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How does the 2019 Toyota RAV4 all-wheel drive work?

The change in the Toyota RAV4 chassis makes it the perfect urban SUV. This is possible thanks to the E-Four electronic system. In all-wheel-drive RAV4 Hybrid models, the popular E-Four electronic system is offered, along with the mechanical system. The mechanical system is commonly found in the majority of all-wheel drive petrol and diesel models (non-hybrids).


How does the system work?

Models with E-Four-wheel drive engage an additional rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels. The Toyota Hybrid engine and motor deliver power to the front wheels. Because these two parts work at the same time, they enhance grip and stability. Which allows the torque to be dispersed between all four wheels evenly.

Toyota RAV4 all wheel drive at Freedom Toyota of Hamburg, PA
Toyota RAV4 all wheel drive at Freedom Toyota of Hamburg, PA

Optimal Power Delivery

Generally, for fuel efficiency, all of a car’s power is sent to the front wheels. Power distribution in the RAV4 is controlled by the electronic control unit, which measures a lot of information iIncluding but not limited to the speed, angle, and more. It does this to ensure that the torque is spread evenly.

Best of all, it does this in real time and there is no delay. For example, if the electronic control unit calculates that the front wheels are slipping, it will immediately direct more torque to the rear. It tells the rear motor to generate the right amount of torque to the rear wheels to overcome the difference.

All-wheel drive and driving conditions


During basic paved road driving conditions, both front and rear axles might split the torque 50/50. When pulling away or going up a hill, the control unit will generate more torque to the rear wheels, around 90/10.

Or if the conditions permit, the front axle will receive 90% of the torque, leading to more fuel efficiency. It all depends on the calculations that the control unit is doing in real time. The driver doesn’t have to think about it or do anything. There is, of course, an option for the driver to get a bit of control, called “Sport Mode”, which we will revisit later on. The entire system creates a sportier and safer driving experience.

On top of all this, the all-wheel drive system doubles the towing capacity of the RAV4 Hybrid. Front-wheel drive models can tow up to 1760 lbs while models with E-Four all-wheel drive can tow 3600 lbs.

4th Generation

Mechanical all-wheel drive


The fourth-generation RAV4 has a feature that allows it to coordinate all of the systems involved in the four-wheel drive, from the stability control to the electric power steering.

This new systems works proactively. Unlike the previous gen versions, it doesn’t wait for a slip to happen. It disperses the torque to each wheel based on the information it calculates as you drive.

This model also offers an option to change the default setting to enhance the level of the system’s interaction by including Sport mode, activated by a button in the center console.

This mode sends information to the control unit from the sensors that are monitoring the vehicle’s performance. Some of that data is the vehicle’s speed, steering angle, throttle input, and more. The program then uses this information to measure how much torque will be delivered to the rear.

When you start driving, the system defaults to a 90:10 front/rear torque dispersion. This allows the car to have the best cornering and grip. When this happens, it also restricts the load on the front wheels and the chance of understeering.

Toyota RAV4 all wheel drive at Freedom Toyota of Hamburg, PA

The Toyota RAV4 is a recreational, active vehicle with four wheel drive. The fourth generation has the Electronic four wheel drive (hybrids) and the mechanical four wheel drive (non-hybrids). They both work to control the delivery of torque between the two sets of axles and four wheels.

Using computer programs, the systems are able to deliver the right amount of torque to the four wheels in real time. The only difference is that there is a secondary motor in the E-Four all-wheel drive that delivers power to the rear. As the driver, you don’t need to do any work aside from focusing on the road.


Want to learn more about the 2019 Toyota RAV4? Ready to get behind the wheel? Contact our staff at Freedom Toyota, located in Hamburg, PA for more information or to schedule a test drive today!

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