Toyota RAV4 tyres
These days the RAV4 blends in with countless other style-led off-road cars. That wasn’t always the case, though, and indeed these other models all owe a lot of their very existence to the Toyota. When the RAV4 (“Recreational Active Vehicle with 4wd”) was launched back in 1994, it was a truly groundbreaking car. It was immediately popular with people from all walks of life – the title ‘Chav4’ may have been a little unfair, though!
Being the first car in this market sector, the RAV4 came to define it. The competition has long since caught up, meaning that the original may no longer be the best. However, it is a car which is easy to drive and to live with, offering practicality, reliability and value for money. It isn’t big or cumbersome, and short overhangs and high ground clearance are clues to its ability in an off-road environment. In that sphere, it’s still a lot better than many of its rivals, even if it may lack their flair.
Confusingly, for a while in the mid-2000’s the premium T180 model was supplied with run-flat tyres. In twenty years of RAV4 production, this was the only model to which these were fitted. The only real benefit of this was a cosmetic one – the car did not need a rear-mounted spare wheel. It may have made the car lighter, but only slightly so since the RAV4 is a heavy beast anyway. The run-flat experiment has long been discontinued. However, it’s worth noting that some older RAV4 models will still feature run-flat tyres. Of course these should always be replaced with a similar tyre, rather than a regular one.
Quite a large number of different tyre types have been original equipment for the RAV4 over the last twenty years. Since this car is quite heavy and tall, and one with off-road ability, these have all been tyres designed for off-road or SUV use, rather than the type more commonly found on small road-going hatchbacks. In terms of sales volume, two of these factory-fitted ranges are by far the most popular with etyres customers.
First up is the Dueler range from Bridgestone. These suit a huge number of SUV and 4×4 cars and their manufacturer is a long-term research and development partner of Toyota. It’s therefore no surprise that these tyres are the most popular original equipment tyre for UK RAV4 models and etyres’ best-selling line for these cars. Next on the list is Yokohama’s Geolandar range. These tyres are available in various formats to suit different proportions of on-road and off-road use. However, it is the standard Geolandar SUV, designed for almost exclusive on-road driving, which is by far the most popular.
Other ranges from Dunlop, Continental, Michelin and Toyo have all enjoyed original equipment status for the RAV4 over the last 20 years. Additionally, various Hankook tyres and the General Tire Co’s Grabber range have proved popular replacement tyre choices. Cheaper economy tyres also sell particularly well for the RAV4 – not entirely surprising given that SUV tyres from the premium brands can be quite a large purchase.
As with most cars, the best way to choose between the many tyres available to fit the RAV4 is to consider your own driving style and budget. If your car is used for high mileages then the fuel economy ratings of each option will be important. Alternatively, for a lower mileage the wet grip rating will be a more relevant concern. Additionally, if your RAV4 is used for anything more than just occasional off-road use, a specialist tyre will usually be called for.