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Subaru Forester vs Toyota RAV4



  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Subaru does have a stability system. For the 2006 Forester, it is not offered however. The STI has features not found anywhere else, driver control of on the fly switching of torque between front and rear along with a stability system.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, I meant for the Forester. I'm sure the next generation will have one. They're trying to figure out a way to make VDC more affordable, it's nice but also expensive to build.

  • jeffmcjeffmc Posts: 1,742
    VDC is only on all B9 Tribecas, '07 Legacy GT Limited, '07 Outback XT & LL Bean. As far as I know, there is no stability control system on the STI nor on any other Impreza (or Forester).
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    "I'm sure the next generation will have one. They're trying to figure out a way to make VDC more affordable, it's nice but also expensive to build."

    It would be a good thing to add to the Forester (or any non-luxury car).

    I think it was in MY04 that Toyota made Vehicle Stability Control standard on the RAV4 (along with the larger 4-cyl [2.4L], 4-wheel disc brakes, and ABS). A very nice "freshening" of the Gen 2 model. I considered trading my 01 for an 05 at year-end, but did not go thru with it.

    The MY06 RAV4 (Generation 3) is nice in a lot of ways, but I would miss the removable rear seats - a feature on the Gen 2 that is very convenient for me. Utility.

    And no, the rear door does not swing the wrong way for me. In fact, I find it is more convenient - fewer steps when I'm just tossing in the usual everyday items. YMMV.

    At 73k miles, 5.5 years in, still happy with the RAV4.

  • andrelaplumeandrelaplume Posts: 934
    You pull that lever and the 06 RAV seats fold themselves flat. Why would you want to remove them? In our '96 Rav they sort of folded down and flipped up but this is far better?

    I like your claim that it is quicker to get to the hatch and open it the way it is mounted. Technically you are correct. It is quicker to get out the drivers side, take a few steps to the rear and pull the handle from the drivers side of the rear opposed to doing the same but walking to the passenger side of the rear door (1 extra step) and pulling the door open. I think you will have trouble selling that one to Forester owners though. If Toyota was determined to keep a rear swing out door, they really should have had it open towards the curb, and if that meant hinges on different sides in on different continents; so be it!

    As far as the AWD knocks, all I can say is that on all the known areas where my Camry usually spins its tires, the RAV had not yet done so nor have I felt any indication that the AWD is kicking in..or not. I won't claim its as **effective** as the Forester until after I have been thru some snow. Full time AWD may be inherently **better** but not necesarily more effective. The Forester guys are quick to mention their safety record but the car lacks **side bags**. I agree, its likely as **effectively** safe witthout them, but having them would make it **better** in much the same way as having full time awd does. Put another way, Full time AWD may turn out to be just as much overkill as side bags....Just my opinion...let the rantining continue!

    Now, if we really want to pick on the poor ole 2006 RAV...and I still think the vehicle is no longer in comparable class with the are some minor rants I have discovered...

    1) Rear door opening, 2) Hatch light mounted in rear door fails to illuminate hatch area when rear door is opened...OOOps!, 3) no body side molding unless added as an accessory - just plain dumb!, 4) no auto door lock feature when car is started or put in gear, 5) cup holders in front waaaaay to big, 6) cheapie external antena, 7)Dash is lit during day UNLESS you dim it off--pain.

    Hey I said I was being nitpicky and I am sure the Forester has some quirks too. Toyota could likely take care of all these if they wanted to.

    It was metioned that the Rav does not compete with the B9....why not? I think the Rav blows it away personally...and costs a lot less. Did the poster mean that B9 sales are so bad that is not really competing with anything? Or did he mean it completes more with Lexus or something. If it is meant to be a luxury model Subaru should invent a Luxury line name because I know of no one who would think luxury when they hear **SUBARU**.....just like you do not think luxury when you hear Ford, Honda or do when you here BMW, Luxus or Acura. I think Subaru needs a bit of assistance in the marketing arena. How about a high end Subaru line?
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "I think the Rav blows it away personally...and costs a lot less."

    That's like saying the Sante Fe blows away the RAV4 and it costs a whole lot less, but you have to *test drive* the B9 to see where it dusts the RAV4. The AWD on the Subaru adjusts as the car accelerates, may not be better, but probably is *more effective* on slippery surfaces. As the Forester is an IIHS best pick, it may not have side air bags, but it does have Front seat-mounted head/chest side-impact air bags. Is this the same thing? T_LIMITED&category=SAFETY%20FEATURES
  • thecatthecat Posts: 535
    Subaru has been working to change it's image and move into the lux sector. Whoever thought of VW as a luxury car? But they have been fairly successful at changing their image. Public perception is a fickle thing.

    I test drove the B9 when I was shopping. I wanted to buy another Subie. I've had 2 and liked them both very much. I wasn't thrilled with the B9. Although inside it looks more upscale than the RAV, it felt sluggish by comparison to the RAV V6, the front seat felt a little cramped to me because of the dash (cockpit) design, interior room was about the same maybe less, but the real deal breaker was the fuel mileage.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    "You pull that lever and the 06 RAV seats fold themselves flat. Why would you want to remove them? In our '96 Rav they sort of folded down and flipped up but this is far better?"

    The Gen 2 RAV, with the rear seats removed, has more top-to-bottom room inside (enough for 2 bicycles) than the Gen 3 with the seats down.

    "I like your claim that it is quicker to get to the hatch and open it the way it is mounted. Technically you are correct. It is quicker to get out the drivers side, take a few steps to the rear and pull the handle from the drivers side of the rear opposed to doing the same but walking to the passenger side of the rear door (1 extra step)" Technically you are correct too, sir - if you are a giant.

    Oh yeah, and I like that the Gen 2 is full-time AWD. Thanks for reminding me.
  • andrelaplumeandrelaplume Posts: 934
    I keep getting the feeling I am offending folks here. Remember I almost bought the Foretser. For me it was a size and wife issue. After driving each within minutes of each other I realized the cars were now in separate classes and we wanted a larger vehicle. The B9 on the other hand....well I think its better compared with the 2006 RAV than a Lexus or Acura, perhaps not the 2005 RAV though. In fact folks are likely doing so and buying the RAV. I'd go so far as to say someone might by a loaded Forester or Outback over the B9. I do not see it competing (at this point) with a Lexus or Acura or BMW. Sales likely will demonstrate this. Still, it is its first year and if Subaru drops the price a bit perhaps it can steel some sales. I see more new 06 RAVS on the road than B9s which have been out longer. Of course I see more Foresters on the road than anything else!

    As far as dusting the RAV, well those extra .5 seconds are nice to quote but most folks won't notice that on a test drive. The Forester is a tad quicker than the RAV I am told but we found one no better than the other. I recently saw an Outlander and was in Tuscon. To me these are more comparable to the current size Forester. BTW, the Forester (obviously) is better choice in terms of quality, safetly etc.

    FT AWD vs PT AWD. Sure its likely better on paper. We'll see though if its more effective than the RAVS PT AWD this winter I guess. I admit I have some concern as my 96 FT AWD RAV never had an issue in the snow--even with bald tires at one point. I am hopefull the PT AWD is just as effective since the CRV has had it for some time and I have seen few complaints. Milk use to come in glass bottles. Glass may be better than platic but its just as effective to sell me my milk in a plastic conatiner.

    Volkswagon is a luxury car? Around here they have a rep of being fun to drive but mechanically challeged. I would not consider them above a Toyota, Subura, Honda or Nissan.

    I think I am done posting here as I have not really seen anything new added to the discuusion nor do I really have anything ew to add. Sorry to those I offended. For those shopping these models just do yourself a favor and drive both one right after the other. I'd even wait a few months and try out the new CRV. The 2006 Forester and 2006 RAV are both refined, safe and offer adaquate acceleration. You likely won't go wrong with either. The determining factor will likely come down to size and price. Good luck!
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "I keep getting the feeling I am offending folks here."

    We're talking about cars, everybody has a viewpoint. Agree or disagree we can still talk about cars. I don't believe I offended anyone talking about my perceived strengths of the Forester vs the RAV4, why would you believe you offended anyone talking about the RAV4 perceived strengths?

    Each car has the edge in some areas and lags in other areas. You get to pick your best compromise and prioritize what is important to you and ignore what isn't important.

    The Forester though has the overall edge in performance and handling (my priority), the RAV4 has it in space (your priority). Everything else is a toss-up.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That was a bad word to me, I didn't want Subaru to go in that direction. Thankfully they're coming out with more basic models with a little less equipment and lower prices. They were beginning to forget who their long-time customers were.

    Even for VW, it hasn't been a clear-cut success. The VW Rabbit starts at just $15k now, probably being sold at a loss. And VW is working to find a way to make the next generation even cheaper to produce.

    andre: no offense taken, but I know how you feel, I got the same response in the RAV4 thread when I said the rear gate opens the wrong way. :sick:

  • andrelaplumeandrelaplume Posts: 934
    just did not want to offend...I actually got a wealth of info from these forums and they do help a great deal in a myriad of ways....what are these new Subs coming out...I mean 20.5K out the door for a Forester X is pretty cheap already...though it includes a generous rebate.

    I wish the Legacy would get a bit longer....wider...I really want AWD but would prefer a car over a SUV....the Camry stinks in the snow and rain....
  • jeffmcjeffmc Posts: 1,742
    Rumor has the next Legacy getting a little bigger, and the next Impreza being built off the current Legacy platform. There's occassional talk of the need for a flagship sedan based off of the B9 Tribeca's platform... maybe that's what Legacy will become. Nothing substantial, but just lots of talk so far.

    As far as cheaper Subarus, they're coming out right now! Nearly every '07 Legacy and Outback has a substantially lower invoice than '06. There's even a new Outback Basic which is about $2500 less than last year's cheapest Outback - that's quite a price difference, and should allow a few more folks to get in to the brand who otherwise wouldn't. It'll also be good for folks who use their Outbacks in rough conditions and don't want to beat up a more expensive car.
  • andrelaplumeandrelaplume Posts: 934
    I predicted dropping prices. Now hopefully they can eliminate the rebates. Lets just hope the new Legacy is not priced like the B9!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    the Camry stinks in the snow and rain

    My sister was choosing between a Forester and a Camry, and on the day she test drove them it was raining.

    I don't have to tell you which one she bought. She thought the Camry just felt loose, less in control.

  • andrelaplumeandrelaplume Posts: 934
    Yes. Prior to the Camry I had smaller FWD cars. I never had any real trouble or felt unsafe with them. The Camry spins its tires when it first rains and is bad in the snow. I have been told larger cars (Accords, Taurus etc) fair worse in the snow due to there size....not sure if its true or not as I have never driven anything this bif before. The Legacy would be an ideal car for me next time....if gets a little bigger..but not fancier and costlier.
  • ktyronektyrone Posts: 5
    I just wanted y'all to know that I purchased a 2006 Subaru Outback Si today. When I was on the forum, it was between a Forester and a Rav 4. After test driving the Forester a couple of more times, I decided that I really felt more comfortable in the Outback. If the truth be known, if Toyota had had a station wagon, I probably would have purchased it. I had to drive my new car an hour and a half home today and was very pleased with it. I now feel like it's going to take me a month to read the book about all of it's 'stuff'. But I will. The Outback was an itch I had to scratch....we'll see if I am still scratching a few years down the road. Thanks again to y'all for all of your help. I still love Toyotas.
  • kavoomkavoom Posts: 181
    >>I mean 20.5K out the door for a Forester X is pretty cheap already...though it includes a generous rebate.<<

    Try 19K for 06's.
  • thecatthecat Posts: 535
    FYI .. Toyota does have a wagon .. the Matrix.

    Good luck with your Outback. I'm sure you will enjoy it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's really more of a 5 door hatchback.

    Funny thing is Toyota does sell a Corolla wagon - it's called the Corolla Fielder in Brazil. The D-pillar is way farther back than in the Matrix, and there is a lot more cargo room, nearly double.

    Found a pic:


    Toyota can make more money selling SUVs, that's the real reason!

  • slipjigslipjig Posts: 4
    I just spent about 6 months looking for a small SUV. I can only afford to own one vehicle, so it has to do everything - get me to work (short distance), take me on long trips comfortably, get me down old logging roads for car camping, and be able to handle the occasional 3 inches of slushy snow on hills that we get during our Northwest winters. Oh - and haul lumber from Home Depot, dogs to the park, and co-workers to lunch.

    Since I wanted reliable, I limited myself to Japanese vehicles. I ruled out the Hondas quickly - the Element was too truck like for long distance comfort. The Honda CRV's back seats fold forward in such a way that they block loading from the side doors into the back bed. (I keep the back seats folded down most of the time, making my car a two seater with a long wagon bed.)

    That left the Rav 4 and the Subaru Forester. I drove both. The reviews almost all gave the edge to the Rav 4. It was bigger and had VERY comfortable back seats. But I wanted a sunroof and heated seats (my idea of luxury), and to get that the Rav 4 started to get pricy. ALso, we felt that the Rav 4 cylander engine was a little weak on the hills we have around here. I shudder to think how much that engine would whine hauling 4 people up Mt Ranier. The 6 cylander started to get pricey as well. Everyway I looked at it, the Rav 4 kept coming to an MSRP of 25K +, 28K+ if I got everything I wanted on it. My budget was 23K. And the local Toyota dealers were not intersted in dealing - they can't keep Rav 4's on their lots.

    Enter the Forester XS. It was smaller inside, but was very sporty and agile - and it's little 4 cyl engine seemed very powerful. The Forester blew away the steep hill that the Rav 4 had labored to climb. It had a great huge sunroof, heated seats (for my arthiric lower back), and visibility out the back that won't quit. (The Rav 4 had a lot of low blind spots - I hated to think about parallel parking it on crowded city streets.)

    The Subaru Forester XS cost 23.5K (invoice price minus $1K rebate). It fit my budget! Besides, I know 5 friends and coworkes who own them, and not ONE person I know is unhappy with their Forester.

    I pick my new Forester up on Tuesday! :shades:

    If I had to haul kids around the burbs, I would have gotten the Rav 4. But hauling people into the mountains or into the narrow streets of Seattle - the Forester won out.

    I found these forums very handy in my data gathering - thanks all!

    - Slipjig
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "If I had to haul kids around the burbs"

    People do haul kids around the burbs in them. The selling point of the Foresters is the safety, reliability and agility. With the RAV4 some space is traded off for some agility.
  • thecatthecat Posts: 535
    Both excellent vehicles. It's a matter of finding the one that "floats your boat". I've owned both and they each have their strong and weak points. You'll be quite happy, I'm sure.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    You're actually talking about an X Premium model, though, right? XS was from MY03-05.

    I love the equipment level on those, you get all the goodies (heated seats, huge moonroof) but it's still cloth, rather than slippery leather. I have leather in my Miata, and don't particularly like it. It's hot in summer, cold in winter, and slippery all the time.

  • Hi All,
    I am new to the forum, but got lots of good info reading all your posts. I have a question that I did not see addressed yet:
    I do a fair bit of towing and my current car (Saab 9-5, 4cyl turbo, 185hp) is a) too low to the ground, b) sluggish in the hills (only when towing), c) front wheel drive only, d) terrible quality xicons/emotorcons/emo_lemon.gif
    lemon. Now I am looking for a new car that can do it all. I like the Forester in terms of safety and price, but I looked at the numbers for the Forester and they seem to be very similar to my Saab. Does anyone have experience towing (tent trailer)with either the Forester or the Rav4?
    Thanks for the feedback
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    I have towed about the same size/weight as a larger tent trailer, several times with my Forester. No turbo.

    I think in the size/class of automobile as they are, you might be expecting too much. They will be sluggish uphill and passing, with two+ adults, their gear and the trailer.

    Perhaps you need to think about a larger V-6 or V-8 to remedy your problem....
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Subarus are rated much higher for towing in other markets than they are here, not sure why...

    I've towed with our Forester. One load was two yards of shredded mulch, and that weighed a lot. The car handled it okay, but I only drove about 4 miles.

    If I were you, and towing was the main issue, I'd opt for the V6 (not 4-cylinder) RAV4, as it's rated to tow 3500 with trailer brakes. The Forester is rated for 2400, and the RAV 4-cylinder (and CRV) is rated for 1500 pounds.

    All these vehicles are rated only for 1000 if you don't have trailer brakes.

  • prosaprosa Posts: 280
    Subarus are rated much higher for towing in other markets than they are here, not sure why...

    Liability concerns? In other countries, if someone tries to tow an excessive amount and gets into a crash he'll blame himself. In America, he'll sue Subaru. Therefore, Subaru deliberately understates towing capacities.
  • kavoomkavoom Posts: 181
    I have pulled an 1800 to 1900 lb pop up camper for 10,000 of my 40,000 miles in a manual X Forester. Remember that 2400 lb tow capacity is pure and you do NOT have to subtract what is in the Forester from your total like most American vehicles. I have air conditioning, fridge, heated beds, stove... What else do you need. I beg to differ on its abilities.

    As someone noted, Foresters are rated much higher in other countries e.g. Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand where in each country over the last three or four years they have been rated as best tow vehicles.

    In the U.S., Subaru minimizes the towing ability. Some think it is because we are litigous in nature... NO!, Not Americans!!! In other countries, they tout it and include things like low range manual transmissions (Australia) and anti-sway hitches. The U.S. LL Bean has load leveling struts which are standard on some foreign ones and you can retrofit on any US Forester.

    Anyway, Subaru even has a tow harness and four pin connector hidden in them. You don't do that unless you intended for it to tow something somewhere. My hitch installer was surprised when he installed and said it was a piece of cake and asked me to let him know how it does... I have. They are impressed.

    I have towed everywhere with my manual and a 110 lb girlfriend and 65 lb dog and stuff inside. The gearing on them is great and if you aren't afraid to use those gears and look at 4K+ (best torque range) as your upper end and about 2k on your lower, you can really go, including passing much bigger rigs. And I didn't even have to drop into second coming from the west to the Eisenhower tunnel on I70 in Colorado. Third will keep you going at 45 to 50 all day long up 5% grades. Fifth has taken me across the Dakotas at 75 with no problem on many occasions. How fast do you really want to go up and down those mountains???

    You do need to change transmission fluids regularly with high quality mixes, and have electric brakes, but the Subaru Forester just goes and goes. It is a little tow beast. And I mean it is amazing. And you can get one for about 19K. Nothing else will touch it for price and capability.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Yeah, I pretty much agree with what you've stated.

    FWIW, I've recently been in touch with someone who test Subie prototypes, and who has had extensive time towing with Subies. He too thinks they're great tow vehicles, as the chassis is very strong and quite capable. I asked him why Subies are rated so much lower here than elsewhere for towing, and the only thing he could come up with is that it may have something to do with engine and tranny cooling. He said they could put larger radiators in them, but that may (?) impact on crash safety, in terms of crumple zones. The domino thing, if you know what I mean... He did say that SOA is very conservative when it comes to anything safety related.

    I had mentioned the liability issue, and he said that too could be a possibility, but couldn't confirm that aspect.

This discussion has been closed.