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Subaru Forester vs Toyota RAV4

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Comments

  • chrisl22chrisl22 Posts: 24
    I just bought a new outback and am considering getting a "protection package" for the paint and interior (carpet and leather fabric) since I'm in the mountains alot with dust and tree sap, etc. I got a price of $495 for all interior and paint from a local autodealer: 7 year warranty with a product called Perma Plate. This is two years longer and $100 cheaper than what my local Subaru dealers are offering.

    Does anybody have any experience with this product and would you recommend it or not?

    Thanks,

    Chris
  • tazerelitazereli Posts: 241
    get your self a can of scotchguard and leather protectant and follow the instructions on the container. Those mop and glo packages are pretty much pure profit for the dealer or whoever is selling it. Save the money and go for a long weekend somewhere.

    Regards,
    Kyle
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Same is true for the paint... all they're going to do is put on a coat of wax (if you're lucky)!

    -Frank
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    Gov. test show they are close except for front passenger for RAV4 scores 4 stars and Forester scores 5.

    IIHS scores Forester a GOOD rating all around and the 2006 RAV4 only was tested for Frontal test which scores a GOOD rating. 2005 model scored GOOD for side impact and MARGINAL for rear impact.

    One thing I don't understand is why the Forester doesn't have the side curtain airbags? I noticed there is a couple Subaru models that don't have. The Legacy sedan has them. Why wouldn't they put them on all models? If there were no airbag between your head and the car door wouldn't your head hit the car maybe? :(
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The side air bag that comes standard in the Forester is shaped to protect the torso and the head. So the front driver and passenger have full protection. The excellent results in the test reflect that.

    The rear passengers have no side air bag protection, but the B-pillar in the Forester is so thick that Firemen complained they could not cut through them with their "jaws of life" tools. They found Subaru uses exotic Boron steels and a reinforcement bar as thick as ree-bar in the pillar. They brought a wrecked Forester back to the shop and had to use special cutting tools to get through the massive structure.

    This safety cage is how they were able to get a Good score even without rear/side air bags.

    Here's a pic, the pillar is more sturdy than anything from Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, you name it. See it and believe.

    -juice
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    Thanks! Great info but what would keep rear passengers head from hitting the side door?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Certain sized passengers will. I think IIHS tests with a fairly tall dummy:

    image

    I don't believe these curtain air bags are meant to protect children, for the most part they're not tall enough that they'd even come in contact with them. They'd probably hit the door panels.

    -juice
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    These are pretty high up, and would not protect kids:

    image

    -juice
  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    Thank again, juice! You are the man! :shades:
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Oh don't tell him that, his head is big enough already :P

    -Frank
  • ktyronektyrone Posts: 5
    i have read a lot of the posts. should i assume that it is just a matter of preference, and that one is not better than the other??? i keep vehicles a long time, thus i am in sticker shock and want to make the right decision.
    this will be my vehicle. no young children. i do a lot of highway driving while visiting around the country.
    please advise. thanks
  • thecatthecat Posts: 528
    The choice here is very subjective. I've owned both vehicles and they each have their merit. The 2 points on the Subies side are full time all wheel drive and nimble handling. IMHO the Rav wins in any other comparison.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,663
    Also, you can get a manual tranny with the Forester XT (turbo), whereas the RAV4 V6 only comes with an automatic.

    Bob
  • andrelaplumeandrelaplume Posts: 934
    I'll take the improved gas milage and PT AWD that RAV offers thank you. How often do you really need FT AWD unless you live in a very specific area. I drove both and really wanted to take advantage of the Forester 2K rebate. But...Its just a too small for the 4 of us; it feels claustrophobic compared to the RAv and CRV. Personally I think they should just drop the rebate and lower the MSRP by $2K---I think the rebate cheapens a quality branded car; one that is simply overpriced based in the latest competition line-up(IMO). Without the $2k rebate I do not see Subaru selling any Foresters over Ravs, CRVs or anything else....UNLESS their are more folks out there who want tiny SUVs than I am aware of. In that case Subaru will have the market cornered! Personally I am willing to bet they start to overhaul their vehicles for the 1st time in many many years. I do not mean new noses and tails but more width and leg room. I'd love to see a Legacy the size of my Camry in the next few years. I do like the AWD (PT or FT) but Subarus cars are a bit too small. Lets hope if they do it they do not try to sell the base sucker for $28K or something. That B9 thing they have, allbeit larger is way overpriced!

    Still, if its just yourself no one questions that it is a quality, safe car.
  • jeffmcjeffmc Posts: 1,742
    Other Subie advantages include a top-hinged rear hatch (rather than side-hinged), better performance when comparing base engine models, better visibility, the best safety ratings in its class, lower insurance rates, more ground clearance, more standard features on base models, and higher towing capacity on base models.

    If you're comparing against a 4-cyl RAV, I think the Toyota's only real advantage is interior space.

    Gas mileage is equal between both 4-cyl models.
  • ktyronektyrone Posts: 5
    Thanks to all who responded. I guess it will boil down to whether to take advantage of the Subaru financing or not. I, too, did not like the side hinged rear hatch on the Rav4, but I did the think the seats were a lot more comfortable. THIS is why I go so long between cars. What I really want is a Toyota made Outback! :)
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I agree somewhat. The RAV4 is porkier but with the base 4 the gas mileage is equal to the turbo, but not the non-turbo. The XT will still out accelerate and out handle the 6 cylinder model. And it's just as reliable if not more. The Forester has one of the highest reliability rating for a given model and I'm more comfortable in the Forester than in the RAV4.

    I personally don't care how I arrive at the bottom line, I just want to know what the bottom line is.

    I think it's great that the Subaru is smaller than the RAV4. For years I've had gargantuan vehicles, so getting into a Forester, which is an IIHS safety best pick, and has just enough room for my needs, is great. It's a quick nimble vehicle. I do wish some additional amenities were offered, but hey, my FXT Premium with almost every option except the turbo gauge came in at about $25.5. What can you get in a RAV4 for $25.5?
  • andrelaplumeandrelaplume Posts: 934
    FYI, I got in my Base 4 cylinder Rav for 21.9K plus tax and tags. That included a roof rack, cargo cover, pole system, side bags, mats and a few other things. I do not believe there is anything in the base F that I do not have in my base RAV at this price. The F would have been 19K + tax and tags. Again, the space issue is the difference. Also, my insurance was no more or less for either vehicle.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,663
    If towing means anything, the 4-cylinder RAV4 is rated at 1,500 pounds, whereas all Foresters are rated at 2,400 pounds. Now that may not mean anything to you, but it does to me.

    Granted you could just get the V6 Rav4 which is rated at 3,500, but if you didn't want the V6 and reasonable towing, the Forester has the edge.

    Bob
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,451
    What I really want is a Toyota made Outback!

    You never know ... one of these days you may get your wish.

    Subaru's Indiana Plant Will Build Toyotas (Inside Line)

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • arendaarenda Posts: 2
    My 2005 Hyundai Sonata brakes will squeak when I first start the car in the morning. After a few minutes driving the squeaking will cease. However, once the car rests for about another 4 hours, this same noise will appear and
    subsequently will disappear after driving the car for a few minutes.

    Apparently when the car is cold the brakes will squeak until it is driven for a few minutes. This first started at 5,000 miles on the car.

    Since I cannot duplicate this noise whenever I take it to the dealer, I am told there is nothing they can do. They did clean the brakes but this had no positive results and their
    inspection showed no problems with the brake pads.

    I did notice that after driving through very heavy rain and puddles, the problem will not occur for a number of days. Should I therefore, occasionally hose the wheel
    areas to help prevent this problem?
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,451
    Try the Hyundai Sonata: Problems & Solutions discussion instead (we're comparing Subarus to Toyotas in this one).

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • thecatthecat Posts: 528
    Ahhh .. the brand loyalty monster rears it's head. So far this has been a fairly clean debate. I hope we can keep it that way. Somebody a few messages back made the statement that insurance for the Forester was cheaper than the RAV. Do you have any data to support that? The ground clearance difference is insignificant. And I don't care if one has a bigger antenna than the other. :)

    I have owned both. Had a 99 Forester and now a new v6 rav limited. The Forester was a great car. My major complaint was rear leg room. However, the Rav has a higher seating position, which I like a lot, and even with the V6 I'm averaging 24 mpg. IIRC I did about the same with the Forester. Now there's the touchie feelie part ... I think the RAV feels much more refined mechanically and I find it to be much more comfortable. Neither is a head turner but the Forester is a functional box. Subie's (and I have owned 2 and was one of the early members of the "Subaru Crew") have always had quirky looks although of late they are cleaning up that act quite a bit.
    As I said, this is a very subjective discussion. Just remember that there were people who bought the Pontiac Aztek. Other than the fact that both of these vehicles are labeled a "small suv" I really don't see much in common. I drove the Forester, CRV, and RAV and the rest is history. Unlike most people, price wasn't a major consideration. I wanted a comfortable small suv that could pull a trailer with my motorcycle in it, had to have heated seats, and get reasonable gas mileage. Wadaya think a used Aztek goes for?
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,663
    Steve, if I were to buy that type of vehicle today the V6 RAV4 would definitely be near or at the top of my short list. It can tow 3,500, it runs on regular gas, is very roomy, has a full-size spare, and is pretty darn quick boot. I did drive one a few months back and was impressed. I also like the fact that the V6 can be had in all trim levels, and not just the top trim level—I like that a lot!

    Having said that, I wish it still had full-time AWD, and not the on-demand unit that is found on the current model. Yeah, it's probably a bit more economical, but I still prefer full-time AWD like what Subaru uses. That, the better towing on base models, and the fact that the most powerful Forester is still available with a manual, are the only real advantages that I see the current Forester has over the RAV4.

    Now the one I drove was right after driving my WRX, so it wasn't a whole lot of fun in the corners. I feel the same way when I drive my wife's Forester though... You being an ex-WRX owner, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. ;)

    Like I said the V6 I have lot of interest in. Not so the 4-cylinder model, and that's strickly due to the lower tow rating; and as you know I do tow, so that's important to me.

    Bob
  • jeffmcjeffmc Posts: 1,742
    I was the fella who said the Forester's cheaper to insure. When my friends bought their Forester a couple months ago, they checked out insurance costs on the Forester, CRV, and RAV. Forester was cheapest, followed closely by CRV, and farther back was the RAV. I think the RAV's showing is partially due to the cost of repairs and the fact that rear spare tire sticks down into the bumper - if you get rear-ended, some of that impact may get absorbed by the spare and the rear hatch rather than the bumper.

    Here's a link to State Farm rating data on Subaru:
    http://moneycentral.msn.com/insure/autorisk.aspx?Make=SUBARU
    Forester receives an "A" in their liability rating, a Vehicle Safety Discount of 30%, and a damage/theft rating of "C".
    And the same site's rating data for Toyota:
    http://moneycentral.msn.com/insure/autorisk.aspx?Make=TOYOTA
    RAV receives a "C" in their liability rating, a safety discount of 10%, and a damage/theft rating of "D".
    The Forester beats it in every category.

    If you're comparing against a RAV 4 cylinder, I think Forester has the advantage, unless interior space is your primary criterium. The 6-cyl. RAV is a different story and is a very compelling package. It offers power in a more practical package, vs. the Forester XT's "fun factor". Most folks go for practical.

    These are both exceptional vehicles. It's hard to make a bad decision on a purchase of either one.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "Most folks go for practical."

    I agree. But my definition of practical is different than the next persons. While the RAV4 is slightly roomier, neither car is a great car to take a family of four on a trip loaded to the gills. The last time I did that by car, I had a 7-seater minivan and there was barely enough room for everything and the family. So the extra space in the RAV over the Forester doesn't really buy me anything. YMMV.

    So that being said, I still have one decent size SUV if needed.
  • thecatthecat Posts: 528
    With a loaded Limited V6 I'm paying $1k yr. for insurance and the car is listed for business use. I'm not sure what the difference would be for the Forester but it can't be that much.

    While the RAV4 is slightly roomier You have got to be kidding. Back seat leg room in the RAV is monstrous by comparison. If you're trying to haul a bunch of kids and all the family equipment for vacation, perhaps you need a bus. Becides, it sounds like you don't have a dog in this fight.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "With a loaded Limited V6 I'm paying $1k yr. for insurance"

    I could probably get the insurance down to $600 but I have every available option at max, except collision and comprehensive with which I have a $500 deductible.

    One persons definition of monstrous is tiny to another. I regularly carry 5 tall adults in the car and everybody says the rear legroom is more than adequate. YMMV.

    "If you're trying to haul a bunch of kids and all the family equipment for vacation, perhaps you need a bus."

    Bingo. I like to rent a Tahoe when necessary. This way I can take my 2 rotties with us in the back. :)
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "Somebody a few messages back made the statement that insurance for the Forester was cheaper than the RAV. Do you have any data to support that?"

    Yes, but I'm not posting any specifics but YMMV. The tire hanging off the rear door might have something to do with it.

    "I think the RAV feels much more refined mechanically and I find it to be much more comfortable."

    I somewhat agree, but the Subaru is much, much, much, more agile and fun to drive.
  • thecatthecat Posts: 528
    I'll buy that the Forester is more agile ... the "much, much, much" part is hyperbole.

    My initial reaction to the RAV was that it's just too big to toss into a corner. However, as I have become more comfortable with it I have found it's handling to be very acceptable. This is from a guy who's previous car was a WRX.
This discussion has been closed.