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If you are in the market for a compact SUV you’ve probably found yourself torn between the Toyota RAV4 and the Subaru Forester, you’re not alone. Both of these spiffy crossover SUVs have made quite a splash in the automotive world and get great car ratings.
So, grab a cup of joe and buckle up as we embark on an adventure to compare cars and to uncover the 10 main differences between these two automotive gems.
1. Car Performance Capabilities
When it comes to getting from point A to point B, it’s all about the journey. Let’s pop the hood and see what’s cooking under the metal.
Engine specifications and power output:
- RAV4: Packs a punch with a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine, cranking out 203 horses. Its hybrid version comes with an electric motor, boosting power output to 219 horses. The RAV4 Prime (plug-in hybrid) pushes it further with a combined 302 horsepower.
- Forester: No slouch either, sporting a 2.5L 4-cylinder BOXER engine with 182 horsepower. Its turbocharged Forester Sport model brings the heat, boasting 260 horsepower.
Transmission options and fuel efficiency:
- RAV4: 8-speed automatic transmission, sips fuel at 28/35 MPG (city/highway) for the standard version. The hybrid gets an impressive 41/38 MPG, while the Prime achieves 40/36 MPG and 42 miles of electric range.
- Forester: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), drinks up gas at 26/33 MPG (city/highway) for the base model. The turbocharged Sport model stays competitive at 23/28 MPG.
Towing capacity and payload:
- RAV4: Can tow up to 1,500 lbs and carry a payload of 1,240 lbs. The RAV4 Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims ramp up the towing capacity to 3,500 lbs.
- Forester: Hauls up to 1,500 lbs and boasts a payload of 1,180 lbs. The Sport model can tow up to 2,400 lbs.
Acceleration and top speed:
- RAV4: Goes 0 to 60 in 8.2 seconds, with a top speed of 130 MPH. The RAV4 Prime shaves off 2 seconds from 0-60 with a blistering 5.7 seconds.
- Forester: Reaches 0 to 60 in 9.3 seconds, maxing out at 122 MPH. The turbocharged Sport model closes the gap with a 0-60 time of 6.3 seconds.
2. Car Off-Road Proficiency
If you’re itching to kick up some dust, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of off-roading capabilities.
- All-wheel drive systems:
- RAV4’s AWD: Toyota’s Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD for improved traction. The system can distribute up to 50% of torque to the rear wheels and even split it between the left and right wheels.
- Forester’s Symmetrical AWD: Subaru’s signature system, offering optimal balance and control by distributing power evenly to all four wheels.
- Ground clearance and approach angles:
- RAV4: Boasts an 8.6-inch ground clearance, with approach angles of 19° and 21° (front/rear) for the base model. The Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims offer improved angles of 29° and 23° (front/rear).
- Forester: Touts an 8.7-inch ground clearance, sporting approach angles of 23.6° and 25.4° (front/rear). The Forester Sport has an even more aggressive stance, with 25.9° and 27.8° (front/rear) approach angles.
- Off-road driving modes and technologies:
- RAV4: Features Multi-Terrain Select with four modes: Mud & Sand, Rock & Dirt, Snow, and Normal. The TRD Off-Road trim also includes upgraded suspension, skid plates, and all-terrain tires.
- Forester: Equipped with X-MODE® and Hill Descent Control for a smoother off-road experience. The Forester Sport comes with a dual-function X-MODE, adding a “Deep Snow/Mud” setting.
- Suspension and chassis differences:
- RAV4: Utilizes a MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension. The Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims come with a more off-road-focused suspension tuning.
- Forester: Employs a MacPherson strut front suspension and double-wishbone rear suspension. The Sport model includes a sport-tuned suspension for improved handling.
3. Cars Exterior Design and Dimensions
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but let’s take a gander at the aesthetics and dimensions of these two automotive marvels.
- Visual design elements and styling:
- RAV4: Sports a bold, aggressive look with sharp lines and a dynamic front grille. The RAV4 Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims amp up the ruggedness with unique wheels, overfenders, and other exterior enhancements.
- Forester: Flaunts a rugged, yet refined appearance with sleek curves and a confident stance. The Forester Sport model stands out with its black accents, exclusive grille, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
- Available exterior features and accessories:
- RAV4: Offers features such as LED headlights, roof rails, a power liftgate, and a panoramic glass roof. You can also opt for various accessory packages like the XLE Weather Package or the TRD Off-Road Weather Package.
- Forester: Comes with standard LED headlights, roof rails, and available features like a power liftgate and a panoramic moonroof. The Sport model adds unique exterior trim, while other packages (like the All-Weather Package) provide additional options.
4. Interior Comfort and Space
When you’re hitting the open road, comfort is key. Let’s peek inside and compare the cozy confines of these two road-tripping machines.
- Seating capacity and comfort:
- RAV4: Provides seating for five with comfortable, supportive seats. The available SofTex-trimmed seats add a touch of luxury, while the optional heated and ventilated front seats cater to your temperature needs.
- Forester: Also seats five, with a slightly roomier cabin. The available leather-trimmed upholstery and heated front and rear seats elevate the experience, and the 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat ensures a perfect fit.
Both the Rav4 and Forester have seating for up to 5 people so when it comes to seating if you have a large family neither the Subaru compact SUV or the one that Toyota offers will work very well.
- Interior materials and build quality:
- RAV4: Boasts a modern, stylish interior with a mix of soft-touch materials and hard plastics. The higher trims, such as the Limited and TRD Off-Road, feature upscale materials like faux-leather and stitched accents.
- Forester: Offers a refined, well-built cabin with quality materials throughout. The Forester Sport and Forester Touring models showcase premium touches like orange stitching and leather upholstery, respectively.
- Cargo space and storage solutions:
|Behind Rear Seats
|37.6 cu ft
|35.4 cu ft
|Rear Seats Folded
|69.8 cu ft
|76.1 cu ft
- RAV4: Provides ample cargo space and numerous storage compartments, including underfloor storage in the cargo area. The 60/40-split rear seats fold down for even more room.
- Forester: Outshines the RAV4 in total cargo space and features versatile storage solutions like the wide rear gate opening and available cargo area release levers.
- Infotainment and technology:
- RAV4: Comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Higher trims offer an 8-inch touchscreen, JBL premium audio system, and a wireless phone charger.
- Forester: Features a standard 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Upgrades include an 8-inch touchscreen, Harman Kardon premium audio system, and built-in navigation.
5. Infotainment and Connectivity
In today’s fast-paced world, staying connected is more important than ever. So, let’s compare the infotainment and connectivity features of the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester to see which one will keep you entertained and in the loop on the go.
Toyota RAV4 Infotainment and Connectivity
- Standard Features: 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hotspot, USB port, six-speaker audio system
- Available Features: 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, satellite radio, HD Radio, wireless device charging, JBL premium audio system, additional USB ports
The RAV4 comes loaded with a suite of standard infotainment features, including smartphone integration and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Plus, you can upgrade your tech game with optional goodies like an 8-inch touchscreen and a JBL premium audio system.
Subaru Forester Infotainment and Connectivity
- Standard Features: 6.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, USB ports, four-speaker audio system
- Available Features: 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, satellite radio, HD Radio, Wi-Fi hotspot, Harman Kardon premium audio system, additional USB ports
The Forester also packs a punch when it comes to infotainment and connectivity, offering standard smartphone integration and several upgrade options. The available 8-inch touchscreen and Harman Kardon premium audio system will take your in-car entertainment to the next level.
Infotainment and Connectivity Recap
Both the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester come well-equipped with modern infotainment and connectivity features, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable driving experience. While each vehicle offers a solid set of standard features, you can also enhance your ride with available upgrades, such as larger touchscreens and premium audio systems.
Ultimately, the choice between these two crossover SUVs will depend on your tech preferences and priorities. Whether you opt for the feature-packed RAV4 or the well-rounded Forester, you’re sure to stay connected and entertained on the road.
6. Safety Features and Ratings
Safety first! Let’s explore the protective measures these two titans of the road have in store.
- Driver assistance and safety technology:
- RAV4: Equipped with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes features like Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
- Forester: Comes with Subaru EyeSight, a suite of safety features such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, and Pre-Collision Braking.
- Crash test ratings and safety scores:
- RAV4: Earns a 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA and is a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS.
- Forester: Also receives a 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA and holds the prestigious title of IIHS Top Safety Pick+.
7. Trim Levels and Pricing
Money talks, and sometimes it speaks volumes when it comes to picking the perfect ride. Let’s dive deeper into the available trim levels and pricing for the Toyota RAV4 and the Subaru Forester.
Remember, this is just the current MSRP for these trim levels and you could easily pay less (if you can find car deals) or more (if the specific car or trim is in high demand).
Toyota RAV4 Trim Levels and Pricing
With a whopping 12 trim levels available, the Toyota RAV4 offers a little something for everyone. From the budget-conscious base model to the eco-friendly hybrids and the performance-driven TRD Off-Road, there’s a RAV4 to suit your taste and wallet.
Subaru Forester Trim Levels and Pricing
The Subaru Forester keeps things a bit simpler with 5 distinct trim levels. Ranging from the well-equipped base model to the luxurious Touring trim, the Forester offers a solid selection to match your needs and budget.
8. Warranty and Maintenance Perks
Now that we’ve tackled pricing, let’s see what kind of warranty and maintenance perks these two SUV giants have in store for buyers.
Toyota RAV4 Warranty and Maintenance
- Basic Warranty: 3-year/36,000-mile
- Powertrain Warranty: 5-year/60,000-mile
- Complimentary Maintenance: 2 years/25,000 miles
Toyota has got you covered with a reassuring warranty package and even throws in complimentary maintenance for a couple of years. Talk about peace of mind!
Subaru Forester Warranty and Maintenance
- Basic Warranty: 3-year/36,000-mile
- Powertrain Warranty: 5-year/60,000-mile
- Complimentary Maintenance: Not offered
Subaru matches Toyota’s warranty offerings, but sadly doesn’t provide any complimentary maintenance. However, the brand’s reputation for reliability and longevity is a big selling point for many buyers.
Trim Levels and Pricing: The Bottom Line
There you have it, folks – the lowdown on trim levels and pricing for the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester. Whether you’re pinching pennies or splurging on luxury, both SUVs offer a range of options to fit your lifestyle and budget.
Remember, when choosing your perfect ride, consider not only the initial cost but also warranty, maintenance, and long-term ownership expenses. Happy car hunting!
9. Fuel Economy and Emissions
Let’s face it – gas prices can be a real buzzkill, and nobody wants to be stuck with a gas guzzler. So, let’s examine the fuel economy and emissions of the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester.
Toyota RAV4 Fuel Economy and Emissions
|94 MPGe (combined)
The RAV4 offers a variety of engine options, including gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid (Prime) models. This range of choices means you can prioritize fuel efficiency if that’s your cup of tea.
The hybrid models, in particular, boast impressive fuel economy that can save you a pretty penny at the pump.
Subaru Forester Fuel Economy and Emissions
The Forester doesn’t offer as many engine choices as the RAV4, sticking to its trusty gasoline engines. The base engine delivers solid fuel economy, while the turbocharged Sport model sacrifices a bit of efficiency for a more exhilarating ride.
Overall, the Forester’s fuel efficiency is respectable, but it doesn’t quite reach the eco-friendly heights of the RAV4’s hybrid options.
10. Towing Capacity and Hauling Prowess
Sometimes, you’ve got to haul some serious cargo, whether it’s a boat, a camper, or just a whole lot of gear. Let’s see how the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester stack up when it comes to towing capacity and hauling prowess.
Toyota RAV4 Towing Capacity
|Adventure/TRD Off-Road Models
The RAV4 offers a range of towing capacities depending on the trim level and engine choice. The Adventure and TRD Off-Road models, in particular, boast an impressive 3,500-pound towing capacity, perfect for hauling some serious weight.
Subaru Forester Towing Capacity
The Forester keeps it simple with a flat 1,500-pound towing capacity across all trim levels. While it might not be as beefy as the RAV4’s Adventure and TRD Off-Road models, the Forester still has the chops to handle some light towing duties.
Fuel Economy, Emissions, and Towing: The Final Word
When it comes to fuel economy, the Toyota RAV4’s hybrid options take the cake, offering eco-friendly alternatives for those who prioritize efficiency. The Subaru Forester, on the other hand, delivers respectable fuel economy but doesn’t provide any hybrid options.
As for towing capacity, the RAV4’s Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims shine with their impressive hauling capabilities. The Forester, while not as powerful in this department, still holds its own for light towing tasks.
Ultimately, the choice between these two crossover SUVs will depend on your priorities and needs. Are you an eco-conscious driver looking for a fuel-efficient ride? The RAV4’s hybrid models might be your best bet.
If towing capacity is a top priority, the RAV4 Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims are certainly worth considering. However, if you value a reliable, all-around performer with respectable fuel economy and towing capabilities, the Subaru Forester is a solid choice.
No matter which vehicle you choose, both the Toyota RAV4 and the Subaru Forester have a lot to offer in terms of performance, efficiency, and versatility. So, go ahead and take these two crossover SUV titans for a test drive, and see which one best suits your lifestyle and driving habits. You can’t go wrong with either of these fantastic options!
10 Main Differences Between Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester
There you have it! We’ve traversed the 10 main differences between these two automotive sensations. From performance and off-road prowess to interior comfort and safety, both the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester have their own unique strengths and features.
Whether you prefer the adventurous spirit of the RAV4 or the practicality and spaciousness of the Forester, there’s no doubt that both vehicles can bring a smile to your face.
To recap, here are the main differences between the two:
- Performance Capabilities: RAV4 offers more engine options and power, while the Forester has a strong base engine and a turbocharged Sport model.
- Off-Road Proficiency: RAV4’s Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims provide extra capabilities, while the Forester’s Symmetrical AWD and X-MODE® cater to off-road enthusiasts.
- Exterior Design and Dimensions: RAV4 boasts a bold, aggressive design, while the Forester flaunts a more refined and sleek appearance.
- Interior Comfort and Space: Both vehicles provide comfortable seating for five, but the Forester edges out the RAV4 in terms of total cargo space.
- Infotainment and Connectivity: Both the RAV4 and Forester offer a robust set of standard infotainment features, with options to upgrade for a more premium experience. Smartphone integration and a host of connectivity features ensure you stay entertained and connected while on the move.
- Safety Features and Ratings: Both SUVs come equipped with advanced safety suites and have earned top safety ratings.
- Trim Levels and Pricing: RAV4 offers a wide variety of 12 trim levels, while the Forester keeps it simple with 5 trim levels. Both SUVs cater to different budgets and preferences.
- Warranty and Maintenance Perks: The RAV4 and Forester both offer competitive warranty packages, with the RAV4 taking a slight edge in terms of complimentary maintenance. These warranties provide peace of mind and protection for your investment.
- Fuel Economy and Emissions: RAV4 shines with its hybrid and plug-in hybrid options, whereas Forester offers respectable fuel efficiency with its gasoline engines.
- Towing Capacity and Hauling Prowess: RAV4’s Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims boast impressive towing capacities, while the Forester provides a consistent towing capacity across all trims for light towing tasks.
Ultimately, the choice between the Toyota RAV4 and the Subaru Forester comes down to your personal priorities and preferences. Are you looking for a spirited ride with bold styling and a myriad of engine options?
The RAV4 might be your perfect match. If you value practicality, roominess, and a more subtle design, the Forester could be the one for you.
In any case, you can’t go wrong with either of these stellar crossover SUVs. They both offer a delightful blend of performance, comfort, and safety. So, go ahead and take ’em both for a spin – the open road awaits!
Happy trails, my fellow automotive aficionados!