I hesitate to respond because we tow with our Honda CRV, 4 cylinder, manual transmission for four years. Many think the Honda is too small. We base our use on European standards for the same car. In Europe large trucks and other vehicles are simply not available in the same way as the USA. People just tow with lighter vehicles. In Europe the CRV is rated for 1500 pounds if your trailler doesn't have electric brakes
and 3000 pounds with electric brakes
This year we towed a Casita
16 and have just purchased a Scamp
16 (because it's taller inside than a Casita
by 5 inches). This winter we resisted purchasing a Casita
17 though marginally longer than a Casita 16 and taller inside. The Caista 17 is significantly nose heavier; it was too nose heavy for our Honda.
We have made a loop of the USA and a cross Labrador trip towing our trailers. We have never had a towing issue. We do not use a Weight
Distribution hitch but have used a anti-sway bar, mostly for emergency situations, not for sway while towing.
Most of our traveling is in fifth gear, occasionally we have to down shift for hills, particularly long hills.
We do like the Honda's intelligent 4 wheel drive, on a few dirt roads and in a couple of streams it's kicked in and pulled us thru
We do get some of the highest mileage numbers towing this class of trailer, 23 mpg. I should also say we never drive over 60 mph, believing the ratings on trailer tires
of 65 mph max.
We travel 7 months of the year and do a lot of sight seeing after parking here and there. One nice part to the CRV is we get 30mpg on highways and 28 just scotting around. Though not a true off roader, it's fine on dirt roads; we've driven the 1000 mile dirt Labrador highway and 100's of miles of dirt in AZ and NM. It has plenty of clearance and has been extremely reliable in 140,000 miles.
We have never driven a Rav 4 but I believe they are very similar to a Honda CRV.
One thing I've learned about the CRV is that with no load 57% of the CRV's weight
is on the front wheels, even more so with two front passengers. The addition of the Scamp
16 and Casita 16 do not seem to affect the level travel of the CRV when towing.
Our CRV is a 2004.
Hope this helps,