Toyota RAV4 Forums banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
2017 RAV4 Hybrid SE towing? Hitch bike rack OK?

New to the forums so please excuse me if this question is a bit naive.

So I just picked up a 2017 Magnetic Grey RAV4 Hybrid SE. Curiously, it seems Toyota does not recommend towing with the SE trim (although XLE and Limited trims do have a towing capacity listed) and there is no towing capacity listed for the SE. As the powertrains for all trims are the same, I can only assume this limitation arises from the "sport-tuned suspension", does it ride lower?

In any case all I need to do is install a hitch to carry our Yakima bike rack. Dealer said this would be OK, but did not recommend towing. Anyone else have experience with this?

Mike
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,126 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Ok thanks for that. I can stretch to understand the reasons for not towing a trailer but I fail to see how using a hitch mounted bike rack is an issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
428 Posts
Ok thanks for that. I can stretch to understand the reasons for not towing a trailer but I fail to see how using a hitch mounted bike rack is an issue.
Exactly...lawyers. Once the hitch is on, and 10 years down the road someone tows and finds you do not have the sway control the other Ravs come with (and wreck your car)....lawsuit time in their eyes. So just say NO is their idea on how to resolve.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
OK well, I am going to assume a bike rack will be fine. I assume others have this setup on their SEs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
I also just purchased a 2017 RAV4 SE model and too was surprised about the manual listing SE should not tow.
In my case I'm not towing, I just need a 2in hitch to connect to my hitch mounted bike rack.
Has anyone successfully set this up for their SE RAV4?
I was thinking of something like one from etrailer.com
Will Toyota care that I installed it? Or should I go to my Toyota dealer and ask if they will install the Toyota OEM hitch on my SE? It sounds like from the thread discussions Toyota dealers will not do that install on an SE.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I also just purchased a 2017 RAV4 SE model and too was surprised about the manual listing SE should not tow.
In my case I'm not towing, I just need a 2in hitch to connect to my hitch mounted bike rack.
Has anyone successfully set this up for their SE RAV4?
I was thinking of something like one from etrailer.com
Will Toyota care that I installed it? Or should I go to my Toyota dealer and ask if they will install the Toyota OEM hitch on my SE? It sounds like from the thread discussions Toyota dealers will not do that install on an SE.
You are right Toyota dealers will not install it. The dealer told me that a hitch for a bike rack is fine and will not void the warranty. If the installation of the hitch damages something, then that would not be covered. They also did not recommend towing. I just installed the Curt 2" hitch from etrailer as have others. It works well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
I was going to get 2017 RAV4 SE until I found out about not being able to tow. Very disappointed! I love the 17 SE! I am going with Limited since I want that towing option.
Visited two dealers yesterday and today and they all said you can tow with SE. Apparently, they don't even know what they are talking about. I compared the Rav 4 on the Toyota website and the towing capacity for SE is zero. They are still arguing you can tow with SE. ugghhh!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,126 Posts
The short version of the SE-can't-tow limitation: It's a software issue not a hardware one.
Mechanically it has the exact same capability as the other models.
But in 2016 Toyota introduced trailer anti-sway detection to the VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) adding it on all models except the SE. (Explanation below.) That is the ONLY REASON you officially can't tow with the SE.

So using the same logic one could argue you can't tow with ANY previous year RAV4s because they don't have anti-sway detection either. So do we need a campaign to remove towing hitches from all pre-2016 RAV4s? I think not!

Explanation: Trailer anti-sway control is just another of the save-you-from-yourself features that are possible with the sensors (accelerometers in this case) and computing power today's vehicles have. Pre-collision automatic braking systems are another example.
Anyone who's towed anything but the smallest trailer knows about trailer sway and its dangers. If any number of factors such as tow vehicle and trailer weight, trailer loading, tire pressures and weight distribution are not carefully considered, when a certain speed (determined by the factors above) is exceeded the trailer will start moving side-to-side on its own. Could be just a little at first, often caused by being passed by a large truck, but if either the proper counter-steering isn't done or the vehicles aren't slowed down immediately it will get more violent very quickly possible causing a crash. And yes, even with my 200,000 miles of towing experience, a moment of lost concentration had me using two lanes of an interstate to avoid crashing while trailering a friend's classic car.
Enter the software safety engineers. When a trailer starts to sway it induces a sideways force on the tow vehicle. That can be detected by the tow vehicle's accelerometers, the RAV4 in this case, and since the throttle is electronically controlled power can be reduced by the ECM to slow the car and trailer down to a non-sway speed. Using the ABS braking can also be automatically applied.

Okay, why isn't the can't-do-without trailer anti-sway control on the SE? Obviously I'm not privy to Toyota's thinking but I have a good idea why not. It turns out (again from experience) that the better a car handles the worse it will be for trailer sway control. Years ago before I bought my first travel trailer that I'd be towing with my Honda Accord (not tow rated BTW) a friend told me two things, "The good handling you love about the Honda will be a determent," and "You'll have to learn to drive all over again." He was right on both points.
The SE has a stiffer suspension and probably lower profile tires than the other models so as it goes down the road effects such as side-winds move it side-to-side less than them. Virtually any trailer will move side-to-side more than most tow vehicles so the tendency to sway is always there but will be easier to control on the "poorer" handling RAV4 models. Apparently the engineers couldn't make electronic trailer anti-sway control work to their satisfaction on the SE so rather than potentially be responsible for damages in a towing accident Toyota just said, "The SE can't tow."
 
  • Like
Reactions: adventurer

·
Registered
Joined
·
428 Posts
I was going to get 2017 RAV4 SE until I found out about not being able to tow. Very disappointed! I love the 17 SE! I am going with Limited since I want that towing option.
Visited two dealers yesterday and today and they all said you can tow with SE. Apparently, they don't even know what they are talking about. I compared the Rav 4 on the Toyota website and the towing capacity for SE is zero. They are still arguing you can tow with SE. ugghhh!
I'm the one that went through this whole thing with my 2016. Same problem exactly. 2 different dealers and online information all say it can tow. I bought the car, 2 months later I was reading the manual and found the "peel and stick insert page" that said no. I even went to Toy corporate to resolve the issue. They first even said "yes it can tow" until I asked them to read P181. Then the idiots changed their mind.
Bottom line, it can tow fine. Just the software driven anti sway control is disabled on SE because of suspension differences. But if you haven't purchased yet and want "better" piece of mind then the unlimited may be a better option.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Dr. Dyno thanks for your insight. Towing was one of my deciding factor between SE and Limited even-though I like SE's off-roadsy look. Yeah I couldn't agree more with you just that I never thought of that in term of performance. "the better a car handles the worse it will be for trailer sway control." I have seen SUVs flipped up-side down on freeways while towing because of the wind factor or they lost control, etc. Rav4 will be good for light loads locally but doing cross-country move in a Rav4 with a trailer might not be a good idea. The only reason I want the "legal" tow capability was to pick up furniture here and there or do cross-country move. Putting all the pros and cons together I might be better off getting something else if towing was important. Rav4 cargo space is pretty good to begin with so space is not an issue for my normal needs.

I use my vehicle for commute, camping, weekend road trip and cross country trips, so I think the SE would be a good match. I just want the SofTex and LED lights, and the heated front seats. If the price is 2k different between SE and Limited, I will definitely do SE but if it is only 1k or less then I might as well get Limited. Thoughts?

KJPAT08: Yeah I saw your post before going to the dealers so I was better equipped. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
428 Posts
I would not consider cross country towing in the RAV (any new model) without a tranny cooler and bigger motor. It may handle it fine with smaller loads, but they are not really the best choice for that purpose IMO.
I bought the SE for the same reasons. There were a bunch of electronic options on the limited I failed to see the need to pay for. I believe they were near 2K difference in price, and loaded I think more near 4-5K more for limited. Also I like the front end and wheels better and matching headliner.
Edit: looked it up....
SE MSRP $29,985
Limited MSRP $34,030
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
428 Posts
Hmm, I see an MSRP of $31,385 for the 2017 SE, not $29,985. :confused:

Customize Your Own Car, Truck, SUV or Hybrid
Base FWD?
Just did a quick search and those #'s came up.

Edit: Yes I see what you are saying. Not sure why the huge difference. Mine showed on Google search. Base on mine was $30,665 (AWD) plus add ons 4 months ago. Not sure why the difference. Best check the dealer himself.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,936 Posts
Base FWD?
Just did a quick search and those #'s came up.
That's the starting MSRP right from Toyota for both models, your $34,030 is correct for the Limited, but your SE MSRP isn't close to the Toyota website MSRP. Adventurer even stated $2k was the difference between the SE and Limited, not $4k, $29k is closer to the XLE MSRP.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
You are right Toyota dealers will not install it. The dealer told me that a hitch for a bike rack is fine and will not void the warranty. If the installation of the hitch damages something, then that would not be covered. They also did not recommend towing. I just installed the Curt 2" hitch from etrailer as have others. It works well.
Reading the etrailer product "2017 Toyota RAV4 Curt Trailer Hitch Receiver Class III - 2""
and looking at the installation instructions the only thing that bothers me is that the plastic panel is not put back on. I'm still looking for a product where all the pieces get put back on after install.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Reading the etrailer product "2017 Toyota RAV4 Curt Trailer Hitch Receiver Class III - 2""
and looking at the installation instructions the only thing that bothers me is that the plastic panel is not put back on. I'm still looking for a product where all the pieces get put back on after install.
You can put it back on and this is what I did, you just need to notch out the panel to accommodate the hitch tube. If you look on the second page of the install instructions you will see a "Panel Trim Diagram" that details what you need to do. It is very easy. The only thing that doesn't go back on is the tow hook.

Mike
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
You can put it back on and this is what I did, you just need to notch out the panel to accommodate the hitch tube. If you look on the second page of the install instructions you will see a "Panel Trim Diagram" that details what you need to do. It is very easy. The only thing that doesn't go back on is the tow hook.
Mike
Thank you Mike. That seals the deal and is exactly what I am looking for! I figured Toyota has that plastic panel there for a reason and on the video they don't mention that. I'm in - I'll let you know how it goes. Looks like an easy enough install.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top