Outback or RAV4 (your views)

ksayersksayers Member Posts: 59
edited September 2014 in Subaru
CRV, nice, major road noise issue, won't buy one. (wife has a Pilot)

I am looking at the Subaru Outback and Toyota RAV4, both V6, AT, AWD. Both appear very nice, excellent quality, great utility.

When you were looking ar or experiencing these vehicles what made you sway one way or the other, or to neither? My focus is on functional utility, not aesthetics or gadgetry (I have a GPS that works fine). I want the vehicle to last 10 years.

Insights appreciated.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    edited May 2011
    I have a Subaru (Forester) and a Toyota (Sienna), so here are my thoughts.

    The V6 in the RAV4 is wonderful (same as my van), it's the 2GR and it both powerful and efficient. It's probably the best thing about the RAV4. I felt the interior was a bit cheap, and I don't like the swing out door, which goes the wrong way and blocks the curb if you go to the grocery store pickup lane. Strange, but I guess it is JDM and they didn't reverse it. Toyota isn't known for AWD but it should get you around OK.

    The Outback is a bit more upscale, so nicer materials inside. The EZ36 is smooth and powerful, so pretty close to the 2GR. The superior AWD makes the overall drivetrain as good or better IMHO. Liftgate is easier to deal with. It's lower and more car-like. I'd probably give the OB the edge in handling.

    I suspect the Outback costs more? It's really more at the level of the Venza, which is a step or two up from a RAV4.

    RAV4 is a budget buy, but the swing gate bothered me a lot. I ended up with a Sienna, which has a liftgate and a lot more space.

    Careful - don't get run-flat tires, they've been problematic with Toyotas.

    If you get a Subie, the H6 has been reliable, no major issues. Take a good long test drive and see if it's more quiet and comfortable (I predict it will be).

    If you're used to a car, my guess is you'll pick the Outback.

    If you want a little more of a truck feeling, especially sitting up high, you may prefer the RAV4.

    Good luck!
  • ksayersksayers Member Posts: 59
    Great reply !!! I have had very good luck with Toyota's but the Subaru seems to have the edge with its AWD system. I drive in snow some of the year and mud... (fishing). Pricing between the RAV4 and Outback appears about the same when equipped with AT, AWD (for the RAV4) and 6 cyclinders. The only negative I have heard about the Subaru is the navigation system. I have a Garmin or two so that's just less to spend. And... you are not the only person to note a bit of frustration with the rear swing door.

    Thanks for the reply !!
  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,296
    edited May 2011
    I also have a Forester (2010) and received a 2010 Rav4 as a rental for a few days this winter while our Forester was having a defect repaired. Space-wise, the Rav4 was great because it did have a very spartan feel to it, with bench-like seating and a flat floor. I actually preferred that over the Forester (Outback is very similar there) because it just made the interior feel more open.

    The machine I drove was a four cylinder, but I felt it was responsive and peppy. Fuel economy was nothing to write home about - worse than the Forester in the same conditions, actually (about 18.5 versus 20.5 for that time of year). Given we only drove it about 200 miles, though, that result is not necessarily telling.

    Honestly, a V6 would be massive overkill in a vehicle as small as the Rav4, but I can't imagine it would have delivered much worse on the fuel economy, maybe because it would not have to work hard at all to move the mass.

    I very much like the previous (02-05) generation of Rav4. I keep wanting to get one as my daily driver, but I haven't been able to look beyond the hit to fuel economy I would take versus my compact car. I saw one on Craigslist last night that looks like a gem (2004, 5MT, dark red, one-owner).

    If the price of the V6 Rav4 and the H6 Outback are comparable, I think I would go for the Outback, everything else aside.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    edited May 2011
    Careful about one thing - those 02-05 models didn't really have much of a rear bumper.

    In bumper basher tests a minor rear impact caused the rear hatch glass to shatter.

    Again, the Sienna has a better bumper and a lot more crush space if you're putting kids in that back seat.

    I guess watching the video made me a bit paranoid, I'm sure it's not a big deal. Slap on a trailer hitch with one of those bumper extensions.
  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,296
    Thanks for the head's up, juice.

    I suspect that I will probably never own one; I'd simply like to own one. As with my Escort, it would be a rare event for my children to ride in it.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    No kids riding? Then why not a roadster? :shades:

    We have the Forester, the Sienna, and a Miata.
  • larry168larry168 Member Posts: 1
    Just took delivery a week ago Friday and so far the experience has been nothing short of great. Got all the bells and whistles including Moon Roof and Nav. The car handles well, love the fit and finish. The seats are very comfortable and I can go a fair distance without filling the tank. I gave up my 2004 Trailblazer which I loved but the fuel consumption was killing me...maybe 20 on the road. While I miss it, I am in love now. Almost bought a Rav4 but was not able to stretch my legs out straight (I am 6' and about 250#). No problem in the Suby. So far so good, smooth sailing. Can't wait to see how well it does in Syracuse NY winters. Will report back more after a couple of months.
  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,296
    Hahah. To be honest, the thought has crossed my mind (more than once!).

    The problem is, I, being a relentlessly practical individual, demand that my vehicles be able to do more than any vehicle of a given class can be expected to do. Therefore, a roadster just doesn't pass the practicality test.

    Yes, hauling the children may be an infrequent occurrence, but when I need to do it, I need to be able to do it. Same goes for cargo. I'm fairly creative, so if I have to make a run to the lumber yard with my Escort, I'll find a way to get the goods home. In a roadster, that may simply not be possible. I can't afford a massive stable like yours, AJ... that's why I only have five vehicles. :blush:

    That said, the "problem" might not be such an issue if my wife was willing to drive my car. She refers to my Escort as "that unsafe piece of junk," and refuses to either ride in or drive it, yet she has no qualms whatsoever sending me and the children off in it. Hmmm....

    Perhaps if I picked up a (newer) WRX or a roadster, that repulsion might ease a bit? :P
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    A buddy picked up a loaded used TB and he was only getting 15.5mpg per the trip computer. You were doing well, actually.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    All things are relative...

    I went from a 1986 Chevy Sprint to a 1991 Ford Escort GT and the latter seemed like the safest limo in the world compared to the Sprint. :D
  • glideslopesglideslopes Member Posts: 431
    Admitted Bias Upfront:

    My Sister in Law's 2011 Outback Limited 4 Cylinder was just flat bedded to the dealer after a week of starting, not starting. Around 6,000 miles.

    My 2006 RAV4 Base 2.4L is going strong at 100,000 miles. Regular service every 5,000 with Valvoline Dino 5-20. (F) Brakes at 62,000. (R) at 88,000. No other issues. Combined C/H 22mpg. Even accelerates as requested.

    My 2010 RAV4 Base 2.5L is going strong at 15,000. Regular service every 5,000. Running Toyota 0-20 syn. No issues, combined C/H 24mpg. Accelerates as requested.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    That's pretty rare - the Outback has been reliable and they sells tons of those.

    If you check out the Subaru Crew threads you'll see a few alignment complaints but that flat bed story would be the only one.
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