2019 Toyota Rav4 vs. 2019 Subaru Outback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Rav4 Limited offers an optional Bird’s Eye View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Outback only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

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

Warranty

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Rav4 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 Outback.

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’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’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 28 more horsepower (203 vs. 175) and 10 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 174) than the Outback 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Rav4 is faster than the Outback 2.5i:

 

Rav4

Outback

Zero to 60 MPH

8.2 sec

9.5 sec

Quarter Mile

16.4 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

87 MPH

82.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

Rav4

 

FWD

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

 

AWD

LE 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/34 hwy

 

 

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/33 hwy

Outback

 

AWD

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/32 hwy

 

 

3.6 DOHC 6 cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

Brakes and Stopping

The Rav4 stops much shorter than the Outback:

 

Rav4

Outback

 

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Rav4 XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Outback (235/55R19 vs. 225/65R17).

The Rav4 XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Outback Limited/Touring’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Rav4 XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited has standard 19-inch wheels. The Outback’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Rav4 is .9 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Outback.

The Rav4 Adventure handles at .84 G’s, while the Outback 3.6R Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Rav4 Adventure executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Outback 2.5i Limited (27.5 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

Chassis

The Toyota Rav4 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 300 pounds less than the Subaru Outback.

The Rav4 is 9 inches shorter than the Outback, making the Rav4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

The Rav4 has a much larger cargo volume than the Outback with its rear seat up (37.6 vs. 35.5 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Rav4 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 Outback doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Subaru Outback is limited to 2700 pounds. The Rav4 Adventure offers up to a 3500 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Rav4’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 Outback’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

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

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

Both the Rav4 and the Outback offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Rav4 XLE/XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Outback Base/Premium doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The Rav4 Adventure has a 115-volt a/c outlet, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Outback doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

The Rav4 is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Outback doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

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

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

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