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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everone, I am about to buy a Rav4 (V6 4wd Sport), but am not sure it can do everything I want it to...I am an avid hiker and quite often I go down dirt roads that can be quite precarious especially in the winter time. I have read reviews that say the Rav shouldn't really be driven off of the pavement...is this true? i know it isn't built for serious off-roading, but I am hoping it can get me where I want to go. I can't find anyone who rents them locally. What do you think? Have you taken them off road, and how did they fare?
Thanks!
 

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Uh oh, guess if they were right, I ruined mine already!!! I spent about 50 miles of the first 300 miles offroad which required 4-lock most of the time, no problems. Had to turn around at some mud holes that looked deeper than I wanted to try since I didn't have a winch or partner vehicle to help me out, but the Rav4 does just fine for mild offroading or softroading. One of the reviews shows it in softroad mode, don't remember which one it was, but it's in the review forum. Maybe who ever made that non-offroad statement didn't notice the DAC button!!
 

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cburnap said:
Have you taken them off road, and how did they fare?
Please kindly refer to my album on forums here, using the button below.

Overall impression is, RAV4 seems to be adequate, provided it has good tires which suit the terrain and conditions. The 4x4 system and the lock option pefrorm as advertized. Things I didn't like were:

- Badly needs a high-stall torque converter or a lower geared reverse. I managed to get stuck turning around, because reverse stalled (managed to rock it out gently). But going forward the thing can start and climb a 30 degree incline.
- Underbody is not protected at all, so pay a healthy respect even to small boulders embedded in the trail. Seriously. Despite the good clearance, your wheel can find a hole when least helpful.
- View over the hood is suboptimal, when compared to fenders of a jeep. So I had to go on memory over every little hillcock. By the way, my head almost touches the headliner, I am 200cm tall.
- Securing the cargo is a chore, with just 4 points. More so when seats are folded.

{Edit: I forgot to mention, my 2.4L I-4 provides plenty of power for off-roading. I do not think V-6 is necessary. It is mostly needed if you tow or like the extra kick. But it won't hurt.}
 
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Discussion Starter #5
We use to go dear spotting on logging trails in Pennsylvania with a 2-wheel drive 1988 Mazda truck (similar "low" ground clearance). And, like the RAV4.3 it had no skid plate protection underneath.

You could hear the gravels kicking up and hitting the underside but that caused no problems. Light off roading with the RAV4 will never be a problem as long as the trails do not have deep ruts in them and you don't try really muddy sections.

I would only take it anyplace a car could go (when dry) and thus you will never get stuck when it is a little muddy, slushy, or snowy.

Well, I think you still will want M+S (mud & snow) tires for those days anyway. I've been on red clay soaked by days of rain in a 4X4 truck w/ the TRD Off Road package. It was not confidence inspiring because wet clay is slicker than owl shi... Keep that RAV4 off roading very tame or you'll find out how lame it is.
 

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Here's the review I mentioned...

Australian offroad review

From Toyota...

Toyota RAV4s are designed to meet most off-road driving requirements. Abusive use may result in bodily harm or damage. Toyota encourages responsible operation to protect you, your vehicle and the environment.
http://www.toyota.com/rav4/specs.html

I think the offroading that "most" people will do, the 4.3 will do fine with a little common sense and good offroad driving skills.

The places I took mine a week ago would be where no 2-wheel drive would have made it without getting stuck or at least seriously delayed!! The main logging road that we accessed the secondary roads from was marked by the county as "Impassable when wet", and they weren't kidding, they haven't done any winter work on that road, it was a sea of mud with a lot of deep ruts that needed to be negoatiated with care to avoid slipping into them and high centering.

The secondary single track roads were worse with places where many vehicles(probably 2WD) turned around, while we were able to go on thru carefully.

The really bad spots had no way to go around and the ruts were deeper than the 4.3 has clearance for, so those we too turned around. One of which had no wide spot, so the 34' turning circle of the 4.3 proved invaluable to make a back and forth turn in little over the 4.3's length, another offroad virtue!!

But I've been driving offroad vehicles for over 40yrs, cut my teeth on a '65 Scout, eventually bought a Jeep Cherokee which soon had 4" of lift, ARB lockers front and rear, front/rear Warn winch and all the other toys a serious offroad vehicle "needs"!!

The lack of a low range t-case will limit a lot of capabilites, specially for rock climbing, along with lack of ground clearnance and approach and departure angles that leave a bit to be desired.

That and the lack of underbody protection which makes it vulnerable when drivng skills and control aren't enough to negotiate an obstacle.

I give the 4.3 a big thumbs up for offroad drivng that 90% of you will encounter.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
flyingn said:
Rav4her- we are talking about the 06's BIG difference then the 4.3's.. The 06's are way better off road then the previous models. So all the magazines say..
Way better??? Nice qualifier "so the magazines say" 8)
I'm sure it is better but I would reserve "way" for the next step above soft-roader I guess.

I've wallowed through a shallow sea of mud with our 4.2 and I was impressed. Any improvement would be welcome and I'm sure the 4.3 is better by having some more ground clearance and the differential lock feature.

So take no offense at my thoughts on the 4.3 when generally speaking on car-framed SUV's. I just want people to approach their off-road exploits incrementally until they know their 4.3's limits.

Too many people (non-RAV4 owners of course) already make the mistake of thinking if a 4X4 can "go" in snow...that it will also stop just as effectively. And, last time the remnants of a hurricane came through our region, I saw a purdy 4X4 emerald green F-150 pushed off a flooded road and down into some trees. The trees kept it and the occupants from being taken further downstream.

Those are just my thoughts. I want to be careful answering when someone asks how much off-roading can they do, just like I am when they ask shouldn't it be able to pull a 5,000 pound trailer.
 

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I think the following from the Australian offroad review sums up the 4.3's offroad capability well...

"These were the same roads we launched the LandCruiser 100 on," said Toyota Australia executive chairman John Conomos. "We wanted to show that the RAV4 could handle these roads if somebody wanted to, but we've taken it to the extreme."

All cars made it through relatively unscathed, except for a couple of punctures and some underbody plastic cladding that pulled away.

But Mr Conomos says hard-core off-roading is not the car's typical operating environment.
LandCruiser 100
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Quickdtoo said:
I think the following from the Australian offroad review sums up the 4.3's offroad capability well...
Yeah thats it but it says more...
 
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A few other noteworthy quotes from the above article (selectively ignored by earlier posts?)

"The RAV4 struggled to climb a steep gravel incline from a standing start. Twice, the manual car simply washed off engine revs until it stalled, and out of fear of burning out the clutch, the decision was made to abandon the exercise"

"A water crossing that followed posed little challenge for our car, but other Australian media complained trick electronics (it was presumed) limited the cars' power, leaving barely enough to create a wake ahead of the front wheels"

"But Mr Conomos says hard-core off-roading is not the car's typical operating environment. Toyota is pitching the bigger RAV4 to an older clientele than the previous car, to young families as an alternative to conventional station wagons "
 

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RAV4HER said:
A few other noteworthy quotes from the above article (selectively ignored by earlier posts?)

"The RAV4 struggled to climb a steep gravel incline from a standing start. Twice, the manual car simply washed off engine revs until it stalled, and out of fear of burning out the clutch, the decision was made to abandon the exercise".
Not applicable since the manual transmission isn't available in the US, even the I4 with an auto would have made a big difference and the V6 is another story all together. Here again, a low-range would have saved the day.


RAV4HER said:
"A water crossing that followed posed little challenge for our car, but other Australian media complained trick electronics (it was presumed) limited the cars' power, leaving barely enough to create a wake ahead of the front wheels"

As was stated, they carried the test to an extreme, I don't think the Rav4 is rated for water crossings of the magnatude of the course, but it did make the crossing.

I wouldn't be quick to judge the 4.3 if you have never driven a 4.3, or any vehicle offroad for that matter, I've been there and done it and think it's quite capable for what most of us would want to do who have a little experience and common sense.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
Quickdtoo said:
I wouldn't be quick to judge the 4.3 if you have never driven a 4.3, or any vehicle offroad for that matter, I've been there and done it and think it's quite capable for what most of us would want to do who have a little experience and common sense.
The key thing to remember that its just a tall 4WD car and can't handle too much more than you would with a regular car (though I've seen quite a bit with regular cars in Costa Rica).

You can't really even do as much as something like a Subaru as those have 1"+ more ground clearance and factory bashplates on the underside.

Use the right tool for the right job or you'll be sorry.
 

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I think the only ones that will be sorry will be those that think they know more than they do about off road driving and don't use common sense as rav4her mentioned about stopping a 4x4 on snow/ice.
 
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But you'd be wrong.

Driving a vehicle offroad with minimal ground clearance and an unprotected underside is an expensive experiment. Stick to maintained dirt roads. I've personally seen what happens to softroaders in Costa Rica...
 

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Quickdtoo said:
RAV4HER said:
A few other noteworthy quotes from the above article (selectively ignored by earlier posts?)

"The RAV4 struggled to climb a steep gravel incline from a standing start. Twice, the manual car simply washed off engine revs until it stalled, and out of fear of burning out the clutch, the decision was made to abandon the exercise".
Not applicable since the manual transmission isn't available in the US, even the I4 with an auto would have made a big difference and the V6 is another story all together. Here again, a low-range would have saved the day.


RAV4HER said:
"A water crossing that followed posed little challenge for our car, but other Australian media complained trick electronics (it was presumed) limited the cars' power, leaving barely enough to create a wake ahead of the front wheels"

As was stated, they carried the test to an extreme, I don't think the RAV4 is rated for water crossings of the magnatude of the course, but it did make the crossing.

I wouldn't be quick to judge the 4.3 if you have never driven a 4.3, or any vehicle offroad for that matter, I've been there and done it and think it's quite capable for what most of us would want to do who have a little experience and common sense.



One major thing was left out in this summary of the off road test, and quite a few different Aussie motoring publications went along , so each had a different evaluation.

On the day the car failed the water crossing and climb, it was about 45 degrees celcius (roughly 120 degrees in F if I'm not wrong.).

They attempted the same things the next day when it was only about 25 degrees and the cars had little to no problems acheiving the tasks.

I dont know if the heat really was an issue, but it does seem like it was.
 

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Addendum & Blackrock

BTW, since we're on topic. When I considered the purchase of the 4.3, one of missions which I set when compiling the mission profile and requirements of the vehicle was the annual trip to Blackrock which I make in August-September. Conditions are very dry, though any underground water makes for a nice trap. The place looks approximately like this:
http://people.redhat.com/zaitcev/neon/blackrock.html

While it looks easy, I had to abandon my car a few times and hitch rides. RAV4 should be able to handle the conditions. I'll post a report this September (in a new thread, if the moderator does not mind), and pictures to the album.
 

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zaitcev,

When I was researching the new Rav4 for a replacement for my previous 4x4, a Tralblazer, I needed a rig that would haul my 2000lb boat and all my gear, have reasonable mild offroad capabilities and still get better MPG than my Trailblazer which has done well offroad for me in the areas I frequent while hunting and fishing.

The TB has about the same ground clearance as the Rav4, but a longer wheelbase and plastic protection underneath, no metal skid plates except under the radiatorl! Never had a problem with the TB offroad, and the Rav4 hasn't disappointed me yet in 2 offroad trips, the first one with over 25 miles on the secondary single track I mentioned. My huntin and fishin partner of 33yrs is impressed with the Rav4, too, he's always been a mid to full size SUV man, but he's liking the Rav, a lot!! He drives a '95 Suburban 4x4!!

From the looks of the pics, you shouldn't have any problems, just go slow and don't go alone, when offroading, there's safety in numbers!!

btw, I was pleased when I filled up after the offroad driving and 150 mile trip, 25.8 mpg with speeds between 55-65mph to and from our turkey huntin area.

Tim
 

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Re: Addendum & Blackrock

that looks fun zai!! Im sure the rav with its traction control will be fine for such a trip. Can't wait to seee the pics!

zaitcev said:
BTW, since we're on topic. When I considered the purchase of the 4.3, one of missions which I set when compiling the mission profile and requirements of the vehicle was the annual trip to Blackrock which I make in August-September. Conditions are very dry, though any underground water makes for a nice trap. The place looks approximately like this:
http://people.redhat.com/zaitcev/neon/blackrock.html

While it looks easy, I had to abandon my car a few times and hitch rides. RAV4 should be able to handle the conditions. I'll post a report this September (in a new thread, if the moderator does not mind), and pictures to the album.
 
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