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Subaru Forester vs Toyota RAV4



  • mikenkmikenk Posts: 281
    I think JD Powers is incredibly overhyped based on the information it really provides. Initial owners survey say nothing about long term reliability of a car; the 3 year survey would seem to be more useful except that most cars todays are reliable through the third year making that marker questionable for predicting the future reliability. I also question the statistical validity of their survey. But the press loves the JDPowers reports.

    The only useful tool I have seen to measure the real reliability is the CU ongoing surveys that show the trends as cars age. The Toyota brand is clearly has the best reliability for long term ownership. Subaru has very good ranking in these studies.

    Personally, I would not think reliability would be an issue in deciding between these two cars, but if that is the top of you list, you can't go wrong with Toyota.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Daewoo rocks, they'll never go bankrupt...wait a sec! ;-)

    RAV4 and Forester have actually tied for 2nd place in the past in the IQ study, and they usually make the top 3.

    Keep in mind the Forester is the highest scoring Subaru, so if you're talking about scores for all Subarus, you're watering down the data a bit. The Baja scores poorly, but that doesn't mean the Forester does.

    Subaru beat Toyota in the JDP Dealer Satisfaction study that just came out.

    So what?

  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    Yeah, not too high on my list.

    Toyota beat all other brands in the latest JDP 3-year customer survey.

    What most surprised me was that GM was in the top 5 (along with Toyota, Honda, BMW, Porsche), and only the top 5 were rated above average.

    And Land Rover was the absolute bottom finisher. Well, maybe that's why their vehicles are so cheap to buy...
  • i was surprised that GM was in top 5 too , why did the cutomers select them ? the rebates ? LOL
  • egretegret Posts: 10
    Test-drove a 2005 Forester, automatic transission, not turbo, and a 2004, front-wheel drive, automatic transmission RAV-4 yesterday in 103-degree southern Arizona weather, and perceived that they both took about the same time to cool but that the RAV-4 ended up somewhat cooler in the back seat. Anybody else have experiences with how well the AC works for either vehicle in very hot weather, especially in the back seat (want to keep it cool for infant in carseat)?
  • Has anyone in an '04 RAV4 tried to merge with big trucks going 80mph or better on Arizona freeways, or, for that matter, driven through the Salt River Canyon? My '04 Subaru Forester XT does well under these conditions, but I'm wondering if the RAV4 has enough performance capability to make the grade.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Because of the Forester's greenhouse-like interior, it especially benefits from having tinted windows. Unfortunately because Subaru chose to classify it as a passenger car, factory tint isn't an option. However, there are a number of high-quality after-market tint films and a Forester with tinted windows can easily handle 100 degree heat. 35% tint in the front and 20% rear will provide a cool interior (including the backseat) but still leave you with excellent visibility.

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    I don't think it's fair to compare the Forester XT to the RAV4. The X and XS models are direct competitors but when it comes to acceleration, the XT is in a whole different league.

  • If you are currently driving an XT, a rav4 is going to feel woefully inadequate. X or XS is a much closer comparison. If you currently have an XT why even consider a Rav4? To me thats like saying do I want the filet or the ground chuck?

  • My lease on the XT will be up in less than a year and I do like the looks of the RAV4. Also I'd just like to make a change for the fun of it. But from what guys have said, I get the strong impression that the RAV4 might not be a good choice--for taking longer trips anyway. I drove a Chevy Tracker before the Subaru. Talk about underpowered and dangerous (especially from the crash test standpoint)! I used it only for short local trips around home. My thank to both of you for the advice.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The XT is in another league, but I think the 2.4l RAV4 would at least be adequate.

    Just like the base Forester engine is adequate for my current needs, including 1500 lbs towing.

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    The Oct Consumer Reports has a review of the RAV4 and gives it good marks. In fact they rate it 2nd overall of the 16 small SUVs they've tested (of course the Forester is number one) :-)

  • ess2ess2 Posts: 4
    Anyone out there with bad knees? I need a car I can enter and exit without to much strain on the knees. Which means a higher seat location.
    I test drove the Rav 4 but looking
    at all the post maybe I should look at the Subaru Forrester too. How is the SF seats height comparied to the Rav4?
    Thank you
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    To be honest, for easiest access you don't want seats that are too tall, either.

    Too low and you have to bend down, putting pressure on the knees.

    Too high and you have to climb up.

    Try the Forester, for me it's "just right". If you back up next to the seat, and just plop down, you're in. No up or down, just sit right into it, then turn.

    Forester won an award a while back, I forget the name of the organization, but it was for easy accessibility for the front seats.

    Caveat - the rear seats are not easy to get into - the door opening is too narrow.

  • I was very close to buying the RAV4. I like Toyota's reliability and I loved the way the RAV4 handled on the test drive. I did feel that the cargo area was a bit short but I was all set to buy until I found out that the good ratings it was getting in the side impact crash tests were with a RAV4 that had side air bags. The one I was considering did not have them. The only ones that were equipped with them had all these other options that I did not want and would have ended up costing $2500 more. The Forester is equipped with the side air bags and did well in the crash tests. It handled well (though I thought the RAV was more fun to drive). The base Forester had many standard features that are optional on the RAV4.I got a very good price on a 2005 and ended up buying. I feel both cars are great. Just depends on what features you are looking for.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    What color? Was it an X model? Tranny type?

    Join the Subaru Crew threads, come introduce yourself. They are very active. We chat every week, in fact it was just last night.

  • ess2ess2 Posts: 4
    Thanks everyone for the info. I really needed it! I'll check out the nearest Subaru place. I finally ruled out the Rav 4 after seeing all the great reviews on the Forrester.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    If you're getting the 2.5 liter engine, then hope that the head gasket problems have been solved.
    Suggestion: Get the extended warranty.
  • ozman62ozman62 Posts: 229
    Note that's coming from a Rav4 owner, not the best source for advice on Subarus, methinks.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    Most of the recommendations about the Forester come from Forester owners here, methinks. Strangely, there is no mention of the gasket problems. All in the past? Maybe.

    Do you deny that there is a well-known problem with head gaskets on the 2.5 liter, ozman?
    You've seen the other Subie boards here, right?
  • mnfmnf Spokane WaPosts: 405
    Thats like saying the word from the past of SLUDGE
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Subaru covered those head gaskets for 8 years/100k miles, so an extended warranty for that particular issue would be worthless.

    Sorry but that's just plain bad advice.

    And it's not like Toyota doesn't have its hiccups (like sludge).

    They caved in and offered a similar warranty but only after long and public fight.

    Here's a story from right before they caved: t=sludge

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    BTW, the issue here is not so much the problem of sludged engines themselves, but the treatment by Toyota to its customers.

    It was a long, hard, ugly fight before they finally caved in and began to reimburse customers these catastrophic engine failure bills.

    Subaru covered the gaskets under the 5/60 powertrain no questions asked, from the beginning, and even extended the warranty without the resistance that Toyota showed.

  • I agree. I had researched before buying but I certainly could not read every thread in the forums. When I saw the post about the faulty head gaskets I was upset because I just bought a new Forester. Then I went back and read some of the threads and saw how Subaru extended the warranties and felt better. When I was looking at the Rav4 I did stumble upon the sludge problem that Toyota had and was not impressed with how it was handled. I am also underwhelmed by how Honda is dealing with the engine fire issue on the CR-V. These are all reputable companies that have had major problems. It might come down to how the company deals with it's problems and ultimately how they deal with their customers.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Honda was actually not too bad about their faulty transmissions. Those also got extended warranties.

    I've been following the fire issue closely. I think Honda is being overly careful because of the issue of liability for the fire damage. We'll see some sort of heat shield if the NHTSA gets their act together.

    Any how, nobody's perfect, certainly not a company as big as Toyota.

  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    I applaud Subaru for taking care of some of the problem years.

    Isn't there a Forester guy on another board here who has had the head-gasket problem, but fell outside the years covered? Maybe Patti has gotten him coverage. For his sake, I hope so.

    And what about people who want to own and drive their cars past 100k miles?

    What's most mind-boggling is the way some folks here have recommended used Foresters to shoppers without mentioning the potential problem.
  • cotnercotner Posts: 1
    Do the JD Powers & Associate Awards reflect reality? Are they an accurate assessment of customer satisfaction?

    I think they are not. Here's why.

    I have been a car salesman for four years at four different dealerships (Saturn, Subaru, Toyota and Nissan). After a new car is delivered to a customer, the customer is told to answer their JD Power & Associate surveys with an "excellent" score. They are told that the JD Powers Survey is Pass/Fail. An "excellent" rating is Pass. Any mark less than excellent (Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor) is Fail. ALL are told in no uncertain terms to only answer their survey with an excellent score. The customer is telephoned within a week of the sale and once again, is encouraged to only answer with an excellent score. Otherwise, the dealership will fail the test. Because of this customer manipulation, I feel the test results are not valid. The survey answers do not represent a customers true feeling but what they are told to do by the dealer.

    If customers were told to answer "from the heart" these surveys would be more accurate. If the surveys began with explicit instructions to only answer how they truly feel and not what they were encouraged to do by the auto dealer.

    In truth, JD Powers & Associate Customer Service Awards reflect the dealer that was most effective at convincing their customers to answer with the highest rating, NOT who truly offered the best service.

    A research outcome is only as good the quality of the research. Is the JD Powers & Associates survey a valid and reliable instrument? From my experience in the car business, I say it is not.
  • mnfmnf Spokane WaPosts: 405
    Ditto look at the 2000 rating of DAEWOO that was rated #2 0r #3. Ask the Daewoo owners on what the think now !!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If a gasket hasn't failed by 100k miles, it probably never will. And if it does beyond that point, it's age-related.

    Subaru dealers will add a coolant conditioner for those that request it. That plus the warranty just in case.

    BTW, the affected years were mostly 99-01, EJ25 engines.

    Even used, the 8/100 warranty applies. Beyond 100k miles it's case-by-case, and yes Patti would probably help an Edmunds member at 102,000 miles.

    Beyond that, well, ask a Toyota owner what he'd do if his engined was sludged up at 100,001 miles, because his repair bill would be bigger. So it's riskier to buy a CPO Lexus ES300 than it is to buy a used Forester.

This discussion has been closed.