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Published February 15, 2022

Should I buy the Subaru Forester or Toyota RAV4?

Should I buy the Subaru Forester or Toyota RAV4?

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    Share this article

Image is of a silver Subaru Forester on a white background.

Pitting the Subaru Forester vs the Toyota RAV4 is a battle between two popular SUVs that each command a respectable following. Despite competing in the same class, some notable differences may entice you to one SUV corner over the other.

There’s no wrong answer when considering a RAV4 or Forester – your answer will lie with what you want from your next vehicle. To find out who wins out of team RAV4 versus Forester in your eyes, it’s best to look at what these cars can do for you.

Discover where your allegiance lies by comparing their:

  • Specifications
  • Safety
  • Reliability
  • Interior and infotainment
  • Cargo space

Soon, you’ll have all the information you need to make the right decision for your next vehicle purchase.

Subaru Forester vs. Toyota RAV4

Let’s put style and appearance to the side for a moment and look at the top-level stats for these competing cars – such as the price, engine, and fuel economy.

2021 Subaru Forester

Prices from: $36,360

Engine: 2.0-liter petrol e-BOXER engine and electric motor

Miles per gallon: 26 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway

2021 Toyota RAV4
Image shows a light green Toyota RAV4 with a background of tree-covered mountains.
Toyota RAV4

Prices from: $36,315

Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor

Miles per gallon: 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway

When it comes to fuel economy in the battle of the RAV4 vs. the Forester, it’s a close race in the city, but the RAV4 takes the lead when it comes to highway driving. This is mainly due to the advantages of the RAV4’s bigger engine, which helps it perform better over longer trips.

If fuel efficiency is a concern, it’s something worth considering. The differences are fairly minor though, as demonstrated in their pricing, with the Toyota only $45 cheaper.

Head-to-head: Safety features

There’s more to a car than just engine size and fuel economy – safety features are an essential consideration too. When it comes to the RAV4 vs the Forester, a good defense is as essential as a good offense. Both of their safety features bring peace of mind and reduce the risk of injuries and collisions.

Toyota offers its Safety Sense 2.0 across the entire RAV4 range. It’s an impressive kit and includes:

  • A pre-collision system
  • Dynamic radar cruise control
  • Lane departure alert
  • Automatic high beams and LED headlamps
  • Road sign assist
  • Lance tracing assist
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Traction control
  • Rear-view camera

Notably, a blind spot monitor is missing from the base package, but it can be purchased as an optional extra.

While the RAV4’s defense is impressive, the Forester also knows how to keep its guard up with its EyeSight Driver assistance suite. Some of the safety features it offers include:

  • LED headlamps as standard
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency breaking
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Rear-view camera
  • Stability control

The Forester packs in nearly every safety feature you want from a modern car. However, just like the RAV4, a blind spot monitor is an additional extra and not available at every grade.

Both vehicles provide an impressive suite of safety features that should inspire confidence in any driver.

Head-to-head: Reliability

With such a close performance in safety features, fuel economy, and pricing, one area remains where you could see significant savings – reliability. The less risk of things going wrong, the cheaper owning and running an SUV should work out for you in terms of repair and maintenance costs, time, and convenience

Consumer Reports gave the RAV4 an overall score of 72 in road tests, which is a respectable score. However, the Forester raced ahead with an impressive 90 that signals superior reliability on the road.

In the predicted reliability rating, the 2021 Forester achieved four out of five, reflecting there hasn’t been a significant number of issues associated with the latest version of this hybrid SUV. In line with its brand’s reputation for reliability, the Toyota RAV4 achieved a similar rating, only losing out on the road tests.

Head-to-head: Interior and infotainment

So, both the RAV4 and Forester perform well on the roads. But what about that additional flair? After all, comfort and convenience are as important as performance. A good drive is more than just enjoying a safe and smooth ride.

In the Toyota RAV4’s corner, its infotainment and interior technology includes:

  • A 4.2-inch MID screen in the middle of the dashboard
  • Google Maps and Apple Maps
  • Messaging with Google or Siri
  • Android Auto calls
  • An 11-speaker system
  • Toyota Touch 2
  • MyT Connectivity App
  • Driver seat power-adjustment
  • Tri-zone climate control
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

The Forester doesn’t slouch either and brings its own packed infotainment systems that include:

  • A 6.5-inch touchscreen
  • A nine-speaker system
  • Power-adjustable passenger seat
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Steering wheel mounted controls
  • Voice recognition
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Toyota may enjoy a subtle win in this category with its additional technology and infotainment features. However, different grades and packages are available for each model and they both bring some unique offerings to the table.

Head-to-head: Cargo space

At first sight, the RAV4 appears to be winning this category based on cubic feet of cargo space. With the second row up, the RAV4 offers 37.5 liters of cubic feet, while the Forester boasts 35.4 liters. However, the Forester pulls ahead with a best-in-class 76.1 cubic feet of space with the seats folded flat – compared to the RAV4, which has 69.7 cubic feet.

The RAV4 may be marginally better in a default configuration, but the Forester has greater potential. Which has the most cargo space for you depends on how you intend to use your vehicle day-to-day.

For school runs and trips with the seats in place, the RAV4 may be best. If you plan on folding down regularly to pack in camping gear, sports equipment, or anything else, the Forester is more likely to appeal.

Buy a Subaru Forester or Toyota RAV4 from EchoPark

It’s been a close battle, but only one can be the winner. So, will you be opting for a RAV4 or a Forester? Both are reliable, stylish, and leading SUVs at the top of their game and champions in our eyes. That’s why we’re proud to stock both models at EchoPark.

Shop Toyota RAV4

Shop Subaru Forester

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