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Toyota RAV4 vs Subaru Forester Specs & Features (Full Comparison)

Ahoy there, fellow car enthusiasts! Are you in the market for a new ride, but feeling a bit overwhelmed by the multitude of options out there?

Fear not, for today we’ll be diving deep into a head-to-head comparison of two top-tier SUVs: the Toyota RAV4 and the Subaru Forester. These two contenders have been duking it out for years, and it’s high time we settle the score once and for all.

So grab a cup of joe, sit back, and let’s embark on this automotive odyssey together!

Subaru Forester Vs Rav4 Performance and Engine Specifications

Engine Types and Power Output

When it comes to raw power, both the Toyota RAV4 and the Subaru Forester pack quite a punch.

The RAV4 boasts a 2.5L Inline-4 Gas Engine that churns out a respectable 203 hp @ 6600 rpm, while the Forester isn’t far behind with its 2.5L DOHC 16 Valve 4-Cylinder Engine delivering a solid performance. It’s like comparing apples and oranges, but rest assured, both fruits pack a flavorful punch!

Transmission Systems

In the realm of transmissions, the Toyota RAV4 sports a smooth 8-Speed Automatic, while the Subaru Forester opts for the innovative Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission).

While the RAV4’s 8-Speed Automatic provides seamless gear shifts, the Forester’s CVT offers an infinite range of gear ratios for a consistently optimal driving experience. Talk about a tough choice!

Drivetrain Comparison

Now, this is where things start to heat up. The Toyota RAV4 comes with a Front-Wheel Drive system, while the Subaru Forester takes it up a notch with a Full-Time All-Wheel Drive setup.

The Forester’s AWD is perfect for those who love tackling rugged terrain and slippery slopes, while the RAV4’s FWD is more than sufficient for the daily grind.

Fuel Efficiency and Emissions

When it comes to fuel economy, both vehicles sip gas like a fine wine. The Toyota RAV4 boasts a combined 30 MPG and emits a respectable 5.9 Tons/yr CO2, while the Subaru Forester clocks in at a combined 29 MPG with a slightly higher 6.1 Tons/yr CO2 emissions.

It’s a close call, but the RAV4 takes the cake in this department.

Compare Exterior Dimensions and Design

Size Comparison

In terms of size, these two SUVs are as evenly matched as gladiators in the Colosseum.

The RAV4 measures 180.9 inches in length, 67.2 inches in height, and 73 inches in width. On the other hand, the Forester stands at 182.7 inches long, 67.5 inches tall, and 71.5 inches wide.

The RAV4’s slightly wider stance lends it a more aggressive look, while the Forester’s extra length gives it a more commanding presence on the road.

Towing Capacity

When it comes to towing, both vehicles can haul their fair share of cargo.

The RAV4 and Forester both boast a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 pounds. So whether you’re hauling a small boat, a couple of jet skis, or a lightweight trailer, both SUVs have got you covered.

Exterior Color Options

We all know that looks aren’t everything, but let’s be honest, they matter. The Toyota RAV4 offers a variety of standard exterior colors, including Blueprint, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Midnight Black Metallic, Ruby Flare Pearl, Silver Sky Metallic, and Wind Chill Pearl.

The Subaru Forester, on the other hand, offers its own lineup of eye-catching hues to satisfy even the pickiest of color connoisseurs.

The 2023 Subaru Forester offers the following exterior paint color options:

  1. Autumn Green Metallic
  2. Crimson Red Pearl
  3. Cascade Green Silica
  4. Crystal Black Silica
  5. Brilliant Bronze Metallic
  6. Sapphire Blue Pearl
  7. Horizon Blue Pearl

Compare Interior Space and Comfort

Let’s take a peek inside these two automotive marvels and see what they have to offer in terms of space and creature comforts.

Seating Capacity and Passenger Volume

Both the RAV4 and the Forester can comfortably seat 5 passengers in the front seat and rear seat combined, making them perfect for family outings or road trips with friends.

However, when it comes to total passenger volume, the Forester takes the lead with a roomy 111.6 cubic feet, while the RAV4 trails slightly behind in the car ratings with 98.9 cubic feet.

Cargo Space and Versatility

When it comes to cargo space, both SUVs offer ample room for your belongings, but the Forester comes out on top in this department:

  • Toyota RAV4:
    • Cargo Space Behind First Row: 69.8 cubic feet
    • Cargo Space Behind Second Row: 37.6 cubic feet
  • Subaru Forester:
    • Cargo Space Behind First Row: 74.2 cubic feet
    • Cargo Space Behind Second Row: 28.9 cubic feet

Interior Materials and Color Options

Both the RAV4 and the Forester offer a variety of interior materials and color options to suit your personal style.

The RAV4 Limited trim comes with SofTex seat trims in Ash, Black, and Nutmeg, while the Forester offers fabric and leather options in various shades.

Car Wheels and Tires

Rolling on the right set of wheels and tires can make or break your driving experience. Let’s see how the RAV4 and Forester stack up in this department:

Toyota RAV4Subaru Forester
Front Wheel Size19 x 7.5 inches17 x 7 inches
Front Wheel MaterialAluminumSteel
Front Tire SizeP235/55HR19P225/60HR17
Rear Wheel Size19 x 7.5 inches17 x 7 inches
Rear Wheel MaterialAluminumSteel
Rear Tire SizeP235/55HR19P225/60HR17
Spare Wheel SizeCompactCompact
Spare Wheel MaterialSteelSteel
Spare Tire SizeCompactCompact

While Toyota offers larger 19-inch aluminum wheels, the Forester opts for more modest 17-inch steel wheels. Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference and the type of driving experience you’re after.

Car Suspension and Steering

A smooth ride and precise handling are essential for any vehicle, and both the RAV4 and Forester deliver in spades.

Front and Rear Suspension Systems

  • Toyota RAV4:
    • Front Suspension: Strut
    • Rear Suspension: Multi-Link
  • Subaru Forester:
    • Front Suspension: Strut with Coil Springs
    • Rear Suspension: Double Wishbone with Coil Springs

Steering Type and Turning Diameter

  • Toyota RAV4:
    • Steering Type: Rack-Pinion
    • Turning Diameter: 37.4 ft
  • Subaru Forester:
    • Steering Type: Electric Power-Assist Speed-Sensing
    • Turning Diameter: 35.4 ft

Ride Quality and Handling

The RAV4’s Multi-Link rear suspension provides a more comfortable ride over bumpy roads, while the Forester’s Double Wishbone rear suspension with Coil Springs offers excellent stability and handling.

The Forester’s Electric Power-Assist Speed-Sensing steering system gives it a slight edge in terms of responsiveness, while the RAV4’s Rack-Pinion steering is no slouch either.

When it comes to turning diameter, the Forester has the upper hand with a tighter 35.4 ft, compared to the RAV4’s 37.4 ft.

Safety Features and Technology

Safety should never take a back seat, and both the RAV4 and Forester come equipped with an array of features to keep you and your loved ones safe on the road.

Standard Safety Features

  • Toyota RAV4:
    • Back-Up Camera
    • Rear Parking Aid
    • Blind Spot Monitor
    • Lane Departure Warning
    • Lane Keeping Assist
    • ABS
    • Tire Pressure Monitor
    • Brake Assist
    • Stability Control
    • Traction Control
  • Subaru Forester:
    • Brake Actuated Limited Slip Differential
    • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes with 4-Wheel ABS
    • Front and Rear Vented Discs
    • Brake Assist
    • Hill Hold Control
    • Electric Parking Brake
    • Towing Equipment: Trailer Sway Control
    • Gas-Pressurized Shock Absorbers
    • Front and Rear Anti-Roll Bars

Airbag Systems

Both SUVs are well-equipped in the airbag department, offering a comprehensive set of airbags to protect passengers in the event of a collision:

  • Driver Air Bag
  • Front Head Air Bag
  • Front Side Air Bag
  • Knee Air Bag
  • Passenger Air Bag
  • Rear Head Air Bag

Infotainment and Connectivity

In the digital age, staying connected is more important than ever. Both the RAV4 and Forester offer a suite of infotainment and connectivity features to keep you entertained and informed on the go.

Infotainment Features

  • Toyota RAV4:
    • HD Radio
    • Bluetooth Connection
    • Premium Sound System
    • Satellite Radio
    • Smart Device Integration
    • WiFi Hotspot
    • Auxiliary Audio Input
    • MP3 Player
  • Subaru Forester:
    • Subaru STARLINK Multimedia system
    • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
    • Bluetooth Connectivity
    • SiriusXM Satellite Radio (subscription required)
    • USB ports for smartphone integration and charging

Warranty and Maintenance

When investing in a new vehicle, it’s important to consider the warranty and maintenance coverage offered by the manufacturer. Both Toyota and Subaru have solid reputations for reliability, but let’s dive into the details and see how their warranties stack up.

Warranty Coverage

WarrantiesToyota RAV4Subaru Forester
Basic3 Years / 36,000 Miles3 Years / 36,000 Miles
Corrosion5 Years / Unlimited Miles5 Years / Unlimited Miles
Drivetrain5 Years / 60,000 Miles5 Years / 60,000 Miles
Maintenance2 Years / 25,000 Miles3 Years / 36,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance2 Years / Unlimited Miles3 Years / 36,000 Miles

As you can see, both the RAV4 and Forester offer comparable warranty coverage across the board.

The key difference lies in the maintenance and roadside assistance categories, where the Subaru Forester has a slight edge with 3 years / 36,000 miles, compared to the RAV4’s 2 years / 25,000 miles.

Maintenance Plans and Costs

Regular maintenance is crucial to keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape. Both Toyota and Subaru offer maintenance plans to help ensure your SUV stays running smoothly.

The ToyotaCare plan covers routine maintenance such as oil changes and tire rotations for the first 2 years or 25,000 miles, while Subaru’s maintenance plan covers similar services for 3 years or 36,000 miles.

Maintenance costs can vary depending on the vehicle, location, and dealership, but it’s always a good idea to budget for the costs associated with maintaining your SUV. Some common maintenance items include:

  • Oil changes
  • Tire rotations
  • Brake pad replacements
  • Fluid checks and top-offs
  • Air filter replacements

It’s worth noting that both Toyota and Subaru have a strong reputation for reliability, which can help keep maintenance costs in check over the long run.

Price and Value Proposition

When you are looking to compare cars specifically between the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester, it’s essential to consider the overall value and the price points of each SUV. In this section, we’ll break down the standard starting prices for different trim levels and weigh the value each vehicle brings to the table.

Remember these are just the standard costs for these Toyota and Subaru SUV trims. Depending on what other optional add-ons you choose to purchase with the trim or whether you get a good deal (sometimes car dealerships will run great car deals or lease deals) will determine your final purchase price.

For example, adding undercoating or special maintenance packages can add several grand to your car’s final purchase price number.

Starting Prices

Trim LevelSubaru ForesterToyota RAV4 Non-HybridToyota RAV4 HybridToyota RAV4 Prime
Sport/XLE Premium$32,190$32,375$34,625
Forester Wilderness/TRD Off-Road$35,245$37,595
-/Prime SE$41,590​
-/Prime XSE$45,460​

It’s important to note that prices may vary depending on options, packages, and regional factors. However, based on the starting prices above, the Subaru Forester tends to be more affordable across most trim levels.

Value for Money

While price is certainly an important factor when you compare cars, it’s essential to consider the value each SUV offers in terms of features, performance, and reliability.

Both the RAV4 and Forester provide a compelling value proposition, but your priorities and preferences will ultimately determine which SUV is the better fit for you.

Toyota RAV4

  • Pros:
    • Better fuel economy
    • Larger cargo space
    • Sleek design
    • A wide range of trim levels and options
  • Cons:
    • Slightly higher starting price
    • Shorter maintenance and roadside assistance coverage

Subaru Forester

  • Pros:
    • Full-time AWD standard on all models
    • More interior space
    • Off-road-capable suspension
    • Longer maintenance and roadside assistance coverage
  • Cons:
    • Lower fuel efficiency
    • Smaller cargo space

Features The Rav4 Has That The Subaru Forester Does Not

When comparing the 2023 Toyota RAV4 to the 2023 Subaru Forester, it’s crucial to consider the unique features offered by each model.

In this section, we’ll highlight the exclusive features found in the 2023 Toyota RAV4 that are not present in the 2023 Subaru Forester. These features may help sway your decision if you’re looking for a vehicle with a specific set of capabilities.

Off-Road Capability and Performance

The 2023 Toyota RAV4 offers several features tailored to off-road enthusiasts that are not available in the Subaru Forester:

  • TRD Off-Road Capability: The RAV4 TRD Off-Road model is specifically designed for off-road adventures with its unique suspension and performance enhancements.
  • Multi-Terrain Select: This feature allows you to choose from various driving modes to optimize traction and control in different off-road conditions.
  • Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD With Rear Driveline Disconnect: This advanced all-wheel-drive system can intelligently distribute torque to individual wheels for better grip and handling.
  • Drive Modes (SPORT, ECO, NORMAL): These selectable drive modes enable you to customize your driving experience based on your preferences and the driving conditions.
  • Multi-Link Rear Suspension: This suspension system offers improved ride quality and handling, especially on rough terrain.

Design and Styling

The 2023 Toyota RAV4 boasts several distinctive design elements that set it apart from the Subaru Forester:

  • Distinct Design and TRD Off-Road: The RAV4 features a rugged, aggressive exterior design, further accentuated in the TRD Off-Road model.
  • Rear Design: The RAV4’s rear styling showcases its sporty, dynamic character.
  • Headlights with New Projector LED Headlights: These advanced headlights provide better visibility and a striking appearance.
  • Wheel Designs: The RAV4 offers a variety of unique wheel designs to suit your taste and style.

Interior Convenience and Technology

Toyota’s RAV4 also excels in interior features that enhance comfort, convenience, and connectivity:

  • Thoughtful Interior: The RAV4’s cabin is designed with passenger comfort and usability in mind, featuring an intuitive layout and high-quality materials.
  • Intuitive Storage Tray and Passenger Shelf: These clever storage solutions help keep your personal items organized and easily accessible.
  • Hands-Free Power Liftgate: This feature allows you to open and close the liftgate with a simple wave of your foot, making it easier to load and unload cargo.
  • Accessory Power Outlet: A handy power outlet in the cargo area lets you charge and power devices on the go.
  • 10.5-In. Multimedia Display: The large touchscreen display provides easy access to entertainment, navigation, and vehicle settings.
  • 12.3-in. Multi-Information Display: This high-resolution display shows important vehicle information, including fuel economy, trip data, and safety system status.
  • Front and Rear Parking Assist With Automatic Braking: This advanced safety feature helps you park safely and confidently by detecting obstacles and applying the brakes if necessary.
  • Panoramic View Monitor With Camera Perimeter Scan: This feature uses multiple cameras to provide a 360-degree view around your vehicle, making it easier to navigate tight spaces and avoid obstacles.

These exclusive features of the 2023 Toyota RAV4 add value and functionality that may be appealing to certain buyers.

Consider these aspects when deciding between the RAV4 and the Subaru Forester to ensure you choose the vehicle that best meets your needs and preferences.

Toyota RAV4 vs Subaru Forester Specs and Features

After comparing these two titans of the SUV world, it’s clear that both the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester have a lot to offer. Ultimately, choosing where to drive a Toyota or Subaru compact SUV home comes down to personal preference and priorities (combined with the advice that you have read above).

If you’re after a more aggressive look and better fuel efficiency, the RAV4 might be the one for you. However, if a full-time AWD system, more interior space, and a more off-road capable suspension are what you seek, the Subaru Forester is the way to go.

In the end, there’s no wrong choice between these two fantastic SUVs. It all boils down to which one suits your lifestyle, taste, and driving habits. So take a test drive, compare the features, and make the choice that’s right for you.