Toyota Hybrid towing: your questions answered

As part of Toyota’s desire to engineer greater driving appeal into its cars, most current generation Toyota Hybrid models have the capacity to tow trailers and caravans. This might lead owners to wonder how about hybrid towing and how much their car is able to tow.

The regulations surrounding towing can be quite complicated to understand. So while this post is not designed to explain all the rules on this subject, we hope it clears some confusion by supplying straightforward answers to important, frequently asked questions.

Within this post we have also supplied relevant links to official government pages, related associations, and Toyota resources.

Prius towing 12

1) Hybrid towing – Which Toyota Hybrid models can tow?

The latest generation Yaris, Corolla, C-HR, RAV4 and Prius.

Moving upwards in towing ability, the latest Yaris has a towing capacity of 450kg. The Prius and C-HR share a recommended towing capacity of 725kg for both a braked or unbraked trailer. You can read more about this in our special feature on towing with a Prius. Meanwhile, all Corolla models – Hatchback, Touring Sports and Saloon – have an unbraked capacity of 450kg and a braked towing capacity of 750kg.

All RAV4 models have a legal towing capacity of 750kg for unbraked trailers. But with regard to braked trailers (where the trailer has its own braking system), the front-wheel drive RAV4 has a recommended towing capacity of 800kg and the all-wheel drive RAV4 has a 1,650kg capacity. Straddling the two is the new RAV4 Plug-in, which has a braked trailer maximum set at a 1,500kg.

For more information on how legal towing capacities are calculated, please see question four.

2) Hybrid towing – Can I tow with a Toyota Camry?

The current generation Camry has not been homologated to tow in the United Kingdom.

Some hybrid Camry models in other markets have been specially configured to tow light loads but these models are not available in the UK. Their cooling systems are different and the components cannot be retro-fitted to UK-spec cars.

Prius towing 02

3) Hybrid towing – What am I allowed to tow?

It depends on when you passed your driving test, the weight of your car and what you are towing.

You can get the latest rules and restrictions on the government services and information website.

4) What is my car legally allowed to tow?

The figure authorities use to enforce the maximum towing capacity of a vehicle can be found on the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) plate. This goes for all cars, not just those capable of hybrid towing.

Not all vehicles have been homologated to tow, but those that have will display either three or four sets of figures on the VIN plate. Reading from top to bottom, these will be the gross vehicle weight (the maximum mass of the vehicle including occupants, fuel and load), the gross vehicle train weight (the combined maximum mass of the vehicle and trailer) and the maximum loads across the front and rear axles respectively.

In order to create a recommended maximum towing capacity, vehicle manufacturers usually deduct the gross vehicle weight from the gross vehicle train weight.

For more advice on your specific Toyota model and hybrid towing, please follow this link to the My Toyota site where you download a copy of the owner’s manual for your car.

See more: Towing the line with the new Toyota Prius
Further information: National Trailer & Towing Association
Further information: AA guidance on towing

249 comments

  1. Having just bought a new Rav 4 AWD design hybrid could you please tell me , when towing down a steep hill how do you safely reduce the speed of the car using an automatic transmission!

    1. Hi Mr Robin Bareman,
      Thanks for your comment.
      We cannot provide any general tips on towing. All advice in the Owner’s Manual needs to be read and understood before towing anything after the 500 mile running in period.
      It is not a practice that should be undertaken by anyone that is not sure, and this is ultimately for both your and other road users’ safety.
      Your Owner’s Manual can be found here by entering your chassis number/VIN: https://www.toyota.co.uk/tme#/my-toyota/eManual.
      Apologies that we cannot be of more help.
      Thanks.

  2. It seems short sighted to end the Avensis with good towing capacity and replace with the Camry with 0kg tow capacity!!!

    1. Hi Jason,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Avensis was discontinued due to low demand. Camry isn’t a direct replacement, but given its body type and size, we can see why you’d think that. What weight do you need to tow? We could suggest other options from our range.

      Thanks

  3. Like Paul Clark (7 April 2021), I’m struggling to convince a Toyota dealer (two dealers, in fact!) that a 2021 Toyota Yaris Hybrid *can* be fitted with a tow bar to pull a light trailer. I know you’ve already said it once, but can you please confirm again(!) that “a Horizontal Detachable Towing Hitch with part number PW9600D002” can be fitted to a 2021 Toyota Yaris Hybrid? Where will the dealers find confirmation in their technical data please? If I cannot get the dealer to agree, am I OK to get another garage to fit a tow bar without invalidating the warranty?

    1. Hi David,
      Thanks for getting in touch with us.
      Please could you provide us with the names of the Toyota Centres you have visited and the reasons that they gave for this?
      Thanks.

      1. The one Toyota dealer is Inchcape in Nottingham. I’m working on the other dealer! The salesman has given the PW9600D002 part number to his service manager, and they are going to get back to me. So I’d rather not “dob them in” until they’ve had a chance to change their thinking!

      2. Hi David,
        Thanks for your reply.
        We have checked with our Accessories team, and this part number is available for factory fitment only. It cannot be fitted at one of our Centres due to WLTP regulations, so this may be where the confusion is stemming from if you have already received your vehicle.
        We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
        Thanks.

      3. “this part number is available for factory fitment only. It cannot be fitted at one of our Centres due to WLTP regulations” Thank you – that’s very helpful. I’ve yet to order my Yaris, so I will specify factory fitment.

      4. Here In Denmark we can fit this Towbar at our Local Toyota Dealers on all New Yaris Models and the Towing capacity of the New Yaris Hybrid here is 450 Kg it sounds strange that it can´´´t be fittet in the UK, Maybe because its Only In The EU Marked its posible. Kind regards a Toyota Dealer in Denmark

      5. Hi Jimmi,
        Thanks for your comment.
        Different countries have different specifications of vehicle, which impacts a range of factors.
        Thanks.

  4. What about earlier hybrids? I have a 2017 CH-R, I’d like to fit a tow bar to support a bike or luggage rack. The racks I’m interested in are fitted with breaklights and indicators. I don’t want to actually tow anything like a trailer or a caravan, will there be an issue with fitting?

    1. Hi Richard,

      Your vehicle has a 720kg towing capacity, which should be plenty for your to attach a rack. Please contact your nearest Toyota centre for more information on fitting.

      Thanks

  5. We’re waiting for our RAV4 Hybrid to arrive at the moment, and will be using the tow hook for a cycle rack for our tandem.

    One thing that’s not every clear is what the regulations are regarding the width of anything you’re towing. Can you advise please? We can take the front wheel off the tandem, to reduce the width a little, but otherwise it’s about 2400mm.

    1. Hi Phil,
      Thanks for contacting us. Congratulations on your new RAV4!
      According to the Government website, the maximum trailer width for any towing vehicle is 2.55 metres: https://fal.cn/3fG00.
      Thanks.

  6. Hi,
    We have a Toyota Auris estate Hybrid 2018 and trying to get a bike rack on it. Because of the design they said we should go with tow bar bike racks. Can you please advise on if we can have a tow bar as I am not finding many in the market.

    1. Hi Prashant,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Please can you provide us with your reg? We can then look into this for you.
      Thanks.

      1. Hi Prashant,
        Thank you for your reply.
        As your vehicle has no towing capacity, a proper towbar cannot be fitted. However, a non-towing ball mount can be used.
        Our accessories team have advised the following parts for your car:
        PW962-02005 Bike carrier support bracket with a non-towing ball mount
        PW962-02002 Foldable Bike Holder
        These can be ordered through your nearest Toyota Centre.
        Thanks.

      2. Thank you for the reply. Are 2 bikes only for a reason Toyota got just 2 bike model or this car cannot accommodate more than 2?

      3. Hi Prashant,
        The total rear vertical load that can be transported by this Bike Holder Bracket is maximum 50Kg (bikes + bike carrier).
        This only fits 2 bikes.
        Thanks.

    2. My 18 plate Auris Estate has a zero tow limit and i’m assuming yours will be the same.
      Check th VIN Plate (inside Passengers door) it will show approx. 1860 kg twice which basically means that the towing limit is 1860kg – 1860kg = 0kg.
      Sorry for the bad news but I have been frustrated by Toyota’s poor attitude towards towing with a Hybrid for the last 6 years. Exchange for the Corolla Trek and you can tow 750kg or the C-HR with a weird (and almost as frustratingly annoying) limit of 725kg.

  7. Some comments here from downunder on the mystery of towing with a hybrid which might be of interest to newcomers. Our local Oz regulations are pretty close to those in the UK so the following observations should be generally transferable with the usual caveat of talking your dealer etc. etc.

    I am delighted to see this topic so well discussed and recommend newcomers read ALL the discourse before selecting a car. I didnt find this site until today – mid June 2021. It should be provided to all prospective buyers there, down here and in North America. I looked for the information earlier on Australian, NZ, Canadian and US sites but found little of value beyond discovering a lot of confusion. In addition the motoring review magazines were useless and our dealer wasnt much use either until I asked the right questions after a trial and error journey. I am puzzled why given towing anything from a pushbike to a caravan is very widespread this topic has not been systematically addressed yet.

    By way of context. We have a small hobby farm and a box trailer and also wondered about the option of a hybrid towing a small grey nomad van at some point in the future…maybe. Our old dying underpowered 2008 Astra was rated for about 700/1500 kg (unbraked/braked tow). So we didnt think twice….And a friend had just bought a big Camry hybrid which seemed an obvious option. How wrong we were. I’ll first get the main bits out of the way and then detail a bit more how we got to the RAV4 AWD hybrid despite earlier philosophical concerns (ever heard the insult Toorak Tractor?).

    1. If you want to ‘flexibly’ towing hybrid currently IMO is the RAV4 Hybrid AWD as its the only option that achieves reasonable expectations = similar rating to our old Astra. It costs more but I dont regret it as we have lots of dirt roads and situations where the extra traction appeals from a safety perpective.
    2. IRT safety a big stressor when on a motorway is passing the many juggernauts. We have things called B doubles which are 50% bigger than standard semitrailers and quite frightenning to pass on a dark rainy night. Hence my acceptance of an SUV despite its size and parking challenges.
    3. You must get the towbar fitted by Toyota to also prevent voiding the warranty.
    4. The on line literature on towing gives contradictory information about whether a given model can tow or not . It turns out, in line with this blog, that it depends critically not just on the model but also year, place of manufacture, variant etc. The devil is in the detail.
    5. We considered the Camry after seeing one with a tow bar but the limit as far as we could ascertain was only 400 kg….not enough when the box trailer weighs 250 kg for starters.
    6. You will struggle to find any technical information on why the low towing capacity with hybrids. One can speculate but I have still found nothing that treats the buyer as mildly intelligent. Which is curious because many hybrid buyers buy these models because they are very interested in efficiency, energy etc. And I have searched now for 9 months (7 to get delivery and the past 2 using Grumpy – all current RAV4s are called ‘Grumpy’)

    Miscellaneous points:
    – After three months and two return towing trips with a ride on mower (box trailer with ride on mower – weight 200 kg + 250 kg tare) up and down some relatively steep ridge – two 1 in 8 gradients of 0.5 km) it seems towing and braking work.
    – We considered in turn the hybrid Corolla, then Camry, then Prius, then RAV4 thinking surely they would tow as much as a small sedan. Luckily before we ordered we asked about fitting a tow bar and the sorry story of towing rolled out in a way that did not do service to the Toyota dealer.
    – Toyota provides a 250 page manual on the TV screen use but not as yet a 50 page booklet that a. explains how their hybrids work, their limitations, how this influences towing, how to make things efficient……and then covers basics about towing capacity.
    – The UK is lucky in that it will soon have the RAV4 Prime. Unfortunately we in Oz are not scheduled to get it because the Toyota executives dont think there is a ‘business case’ even though the demand here for hybrids is way over subscribed. Meanwhile other manufacturers are flogging off very inferior PHEVs.
    – I dont know about the UK but Toyota’s customer feedback system is very poor. Essentially one is asked to rate a car on a single scale of one to ten which does not allow for issues such as the above to be fed back. I hope the UK does better and is not so beholden to a KPI based view of the world.

    1. I was told by a Toyota employee that the reason for this unbelievably low towing capacity is the transmission and the weight of the car. He said “Japanese are extremely precise about technical specs, while other automakers tend to be precise in some specs but not in others. They put a low towing capacity in order to prevent your car’s transmission (CVT) to be damaged”.

  8. Excellent advice! I recently open a towing company and we changed our tow trucks from Honda to Toyota, because we had terrible issues with clients and maintenance. I want to thank you for your amazing car models and maintenance service! Wish you all the best!

  9. Hi I have a 2015 Toyota yaris 5 door I.5 Hybrid. I have a Thule 2 electric bike rack for ball hitch. The combined weight for carrier and bicycles is 65kg. Can a ball hitch be fitted to carry the rack and bikes.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Anthony,
      Thank you for your comment.
      We are only able to advise on UK specification vehicles, so we would recommend contacting the Toyota distributor in your region for assistance with your query.
      Thanks.

  10. I have a 2021 RAV4 2WD and am planning to install the detachable towbar this week. I want to use this for a towbar mounted bike rack (to carry 4 bikes). The problem I have is that I can’t find the maximum vertical weight the towbar/towball can take (not sure if this is similar to noseweight which is also not in the manual).

    The bike racks typically weigh approx 20Kg and can normally carry a a maximum of 60KG (so 80KG in total). The only thing in the manual is the towing capacity (750kg or 800kg with brakes)and the drawbar load (which I am not sure is relevant) of 70kg. The dealer is struggling to confirm this, but I don’t want to fit something and then not be able to use it. Are you able to confirm this? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Stuart,

      It looks like you’re based in the United States. As Toyota UK, we can’t advise on products for different markets. We can only recommend that you contact Toyota in your region for assistance.

      Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *