The Toyota RAV4’s “Normal Mode”

Inside your Toyota RAV4, you may have noticed the “Normal” mode button next to the gear shifter. What is the RAV4 normal mode and how should it be used?

In this guide, I walk you through the basics of the normal mode in your RAV4. I also show you how to use it and explain when it’s helpful.

rav4 driving mode buttons

What It Does

The Toyota RAV4 normal mode is the most frequent setting used. It’s designed for everyday driving, giving a perfect balance of efficiency and performance.

Normal is the balance between the three offered. It’s not going to be as efficient as the ECO mode, nor is it geared toward performance as the sport mode. Instead, it takes the best of both and combines them together for typical driving conditions.

The normal mode button is located next to the gear shifter in your RAV4 SUV. There are also other drive modes listed with it, such as ECO and sport mode.


How to Use

The steps to turning the normal mode on and off are simple. I outline the basic directions, but you can also find information in your owner’s manual.

toyota rav4 normal drive mode button

Turning It ON:

To turn the Normal mode on, simply push the NORMAL button next to the gear shifter. Whether it is in sport or ECO mode, it will switch to Normal.

On some RAV4s, you’ll see a larger circular button.

Additionally, normal mode is the default setting when the engine is started. After starting the vehicle, the RAV4 is set to operate in normal mode unless you choose otherwise. The only exception to this rule is if you turn the SUV off in ECO mode. If so, it will return to ECO mode when restarted.

Turning It Off:

If you’re in Normal mode and want to switch to a different drive mode, simply press the desired drive mode button or twist the dial left or right.

You can switch between these modes while driving. Therefore, if you want to use something other than normal mode, you can select it at any time.

When to Use

When is the best time to use the RAV4 normal setting? If in doubt, it’s best to keep it in normal. However, here are a few times that are most appropriate.

    • Use normal mode for typical driving conditions
    • Switch to normal mode out of ECO mode if you want extra power to pass cars or get up a hill, but without spending too much in fuel by using sport mode
    • Use it when you are cruising down the highway and desire an adequate amount of performance but don’t want to waste fuel
    • Take advantage of normal when you want a perfect balance of efficiency, comfort and power

Frequently Asked Questions

The RAV4 normal setting is a driving mode designed to balance efficiency and power. It’s the middle of the road between the ECO and sport driving modes. It’s used in typical driving situations.

ECO is designed to provide the best fuel economy while driving. It changes the settings for your heating, air conditioning and other features that waste additional fuel. While in ECO mode, the RAV4 becomes less responsive to throttle inputs compared to normal mode.

The drive modes depend on what model year and the trim level you choose. They are listed next to the gear shifter. These modes might include normal, ECO, sport, snow, EV, trail, rock & dirt, and mud & sand.

Yes, you will notice a difference when switching between the drive modes. If you switch from normal to ECO, there will be less responsiveness but increased efficiency. Switching to sport changes the accelerator to be more responsive, but it also uses more fuel.


Unless you are looking to save fuel or you want to put the pedal to the metal, there’s no reason to switch out of the normal mode. It’s designed to give you the highest level of balance possible.

Try out the various drive modes to see which ones you prefer. Depending on the conditions you drive in and your preferences, there could be one you like better than the others.

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