why is it the Toyota Rav4 SE has zero towing capability
Because it is a small wanna-be SUV based on a small economy car.
From the owners manual page 176: “For vehicles with SE grade: Toyota does not recommend towing a trailer with your vehicle. Your vehicle is not designed for trailer towing.”
page 181: “For vehicles with SE grade Toyota does not recommend towing a trailer with your vehicle. Toyota also does not recommend the installation of a tow hitch or the use of a tow hitch carrier for a wheelchair, scooter, bicycle, etc. Your vehicle is not designed for trailer towing or for the use of tow hitch mounted carriers.”
@JimSimpson if you wanted to tow you should’ve purchased the higher trim level
Do you want to tow a small trailer occasionally?
Or do you just want to install a tow hitch, so that you can install a bike carrier?
If it’s the latter, I wouldn’t hesitate to install an aftermarket hitch
The SE doesn’t come with the Tow-Prep package. The biggest part of this package is the added trans cooler. You can add that yourself or have it done. That’ll bring the towing up to 1500lbs
We have the XLE, manual says 1500 lbs towing capacity. I am not sure if it has a trans fluid cooler. Have to rotate the tires every 5000 miles, Full size spare If we had to use it I am not sure how that affects things, as it will not be as worn as existing tires in use.
Just to clarify…
All the models of the Rav4 that have automatic transmissions come with a trans cooler. But it’s not big enough. So the towing package comes with an added larger trans cooler.