emphasis on safety when towing with your Toyota RAV4. If you’re not taking the necessary precautions, you could end up causing a lot of damage and physical harm to yourself and others.

Here are some safety tips to consider when towing with your RAV4:

  • Check the tire pressure on your vehicle and trailer
  • Ensure your vehicle is up-to-date with maintenance and you have the right equipment (proper hitch, hook-ups, and straps)
  • Bring a roadside safety kit in case of an emergency (know how to change a tire)
  • Check that all your lights are working (brakes, headlights, etc.)
  • Distribute the trailer weight properly, especially when towing heavy loads
  • Do not exceed your maximum weight towing capacity
  • Learn how to properly drive in reverse with a trailer attached
  • Drive at a slow, safe speed 
  • Keep an eye on your engine temperature 
  • Utilize Toyota’s safety features to your advantage (Toyota Safety Sense w/ pedestrian detection is great when hauling anything behind your SUV, blind-spot monitor, and active cornering assist)
  • While you can tow in any of the drive modes, for even better fuel efficiency try towing in Eco mode

(Consumer Reports)

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most commonly asked questions about the RAV4, its towing capacity, and other must-know information to tow safely.

Yes, a RAV4 can tow a camper. There are numerous campers available under the RAV4’s towing limits. However, you will be limited to a small camper or pull-behinds such as a teardrop trailer, given the maximum weight the RAV4 can tow with the tow package is 3,500lbs.

If you’re interested in larger campers, you’re better off investing in a different Toyota vehicle with a higher towing capacity.

Yes, a RAV4 can tow a small boat or jet ski, however it would have to weigh less than the towing capacity. Please refer to our guide above to determine your towing capacity.

If you need to tow a heavier boat or multiple jet skis, consider purchasing a different Toyota model.

Only the RAV4 Adventure and TRD Off-Road trim levels can tow 3,500 pounds. They are generally considered the best RAV4s for towing because they have the highest capacity of all RAV4 trim levels.

Certain Toyota RAV4 trims can tow more because of a larger radiator, more rugged suspension, and transmission/engine oil cooler.

Not to mention the Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD on these trims will be far superior if you are going off-road with a trailer, in comparison to the front-wheel drive versions (the trailer puts downward force on the rear of the vehicle, making FWD SUVs less effective at pulling than AWD).

Yes, you can increase the towing capacity of your Toyota RAV4, but it won’t be easy. You’ll need to consider upgrading the radiator, suspension, transmission/engine cooler, and more.

The extent of the upgrades depend on how much you are interested in towing. In most cases, it’s better to simply upgrade to a different type of vehicle that is better equipped for towing.

A variety of factors impact the Toyota RAV4 towing capacity including:

  • The vehicle’s configuration
  • Its chassis (the foundation or structure of the car)
  • Its engine and transmission
  • Its rear axle ratio
  • Its curb weight

The Toyota RAV4’s tongue weight is 9-11 percent of the gross trailer weight. Check your owner’s manual for more information about how to measure this.

Tongue weight is the static force that the trailer tongue exerts on the hitch ball. Tongue weight is important because it can make the difference between a safe trailer towing experience and a dangerous one.

Summary

We hope our charts helped you quickly find the towing capacity that you were searching for!

As we mentioned, the RAV4 is an excellent choice when it comes to towing capacity, with an impressive maximum capacity of 3,500 pounds.

However, this capacity still isn’t enough for some people, which means you’ll have to explore vehicles in other classes. We recommend looking in the mid-size SUV, full-size SUV, and truck market if you need a higher towing capacity.

If the RAV4’s towing capacity is sufficient for your needs, you will need to install a hitch receiver if you don’t already have one.

If you have any questions about towing capacity or need additional guidance, please leave a comment below!

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3 Comments

  1. The capacity you list for the Hybrid is a bit misleading. The manual states that it will tow 1750 lbs. IF you install a brake controller. Without that add-on, the tow capacity is only 1000 lbs.
    I approached multiple mechanics about installing one, and they said they wouldn’t touch it, adding that it was too difficult.

    1. RAV4 Resource says:

      Hi Ric,

      Thanks for the comment. You’re right that the maximum tow weight for braked trailers is indeed higher (on all models). I will add a note above for clarity.

      You will need the brake controller for an electronically braked trailer, but there are mechanical options that won’t require a brake controller installed (typically called surge brakes).