2019 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid vs. 2018 Subaru Forester

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Rav4 Hybrid Limited offers an optional Bird’s Eye View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Forester only offers a rear monitor.

Both the Rav4 Hybrid and the Forester have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Rav4 Hybrid for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Forester.

There are almost 2 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Rav4 Hybrid’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 17th in initial quality. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Subaru is ranked fourth.

Engine

The Rav4 Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 49 more horsepower (219 vs. 170) than the Forester 2.5i’s standard 2.5 SOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid is faster than the Forester 2.5i (automatics tested):

 

Rav4 Hybrid

Forester

Zero to 60 MPH

7.5 sec

9 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.4 MPH

83.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Rav4 Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Forester:

 

 

 

MPG

Rav4 Hybrid

AWD

Auto

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. Hybrid

41 city/37 hwy

Forester

AWD

Manual

2.5i 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

 

Auto

2.5i 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/32 hwy

 

 

2.0XT 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/27 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Rav4 Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Forester doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Rav4 Hybrid’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Forester doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Forester 2.0XT requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The Toyota Rav4 Hybrid comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Forester.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Rav4 Hybrid’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the Forester:

 

Rav4 Hybrid

Forester

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.1 inches

10.8 inches

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Rav4 Hybrid’s wheelbase is 2 inches longer than on the Forester (105.9 inches vs. 103.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Rav4 Hybrid is 2.1 inches wider in the front and 2.6 inches wider in the rear than on the Forester.

Chassis

The front grille of the Rav4 Hybrid uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Forester doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Rav4 Hybrid has .4 inches more front hip room and .8 inches more front shoulder room than the Forester.

Cargo Capacity

The Rav4 Hybrid has a much larger cargo volume than the Forester with its rear seat up (37.6 vs. 34.4 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Rav4 Hybrid Limited’s available cargo door can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Forester doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

The Rav4 Hybrid’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Forester’s (1750 vs. 1500 pounds).

Ergonomics

The Rav4 Hybrid’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Forester’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Forester’s optional power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

The Rav4 Hybrid XLE/XSE/Limited’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Forester’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Both the Rav4 Hybrid and the Forester offer available heated front seats. The Rav4 Hybrid Limited also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Forester.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Rav4 Hybrid Limited keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Forester doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Rav4 Hybrid has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Forester Base doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Rav4 Hybrid has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Forester Touring.

Both the Rav4 Hybrid and the Forester offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Rav4 Hybrid has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Forester doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Recommendations

The Toyota Rav4 outsold the Subaru Forester by over two to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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