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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi -- new member here, seeking advice on towing with a 2020 RAV4 Hybrid XSE. I'm planning a long road trip from central Texas to the West Coast through the mountains and back through the desert towing a friend's custom built overlanding trailer (photo attached below) that clocks in around 1,500 lbs loaded but no trailer brakes (I don't think lighter trailers usually do?).

I know the towing capacity is listed at 1,750 lbs, so I'm not worried about weight limits especially on flat highways through the desert and plains. However, there will be some mountain grades along the route through southern Colorado and Utah, and I'm wondering if there are any other RAV4 Hybrid owners that have towed something similar through mountain roads with their Hybrid model. I'm worried about downhill and all the weight relying solely on the RAV4's breaking power / transmission.

Any advice or validation would be super appreciated.

154506
 

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Alex on Autos did two very good videos on towing with the RAV4 Hybrid:


If the trailer doesn't have brakes then you're exceeding the US rating, which the owner's manual says is 1000 lbs. Although the owner's manual also says the braked rating is 1500 lbs instead of 1750, and I'm not sure why that number varies, and maybe the braked version is really something like 1250? Regardless, you're over the limit.

However, the European Union has different standards for towing, and they rated the RAV4 Prime at 1650/750 kg, or 3600/1650 lbs (braked/unbraked). So, by their standards you would be fine.

Personally, I would feel comfortable towing that trailer in your situation. But be extra cautious on the highways. Keep your speed below 55 mph, especially on descents. Double-check the weight distribution for maximum stability.

If you're not comfortable exceeding the rating (and that's completely understandable!), it's sometimes possible to add brakes to a trailer. It would cost something like $150 to DIY, I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Alex on Autos did two very good videos on towing with the RAV4 Hybrid:


If the trailer doesn't have brakes then you're exceeding the US rating, which the owner's manual says is 1000 lbs. Although the owner's manual also says the braked rating is 1500 lbs instead of 1750, and I'm not sure why that number varies, and maybe the braked version is really something like 1250? Regardless, you're over the limit.

However, the European Union has different standards for towing, and they rated the RAV4 Prime at 1650/750 kg, or 3600/1650 lbs (braked/unbraked). So, by their standards you would be fine.

Personally, I would feel comfortable towing that trailer in your situation. But be extra cautious on the highways. Keep your speed below 55 mph, especially on descents. Double-check the weight distribution for maximum stability.

If you're not comfortable exceeding the rating (and that's completely understandable!), it's sometimes possible to add brakes to a trailer. It would cost something like $150 to DIY, I think.
Thank you!

I did see Alex on Autos videos, but he's using trailer brakes in those videos.
 

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Although the owner's manual also says the braked rating is 1500 lbs instead of 1750, and I'm not sure why that number varies, and maybe the braked version is really something like 1250?
So I've noticed that and ask Toyota about it. They confirmed it's 1750, but did not explain why there is a discrepancy in the manual.
 

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Just towed a 5x8 utility trailer (400 lbs) with at least 600 lbs of payload (stuff that would not fit in the moving pods) 750 miles from California to Utah with a 2020 Hybrid XLE. The Sierras are brutal going east but the car towed without a problem. Gas mileage was crap over the Sierras but was around 25mpg from Reno on. No problems braking and performance was overall very good. I have a wheel chock mounted on the trailer for my motorcycle which we towed over with my F150 but I have no doubt the Rav4h would handle the 650lb motorcycle without an issue.
 

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I have no experience towing with the Rav4, sorry, but I wanted to pop in and say-- that trailer looks amazing! Curious to hear how it went (assuming this trip happened).
 

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I have a very similar camping trailer with a roof top tent and I am wanting to do a similar trip. Please do let us know how it went.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have a very similar camping trailer with a roof top tent and I am wanting to do a similar trip. Please do let us know how it went.
The trailer I was gonna borrow didn’t have brakes installed so I chickend out and got the rooftop tent only, mounted to the roof rails. Been super happy with the set up but a trailer would have been slick.
 

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I have a very similar camping trailer with a roof top tent and I am wanting to do a similar trip. Please do let us know how it went.
The trailer I was gonna borrow didn’t have brakes installed so I chickend out and got the rooftop tent only, mounted to the roof rails. Been super happy with the set up but a trailer would have been slick.
I built a camping trailer similar to that one in the picture and I have been towing it with my 2 door Jeep Wrangler. I think I am going to give it a try with my hybrid.
 

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I built a camping trailer similar to that one in the picture and I have been towing it with my 2 door Jeep Wrangler. I think I am going to give it a try with my hybrid.
Ultimately, I decided against it because adding a hitch to my RAV4 would make it much lower than normal, which would kill ground clearance on any off-roading and the trailer wouldn't be level when connected.
 

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Ultimately, I decided against it because adding a hitch to my RAV4 would make it much lower than normal, which would kill ground clearance on any off-roading and the trailer wouldn't be level when connected.
The OEM hitch doesn't affect ground clearance at all, it does affect departure angle, but the plus side of that is the hitch will hit before soft parts are damaged (valance and exhaust tips), you can always add a hitch skid too.
 

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Hi -- new member here, seeking advice on towing with a 2020 RAV4 Hybrid XSE. I'm planning a long road trip from central Texas to the West Coast through the mountains and back through the desert towing a friend's custom built overlanding trailer (photo attached below) that clocks in around 1,500 lbs loaded but no trailer brakes (I don't think lighter trailers usually do?).

I know the towing capacity is listed at 1,750 lbs, so I'm not worried about weight limits especially on flat highways through the desert and plains. However, there will be some mountain grades along the route through southern Colorado and Utah, and I'm wondering if there are any other RAV4 Hybrid owners that have towed something similar through mountain roads with their Hybrid model. I'm worried about downhill and all the weight relying solely on the RAV4's breaking power / transmission.

Any advice or validation would be super appreciated.

View attachment 154506
The OEM hitch doesn't affect ground clearance at all, it does affect departure angle, but the plus side of that is the hitch will hit before soft parts are damaged (valance and exhaust tips), you can always add a hitch skid too.
 

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I didn’t have any problems towing my trailer. It has a rooftop tent with ac/heat and duct hoses that are attached through the floor of the RTT.
 

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I think your missile launcher should be pointed towards the rear, instead of towards your RAV, so that you can fire when people are tail-gating you. 🤪

Nice looking rig!
 
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