Can a RAV4 tow a horse trailer?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Can a RAV4 tow a horse trailer? We will discuss the spec of a Toyota Rav4 and the basics of towing a horse trailer

Can a RAV4 tow a horse trailer?

With a towing capacity of 1500 kg, a RAV4 could tow a horse trailer, but you will have to take into consideration the empty weight of the horse trailer + the weight of the horse + the weight of the extras (saddle, water, straw, etc.)

The weight of a horse trailer is variable, but it will hardly fall below 350 kg, and in many cases, it can approach 600 kg, especially in trailers prepared for two animals or with a heavy body. On average, however, most of the weight is 450 kg (empty). 

Toyota RAV4 Towing Capacity

YearBraking capacity fromBraking capacity to

Toyota RAV4: A review

Toyota Rav4 is one of the most popular compact SUVs in the world. Rav4 has always had a predominantly female clientele, but it is a versatile SUV that can be used with problems both in the city and on a macadam road in the mountains. In our country, the most popular is the second generation of the Japanese SUV, the one manufactured between 2000 and 2005.

Toyota Rav 4 is the SUV that opened the European appetite for compact crossovers. Taller, all-wheel-drive cars that provide more passenger safety plus a generous trunk. At the same time, fuel consumption was similar to that of a normal car. Toyota identified this niche and launched the Rav4 in 1994 in both Japan and Europe. 

Then in America, Rav4 would become an almost instant success. The first generation, based on the Corolla model, was manufactured between 1994 and 2000 in both three-and five-door variants. The female audience immediately appreciated this type of car and quickly became the favourite among ladies who wanted a car taller than a sedan or a classic hatchback.

RAV4: An appreciated compact SUV

Today, the Toyota Rav4 has reached the fourth generation and continues to enjoy the general appreciation of the public. Looking back, we chose the second generation for the day analysis, a model that was extremely appreciated in our country. 

With a more attractive design and keeping both body variants, the Rav4 II would attract new customers to the Japanese brand. The second-generation kept the spare wheel located on the rear door, a door that opens to the side and not up like a classic tailgate. 

In terms of engines, the second generation Toyota Rav4 came equipped with 1.8 or 2.0-litre gasoline engines plus a 2.0-litre turbodiesel. The second generation also came with an upgraded suspension that also brought superior handling to the first generation. 

The Toyota Rav4 II was driven almost like a larger hatchback due to the well-adjusted suspension and precise steering. The practical side of an SUV like Rav4 should not be neglected either, the trunk is large and the space on the rear seat is enough. 

The seat slides in order to get more space for passengers or luggage, as needed. Three-door models look best, but the practical side is sacrificed. It’s harder to get to the back seats. In 2003, Rav4 received a visual facelift.

RAV4: Excellent reliability

Although it is a car with permanent all-wheel drive, many models have never left the asphalt and it is not a model designed for extreme off-road anyway. At most, he can easily walk a macadam road. 

If we had to choose from the engines that were available for this generation of the Rav4 model, the first option would be the 2.0-litre D4-D diesel engine with 115 hp, but this engine can be noisy at high speeds. 

A much more refined variant is the powerful 2.0-litre petrol engine with 150 hp, but it also brings a slightly higher fuel consumption. As usual, Toyota produced a reliable model and in general, there were no more technical problems. 

Isolated electrical and gearbox problems have been reported. On the diesel engine models from the first years of manufacture, there were also problems with the clutch, but it was usually replaced under warranty. 

Another less pleasant part is the fact that, due to the reliability, most of the copies available on the second-hand market have high turnover.

Towing a horse trailer – pay attention to the horse’s weight

If you haven’t already had your own horse on the scale, you should take it with you to weigh it. Because the weight of the horse is often underestimated. At first, you’d think that a warm-blood horse, 1.70 m tall, relatively heavy, weighs 600 kg, but no, it can weigh 698 kg or about 700 kg! Even a Haflinger often weighs over 500 kg.

Important information about weights can be found on the nameplate of the trailer.

So if I have my horse on the trailer twice that is 2 kg. In addition, there is the self-weight of the trailer, which I now use as the basis of 1400 kg. Thus, the loaded trailer has a total weight of 800 kg. 

Now is the time to take another look at the papers on the horse trailer. Many of them only have a gross vehicle weight of 2200 kg. The trailer would be overloaded! Even though the car is pulling so hard, the suit is no longer in working order.

Do not overload the horse trailer

Overloading a trailer is not a trivial offence. There are fines for the vehicle driver and vehicle owner ranging from 5% overload for trailers up to 2 tonnes gross vehicle weight 

or 2% overload for trailers over 2 tonnes in weight gross vehicle. 

From 20% overload or with larger trailers from 5% overload, there are even points. The same applies if the trailer load of the towing vehicle is exceeded. In the interests of the horses, too, you should not drive overloaded. 

If an accident occurs, for example, because the team cannot be braked in time, this often has serious physical and psychological consequences for the horse. Even if the horse survives such an accident without injuring itself, it will be difficult to regain confidence in the handling of a trailer.

The bottom line

Taking into consideration that the average weight of an empty horse trailer (450kg) + the average weight of a horse (450 kg) adds up to 900 kg, the Toyota Rav4 could do a decent job in towing the horse trailer.

Make sure you know the following parameters and make the calculations before hitting the road:

  • The empty weight of towing vehicle in kg;
  • The GVW of towing vehicle in kg;
  • The towing capacity of towing vehicle;
  • The plated MAM of the trailer in kg;
  • The unladen/empty weight of the trailer.

If you have any questions about the content, please let us know.

FAQ on Can a RAV4 tow a horse trailer?

How heavy is a horsebox?

Depending on the number of horses, a horsebox can weigh 12000 kg on average. You have to take into calculation the unloaded weight of the horse trailer, the weight of each horse, and the weight of feed, water, saddle, etc. 

Can I tow a horsebox?

You can tow a horsebox as long as you have the categories C1+E on your driver’s licence. When towing a horse trailer you can reach 8.25 tonnes (or 8250kg). 

What car can tow a horse float?

The following cars can tow a horse float without any issues: Toyota RAV4, Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, or a Subaru Forester. 


Towing A Horsebox: What You Need To Know
Best 4x4s to tow a horse trailer

Toyota Rav4 Specs

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!