Toyota first introduced ECO mode on the 2013 Rav4, and it’s been a mainstay on every model since.

Using this option is an excellent way to reduce fuel consumption while still enjoying the convenience and comfort of the RAV4.

Though the mode has been around for a while, there may still be some confusion about how it works. So, in this article, I will explain everything you need to know about ECO mode on the Toyota Rav4.

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What is ECO Mode on a Toyota RAV4?

Toyota’s ECO mode system regulates several of the car’s functions when it’s activated to help increase fuel economy. ECO mode smoothly generates torque in response to the driver’s gas pedal usage, heating, air conditioning, and other sources of power consumption in your vehicle.

When compared to other available driving modes, ECO mode is the most fuel-efficient. This means the driver saves money on fuel and reduces their emissions and overall ecological footprint. Just beware that when ECO mode is selected, the accelerator pedal is not as responsive, and the vehicle can feel less powerful.

When Should I Use ECO Mode?

Activating ECO mode prioritizes fuel efficiency. As discussed, it does so by taking reducing the available power from the engine and other vehicle functions, such as heating and cooling.

You should use ECO mode during city driving or when there’s a lot of stop-and-go traffic.

I will note that ECO mode is not the best option for times when power is needed because the vehicle will not be as responsive as it should. So, when going uphill or accelerating to pass another car on the highway, it’s best to turn the ECO mode off. In these situations, try to stick with Sport mode or Normal mode.

How to Turn ECO Mode On/Off

Did you just purchase a RAV4 or want to know how to turn ECO mode on and off? If so, follow these easy steps:

  • To turn ECO mode on, simply press the ECO button.
  • To turn ECO mode off, press the ECO button again (2013-2018 RAV4s) or press the NORMAL button on (2019-2023 RAV4s).
2021 toyota rav4 eco button location

When ECO mode is activated, the ECO mode indicator light will turn green. Once ECO mode is turned off, the indicator light on the dashboard will disappear.

rav4 eco indicator light
2021 Toyota RAV4 LE Eco Mode Indicator

It’s important to note that ECO mode can be safely switched on and off while parked or driving. Furthermore, the style of indicator light will differ depending on your model. 2013-2018 RAV4s have a different ECO indicator light than the 2019-2023 models.

Does ECO Mode Actually Make a Difference?

Some people believe that you can save the same amount of fuel by simply adjusting driving patterns. While this is true to a certain extent, ECO mode does make a greater difference in fuel economy.

Yes, eco mode does actually make a difference. I’ve seen ECO mode improve fuel efficiency by as much as 2 to 3 MPG on my 2021 Toyota RAV4 LE.

The exact amount of fuel saved by ECO mode will vary depending on your driving habits. Also, ECO mode isn’t going to take your vehicle from 25 MPG up to 45 MPG. It only makes a slight difference (but can add up over time).

Click here to see what MPG you should expect in your Toyota RAV4.

Perhaps the people who will gain the most from ECO mode are those who drive in a way that consumes a lot of fuel. For example, ECO mode may help you if you do a lot of city driving or tend to accelerate aggressively.

Though it’s not the most exciting feature on your RAV4, ECO mode is an excellent way to reduce emissions and save a few dollars at the pump.


ECO mode is an option that’s been included with the RAV4 since 2013. While ECO mode isn’t a magic button that will instantly make your vehicle drastically more fuel efficient, it does make some incremental differences that can add up over time.

This is especially true for stop-and-go driving, as ECO mode will reduce the engine’s power output and regulate some of the vehicle’s systems. The best part is that the option is easy to use and can be activated quickly, leaving the driver in complete control.

Regardless of how you feel about the effectiveness of ECO mode, its true value comes from its ability to make you more aware of your driving habits. So, for those who brake or accelerate rapidly, this mode encourages you to be more frugal. Try it during your next commute and you may notice a difference!

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