Skip to main content

Why You Can Master Snow Driving in Your 2020 Toyota RAV4

My video review and pics show why you can breathe a little easier driving in the snow with your 2020 RAV4.


Over the past year I have found several reasons to recommend the newly redesigned 2019 and 2020 Toyota RAV4. They drive smooth and comfortably, have cool and rugged styling, and are loaded with new safety and technology.

Plus, you will find 2020 RAV4 Hybrids get 40mpg combined, have great power at 219 horsepower and are a very good value. These are a few reasons why RAV4 Hybrid is the best-selling hybrid in America right now.

However, what does a 2020 Toyota RAV4 drive like in the snow? I mean, this is the time of year we should be wondering. I live in North Carolina now but spent most of my life growing up in Michigan. Believe me, I understand how treacherous snow driving can be, and how important it is to have a solid 4WD or AWD drivetrain system in your vehicle.

I recently had the opportunity to review a 2020 Toyota RAV4 Limited AWD at the same time we had a snowstorm here in Raleigh, NC. Yes, the stars aligned perfectly. There was actually some snow, in North Carolina, and I had the RAV4 all-wheel drive I have been hearing so much about.

Sounds like a great time to put it to the test.

2020 RAV4 has several AWD systems

Toyota manufactured the newest generation RAV4 with 3 different all-wheel drive configurations, each with their own benefits.

You will find an all-wheel drive system with multi-terrain select on LE AWD, XLE AWD and XLE Premium AWD. Multi-terrain select mode adjusts traction based on if you are driving on mud and sand, rock and dirt or simply in normal mode. Sensing wheel spin, your RAV4 automatically adjusts the throttle, brakes and drive-force distribution of the engine.

2020 Toyota RAV4 Limited AWD multi-terrain select

All 2020 RAV4 Hybrid trim levels have electronic on-demand all-wheel drive with trail mode. On-demand means your hybrid drives as if it were front-wheel drive until it senses your wheels spinning. Then it switches to all-wheel drive mode. This allows you to have optimal traction based on your driving conditions, while still giving you the best gas mileage possible.

Dynamic torque vectoring all-wheel drive with multi-terrain select and rear driveline disconnect is found on RAV4 Limited AWD, TRD Off-Road and Adventure grades. What a buzzword, right? Dynamic torque vectoring. Let’s simplify things. This system can send up to 50% of engine torque to the rear wheels when wheel spin is detected and can then distribute this power to the left and right wheels where it is needed most. Sounds like an ideal snowy driving solution, does it not?

2020 Toyota RAV4 Limited AWD dynamic torque vectoring

When you do not need all-wheel drive, your 2020 RAV4 will operate only in front-wheel drive mode to optimize fuel efficiency. It can switch back to all-wheel drive mode instantly.

My impressions of 2020 RAV4 in snow

I found this system extremely useful while testing out the capabilities of the RAV4 Limited AWD I was in. Even though only a couple inches of snow fell during my review, this is a common situation many of us find ourselves in. If the roads are slick due to even a little rain or snow, we need peace of mind that our vehicle can handle itself to keep us and our families safe.

Another time when RAV4 AWD was needed was during cornering. Going up and down curvy hills with snowy and icy road conditions. Dynamic torque vectoring sent more traction to the individual wheel that needed it most.

2020 Toyota RAV4 Limited AWD dynamic torque vectoring active cornering assist

Every 2019 and 2020 RAV4 comes with standard active cornering assist. In a move to prevent your vehicle from understeering in different situations, your RAV4 will apply extra braking pressure to the inside wheels while going around sharp turns and corners. Imagine how helpful this would be both in dry and slick conditions.

If you watch my included video review, notice the all-wheel drive display behind the steering wheel. This shows you in real-time fashion which wheels are getting extra traction during each driving scenario I show.

VIDEO REVIEW: See how RAV4 Limited AWD does when it snows out.

Time for your thoughts on Toyota RAV4 and snow

Thanks for reading my story. I appreciate you bookmarking the Torque News / Toyota News page so you can follow my regular Toyota news, reviews and how-to’s stories.

What do you think of RAV4 in the snow? Do you own one currently and how has it done in the snow for you so far? Also, what do you think of multi-terrain select function and have you used this yet?

See you next story when I reveal just how far you can travel on one tank of gasoline in your new 2020 Highlander Hybrid.

Follow Jeff Teague on social media:

- Torque News Toyota - Bookmark this page for Toyota news, reviews and how-to's
- YouTube channel - "Toyotajeff in Raleigh". If you like Toyota, you should enjoy my channel.
- Facebook page - "Toyotajeff"
- Instagram page - @toyotajeff1. Behind-the-scenes looks.
- Twitter - @toyotajeff1 . A combination of everything.

Thanks everyone for following me.

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY: What fans are saying about 2021 RAV4 Prime in our video analysis.Please subscribe to Torque News YouTube for the latest automotive analysis and Toyota news.


Digitaldoc (not verified)    February 23, 2020 - 10:48PM

Toyota makes a plenty decent AWD system, so makes sense this RAV4 handled the snow. Would be interested to hear how the RAV4 Hybrid system performs, with the eAWD system, and the rear wheels are only electric powered, and may not run continuously to save power. Any winter driving experiences with that setup?

ray c (not verified)    March 2, 2021 - 9:23AM

In reply to by Digitaldoc (not verified)

Hi I just received a 2021 Hybrid Rav4 and was driving on the logging road near my cabin. I noticed the car was fishtailing going up the hill. I switched on the screen that shows the power being distributed to the 4 wheels and noticed more power going to the rear than the front. This was indicative of how the Rav was handling. I tried Trail mode but no change. When I take it in for service im going to ask if the power percentage from front to back can be altered. As it is now I am do not feel safe over 5 mph in the snow. I compare this to my Subaru and Rogue AWD systems.

Michael (not verified)    March 4, 2020 - 8:05AM

I doubt you'll see an answer like that about the hybrid system. This seems like cut and paste journalism. So unless it's already been posted somewhere else.....

Ira (not verified)    January 3, 2021 - 5:00PM

I have a 2020 Rav4 limited. When do I push the snow button? Would you please specify any and all conditions where it would be appropriate to use it.
Once this has been engaged, is there a limited amount of time that it can remain in snow mode?
Thank you for your help.