Is RAV4 AWD or 4WD? Explaining the Difference in a Friendly Way

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

When you’re considering the Toyota RAV4, you might wonder whether it has an all-wheel drive (AWD) or four-wheel drive (4WD) system.

It’s essential to understand the distinctions between these drivetrains for your off-road and all-weather driving preferences.

To make it simple, the Toyota RAV4 is predominantly an AWD vehicle. However, some 4WD options are available in certain model years from 2001 to 2012.

Now that you know the answer, delve deeper into the specific RAV4 features and capabilities that suit your needs.

Is RAV4 AWD or 4wd?

2023 Toyota RAV4 Overview

The official site explained that the 2023 Toyota RAV4 is a compact crossover SUV designed for both performance and comfort.

Available in both FWD and AWD variations, the RAV4 provides a smooth driving experience with its capable engine.

Inside, you’ll enjoy the thoughtfully crafted interior and an array of features that prioritize your convenience and safety.

As you explore your options, remember that this SUV aims to deliver a friendly atmosphere on every journey.

RELATED: Here is a related piece: Is RAV4 smaller than 4Runner? And, difference between RAV4 XLE Vs. XLE Premium and other trims?

RAV4 AWD and 4WD Explained

All-Wheel Drive Understanding

The RAV4 offers an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system that provides improved traction on various road surfaces.

AWD continuously supplies power to all four wheels, adjusting automatically to changing road conditions. This feature maximizes your vehicle’s grip and stability, giving you confidence on any terrain.

Four-Wheel Drive Overview

In comparison, the RAV4 also has a four-wheel-drive (4WD) option. This system allows you to switch between two-wheel drive (2WD) and 4WD mode as needed.

The 4WD mode evenly distributes power to all four wheels, ensuring robust off-road performance. Keep an eye on your VIN to determine your specific RAV4 system.

Comparison Between AWD and 4WD

To summarize, AWD focuses on enhancing traction and stability in everyday driving situations, while 4WD is designed for off-road adventures or challenging conditions. Your choice will depend on your specific needs and preferences for your RAV4.

RAV4 Models and Drivetrain Options

RAV4 FWD Models

Toyota RAV4 offers you front-wheel-drive (FWD) models with efficient performance. Equipped with a 2.5-liter engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission, these FWD models provide a balance of power and fuel efficiency.

RAV4 AWD Models

For improved traction and capability, consider the all-wheel-drive (AWD) RAV4 models.

With Multi-Terrain Select, you can choose between four modes like MUD & SAND, ROCK & DIRT, SNOW, and NORMAL to tackle varying road conditions.

RAV4 Hybrid Models

If you seek eco-friendly performance, the RAV4 Hybrid models are an ideal choice. Combining a gasoline engine with dual electric motors, these hybrids offer a net horsepower of 219, maintaining both power and efficiency.

RAV4 Off-Road Capability and Performance

Ground Clearance Comparison

The RAV4 offers 8.6 inches of ground clearance, as par CNET, enabling it to tackle various off-road challenges.

Terrain Select and Handling

With Terrain Select, you can adjust your RAV4’s performance to suit various conditions. The Rav4 TRD Off-Road version enhances handling on rugged terrains.

Safety and Driver Assist Features

Your off-road experience in the RAV4 is made safer with features such as pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. Enjoy a friendly and secure adventure with the RAV4’s capabilities.

Fuel Economy and EPA Ratings

Gasoline Models Ratings

Your RAV4 AWD is powered by a gasoline engine. The EPA estimates its fuel efficiency at around 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.

This means you can expect a combined driving fuel economy of approximately 30 mpg. Keep in mind, driving conditions and habits may affect your actual mileage. Discover the best RAV4 model great on gas consumption!

Hybrid Models Ratings

If you opt for the RAV4 Hybrid AWD, you’ll enjoy a noticeable improvement in fuel economy.

Again, according to the EPA, the 2023 RAV4 Hybrid AWD offers 41 mpg city and 38 mpg highway for a combined 40 mpg. This eco-friendly option will help you save up more on fuel costs, making it a great choice for the environment and your wallet.

Interior and Comfort Features

Seating and Cargo Space

The RAV4 ensures your comfort with ample space for passengers and cargo. You’ll find adjustable rear seats that offer a 60/40-split, expanding the trunk space to a generous 69 cubic feet.

Climate Control and Heated Seats

Stay cozy with the dual-zone automatic climate control system, tailored to maintain your desired temperature. On chilly days, the heated front seats will keep you warm and toasty.

Multimedia and Connectivity

Experience seamless connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, enabling you to access your favorite apps right from the multi-information display.

The audio multimedia system delivers impressive sound quality, and wireless Apple CarPlay® enhances the wire-free experience.

Pricing, Maintenance, and Ownership Costs

When considering a RAV4, you’ll find that it’s available in both AWD and 4WD options. The 2023 RAV4 SUV XLE has a 5-year ownership cost of $4,712. This estimate includes 15,000 miles driven per year.

Maintenance plays a significant role in your RAV4’s total cost. A Toyota RAV4 typically costs about $5,531 for maintenance and repairs in its first ten years, beating the industry average by $3,602.

Remember, your RAV4’s repair and maintenance costs may vary depending on factors such as age, mileage, and location.

For instance, the annual maintenance cost for a RAV4 is $429. Keep these factors in mind as you make your decision on whether to opt for an AWD or 4WD RAV4.

What Year Did Toyota RAV4 Get Bigger?

In 2019, the Toyota RAV4 experienced a significant size increase. The fifth generation RAV4 launched offering more space, updated design, and improved performance. So, if you’re looking for a bigger RAV4, consider the 2019 model or newer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the RAV4 come with AWD or 4WD options?

Yes, the Toyota RAV4 is available in both AWD (All-Wheel Drive) and 4WD (Four-Wheel Drive) options. However, modern RAV4 models typically come with AWD systems. The term “RAV” stands for Recreational Activity Vehicle, and the number 4 represents four-wheel-drive.

Which RAV4 models have AWD?

Most RAV4 models come with AWD; it’s generally standard on higher trims and optional on lower trims. Specific availability varies by model year and market, so it’s best to check with your local Toyota dealer or online resources to verify AWD availability for the RAV4 you’re considering.

How does the RAV4 AWD system work?

The RAV4 AWD system automatically sends power to all wheels for improved traction and handling. Unlike 4WD, the AWD system doesn’t require manual activation. The system constantly monitors driving conditions and adjusts power distribution between front and rear wheels as needed.

Can you switch between 2WD and AWD on a RAV4?

Some RAV4 models have a feature called “Dynamic Torque Control” AWD, which allows the driver to select between different drive modes, including a 2WD mode for improved fuel efficiency. This feature gives you more control over the power distribution in your RAV4, depending on your driving needs and conditions.

How is the RAV4 AWD performance in off-road conditions?

While the RAV4 AWD system offers improved traction and handling in various driving conditions, it is not primarily designed for off-road usage. The system does provide some off-road capability, but the vehicle’s ground clearance and suspension are more suited to on-road driving.

If you plan to undertake extreme off-road adventures, a more rugged 4WD vehicle might be better suited to your needs.

What are the key differences between RAV4 AWD and 4WD systems?

The main difference between AWD and 4WD is that 4WD must be manually activated, while AWD automatically sends power to all wheels. 4WD systems tend to be more robust, offering better performance in off-road conditions when compared to AWD systems.

However, AWD systems are generally better suited for everyday driving, delivering a more seamless power distribution and improved fuel efficiency.


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