I’m a mobile veterinarian living in the adirondacks. I’ve used 4runners as my work vehicles for 17 years & they’ve gotten me through the snow, the barnyards, and backroads for years. My current 4runner needs replacement soon & I’d like to go to something smaller & more efficient (I no longer need to haul kids) but I still need 4 wheel drive, ground clearance, and I need to carry around about 300 pounds of equipment sitting in the back, not to mention the paddles &/or snowshoes depending on the season. I’ve thought of downsizing to a Rav4 but can it handle the weight sitting on the rear axle 24/7? If not, what will fit my needs but get better mileage?

It’s hard to recommend something smaller that the 4Runner, seems the ideal vehicle for what you do. The small gas cost penalty will be nothing compared to getting stuck somewhere.

300 lbs of weight is nothing for a RAV4 on the rear axle. Realize they offer it in a 7 passenger configuration and two passengers(assume 300lbs) can potentially sit right over the rear axle.

The problem with downsizing it is it leads you into ho-hum AWD systems. Only Subaru and Audi have a true full-time AWD that works well in off road conditions. However the current generation RAV4 is great in the fact that it offers a “pseudo” 4wd mode under 25mph via a button on the dash for severe off road conditions that really works well.

300 pounds, as T&R would say, is only the equivalent of 1 mother-in-law. No problem for RAV4 or Honda CRV.

I know the Adirondacks…Been there summer, winter, spring and fall.

Driving in the Adirondacks and the snow, barnyards, back roads…etc…I really recommend a vehicle with a full frame. A Rav-4…although it’s a great little vehicle…is not the type of vehicle for any long-term traveling in those conditions.

karl, as others confirm, you have the best possible vehicle for the type of work you do and where you live. Many vets in Australia and other Outback areas of the world will testify to that. The 4Runner is also very popular in the Middle East. I work mostly in the oil business and full frame SUVs with lots of road clearance are the preferred vehicle.

I would forget about an extra mile per gallon, and get another 4Runner with the samllest standard engine.