What is Toyota Crawl Control?

Chris Teague | Jul 06, 2021

Toyota Crawl Control functions similarly to cruise control but in an off-road-focused manner. Toyota designed the system to handle vehicle speed and acceleration over various terrain conditions, allowing the driver to focus on steering and navigating the obstacles ahead. The feature was first released in 2008 and can be used even in rugged terrain, such as sand, rock crawls, and deep mud.

2019 Toyota Land Cruiser Rock Crawling

Toyota's Crawl Control system uses sensors to judge driving conditions and adjusts the vehicle's operation to meet them. This includes acceleration and braking to each wheel. Toyota says that the feature is especially useful in situations such as soft sand, where it's easy for a vehicle to dig in. Since the vehicle can individually brake and drive each wheel, it can climb out much more easily than with 4-wheel drive (4WD) alone.

How Does Crawl Control Work? - Find the best Toyota deals!

The Crawl Control system works in tandem with the vehicle's electronic stability control (ESC) system. ESC's sensors provide various data points to the Crawl Control system, including information from the individual wheel-speed and braking sensors. These sensors work to detect wheel spin or abnormal rotation from the individual wheels in everyday driving scenarios. In Crawl Control, the sensors' ability to detect wheel slip helps the system determine how much power to apply to each wheel to keep the vehicle moving.

Crawl Control works with vehicle speeds as low as one mph and as high as five mph. The driver can set the pace from the cabin. To activate, the driver must place their foot on the brake while the vehicle is in neutral. The driver must put the transfer case in four-low and activate Crawl Control via a button near the rearview mirror.

Rather than select a traction type with Crawl Control, Toyota's recommendations state that different speeds should be used for different types of terrain. The one-mph speed setting is for rock, mogul, and gravel driving downhill. The two-mph setting can be used for those terrain features and climbing mogul terrain going uphill. The three-, four-, and five-mph settings help conquer snow, mud, sand, dirt, and grass and uphill gravel and mogul terrain.

Crawl control shouldn't be used for long periods or over long distances. Its primary purpose is to help drivers navigate challenging terrain over short distances. To that end, Toyota has limited the amount of time that Crawl Control can be used to 12 minutes of continuous operation. Stepping on the brake will temporarily pause Crawl Control, but the vehicle will begin moving again after lifting off. If the vehicle exceeds 15 mph while Crawl Control is active, the system will temporarily pause.

When to Use Toyota Crawl Control - Find the best Toyota deals!

Crawl Control is not meant for on-road use, as its low-speed, 4WD operation would make driving anywhere nearly impossible. The feature is designed only for going over and through rugged terrains at low speeds for limited amounts of time. Crawl Control should be used in off-road situations where the driver needs to focus on steering and to control the vehicle. Toyota says that the feature is best for letting the driver enjoy the ride, but it's more of a safety and stability feature than a sightseeing feature in many circumstances.

What is Toyota Multi-Terrain Select? - Find the best Toyota deals!

Toyota Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) adjusts traction control and other settings to accommodate varying types of terrain. The feature has settings for Rock, Rock/Dirt, Mogul, Loose Rock, and Mud/Sand. Where Crawl Control works with vehicle speed to conquer terrain, Multi-Terrain Select changes various settings for the challenge. The two features can be used together, and both work with the vehicle's stability control system. MTS can also regulate engine throttle and traction control to control wheelspin.

What Toyota Models Have Crawl Control? - Find the best Toyota deals!

Crawl Control is an available feature on Toyota's off-road vehicles. These include the Toyota TacomaTundra4Runner, and Land Cruiser. Toyota has designed the system to work with many of the other off-road features on its TRD (Toyota Racing Development) models. These vehicles may also have off-road features that include hill-start assist, a Multi-terrain camera system that allows the driver to see in front and around the vehicle on the in-dash infotainment display, and off-road suspension systems to handle rough terrain.

Summary - Find the best Toyota deals!

Toyota Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain Select, and other off-road features can help even amateur drivers conquer challenging terrain. While their usability is limited to off-road situations, they can help navigate through, around, and over some of the roughest off-road obstacles around. Even for hardcore off-road enthusiasts, features such as Crawl Control can take some of the guesswork out of speed and traction control and let the driver focus solely on safely piloting the vehicle without damaging it or its occupants. Check out our Shopping Guides to find the Crawl Control-equipped vehicle that works for you.

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