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Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 or Subaru Forester?

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,049
    You must be referring to the Subaru Forester vs Toyota RAV4 discussion. Yeah, we are getting some overlap.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,049

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,679
    Honda's argument defending the 4-cylinder-only CRV thinking is dumb. For years we heard the same silly justification about not offering offering a V6 Accord. Guess what? Honda now has a V6 Accord. No, it may not sell in huge numbers, but it's there for Accord folks who want it. The same should be true for the CRV.

    The fact that RAV4 sales have doubled in the past year is due in part to having a V6 as an available engine choice. Sorry, Honda does indeed have its head in the sand (again!) on this matter.

    Bob
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Ya know. I hear there's a market for 2wd cars. I wonder why Subaru doesn't offer one of those... How dumb is that? :P
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,679
    For the same reason Land Rover doesn't make 2WD trucks. For the same reason Rolls Royce doesn't make SUVs. For the same reason Kawasaki doesn't make cars. For the same reason Mack doesn't make pickups...

    It's not part of its DNA. :P

    Actually Subaru does make 2WD cars, but strictly for the JDM market. Their microcars and the bottom-feeder trim level of the Impreza can be had with FWD or AWD.

    Like the never-going-to-happen Accord V6, I bet we will see a V6 CRV someday—and well before we ever see a 2WD Subaru being sold globally.

    Bob
  • I'm one of those that actually prefers rear wheel drive to front wheel drive. I just like the handling characteristics more.
    On the all-wheel drive front, I reckon all, or at least the vast majority of vehicles, will one day be all-wheel drive. Fine with me.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    What you call DNA is nothing more than a choice. Subaru choses not to participate in a very lucrative market because they value the benefits of AWD more than the benefits of going with 2WD.

    Well, Honda values the benefits of their single engine strategy for the CR-V more than the benefits a V6 might provide.

    Will we see a V6 CR-V? Maybe. But it probably won't happen until they have a V6 which provides the same positive qualities they achieve with an I4. Or might not. Perhaps we'll see a hybrid, or an HCCI engine, or even a fuel cell.

    Unlike Subaru, Honda doesn't peg their designs on a single technology or design. They engineer around ideals and pick the technology or design which best meets those ideals - best tool for the job.

    At this point in time, Honda doesn't see the need for more power to get the job done. Enthusiasts have been clamoring for a V6 since 1997, yet CR-V sales have been climbing up and up. Seems to me Honda is better at understanding the job than enthusiasts.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,679
    What you call DNA is nothing more than a choice. Subaru choses not to participate in a very lucrative market because they value the benefits of AWD more than the benefits of going with 2WD

    Well, yeah... of course it is a choice...

    They tried FWD before, and they almost went out of business. Being 100% AWD was their savior, is their savior, and will continue to be their savior. That's what Subaru is known for. That's their identity—and hence their "DNA." There's too many 2WD brands out there to compete against, and Subaru is only 100% AWD car brand out there. That makes them pretty special, and keeps them unique in the marketplace. There are plenty of sodas out there but there's only one Coca-Cola. There are plenty of jeans out there but there is only one Levi's. There are plenty of AWD car wannabes out there, but there is only one Subaru.

    Seems to me Honda is better at understanding the job than enthusiasts.

    You seem to be implying that if they had a V6, their sales might be less then what they are. I'm saying—as good as their sales are—they'd even be better if they had a V6 for customers to choose from.

    Bob
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Honda knows that just about every CR-V competitor -- from Tucson to Santa Fe, from Saturn to Suzuki -- can be had with a six-cylinder engine as standard or optional equipment.

    Huh? What about the Forester? Small SUV - check; four-cylinder engine - check; two rows of seats - check. I guess the Forester is the Rodney Dangerfield of its class... it's named Best SUV three years running by Car & Driver and still gets no respect/recognition :)

    -Frank
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Well, that's not what I mean to imply. Sales would probably remain the same. Which means extra effort for no gain.

    Even if they gain 10-20K units per year (which would actually surpass sales of the RAV4), that would result in a slim profit increase to cover an expensive upgrade.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    This is being used to train Subaru salesmen but it leaked out and has been getting tons of hits. It's 11 minutes long so make sure you have broadband and time to watch the whole thing (CR-V appears in the first minute, and then again at 7 minutes):

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4999142340359932162

    The '06 CR-V EX AWD is compared to a base Forester X and gets whipped, and the Forester X doesn't even have the rear LSD that the X Limited, LL Bean, and XT models get. :D

    The Highlander is compared to the Tribeca, as is the Murano and XC90. Subaru seemed to hand-pick part-time AWD systems (low hanging fruit? LOL) to demonstrate the advantages of their full-time systems. :shades:

    I like those ramp tests, you just can't cheat. BMW used those to compare their AWD 330xi to Audi's A4 Quattro a couple of years ago, and the X5 to the Lexus RX330.

    The video confirms something I already suspected - Tribeca is one of the few vehicles that can supply enough power to a single wheel to climb that ramp.

    Another issue - the systems that are engineered primarily as FWD often have serious difficulties sending enough power to the rear axle to be of significant benefit.

    Finally, not all stability control systems are created equal. The video does a good job of showing that some are pretty much useless.

    -juice
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I believe the RAV4's system is similar to the Highlander's, but being part-time it's had the same types of issues climbing steep hills, as in this test:

    http://www.drive.com.au/Editorial/ArticleDetail.aspx?ArticleID=11004&vf=23

    And that test was set up by Toyota, so they can't even say Subaru set them up with unfavorable ramp angles.

    -juice
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,679
    Sales would probably remain the same. Which means extra effort for no gain

    So your saying whatever CRV V6 sales there are would come at the expense of CRV 4-cylinder sales?

    I highly doubt that. If anything it will bring "new" customers into the Honda showrooms—customers who would have never before considered a CRV.

    Bob
  • The CRV and RAV4 both have standard stability and traction control which the Forester does not.

    For me and my family's safety, this would definitely be a BIG negative and deal breaker for choosing the Forester over them.
  • thecatthecat Posts: 528
    Juice - I think the 4wd lock on the RAV would have made the dirt hill a piece of cake. I'm not so sure about the roller ramp. I remember watching the Beemer demo with you and was quite impressed.
    - hutch
  • I believe that Subaru has a built-in stability and traction control system with their world class all-wheel drive system.
  • The july issue of Consumer Reports tests the Forester along with the RAV4.

    Under the "lows" listed for the Forester, it states "no available stability control".

    In the performance/specifications/safety section for the Forester there is a "no" for stability and traction control.

    In addition there are no head protection side curtain air bags available for the Forester. Both the CRV (standard) and RAV4 (optional) offer this safety item with a rollover sensor.

    In an SUV which has a higher center of gravity than a sedan and is harder to recover from abrupt emergency manuvers, thus is more prone to rollover, I feel these safety features are critical in choosing this type of vehicle.
  • thecatthecat Posts: 528
    Given the functionality of the Subaru AWD system, traction control is un-necessary. Plus, the boxer engine provides a very low center of gravity. Having owned a Forester, which I drove pretty aggressively at times, I can't imagine anybody rolling over in one. Heck, I had mine in a 4 wheel drift a few times. I wouldn't even think of trying that in my RAV4.
  • No AWD system can prevent you from losing control because you have to abruptly turn the wheel say to avoid an object or another vehicle in slippery conditions.

    Even if your vehicle doesn't rollover, stability control helps you to recover, keep you going straight and avoid a possible collision or going offroad into a ditch.

    That's why the government wants to make stability control standard on all vehicles in the future.
  • I don't disagree that the lack of stability control is an issue that Subaru needs to address across its entire line.

    But watch the Forester and the CRV go through the slalom test in the video that juice linked to:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4999142340359932162

    Seems like the Forester acquits itself pretty nicely.
  • thecatthecat Posts: 528
    I'm not disputing the benefits of stability control systems and if you feel that it is a "gotta have" I understand that. My point was that the Forester is an inherently stable platform to begin with. If it had a bigger back seat and the ability to tow 3,500 lbs, I would have purchased another one. It doesn't and I didn't.
  • My comment wasn't to be taken literally. In my opinion, Subaru's across the board are very stable vehicles with excellent traction (full time all-wheel drive) and a low centre of gravity (low slung boxer engine).
    I believe you would have quite a task at hand trying to roll a Forester.
    From just reading the spec. sheet alone I can understand why one might think the CRV or RAV a better bet. For safety, handling and performance I'd pick the Forester.
  • I agree the Forester, from what I've read is a good handling and stable vehicle.

    Most sedans are less prone to rollover than SUVs because they have a lower center of gravity.

    If the dynamics of a rollover situation are strong enough,(speed, road conditions, sudden turns), ANY vehicle will rollover.

    In any case I believe a lot of accidents (not necessarily rollovers) occur because of loss of vehicle control.

    Any safety device that can lower the odds of those accidents
    happening to me is a good and important thing.

    As smittynyc says in his post, stability control is an issue that Subaru needs to address in its entire line. When that happens, the Forester, as stable and good handling as it is, will be a safer vehicle.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "So your saying whatever CRV V6 sales there are would come at the expense of CRV 4-cylinder sales?"

    Yep, that's pretty much what I'm writing.

    I mean, take a look at how many new customers came flocking to the Forester for the turbo model. In the pre-turbo years, they sold 53-55K units each year. With the turbo, they sold 53K units last year. This year doesn't look any better.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    According the NHTSA, the current CR-V, Forester, and newest RAV4 are all 4 star vehicles when it comes to rollover. There's a 4% spread between them (with the Forester in the lead), but they're all under 20% risk in a single vehicle crash.

    Take it for what it's worth, but, in my view, that's not a big spread. Data for the 2007 CR-V (which is supposed to me more stable) is not yet available.

    On the subject of Stability Control, it is definitely an advantage. No matter how stable the car is, there are limitations to how effective the contact patch of the tires can be.

    AWD is not going to solve any directional issues unless you have your foot planted solidly on the accelerator. It doesn't matter which system you've got driving the wheels. Stability control can work. It works when you're on the gas, when you're coasting, and when you're braking.

    As a matter of fact - assuming Juice's video is the same I've seen on other sites - I noticed the Forester is not compared with the CR-V on the wet course or the rollers. Probably because the CR-V's stability control (and traction control) are an asset in those situations.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,679
    You conveniently ignored the RAV4 V6. 2007 RAV4 sales are up 87%. You don't think the V6 played a part in that jump?

    http://ezinearticles.com/?Toyotas-August-2006-Sales-Report,-Released&id=297588

    Do you think the also all-new CRV will have such a sales increase? No way. How about a more realistic 20% increase? I doubt that too. If it had a V6 option it would have a better chance...

    Sorry varmint, you're way off base on this. Nuff said...

    Bob
  • Opposite situation for me. I had a Subaru for three years and would have loved to replace it with another. The Forester is exactly the right size and I don't need to tow. However, the tail-happy Subaru handling characteristic was OK for me but not something I felt comfortable making my (inexperienced) wife deal with in winter. I was hoping Subaru would offer VDC stability control on the Forester for 2007, and then I would have bought one. They didn't and so I didn't.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,679
    Saw it at the local Honda dealer last night. Very nice indeed. It seemed more upscale that last year's model, and with a lot of well thought out details. The front looks much better in person than in photos.

    It will certainly make life tougher for the Subaru Forester until the all-new '09 model debuts. The RAV4 will be okay, but the next year and a half will be tough for the Forester.

    Bob
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Nice. Very dismissive.

    Have you conveniently forgotten that RAV4 sales were up approx 50% back when the 2001 redesign was released?

    When Toyota launched the 2001 RAV4, sales of that model matched sales of the CR-V - for a short time. The prior model had always sold well below the same level as the CR-V. At times, the CR-V outsold the RAV4 2 to 1.

    This new RAV4 is more than just a V6. It's a larger vehicle. Ever since the CR-V was launched, only those small CUVs with a decent back seat and good cargo space have made a splash in the market. The ones that have remained small have all posted meager results. That list includes vehicles like the Forester, old RAV4s, Vitaras, the Outlander, etc. And, yes, that list includes models with V6s and turbo fours.

    And while sales of the RAV4 have jumped 87%, only 30% of those are being sold with the V6. Obviously, there is plenty of growth coming from the I4 models.

    So, we've got 3 factors which contribute to the RAV4's current success... it's new, larger, and got the V6.

    Now ask yourself. How many of those RAV4 customers would have bought the I4 if the V6 were not available? Let's be conservative and say 10%? Which would mean the V6 is only contributing 20% to the total number of vehicles sold.

    With that in mind, go back and look at my projection for how many sales Honda would gain by adding a V6. You might find the number 20% mentioned.

    "Do you think the also all-new CRV will have such a sales increase?"

    Heck no. I think Honda will miss their 160K sales target. The new CR-V is way too ugly. It is controversial at best. Being new will probably save it in the first year. It does appear to have some nice upgrades, too. But, in the long run, I expect them to lose sales. Adding a V6 would only make the mistake more expensive!
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,679
    And while sales of the RAV4 have jumped 87%, only 30% of those are being sold with the V6. Obviously, there is plenty of growth coming from the I4 models.

    Not sure where you got the 30% from, but assuming that's correct, that's 30% more sales than without having the V6 available to customers. And assuming that's correct, Honda could also expect a 30% increase in sales over and above the 4-cylinder-only CRV, if they offered a V6 as an option.

    Bob
This discussion has been closed.