I purchased my RAV-4 new in Anchorage. It is the basic model, 4WD, V6, with 3,500 lbs towing package and 17" wheels. I owned a 1988 Jeep Cherokee for 21 years and thought that nothing could be better in the ice and snow. Wrong! This baby is like a cat on a curtain in the snow. Awesome! And the heater will run you out of the rig at -20 degrees. Just drove it 2,500 miles down the Alcan and Cassiar Hwys from Alaska through the Yukon Territory and BC to Eastern Washington. Got 22 mpg pulling a 5X8 U-Haul! One pass was 4,000' and it never complained. Now I am in the desert and today it was 104 degrees and the AC keeps it comfortable. I get 30 mpg on trips. Love it! Best rig ever.
The V6 motor with 269 HP turns the RAV- 4 into a little pocket rocket. Combine this with 4WD and ice and snow are not a problem. I especially like the "lock" feature that gives you 50%/50% traction front and rear below 25 mph. I used it a lot at iced over intersections in Anchorage.
NONE! Toyota got it right with the 2009 RAV-4 with the V6, towing package, and 17" wheels. This rig gets the job done from Alaska to the desert of Eastern Washington. I highly recommend this combination and plan to purchase another one after about 250,000 miles.