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In the next couple of years I will replace my FJ cruiser the new rav is a candidate, my days of heavy off-roading are behind me so the fj is now overkill I tow a 1200 kg van and do light off road that the rav should handle as a ex mechanic I learnt to buy a new model after the first update.
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1200kg? Look at the towing capacities. Not familiar with the NZ models, but for the US models, towing capacity for all the 4 cyl ones, it is 1500 lbs. The V6 models have the base towing at 2000lbs and, only with towing package (option TO), 3500lbs. In kg that is 680 kg, 900 kg, 1590 kg respectively.
 

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2008 RAV4 Limited V6
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Does anyone know what's different in the base towing vs towing kit?
Yes, towing prep package was only offered on V6. It included larger radiator and electric fans, larger alternator, and a wire going from the TOW fuse under the bonnet through the firewall to a spot under the dash.
 

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The radiator on the TO is just slightly longer but much "thicker". Also there are some "dog ears" installed under the rear bumper, where the factory receiver bar would be installed. Those provide additional mounting points.
Personally, if I would tow, I would definitely add a supplementary cooler for transmission. Too hot here in the summer.

PS: I was looking to get a cheaper receiver bar than the OE one, but they are all connected in less points than the OE one. I have a feeling that the lower number of connection points adds extra stress to the rear frame.
 

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Seems that the tow ratings on Rav4's are much higher in NZ and Australia compared to North America. I looked up new Rav4s in New Zealand, except for the base model 2l they are rated at 1500kg, (600kg without trailer brakes) I remember reading this about Gen 4.3 models too. I spent a month on the North Island in 2012, didn't seem like Kiwis worried much about tow ratings, old Ford Rangers and Land Rovers hauling what looked like small fishing trawlers on tandem trailers without concern. With the price of gas ~2.15 / liter not to0 many big vehicles on the road. Got introduced to fishing torpedoes, lamb pizza and Hawkes Bay Clearview fortified wine, which goes down way to easy.
 

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I believe that the lower towing weight limits for North America and especially the U.S.could be due to possible liability problems (U.S. is lawsuit - happy) in the event of a crash and resulting braking and trailer whip-around issues. Have lived and driven in other countries where tort lawsuits are basically non-existent. Also actual and implied government, both state/provincial and government safety standards may be factors.
 

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The OP is considering a 5th gen. Rav my new car?.

Tow laws in other parts of the world are based on different criteria than in the US.

 
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