The Toyota RAV4’s “Snow Mode” Explained

If you drive in winter weather, it’s critical to know how to use the Toyota RAV4’s snow mode. It’s a must-have when encountering slippery conditions.

In this guide, I cover the basics of the snow mode on Toyota RAV4 models. I also offer some helpful tips to maximize the benefits of this RAV4 drive mode.

toyota rav4 snow mode

What Does It Do?

The Toyota RAV4 snow mode is one of the selectable drive modes on equipped vehicles. It provides additional support for driving on slippery roads, including snow.

When snow mode is engaged, the RAV4 goes into second gear instead of first. This design provides less torque, so the wheels don’t spin as you increase speed.

Additionally, snow mode monitors slippage and regulates the spinning of the wheels by making necessary adjustments. The system adjusts the brakes, engine throttle and drive-force distribution to regain control before it’s completely lost.


Which RAV4 Trims Have It?

Snow mode works in conjunction with all-wheel drive (AWD). For that reason, snow mode is only available on 2019-2023 Toyota RAV4s that also include AWD.

While the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Prime models have a lot of the same features as the gas-powered SUV, the snow mode isn’t one of these features. For now, snow mode doesn’t come with either the RAV4 Hybrid or Prime models, but it could in the future.

If you have a Hybrid or Prime, consider using trail mode as an alternative to snow mode.


How Do You Turn It On/Off?

toyota rav4 snow mode button location

How is the Toyota RAV4 snow mode activated? The automaker makes it simple to activate this useful drive mode.

Turning Snow Mode ON:

    1. Push the snow mode button next to the gear shifter.
    2. When snow mode is engaged, an indicator appears on the multi-information display (MID). With a quick glance, you can tell when it’s on.

Turning Snow Mode OFF:

    1. Confirm that snow mode is activated on the multi-information display.
    2. Push the snow mode button next to the gear shifter.
    3. When it disengages, the indicator light disappears.

Toyota’s snow mode also automatically disengages when the engine is turned off. Additionally, if you select a different drive mode, such as “mud & sand” or “rock & dirt,” it will also turn off.

When Should You Use? (Helpful Tips)

Before you activate snow mode in your Toyota RAV4, you want to know the best times to use it. Based on the name alone, you have some indication of when to activate it, but here are a few general tips.

    • Use snow mode when extra traction is required for snowy roads
    • Activate snow mode when additional control is needed to stop tires from spinning on uphill, snowy roads
    • Use snow mode for any slippery road condition
    • Some users find it helpful for getting through mud, even though there are other settings for this situation
    • Avoid using snow mode longer than necessary

As you drive in the snow, here are some helpful general tips to keep you safe.

  • Accelerate and brake gently
  • Increase following distances between the vehicles in front of you
  • Don’t make any sudden maneuvers
  • Turn on your lights in dim environments
  • Be careful over bridges, as they freeze before normal roads
  • Consider the benefits of winter tires if you drive in snow often

The Toyota RAV4 comes with several other drive modes that may be better in certain situations. For this reason, it’s important to understand what each is used for, so you can choose the right one.

  • Normal: This drive mode is geared for everyday use. It’s the mode that balances performance, comfort and efficiency in normal driving situations.
  • Eco: This drive mode increases fuel economy. When in this mode, power demands are reduced to encourage more efficiency.
  • Sport: If you prefer a more exciting drive, sport mode can offer a thrill. It elevates throttle sensitivity for a more athletic response. It also adjusts the steering and suspension for added responsiveness.

Learning how to change between drive modes ensures that you get the ride you are looking for. Experiment with the settings in various situations to determine what works for you.


Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, snow mode improves traction in slippery situations. When traction is lost in one or more wheels, the snow mode makes adjustments to regain control.

Toyota hasn’t set a limit on how fast you drive while using snow mode. However, because you are driving on snowy roads, you should always reduce your speed and drive with caution.

Toyota’s snow mode helps you keep traction on slippery road conditions. It can be used in snow, but it’s also helpful on ice. Some drivers prefer to use this mode when driving through the mud too.

Yes, if you lose traction while driving, you can switch to snow mode without stopping. Once you are finished using the snow mode, simply deactivate it and the indicator light disappears from the multi-information display.

Snow Mode Gives You More Control

The Toyota RAV4 is equipped with the latest technologies and functions for a safer drive. Snow mode is just one of these settings that elevate the drive, especially in low-traction situations. By understanding how this Toyota drive mode works, you ensure maximum safety.

While Toyota snow mode makes it easier to maintain control, you must also drive smart. Take your time on slippery roads to ensure you arrive at your destination safely.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks…very informative and will be helpful.