I have a 2009 Toyota RAV4 V6 Limited with 6,000 miles. My question is about the AWD system. Does this vehicle have a limited slip or locking REAR drive axle? I know dash button will lock center diff.

Asked by Silverfork Aug 02, 2015 at 12:41 PM about the 2009 Toyota RAV4 Limited V6 4WD

Question type: General

I drive in deep snow to my cabin in the Utah mountains and my 2013 Toyota Highlander doesn't due very good in deep snow (8" +) due to the reduced engine power if the wheels start to spin. I have not taken the RAV4 in this type of snow yet and want to know if it would do better.

23 Answers

71,615

Read this article, http://www.autoguide.com/manufacturer/toyota/2009-toyota-rav4-1079.html

2 people found this helpful.
71,615

Interesting that your Toyota Highlander has problems, isn't that AWD?

Yes it is but they used open differentials on the front axle, center axle and rear axle relying on reduced engine power and applying the brakes to the spinning wheel(s) for traction. Power gets reduced to the point of not being able to move the vehicle. I can turn off traction control but that turns the Highlander into a 1WD and it just spins the tire with the least amount of traction. I am looking for a new vehicle and need something with a locking rear and center axle and true 4WD.

71,615

Have you considered a Subaru Outback?

71,615

Subaru has been perfecting their AWD system since 1972, that's 43 years. I've got a friend who visits coeur d'alene idaho often and tells me that Subaru Outback are all over up there and in the northeast.

71,615

Google Subaru Outback + snow and you'll find lots of YouTube videos on this car. Has excellent traction in muddy conditions as well.

71,615

I think the RAV 4 might be better, but, not sure it would beat the Subaru?

Thought about that. My FIL had one but he never drove it in the snow conditions like we experience in Utah. Highlander is great and about the right size and it works well in "normal" snow conditions going up the canyon. Its just the last 500 yards off the main road going up hill where it just doesn't do what I need. I do like the Highlanders size.

71,615

Silverfork, I like my Outback very much. I don't live in snow, but, I take road trips and am pretty confident it can go anywhere. Took it down some non maintained dirt road in Sequoia and it did fine. And, it's pretty spacious inside, 73 cubic feet of cargo. Not sure if Highlander is larger? The Outback is basically a large station wagon. It's very light on it's feet and is easy to drive. Also, the flat 4 engine gives it great cornering for such a large vehicle.

Thanks for the feedback. Deep snow is the only issue that I have with the Highlander. Same issue that I had with the Highlander Hybrid, which is why I switched to non hybrid version. By the way, the "snow" button on the dash on my vehicle only makes it start in second gear and reduces engine torque to help prevent wheel spin.

71,615

Silverfork, there's no button in the Outback, at least mine. Some Subaru's have SI Drive, especially the WRX. Maybe some Outback have it, you'll have to check. Otherwise, the car just eats snow for breakfast, I'm told. And, since the car is AWD and CVT, you'll always be in precisely the right gear. It's coordinated with the engine speed. In case you don't know about CVT, look up the technology. Very ingenious. Actually, CVT was first designed on paper by Leonardo da Vinci. That's remarkable in itself. An engineer told me that it's simpler than regular automatics and will last longer due to less moving parts. I believe him. My 2009 has a form of CVT called "power sharing" , its a little different in the Subaru. Plenty of power even with the flat 4. If you really want a rocket, the H6 has ample power at a fuel penalty.. Take one for a test drive , you're going to impressed, especially the handling.

The "snow" button is on my current Highlander. My Highlander Hybrid was a CVT too, which I liked. My 2013 Highlander has a 5 speed auto.

71,615

This explanation of the Toyota system is perfect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLNDGUISTYM

1 people found this helpful.
71,615

The Subaru Lineartronic CVT is a little different and uses standard CVT technology. It's based upon two pulleys. You can see it explained here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5msmtFGa3iw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3PF4fPXe9U It's a simpler system, has plenty of torque on the low end. You can really feel the power of this thing.

71,615

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3PF4fPXe9U

3,110

8"+ of snow: NO small SUV (including Subaru) has enough ground clearance to deal without creating long term damage to the electronics and wiring located under the car. Youtube videos show cars and truck doing plenty of amazing things but they do not show the same cars and trucks being in a shop because they got CEL every two days for different reasons. These SUV/crossover are not designed for it. Simple.

71,615

Really, take a look at this, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75j05TS5_KE

71,615

Or this, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el1LUsYdy7s

71,615

If it's any worse than the two conditions I just posted, maybe you shouldn't be out in it!

Thanks. I'll check it out. I didn't have this problem with my old FJ40, Olds Bravada or my Jeep Rubicon. I bought the Highlanders for a little more traveling comfort from Washington to Utah. Maybe I'll go back to a Jeep.

I'm talking about this type of snow in my driveway.

130,475

On some vehicles turning off the traction control will help when navigating mud or deep snow. This will reduce the problem of losing rpm when the computer detects wheel spin. I don't know if this an option for a Toyota, but it worked well in a Honda Ridgeline and Ford F-150.

Thanks, Bob I have tried that but with an open drivetrain all it does is allow one wheel to spin but sometimes I can get enough rocking motion to get going.

Your Answer:

RAV4

Looking for a Used RAV4 in your area?

CarGurus has 4,333 nationwide RAV4 listings starting at $2,990.

Postal Code:

Toyota RAV4 Experts

  • #1
    CHARLES DEFAZIO
    Reputation
    3,260
  • #2
    Evie Hunt
    Reputation
    2,620
  • #3
    Mandy Crowe Johnson
    Reputation
    2,400
View All

Find great deals from top-rated dealers

Search

Related Models For Sale

Used Honda CR-V
86 Great Deals out of 5,043 listings starting at $1,940
Used Toyota Highlander
30 Great Deals out of 2,006 listings starting at $3,495
Used Toyota 4Runner
5 Great Deals out of 430 listings starting at $2,560
Used Toyota Camry
51 Great Deals out of 2,115 listings starting at $3,333
Used Nissan Rogue
100 Great Deals out of 6,366 listings starting at $2,495
Used Toyota Corolla
180 Great Deals out of 5,861 listings starting at $988
Used Toyota Tacoma
27 Great Deals out of 760 listings starting at $6,999
Used Subaru Forester
29 Great Deals out of 992 listings starting at $1,995
Used Ford Escape
143 Great Deals out of 5,518 listings starting at $1,495
Used Hyundai Tucson
64 Great Deals out of 3,388 listings starting at $3,950
Used Honda Accord
39 Great Deals out of 1,647 listings starting at $100
Used Honda Pilot
23 Great Deals out of 1,188 listings starting at $4,990
Used Hyundai Santa Fe
34 Great Deals out of 1,661 listings starting at $2,985

Used Cars for Sale

2020 Toyota RAV4 For Sale
8 Great Deals out of 1,462 listings starting at $28,090
2019 Toyota RAV4 For Sale
22 Great Deals out of 355 listings starting at $24,795
2018 Toyota RAV4 For Sale
11 Great Deals out of 249 listings starting at $18,995
2017 Toyota RAV4 For Sale
14 Great Deals out of 373 listings starting at $16,995
2016 Toyota RAV4 For Sale
9 Great Deals out of 288 listings starting at $14,907

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use. Content will be removed if CarGurus becomes aware that it violates our policies.