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Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 or Subaru Forester?



  • We are looking for an SUV (like most people considering the CRV - the RAV4 - the Lexus RX 350 - and maybe the Hyundai Santa Fe. The Lexus 350 would be #1 but I don't feel like spending $40,000! The Santa Fe looks good on paper but I don't like the fact that it still has a negative view and depreciates more than the others. That leaves the CRV and RAV4 - the CRV seems better suited for us but all I have read is that people complain about road noise while it's on the interstate/freeway. So my question to 2007 CRV owners: is the noise tolerable or is it so bad that you wished you bought the RAV4 instead?
  • crvme3crvme3 Posts: 140
    I think it all boils down to personal tastes,feeling & individual tolerance for noise levels. We have been a Honda family for many years now & are quite satisfied. Our new CRV does not seem to have any more road noise than other vehicles I have driven, "is it there - yes" but again hence my opening statement. Noise is different/tolerable or not depending on the individual. I would suggest (if at all possible) to drive a new CRV for awhile to determine if it fits your liking as far as your personal noise tolerance. Good luck to you :)
  • stevecarstevecar Posts: 148
    We just went thru the same process. We are a Honda and Acura family. We picked up our 2007 CRV yesterday. It's a lot quiter than our Forrester, but noiser than our TL. Your cars that you are considering are all quite diverse. You really can't compare a CRV, Rav 4 and Sante to a lexus which can be 40-50K. Once we drove the Sante Fe and CRV is was difficult to decide. You may want to check out the CRV vs Sante Fe subject. We discounted the RAV 4 because of its size and tailgate and rear tire. But that's a personal preference. Like other people have and will say, Road noise is what you make of it. For some people, anything short of a Lexus or Acura level is not acceptable. We found the Honda has slightly more noise than the 6 cylinder Sante Fe. However, we felt that we just were more comfortable with another Honda and the road noie was just a sound level and not noise.
  • dobrovoddobrovod Posts: 15
    Has anyone seen parking assist (rear and/or front) on any U.S. spec small SUV? My wife and I are considering something like a Toyota RAV4 or Honda CRV and can't seem to find a vehicle with parking assist. We rented a Toyota Corolla in Europe last year it even it had parking assist on it.
  • beerloverbeerlover Posts: 19
    there is a backup sensor option on the crv but it will cost you......$500. go to the honda website, navigate to the crv site and use the "build and price" option. when building, you will get to extras and click on electronics and you will these details:

    "Help yourself in or out of a tight spot while helping to protect your paint
    Four Sensors emit audible beeps into the cabin while you back up, signaling objects as you approach them
    Beeps quicken as your vehicle gets closer to objects
    Note: Back-up sensor attachment is required for installation

    Installation costs not included. "
  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,367
    Has anyone cross-shopped the new Mitsu Outlander with this group? It doesn't put out RAV V6 power, but seems plenty strong enough, and has gadgets galore. Seems like a big step up for Mitsubishi, is a decent RAV competitor, and it actually looks nice too. The mega-warranty is obviously trying to alleviate the legendary Mitsu resale disasters of the past.

    Still happy with my Forester, but I like to keep up with the latest...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You can get a better deal in the aftermarket.

    I doubt dealers will stock vehicles that already have the feature, so why pay the OE markups if it's not factory installed? $500 sounds high, $2-300 is more like it.

  • bubaabubaa Posts: 2
    Thought I'd share with the group on a video I found on "you tube" on some vehicle comparisons.

    I always wanted a Forester but ended up with an Impreza.
    Anyways, enjoy.....

  • dzndzn Posts: 11
    I recently read a post (on another board) that addressed the front/rear power distribution of the CRV. The poster stated that the maximum power that could be distributed to the rear was 30% and that would somewhat negate the value of an all wheel drive vehicle. It essentially eliminated the CRV as an option for him.

    I currently own a 2001 Subaru Outback and vaguely remember that the manual transmission version of the Outback had a system that could deliver up to 50% power to the rear when needed while the automatic was slightly less.

    If anyone knows more about this power distribution issue and how it applies to the:


    I'd appreciate the feedback.

    Although I am quite please with the all around performance of my Outback I have to admit that my previouly owned AWD Toyota Previa was better (in terms of traction) when it came to driving on snowy roads.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not sure what system the Previa had, but Toyota used to use Viscous Couplings, which is actually the same system in your MT5 Outback.

    That defaults to 50/50, and when the two axles move at different speeds (i.e. slip) the viscous fluid sheers and lock the two together temporarily. It can therefore send more than 50% of the power to the rear wheels, either actually.

    Nice thing about them is that they are full-time, i.e. they act as a center differential so both axles can be engaged the entire time.

    Manual transmission Foresters work the same way.

    I bet your Previa simply had better tires on it. Toyota moved away from the VC system for the 2006 RAV4, my guess is they did so to obtain better EPA fuel economy numbers, as the new system is part-time and actually less advanced.

    RAV4 defaults to pure FWD, and then sends power to the rear wheels when it senses slip. Not sure what % it can send to the rear, but I think it's less than 50%. When the latest generation was launched, information was scarce, leading me to believe they didn't really want a lot of scrutiny for the system.

    CR-V works in a similar manner using a fast-acting Rotary Blade Coupling.

    That video is interesting but keep in mind Subaru added VDC to some Forester models for MY2007, and Honda came out with a totally new CR-V. The video was used by SoA internally to help train dealership staff on how to "sell" the advantages of Subaru's drivetrain layout.

    The ramp test is very tough, and while the VTD and VDC systems manage to climb that ramp, my educated guess is that the Viscous Coupling and auto-AWD systems would fail. Else they would have showed them. Then again, RBC, Haldex, and Torsen systems would also all fail to climb that ramp.

  • dzndzn Posts: 11
    If by MT5 you are referring to a 5-speed manual, my car is actually an automatic.

    Bottom line...which car do you think would be better in snowy conditions

    Honda CRV
    Subaru Outback or Forester
    Toyota Rav 4

    I would be getting an auto-transmission.

    Thanks in advance.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Oh, OK, you mentioned a manual so I thought that's what you had.

    Honda actually lowered the new CR-V, so it has less clearance than the previous model. Still better than regular cars.

    RAV4 I think gets 7.1-7.5" depending on the model, though that information may be outdated. Plus, they offer 3 different rim sizes (16", 17", 18") so I'm not sure if that has an effect on clearance.

    Forester has the most ground clearance and the only full-time AWD system among those 3. Ground clearance is 7.9" for the turbos, 8.1" for the 2.5l base engine.

    I would go with the Forester if that is your criteria. Add snow tires to any one of these and they'd be excellent snow vehicles.
  • dzndzn Posts: 11
    Clearance is not that much of an issue. Traction and maintaining control are the characteristics I am looking for.
    That's why I was interested in the different AWD systems (front/rear power distribution etc) and how well the vehicles would perform in snowy conditions. The fact that the poster had mentioned that the maximum of 30% power distribution to the rear on the CRV made him eliminate that vehicle as an option made me reconsider it as a viable option.
  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,367
    Hey Juice, maybe it's time to drag out the ol' Subaru training video again?

    The Forester with a manual defaults to a 50/50 power split front and rear, which is ideal in my mind. Add the ground clearance and I think it would be the ride of choice for snow. I did drive up a forest road in early winter with mine in about 9 inches of snow. About 3 miles. You could hear the underside drag. I am not saying it was a smart idea, but I made the entire drive without a hang up and I knew the road well. Only other vehicle i saw was a tacoma, and they looked at me like I was from another planet.

    RAV4 would be next for me. It's system is capable of shifting 45% of the power to the rear, and it also has a switch that allows you to lock that 45% to the back up to around 20 mph or so. Also has hill-descent control and hill assist control; cool features I wouldn't mind Subaru adopting...especially HDC. I would worry about Toyota's typically over-intrusive VDC though.

    CR-V is last place for me. Que the said video...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    To be fair that video showed the last generation CR-V. The new one has less clearance, but I'm sure the AWD system was enhanced in some way.

    Also, Subaru didn't show its own weaknesses. While models with VTD or VDC can climb that now infamous ramp, Foresters without VDC cannot (neither can a RAV4 or CR-V). Only the Forester XT Sports automatic could climb it in this class.

    I bet SH-AWD models like the RD-X would also have success on that ramp. BMW had a demo I saw at one of their events where an X5 could climb, so X-Drive probably can, too. And Audi they had on-site could not. Same for a Lexus RX, both failed to climb the same ramp.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "The fact that the poster had mentioned that the maximum of 30% power distribution to the rear on the CRV made him eliminate that vehicle as an option made me reconsider it as a viable option."

    Shame about that. That poster is incorrect and ruled out a vehicle based on bogus information. Power distribution to the rear is near 70%. Older CR-Vs went to a 50/50 split, but Honda increased rear torque capacity 20% for 2007.

    While we're at it, Juice made a mistake in describing RT4WD in one of his recent posts, too.

    "CR-V works in a similar manner using a fast-acting Rotary Blade Coupling."

    I suspect he has it confused with the system used on the original Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute. Those two used a rotary blade coupling. (They have since changed to an electric sensor and clutch system.)

    No, the CR-V uses a combination of two activation methods. The primary activation of the system comes from a set of hydraulic pumps, which engage a set of wet clutch packs. That's been the basis of the CR-V's AWD since 1996. A few years back, they added a ball-ramp clutch for faster and smoother operation.

    First, the ball-ramp clutch engages the main clutch packs. This sends "some" torque to the rear immediately. The hydraulic pumps follow up to reinforce the connection and maximize power distribution.

    You can find more details about how RT4WD works at the bottom of this link.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Oh yeah, as for which is best in the snow?

    The Forester has the clearance and the AWD to make going forward easiest. However, last I checked only the turbo model had a Stability Control program. So, stopping and maintaining directional control once you do start sliding is going to be more difficult for the average driver.

    What you need is a good combination of basic handling traits, good AWD, good clearance for deep snow, and stability control. Weigh those factors based on the kind of snow you most frequently encounter, but do not place too much weight on any one factor.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Some people turn VSC off in the sand and snow. It isn't always helpful.

    Not saying I wouldn't want it, because I do, but I would want an off switch, at least.


    PS I stand corrected regarding RT4WD, I guess I'm guilty of grouping the part-time systems together :(
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    People will turn off VSA (technically the traction control) if launching from a slick surface, or if you need to "rock" the car out of a rut. However, once you get going, you are far better off with it left on.

    Most vehicles have an on/off button. The CR-V does. Not sure about the RAV4. In the past, Toyota has not given the driver that option, but they've recently changed their tune on the issue.

    p.s. Not a problem. There are so many AWD systems on the market, who can keep up?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    who can keep up?

    The worst part is that manufacturers are making less and less information available about these systems.

    Including the CR-V, IIRC we were trying to get specifics about what improvements they had made and information was pretty scarce up until the launch.

    Same for Subaru, though we assume since they used the VDC name that it's similar to the systems on the H6 Outback and Tribeca.

    Subaru's off switch is shown here:


    The blanks are for options like the heated mirrors, wiper de-icers, etc.
This discussion has been closed.