Body Armor: Upgrading the Toyota RAV4 Prime with LP Aventure Skid Plates & Bumper Guard
When we last checked in on my 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime project, we'd just installed a set of Nitto's new Nomad Grappler crossover-terrain tires and a set of 17" KMC wheels.
And as I said in my initial impressions story, the new wheel and tire setup gave the RAV4 a nice boost in capability, a more aggressive look and some much-needed personality to help stand out from the sea of crossovers on the road.
Despite the fact that the RAV4 is mainly a family vehicle, driven by my wife to and from work and for most of our daily duties I was already hooked on upgrading it.
And so the next order of business was to give the Prime some extra underbody protection to safeguard things and provide some extra peace of mind off-road.
That's where LP Aventure comes in. Based in Quebec Canada, LP Aventure is one of the leading aftermarket companies for North America's growing crossover SUV upgrade market.
Subarus are one of their core models, but they also make parts for other CUVs like the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. And among their products for the current generation RAV4 are skid plates and a front bumper guard.
Because a CUV like the RAV4 typically has less ground clearance than a full-size SUV or pickup, protecting both the body and undercarriage is a highly recommended upgrade for those venturing off the pavement.
The RAV4 in particular has a front bumper that doesn't leave a lot of space underneath for obstacles, so the front bumper guard looked ideal.
Simple & Effective
The LP Aventure bumper guard is built from the same type of steel tubing used in roll cages, and it's just the right diameter to protect the plastic front bumper without protruding too much.
Installation was as easy as promised, though it's highly recommended to use a lift if possible so you have more space to quickly and easily access everything. I also recommend having two sets of hands to help raise the guard into position.
The bumper guard requires you to remove the factory plastic undertray and then a mount on each side of the radiator core support. From there you pretty much just lift the guard into place and attach it with the included hardware, with the whole process only taking around 30 minutes.
The bumper guard is sold with an aluminum front plate that goes in the front of the tubing, and I also added the "Full Armor" option which includes three additional 3/16 aluminum plates which attach to the bottom of the guard and fills in the spots where the plastic undertray was removed.
Undercarriage Status: Fortified
Along with the front bumper guard and the add-on plates, it only made sense to complete the front undercarriage protection with LP Aventure's dedicated RAV4 front skid plate.
Constructed from the same 3/16 aluminum as the front plates, the main skid plate is a direct replacement for the plastic undertray that the RAV4 comes with from the factory.
The goal is of course to better protect the bottom of the engine and drivetrain, and easily deflect something that could potentially tear or poke through the flimsy plastic tray.
Installation was equally simple and straightforward, and like the plastic tray it replaces, the skid plate comes with openings to access the drain plug and filter during oil changes.
Room to Grow
While the skid plates usually aren't seen unless you look under the car, the bumper guard not only adds protection but looks quite cool as well, helping the RAV4 further embrace its baby 4Runner aspirations.
As an added feature, the bumper guard also includes mounting points for add-on lighting, and that's exactly what I plan to next as this base model RAV4 Prime SE didn't come equipped with any sort of factory fog lamps.
Before that though, I'm anxious to hit up the local hills for some soft-roading fun, especially now that the Nomad Grappler tires have been complemented by some proper body armor.
There's plenty more to come from this project so stay tuned for more adventures.
More From Driving Line
Want to know more about what makes the Nitto Nomad Grappler so great for CUVs like the RAV4? We've got all the info here.