Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 or Subaru Forester?



  • Trying to decide between the two which is better in the snow and sleet if both had excellent tires on them. This is important to me in deciding which to buy, I live in the mountains and get a fair amount of snow, sleet and ice. thanks for your help and input
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    I would say the Forester is better in the snow since it has a much more sophisticated AWD system, if they both had the same tires.
  • bj02176bj02176 Posts: 115
    Actually the 2005 Ford Escape, with Goodyear Tripletreds.

    I had a 2003 Forester, the abs on this thing along with the tires sucked, while good in deep snow the rest of the time I felt unsafe. Slid across a major street from a side st, couldn't stop.

    My first generation CRV (can't remember the year) was good along with my gas hog 2007 Santa Fe which I traded for a 2008 CRV. Got the 2008 CRV last March so don't know how good it will be. Replaced the original tires with some Nokians just recently.

    Contrary to poplular believe there is no pull to the left or right. No rear diff noise at 12,000 miles, maybe at 15, but who knows.

    Traded the Forester for a 2003 Honda Accord, the dealer didn't want to take the Forester.

    However maybe the 2009 is an improvement, still no 5 speed auto though and the gas mileage is better on the 2008 CRV than the 2003 Forester.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Yes, you're correct ---- however good the AWD system is, it won't help you stop better!

    And the 4-speed auto would be an instant deal-breaker for me too. But amiller1 was only asking about the snow-trekking ability.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Actually the 4 speed auto on our Forester is one of the best things about it. The transmission picks the right gear, shifts quickly and smoothly, and is generally very responsive. Plus it has SportShift if you feel the need to control it manually.

    That 4 speed is ten better than the 5 speed auto in my Toyota. No contest. You can't just count the number of gears, there's so much more to it than that.

    In the snow, between a new Forester and CR-V, I would opt for the Subaru because it has more ground clearance plus a more sophisticated full-time AWD system.

    Tires are absolutely the #1 factor so a set of snow tires would sway the advantage either way.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    No doubt some 4-sp will work perfectly fine. I had a rental RAV4 with the 4-sp auto that I thought was perfectly ok. But there is just something about buying decade-old technology. :(
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Like I said, I'll take decade-old technology that works over newer technology that is better on paper but isn't as good ... in practice.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    But think of how much more efficient the Subie's powertrain would be with a 5, or 6-sp auto. :) I mean, no one's complaining about the 5-sp in auto in the Legacy and Outback.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Kurt did - he compared 09 Forester and Outbacks closely. The trans was one of his beefs with the OB, at least compared to the Forester.

    All things equal, more gears are better, absolutely. I'll take 5, 6, whatever. Just add ratios without losing the shifts and programming that it has now.

    To be honest Subaru will likely go with a CVT instead, like Nissan has done. They share suppliers on a lot of things.

    I'm a fan of manual transmission, but I actually have to admit I *like* the 4EAT in my wife's Forester. I've only said that about one other automatic, ever in my life - my buddy's Porsche Boxster Tiptronic.
  • The OEM Geolander tires on Subarus only have a B traction rating and are especially poor in wet or slick conditions. If you go with Subaru then work with your dealer to swap them out before taking delivery. If you’re just visiting Tahoe then good all-season tires may be okay but you should always carry chains otherwise true snow tires should be used up there. In Tahoe because of traffic or weather conditions extra horsepower is not much of a consideration.

    Speaking from experience in the Reno to Carson City commute I can tell you that my 03 Forester X has saved my butt several times in terms of excellent braking, handling/maneuverability under braking, very good visibility without a camera, and excellent AWD capabilities in fair and foul weather. The car has 90K miles with zero problems and performs as good as new still. I find the power delivery to be good enough and not what I’d call sluggish.

    All three on your short list would be good. Remember that Subaru is full time AWD while the other two are FWD biased with reactive AWD.

    Just my 2 cents.
  • Thanks for your input! I agree that the Subaru AWD is better than the competition. I think I'll go drive the Subaru once more :-)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If you're looking at the V6 RAV4, why not test drive a Forester XT?

    We wanted the best possible mileage and range, so we looked at base 4 cylinder engines. The Forester has the biggest gas tank in this class (16.9 gallons, surprisingly enough the same size as the Tribeca!) combined with good mileage, and before you say Escape Hybrid that interior didn't come close to meeting my standards (we actually looked at the Mercury version).

    Any how, with expectations for that class, I found the Forester very responsive. We did get the 175hp PZEV model, which is $300 or so extra, but you get 5hp plus it's cleaner and greener. In PZEV states the emissions warranty covers your catalytic converter for 150k miles, too.

    That base engine has fairly high compression and AVCS valve timing, plus shorter gearing than the Forester XT, so we actually find it responsive. Specifically you feel it move immediately as you hit the gas pedal. It's not fast, but merely quick and responsive, if I'm explaining it properly.

    I have that V6/5 speed powertrain from the RAV4 in my minivan, and it's the opposite. It takes a bit longer to respond, especially for the transmission to pick the right gear, but once it does, it's quite fast. So not as responsive, but faster once you get going.

    I hope that's clear.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    For me personally, the RAV4 offers a hard-to-beat combination of looks, size, utility, performance, technology, amenities, value and reliability. I'm not saying it stands out in any one particular area, but viewed as a total package, it seems to offer the most appealing compromise.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I think the 2009 XT now takes it in the looks, utility, performance, and reliability. Value and of course looks are in the eye of the beholder. I'm sure the RAV4 has more options, but more isn't necessarily better.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I liked the powertrain but the wrong-way rear door pushed me into a Sienna. I actually wanted something bigger anyway.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    "I actually wanted something bigger"

    Did you consider the Highlander? That would be essentially a bigger RAV4, without going all the way to a minivan. And you could also have one hybrid with the Highlander.
  • enolienoli Posts: 2
    just bought a 09 rav4. went to dealer with subaru and toyotas. drove both forester and rav4 in spokane with a fresh coat of 8' of snow on top of all the other snow and the worst snow conditions in 20 + years. Either vehicle would do you well in the snow. I felt the rav4 performed better. The traction control device works well and the locking 4 wheel drive feature is good when needed. I felt at times the foresters rearend slid out a little more when cornering (tracked 8" powder). we live 40 miles north of spokane in the mountains and our driveway is more than anyone on this forum would dare tackle in the winter. The rav4 climbed up our steep driveway with the undercarage dragging in 10" of snow straight from the dealers.

    Compare the interior look of the forester and rav4 and the forester looks cheaper. lighter thinner material and not as comfortable. good luck. forester or rav4 are both good.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, I did. The 3rd row didn't split fold, and it didn't really stand out to me. I also drove a CX9 and a Tribeca.

    Not to mention, the Sienna is cheaper and much bigger than the HL. So you get more for less $, much better value.

    The fact that minivans' image is bad helped me tremendously - you get great deals on them.
  • Some of the impact harshness comes from the Geolander tires (the Outback's Bridgestones are worse). Switching to all season winter-rated Nokians on my '09 Forester reduced the impact harshness considerably.

    Some reviewers say the XT leans a lot in turns. I've found it less of a leaner than the Outback XT or my former Malibu Maxx. Still, a vehicle sitting that high off the ground is going to lean more than something close to the road! ;)

    As for the topic here:
    I tried all 3 vehicles.
    The CR-V had a nice interior but was sluggish for passing. My experience with an Accord "lemon" and attorney comments that Honda remains a nightmare wrt lemons was final turnoff.
    The RAV4 V6 was peppy and has the highest fuel efficiency, but felt front heavy and made lots of noise on Oregons' badly worn freeways. The rear end door was clumsy, and its AWD system raised some doubts.
    The '09 Forester XT seemed a good compromise of the three and has proven very capable in bad weather, though I now wish Subaru had used better plastics and more durable paint inside.
  • rengawrengaw Posts: 22
    My wife and I got it down to the Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4 (4 cyl), Hyundai Sante Fe. We didn't care for the Honda CRV's looks.

    We mapped out a half-hour course of 4 lane highway driving, twisty roads, hill climbs and drove each vehicle an hour apart with no salesmen on board. We split the driving.

    We were quite surprised how different each vehicle was to drive. It was hard to say a bad thing against any of them. But in the final analysis we both, without a doubt, liked the RAV4 the best. The RAV had the most road noise and some would say the roughest ride, but we both preferred the RAV ride to the other vehicles and thought it handled the best.

    We were surprised that the RAV 2.5 I4 motor at 179hp seemed much peppier than the 175 hp Forester. The 2009 2.5 I4 has added 13 hp over the previous year while getting 12.8% improvement in fuel economy. Funny thing though, Toyota not only reworked the I4 motor for 2009 but also the auto tranny too was done over and Toyota decided to stay with the 4 speed auto. You read alot of criticism about the 4 speed autos on both Subaru and Toyota forums but the new RAV 2.5 I4 with the 4 speed auto tranny gets a couple miles per gallon better than the CRV with the 5 speed. Go figure.

    Of course, now that my wife and I have decided to purchase the RAV, there is the temptation to go with the V6 motor which gets close to the I4 in highway miles and has 90 more horsepower.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    I have had plenty of wheel-time with rental Corollas and RAV4, and have always been impressed with the amount of usable power that Toyota manages to wring out of its 4-cyl engines, especially with the Corolla.
  • We have the same list but we also have the Venza on ours - I am so interested in your comments - what did you think about the Santa fe? I am concerned it is too high - I prefer sitting lower and like a lower center of gravity. I too liked the Rav, but am concerned about the rear door opening and the fact that it does not have a rear bumper - if you get hit from behind...

    Please let us know your feelings!
  • rengawrengaw Posts: 22
    On the straight somewhat smooth highway, the Sante Fe rode quite nice, a cruiser of sorts. On the curvy undulating roads, I was uncomfortable with how the suspension controlled the ride. The RAV was the opposite. Handled real well in the curves and was a little stiff and noisy on the straights.

    A side note. Since we have decided on the RAV, our next process of decision making involves the engine we want....the 2.5 I4 or the 3.5 V6. We had driven the I4 twice, so today we wanted to try the V6. We will possibly do a little towing with our RAV and we drive alot in the Cascade and Olympic mountains.

    My wife, who is no sissy to power, drove the first leg of our run with the V6. Then I took over and on a straight stretch I punched it a bit and my wife started screaming. It was quite a surprise to both of us. My wife, the MPG freak, sat quietly for a few moments and then said, "I love this RAV with the V6." I liked both the V6 and the I4. So I am going again and drive both RAV's one more time and do some thinking.
  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Posts: 1,207
    thr RAV4 V6 is a bullet... didn't consume much gas either.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The 2GR V6 is a great engine, I have the same one in my Sienna.

    Getting the V6 also gets you a 5 speed auto, but I'm not sure you'll like the transmission as much as you liked the 4 speed auto in the 4 banger, because it hesitates and lags a bit.

    I'm glad they updated the 4 banger because the V6 sort of made the prior 4 cylinder moot.
  • rengawrengaw Posts: 22
    I was sure I was going to buy the new 2009 Forester, but I got won over to the 2009 RAV4 primarily because of their power plants. The 2.5L, I4, with more power and better fuel economy than in previous years and the 3.5 V6 with the 5 speed tranny just wouldn't let go of me. I am now torn between the two motors, one day wanting one and the next day the other. I am presently leaning toward the V6, but the fact that the new 2.5L I4 has cut it's fuel consumption by another 2 mpg over the V6 is impressive. I believe in mixed driving you may be talking about a 3 to 4 mile per gallon difference. On the highway, which is how we drive 75% of the time, the margin would be closer.

    I was wondering, Juice, what kind of mpg you are getting with your van? And what would the weight difference be comparing the van to the RAV with the V6. I believe the RAV4 goes something like 3700lbs.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    The Rav has a lot going for it, but it's auto-trannie only, and that's a non-starter for me. Of course, that's a non-issue for most people. :P :sick:
  • rengaw,

    Seems like our experiences have been identical. We were 99% set on the Forester, and then the new RAV came out. Last year, the four-cylinder just did not do enough for me, either in terms of mileage or "peppiness." I didn't want the 6, so I moved on to the Forester. When the new, larger 4-cylinder came out in the RAV, I just had to try it--and I really liked it. So we got ourselves one last month.

    I'd say there is no "need" for the V6, unless you are towing regularly. If you are doing mostly highway, then the benefit of the I4 is pretty modest, except for the lower upfront cost...But you already know all this. Good luck in your choice.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The Sienna has tall gearing so highway mileage can be quite good - I've broken 30mpg but that's with speeds below 60mph or so.

    My average is usually anywhere from 22 to 28 mpg or so. Not bad considering it's always hauling people or cargo or both. Mileage drops considerably if you punch it, but then again it can be a lot higher if you're a hyper-miler. YMMV.

    I'll say this - the V6 has way more than enough power for this van, I can't imagine how it would feel in the lighter RAV4. You may actually complain about substantial torque steer, especially if you get a FWD RAV4. You may even prefer the I-4 if you get FWD.

    My van is about 4300 lbs, a FWD LE 8 passenger model. You sure the RAV4 is that light? AWD V6?

    Our Forester does a bit better, but it's AWD and a 4 cylinder PZEV model. I've seen anywhere from 23mpg up to 33mpg, again that would be keeping speeds down. Overall it gets a couple of mpg better than the van, plus it's AWD, but the van is much bigger, too.
  • rengawrengaw Posts: 22
    That is impressive mpg on that Sienna, Juice, considering the weight it is hauling with such good power. We have a 1999 Sienna with the 3.0 V6, which is smaller and lighter than yours, and we can't come up to your numbers even with conservative driving.

    I asked a salesman at the local Toyota dealer last week what the number one complaint on the V6 RAV was. He said torque steer on the FWD model.
This discussion has been closed.