2019 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid vs. 2019 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, 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 37 more horsepower (219 vs. 182) than the Forester’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid is faster than the Subaru Forester:

 

Rav4 Hybrid

Forester

Zero to 60 MPH

7.5 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

17.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.4 MPH

82.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Rav4 Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Forester (41 city/37 hwy vs. 26 city/33 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.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Rav4 Hybrid

Forester

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.6 inches

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Rav4 Hybrid is 1.4 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Forester.

Cargo Capacity

The Rav4 Hybrid has a much larger cargo volume than the Forester with its rear seat up (37.6 vs. 35.4 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 Premium/Sport/Limited/Touring’s 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.

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 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 Limited/Touring.

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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