New To-Me Tow Vehicle: 2009 Toyota RAV4 V-6 - Fiberglass RV
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Old 12-09-2016, 05:33 AM   #1
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Trailer: 1973 Compact II / 2001 Honda CRV SE automatic
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New To-Me Tow Vehicle: 2009 Toyota RAV4 V-6

After 10 yrs of towing with my trusty 2001 Honda CRV, with almost 300k miles, it was time to retire it. I'd been planning on trading it in this year, but the deciding factor was when the transmission started to slip on the commute back and forth to work! YIKES!

I'd already been eyeing cars at the various local car lots, and online as well. So I headed down to the local Toyota dealer and after some negotiating drove away with my new TV, a 2009 Toyota RAV4 V-6 Limited 4X4.

After so many years of the CRV, I knew I was ready for something with a V-6. The CRV's 4 cylinder did the job with my little Compact II, but it was always working hard, and I was kind of tired of that.

At the same time, I knew I didn't want some huge V-8 vehicle either, and I knew I wanted to stick to the SUV format for its versatility.

And I'd heard rumors of good things of the RAV4 generation that had the option of a V-6. It's a 3.5L, so TONS of power for a fairly small-sized SUV.
It came with a factory hitch, and I BELIEVE a 3500lb towing capacity, but ironically no wiring harness for the trailer! Go figure huh?
At least I knew that it had NEVER towed anything before...hehe

So after a weekend project of running the wiring harness, I've towed my Compact II on several trips with it now.
It tows like a DREAM! Barely know the trailer's there, and the fuel economy doesn't vary too much.
Another little plus, I can see the hitch of the trailer in the backup camera, and by watching it I can just about get completely hitched, versus the old way of backing up some, moving the car some, then backing up more, and so on and so on... hehe

Have had it since June and so far so good! We'll see how things go from here!
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Old 12-09-2016, 07:25 AM   #2
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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The dealer can check using the VIN whether it has the factory tow package. IIRC, that includes neither receiver nor wiring, but it does include a bigger radiator, ATF cooler, and HD alternator. If it doesn't have it, I'd at least look into adding the ATF cooler.

It should be a nice performance upgrade from your CR-V. We have an '06, but we tow with our larger Pilot. The RAV-4 has similar power, but in a more manageable size. Beware stomping the right pedal when not hitched!

Happy travels!
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Old 12-09-2016, 09:08 AM   #3
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Trailer: Trails West Campster 1970
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That's on my list of possible new TVs. I'd buy one in a second if they were available new.
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Old 12-09-2016, 10:54 AM   #4
Name: Bill & Jeanie
Trailer: Building camper in Ram Promaster van
North Carolina
Posts: 73
I ordered my 07 Rav4 Limited V6 AWD with the tow package and it came with a four wire flat plug neatly mounted on a bracket. Don't know it that was the practice in 2009 but as another poster noted the VIN number should tell all. It has been a great car with probably the best engine I've ever owned.
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Old 12-09-2016, 11:04 AM   #5
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Trailer: Boler 1977
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Yep, the Rav4 is superb for towing up and down hills. I have a v6 2007, with 116,000 miles. I had an 4 cylinder 2005, but it didn't have the power or stability so I traded it. My only complaint is they discontinued the v6 in 2013, so hopefully this one will go a good, long time.
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Old 12-09-2016, 11:04 AM   #6
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Name: Carl
Trailer: 2014 16 scamp side dinette/Rav4 V6 Tow pkg.
Posts: 578
Good luck with your Rav4. I have 2012 V6 tow pkg. No receiver or wiring came with it, had to get U-Haul to install it, since i am electrically challenged. I like it alot , lots of power when merging onto a highway. Only thing i wish was that the inside was a little bigger, but then again we have a Golden that hogs up the whole back seat, she won`t stay still in the cargo area, we think it is the sound or she wants to be closer to us. Good luck with it.
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Old 12-09-2016, 03:00 PM   #7
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Name: Randy J.
Trailer: Trillium
Posts: 154
Well, thanks. I've towed our older Trillium for three summers with a 2008 Pontiac Vibe which, while it tows like a breeze, doesn't allow me much cargo weight - to stay within the stated 1500 lbs. limit. The Rav V6 sounds like a good and affordable alternative. Like you, I refuse to go to a gas-guzzling earth destroyer just to go camping!
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Old 12-09-2016, 04:07 PM   #8
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Caution when shopping for a used RAV-4 V6... If it has the towing package, it is rated to tow 3500 pounds, but if not, only 2000 pounds. You can't tell by looking at the back, as the tow package consists of under-hood upgrades. Receiver and wiring are purchased separately and may be used (for a smaller trailer) without ordering the tow package. The only way to be sure is to have the dealer run the VIN and pull up the build sheet.

You may have to hunt to find one with the tow package.

Based on personal experience with an earlier Toyota V6 with the same tow ratings ('00 Sienna), I would want at least an ATF cooler, even for an under-2000 pound trailer.
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