In the past few years the RAV4 surpassed the Camry as Toyota’s best selling model. That makes it one of the top five most popular vehicles on the road.
While maximizing performance might not be top of mind for a lot of RAV4 owners, improving safety most certainly is. So with that in mind we’ve put together a list of the best winter tires for the RAV4 to help deliver grip no matter what mother nature throws at you.
Not all winter tires are created equal and the differences don’t just come down to price either. Many are made for very different purposes and climates so it often depends where you live and how you drive that determines which option is best for you.
Best Winter Tire for Toyota RAV4
Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2
You simply can’t go wrong with a set of Bridgestone Blizzak tires, and the DM-V2 is the perfect option for the RAV4.
While it does a lot of things well, from providing grip in colder temperatures, on ice and through slush, where it really takes traction to the next level is on snow covered roads. For those times you have to head out in a storm, or if you live somewhere with snow-packed roads, the DM-V2 is pretty much impossible to beat.
The reason for this has a lot to do with the ultra wide center tread section. Made up of different triangle shaped tread blocks at different angles (and with siping running in different angles) it offers grip during acceleration, braking and cornering. Combine this level of all-direction grip with such a wide surface area and you get an incredibly stable handling tire. As a result, when driving on snow packed roads it tracks forward and provides loads of confidence.
If there are any notable drawbacks to this tire it’s that the handling on clear and cold roads is definitely more ponderous than some (like the Michelins below). Really, however, it’s average in this respect and very much normal for how you expect a winter tire to behave.
Best Winter Tire for Toyota RAV4 (alternative)
Michelin X-Ice Snow
A close runner-up to the Blizzaks, as we mentioned above, your choice of the best winter tire likely comes down to where you live and the conditions you drive in.
While the X-Ice Snow might not be the ultimate in snow grip, Michelin has made significant improvements to the tire to offer more grip in powder than the original X-Ice tire provided.
It’s best features include grip on ice, as well as on dry cold roads – and that’s likely where you spend most of your time driving in the winter months. Handling is superior to most winter tires due to the unique siping on the tread. If you look closely you’ll see that in addition to the zig zag design sipes there are also straight lines with bumps in them that look more like a zipper design. These bumps mean the tread blocks offer space between them for gripping the snow, but at the same time don’t flex all of that way – as the bumps come in contact with the other side of the sipe. As a result, you get the winter tire advantages without the diminished handling feel that’s common in a winter tire.
The v-shaped directional tread pattern of the tread offers great water and slush evacuation.
But overall the best grip is on ice and cold roads where a custom compound that includes microscopic abrasiveness creates a traction surface that truly works.
Best Studdable Winter Tire
Cooper Evolution Winter
Cooper’s Evolution Winter tops our list as the best studdable tire for the RAV4 as well as the cheapest winter tire for the RAV4.
Sure, you can find cheaper tires, but this is one of the most affordable options from a quality brand that will deliver excellent winter grip and comes with the added traction capability of studs – should you want them.
Even without studs, the Evolution Winter is a beast when it comes to tackling deep snow. In fact, it’s purpose built for that task with heavy siping and loads of void space between the tread blocks to allow for lots of traction on fresh powered or snow covered roads.
And if you live somewhere with roads that are snow packed most of the season (or where they get packed down into ice) then just install the optional metal studs and you’ll have next-level traction