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Hi, I have a Rav4 Hybrid and have had difficulty loading 2 adult bikes in the back...my dealer told me the only solution was to get a roof bike rack, but I know I would never be able to mount the bike on/off each time. Mounting the hitch is very expensive, and as the bikes are only for recreational rides with my son, I am uninclined to spend that kind of money.

I read somewhere that there are "full back" bike racks that are suited for the Hybrid Rav4 (specifically). Does anyone have such a model and if so, which is it? Is it stable, both for the car and for the bikes? We live in Tuscany with lots of narrow winding roads so the rack would need to be stable enough not to be affected by the twists and turns.

I would be infinitely grateful for any help with this as we are keen to "solve" this and take our bikes around with us.

Thank you :)
 

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I have a Thule Helium Aero 3 aluminum bike rack that attaches very securely to the trailer hitch receiver on my 2017 XLE Hybrid. It carriers the bikes with a minimum of sway (which can be nearly eliminated using a few strategically placed bungee cords).
 

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I have a Thule Helium Aero 3 aluminum bike rack that attaches very securely to the trailer hitch receiver on my 2017 XLE Hybrid. It carriers the bikes with a minimum of sway (which can be nearly eliminated using a few strategically placed bungee cords).
I have that rack, and it is awesome! Only weighs 18 lbs, attaches securely to both 1 1/4 and 2 inch openings, has an anti sway clip and a built in bicycle lock. Cars come and go but that rack is a keeper.
 

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I bought the Curt 13149 Class 3 Hitch for $115 from Amazon and had it installed by a local tire/lube shop for $100. Honestly, if my GF did not have psychic scarring from helping me install a hitch on my previous Civic (took like 7 hours, so many things went wrong...), we could have installed this hitch in the garage in under an hour. Theres a ton of clearance and the install on the RAV4H is super simple. The frame holes even have welded nuts so you just have to ratchet the bolts in. Hardest thing would be the exhaust hanger (the one on the Civic refused to budge).

All in all, ~$220 total for professional installation in parts isn't bad at all, and was half what Toyota wants for the more flush, OEM hitch.
 

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I bought the Curt 13149 Class 3 Hitch for $115 from Amazon and had it installed by a local tire/lube shop for $100. Honestly, if my GF did not have psychic scarring from helping me install a hitch on my previous Civic (took like 7 hours, so many things went wrong...), we could have installed this hitch in the garage in under an hour. Theres a ton of clearance and the install on the RAV4H is super simple. The frame holes even have welded nuts so you just have to ratchet the bolts in. Hardest thing would be the exhaust hanger (the one on the Civic refused to budge).

All in all, ~$220 total for professional installation in parts isn't bad at all, and was half what Toyota wants for the more flush, OEM hitch.
Thanks for the description and picture. I'm thinking about putting one on mine and I have a couple of follow-up questions:

1. Do you know if the installer needed to trim the rear bumper?

2. What did you put in for a trailer wiring harness? I'm eyeing one on ebay that appears to have plug and play connectors and it looks like it would be a lot easier to install than the factory harness.

Thanks
 

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I also installed the 13149 Curt myself and only had to make a minor trim to the plastic cover that goes over the toe hook on the rear underside. The instructions for that trim are also in Curt’s instructions.


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Thanks for the description and picture. I'm thinking about putting one on mine and I have a couple of follow-up questions:

1. Do you know if the installer needed to trim the rear bumper?

2. What did you put in for a trailer wiring harness? I'm eyeing one on ebay that appears to have plug and play connectors and it looks like it would be a lot easier to install than the factory harness.

Thanks
My pleasure!

1.) No trim is needed to the rear bumper with the Curt hitch! The tradeoff is lower ground clearance in the back since it hangs below the bumper instead of going through it like the OEM hitch.

2.) I actually have not put in the trailer wiring harness. I considered it, but the harnesses I found all needed splicing and, combined with the fact that all I've used the hitch for is moving a couple of bikes, I haven't gotten around to installing one. I've noticed that with two bikes on the rack I use, all three brake lights are quite visible so I'm not worried about obstruction.

If you want the trailer lighting functionality, unless you have some experience with splicing into wiring and running cables through a vehicle cabin, I'd find a local car audio shop to install the harness. Alternatively, if that harness you've been eyeing on eBay is truly plug and play, that should be a very easy install! The harness I used on my Civic was plug and play with a ground wire (used an existing bolt in the trunk), 15 minutes start to finish on the install.
 

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If you want the trailer lighting functionality, unless you have some experience with splicing into wiring and running cables through a vehicle cabin, I'd find a local car audio shop to install the harness. Alternatively, if that harness you've been eyeing on eBay is truly plug and play, that should be a very easy install! The harness I used on my Civic was plug and play with a ground wire (used an existing bolt in the trunk), 15 minutes start to finish on the install.

There is no splicing of wires with the Curt wiring kit, its all plug and play except for adding a terminal end to the battery 12v wire and connecting it to the battery, watch the video I posted previously, click the red 4.4 video, the narrator calls the hybrid an EV, but it's an easy install, removing the interior panels is the hardest part, but with a simple, inexpensive tool made for that purpose it's not hard at all.
 

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We had to buy a trailer hitch and had it installed by a professional camper guy. We then bought the super heavy Thule bike rack that slots into it and you can have 2 bikes (or 4 with add on), locked down pretty firmly flat against the back of the car. I've been only moderately pleased with this set up because you have to turn off all of the Toyota proximity alarms even when there are no bikes on there. I only use it when I have to and have even taken to folding down the seats to transport just one bike because it seems like such an inconvenient and annoying hassle. It's a great hitch in terms of stable transport, but it really sucks that you can't keep it on all time and still use backup cameras, easily open the hatch and the proximity alarms are all useless.
 

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. It's a great hitch in terms of stable transport, but it really sucks that you can't keep it on all time and still use backup cameras, easily open the hatch and the proximity alarms are all useless.

The hitch doesn't interfere with any sensors unless you have the kick activated power back door, bike racks on the other hand are a PITA if you don't remove them when not hauling bikes, they prevent opening the hatch unless you fold the rack down or swing it out of the way first, it would be easier just to remove the rack from the hitch when you're not using it, you don't have to remove the hitch, although it's not hard to R&R at all, it only takes 4 bolts, I only install the hitch on my HV when I need it, that extra 40lbs doesn't need to be hauled around all time considering I only need it once in a while to haul bikes or tow my utility trailer.
 

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The hitch doesn't interfere with any sensors unless you have the kick activated power back door, bike racks on the other hand are a PITA if you don't remove them when not hauling bikes, they prevent opening the hatch unless you fold the rack down or swing it out of the way first, it would be easier just to remove the rack from the hitch when you're not using it, you don't have to remove the hitch, although it's not hard to R&R at all, it only takes 4 bolts, I only install the hitch on my HV when I need it, that extra 40lbs doesn't need to be hauled around all time considering I only need it once in a while to haul bikes or tow my utility trailer.
Well, I don't have the kick activated door and they beep like crazy when you back up. It will fold down if you want to get into the hatch door, but it still stays in the way of the sensors, so it's useless unless you're hauling a bike. So yeah, I remove it as soon as I can. I really hate it, but I don't think there is an alternative other than some crazy roof rack. Our old bike rack was just a nice $40 thing that would hang on the the back window of the 2005 Highlander, but the fin on the Rav doesn't allow that.
 

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The plug and play wiring harness can be purchased from etrailer or Amazon. The part number (used by different vendors) is 118578 and description is T-One Connector. This is by Tekonsha but labeled Reese, etc. and it’s a solid product for less than half the cost of Toyota’s.


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Look at the bike racks from 1UP-USA. I have one and it is phenomenal!!!

I installed a CURT hitch on my 2017 RAV4 SE Hybrid ... by myself, no issues. Probably took 45-50 minutes (make sure you have a BIG torque wrench).

The 1UP-USA racks are pricier than most, but more versatile than any I have seen. Also the sturdiest bike rack I've ever seen. Installs extremely quickly and bike loading is also lightning quick. Easily accommodates bikes of different wheel sizes.

Between vertical and horizontal, there is a convenient intermediate position which allows opening the lift gate without fear of jamming into the bike rack. I don't leave my bike rack in the vertical position out of fear that I'll forget it's there and press the button to open the lift gate.

Link to some public photos:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154925996382073.1073741848.576707072&type=1&l=4e406abf26

In my case, I have two bikes with small 20" wheels. I've also transported a "regular" bike with 27" wheels with a simple adjustment.
 

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I bought a Curt hitch and Kuat Racks Sherpa 2.0 rack. High quality and works flawlessly. I can rack two bikes securely in about a minute or two. Not cheap.
 

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I'm probably going to buy a Yakima Two Timer. 2 bike holder that tilts down away from the vehicle so the hatch can be opened without unloading the bikes. Plus it's got a hidden bottle opener on it too!
 

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I have owned/sold most of the racks mentioned here. OneUp is very nice but unless you are living/buying it in the US, it is way too pricey, and there are others that do it almost as well. My current favorite is the Yakima DrTray, just because it is so light weight and I have to take mine off and on the vehicle a lot. And it works with all tire sizes.
The Curt is about the best hitch for the Rav4 Hybrid. No real complications installing it at home. but it does disturb several of the alarms in the car (very annoying when backing up!).
 
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