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Outback vs Highlander vs RAV4

skicrazyskicrazy Member Posts: 5
edited March 2014 in Subaru
We're seriously looking at the Outback, Highlander or Rav 4 for our next family car. We want enough room for 4, decent gas mileage, ability to go off road to hiking trails and drive in snow to go sking. Thoughts on which vehicle is best?
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    jdenenbergjdenenberg Member Posts: 6
    My wife's 1997 Outback Legacy has 198,000 miles. With proper maintenance it will be around a while yet. I've looked at all three:

    Outback - The 2.5 liter 4 gets reasonable MPG (mid 20s), comfortably holds 5 people, and handles well in the snow (AWD). It is not really meant for off roading, but can handle the task within limits.

    RAV4 - Similar size as the Outback, better suited for off road, but a little thirstier. Nicer styling in my estimation than the other two options you mention.

    Highlander - May be a little too big. Holds 7 with the optional third seat, very thirsty unless you pop for the Hybrid and then its a hot rod as well.

    A fourth option is the Ford Escape with AWD (and its Mercury cousin). Its also available in a hybrid, but its a Ford (A less reliable manufacturer in my estimation).

    I'm waiting for a RAV4 Hybrid to replace the Subaru when Toyota gets around to making one. My other car is a Prius.

    JeffD

    Highlander
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    mnovamnova Member Posts: 1
    My wife and I are facing the same challenge, with the same criteria: good on gas, room for stuff, four wheel / all wheel drive, super safe. We just test drove a 2006 Outback 2.5i Limited wagon this afternoon and we were duly impressed. So much so that we practically bought the car on the spot. But our giddiness was eventually tempered by wanting to make the right decision, which is proving to be harder than we anticipated.

    For one, there's a few Outback wagons to choose from, each with their own pros and cons. The Turbo's got the cajones, but at the expense of gas mileage. The 3.0's got the bells and whistles, but at the expense of, well, expense. And we're still torn about a few of lesser concerns, like body color (love the new exterior styling, love the switch to monochrome paint jobs, wish there were more colors), and interior (okay, faux wood is faux wood, but damn it looks good, yet it's only matched with instantly stained and dirtied beiges, while the black and faux metal feels almost like an older video game interface). That said, in our opinion the interior styling of the Outback crushes the RAV4 and Highlander (which may as well have been designed by the cheap plastic-addicts over at Ford).

    Those are relatively small concerns, but they still demand commitment now.

    The Outback surprised us in its zippiness too, and we haven't even tested the turbo yet. It just stuck to the road and gobbled up the pavement. Super sticky. But we also had a real-life rally experience with a RAV4 a couple of years ago when we rented one during a trip to Costa Rica, and let me assure you, that was one of the all-time best driving experiences of my life -- my wife's too. Sure, we won't be fishtailing through dusty gravel turns and leaping over rocky bottomed dips again any time soon, but the RAV was unquestionably at home off-road (or on-road, Costa Rica style). We loved it.

    And all you'll find all over the web are gushing love stories about the RAV. The Soob's got its devotees as well, especially as an overall brand (which I suppose can be said for Toyota too), but Subaru's repeat-buyer rate borders on the fanatic.

    The Highlander, however, just doesn't do it for us. Between the 4Runner and the RAV, what's a Highlander for anyway? Or maybe I should say who's a Highlander for? Especially now that the RAV is over a foot longer than last year's model.

    I'd say forget the Escape too. Not because of who its for, but because of who its from. Ford should do the market a favor and name its next design the Recall, because it seems everything they've put out in the past ten years makes at least one "free maintanence" trip to the dealer in its lifetime.

    The biggest drawback on the Outback for us so far is the leg room, which isn't actually bad, I'm just 6'4". The steering wheel has limited positionability (sliding up and down, no angles), which means my knees are banging into the column now and then. But visibility and headroom was excellent, and we just wanted to stay in the car for the rest of the day, getting all the sun we could ever want through the ginormous moonroof.

    A test drive of the 2006 RAV will probably -- hopefully -- make up our minds. The one thing I can say for certain now is that my certainty about buying the RAV4 isn't so certain anymore...
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    skicrazyskicrazy Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for the info. We decided to buy a Subi (2.5i)today and love it already. The 2006's have a $2000 rebate which really helped in our decision.
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    grahampetersgrahampeters Member Posts: 1,786
    G'day

    I had a much loved 99 Outback for 6 years. Very safe competent car under off road conditions, although front and rear overhangs make it less competent than say a Forester.

    I typically got about 10.5 l /100km in a manual

    Eighteen months ago, I bought a Highlander 3.5 AWD Auto(actually a Kluger here in Oz). Our kids are at an age where we seem to get extras regularly and the extra seats help. The Kluger is a bit shorter than the Outback but noticably wider.

    Typical fuel economy is about 11.0 to 11.5 l/100km so little worse than an Outback. however if driven aggressively this can increase dramatically. However test results here in Australia suggest about 10% difference.

    The Outback was a sports car with off road ability. The Kluger seems a lot more boring. certainly an excellent vehicle but, unless you have a need for the seven seas and extra space, I would go for the Subaru.

    Cheers

    Graham
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    nickelnickel Member Posts: 147
    The Highlander really never has caught us, but the V6 Rav4 sure did. The main disadvantages of it, were the more upscale interior of the OB and the indecision of Toyota dealerships of giving a better price (even showing them internet prices out of state). At that time (2 months ago), they only wanted to get rid of 4runners. Not to say, we had a Forester for 5 years, and it only needed oil and gas. About going off road, I`ll say that there's not one place a Rav4 ca go that the OB can't. In the test drive, I took the OB and a Forester to the summer dry ski routes of Burnsville (Minnesota), and both went up easily, but the OB with much more comfort.
    Note: when checking an OB, be sure to check if your knees are confortable against the door, cause I'm 5'9" and mine are on the border of comfort-discomfort.
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    landdriverlanddriver Member Posts: 607
    The HL's styling leans toward the upscale and sedate when contrasted to the Rav's decidedly sporty attitude.
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    thecatthecat Member Posts: 535
    jdenenberg - I haven't looked at the latest Outback but I'm surprised to see you say the RAV is "similar in size..." The inside of the RAV is pretty spacious. Is that really true or is it a "kinda sorta" statement?
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    thecatthecat Member Posts: 535
    About going off road, I`ll say that there's not one place a Rav4 ca go that the OB can't.

    I agree. None of these vehicles are "off road-ers" in the true sense of the expression. The main limitation all of these vehicles have is ground clearance. Traction shouldn't be a problem for any of them.
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    s4audis4audi Member Posts: 4
    I was in a similar dilemma. Shopped between OB, Forester and RAV4. Ended up buying a 2007 Outback. It has the space we need, it all weather capable, nicer interior than RAV4 and handles better than any SUV.
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, surprisingly the OB actually has more ground clearance but that's offset by the long front overhand, so the approach angle isn't that great.

    RAV4 is a bit short on overall ground clearance, but the bumpers stick out less.

    -juice
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    drohrerdrohrer Member Posts: 37
    If you're going to compare the OB 2.5 liter 4 to the RAV4 you should use 4cyl. RAV4 MPG's. We're getting between 26 (Interstate driving, loaded down, doing 75-80) and 28 (Wife and Daughter cruising around doing "summer stuff").

    To get the same features in the OB as the RAV (sunroof, airbags, ESC / VDC) meant bigger dollars when we were looking this spring.

    We looked at the OB and RAV on your list (also Vue, Tribeca, Forester, CR-v and Murano).

    My wife loves her Red RAV

    Good luck,

    jdr
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    To get the same features in the OB as the RAV (sunroof, airbags, ESC / VDC) meant bigger dollars when we were looking this spring.

    Keep in mind the OB also packs a lot of lesser known features you may not have gotten with the RAV4 - like heated seats, heated mirrors, wiper de-icers, fog lights, cross bars for the roof rack, tow hitch pre-wiring, etc.

    Wiring a hitch for a RAV4 is a bear, I've been following that thread. You take half the interior apart to do it.

    OB comes very well equipped. More models get stability control this year, too.

    -juice
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    drohrerdrohrer Member Posts: 37
    I didn't mean to suggest that the OB wasn't nicely equipped. I like it alot, in fact if you're talking about ride dynamics, I think the Subies in general were superior. It was just going to cost me more to get all the things we really wanted in the OB.

    Don't plan on towing anything with our RAV and the limited came with cross bars and engine immobilizer.

    I thought the original poster crossed off the RAV a little quickly in terms of MPG's and features.

    As I said we looked at both too. My wife loves her RAV, maybe it is a "chick" car.
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Makes sense.

    Subaru came out with an Outback Basic model for 2007, one that deletes a few of the things I listed above. So you can find a more "base" model now.

    -juice
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    marleybarrmarleybarr Member Posts: 334
    At this point, how do you like the Subie? Looking to buy the same model in the next 2 weeks....
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    mystromystro Member Posts: 64
    Comments that the Legacy get's really close to true sportscar handling and especially the GT can be confirmed with one test drive but the OB has the clearance for the winter conditions so it may suit some better but if your looking for the best of all worlds, Only one car in the AWD class (Audi) which can be compared to the legacy or OB with the subbie is still better with the superier AWD system..that's the difference.

    My only complaint..sometimes it seems everybody owns one..except the GT's. ;)
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    You might toss in the Volvo XC70 in that group, too.

    -juice
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    sushiloversushilover Member Posts: 14
    I just choose a (Canadian) basic 2006 Highlander (V6 AWD 5 passengers) over a 2007 RAV4 V6 AWD Limited. Reasons: the ride (less jerking around, less leaning in curves) and the sound proofing of the Highlander are better than that of the RAV4. Both are about the same price in Canada.

    I already miss the sporty handling of my cheap, old Ford Contour V6 (better than some BMWs) and its moon roof but one cannot have it all! The other family car is a Sienna.
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Another big difference is the liftgate. You get rain shelter and it doesn't block curb side loading.

    -juice
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    philmophilmo Member Posts: 77
    Given that Subaru is pretty much the unofficial state car of Colorado I had ignored the OB in my quest to replace a 98 Gr. Cherokee. However, in a parking lot the other day off I-70 in Dumont this gorgeous black wagon was sitting next to me though I couldn't quite make out the brand and originally thought it was a Saab 9-5 wagon. When he pulled away I saw that it was, in fact, a new Outback. Okay, that goes on the list!

    Got home and started checking the specs and am most anxious to get to town for a test drive. This forum has done nothing to diminish the enthusiasm. Thanks for your insights as a lot of these things end up being "Ford vs. Chevy" or "Mac vs. PC" useless rants.

    I started out wanting the new Ford Edge but early reports are not encouraging. The Mazda CX-7 was a blast to drive but MPG reports are grim. The Murano gets pricey and you know it's gotta get a facelift soon as the design is aging. The Volvo XC70's 71.4 cubic feet of space is well setup but the hatch entry is only 44 inches wide. The swing gate on the RAV4 is just bone-headed -- I'll bet it goes away on the next redesign since Honda and others have managed to design it away. Highlander will be redesigned methinks along the lines of the Murano/Infinity FX35 rolling shoe model but I don't want to wait.

    Our short list is down to the Escape Hybrid, Hyundai Santa Fe, Edge (pending in-person measurements) and the Outback (pending a look-see later today).
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The Escape hyrbid's interior might feel a bit cheap in that company. I think it's fine in the low $20s price class, but when hit the upper 20s it'll feel cheap against its peers.

    Santa Fe looks nice. I saw one but didn't drive it. I don't think gas mileage is very good on those, maybe the 2.7l would be OK.

    Edge is heavy. Ford needs to put it on a diet.

    Outback comes in many flavors, try the different engines to see which character fits what you want.

    -juice
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    philmophilmo Member Posts: 77
    This week I drove the Escape Hybrid, two Outbacks and the Santa Fe. In each drive I had the opportunity to tool around the flats then climb west out of Denver on either I-70 or US 285. Impressions:

    The Escape Hybrid was tight and fun in the city and averaged 30 mpg for about 40 minutes of flat, up- and downhill driving. However, at highway speeds the noise and coarseness were very apparent. And whipping through curves at 50+ MPH were more than a little sketchy with a definite tippy feeling toward the front, outer corner. If I needed an economical runabout town-truck this would be it but there's no way I could more than a couple hours in it at highway speeds on a road trip.

    I drove both an LLBean and Turbo Outback wagon and didn't feel enough difference between them to justify the sticker difference. And both of them felt sluggish compared to my 5 cyl. turbo Volvo S60. I thought they'd be snappier given their compact nature and low profile. If I went this route I'd go the 6 cyl. version to save money and be rid of the SI-Drive hooey. The overall cargo volume remains a concern and the hatch opening is less than 48" across.

    The Santa Fe is very quiet, very smooth on the road though no sports car by any means. Plenty of volume, a roomy second row that reclines and a wide hatch keep it in the running. But something in the back of my mind keeps me from pulling the trigger on this. Probably legacy brand issues not based on any experience. (That's the triumph, or lack, of marketing for you.) The 10-year/100,000 mile warrantly doesn't factor in for me unless it's transferable as I can't envision driving the car for that long.

    Still looking, still driving...
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    mystromystro Member Posts: 64
    I know it seems hyping of the Roo and maybe I am somewhat biasd, but knowbody can ignore the prowess both on and off the highway especially with the VDC as this link confirms:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4999142340359932162
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    paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Although there weren't any off-road sections that I could see! Also they were Subaru sales people doing the driving so it's not really an unbiased driver.... Cool video non the less.

    -mike
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Hyundai only transfers over the 5/60 portion of the warranty to a 2nd owner, I believe.

    That really doesn't help resale values, either.

    -juice
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    philmophilmo Member Posts: 77
    Well, Carspace has been a great resource but I'm bailing out on the SUV purchase until 2008. I hopped in our Grand Cherokee yesterday for the 65-mile drive to the airport and thought "why in the heck am I selling this now?" Paid for, 20 mpg, nothing below on the garage floor, more than capable off-road and I can stuff a pontoon boat in the back.

    Sure, eventually it'll need to be replaced but there's nothing out there right now that I fell in love with was compelling enough to make me get rid of a usable vehicle in great shape.

    Thanks all for your input. Let's do this again after the Highlander is redesigned, the Edge and CX-9 have been around enough for feedback, Toyoter gets rid of the barn door (we hope), Murano gets a facelift and lastly maybe there's a great big surprise out there that we haven't seen yet.
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    http://www.iihs.org/ratings/default.aspx

    Odd - not a single Toyota, or even a Lexus!

    -juice
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    srangersranger Member Posts: 106
    This might be one of the best discussions that I have read recently...

    I like the new AWD Rav4 ( hate the rear door ) and have been looking at all of the models listed here as well. My big problem with the RAV4 is that Toyota almost never makes a 4WD limited, heated leather seats, for my area ( south east ) with the towing package... I need the 3500lb package. The funny thing is that almost ALL Hylanders in the areas have the package.... go figure ....

    I have a FWD only 2005 Mercury Mariner ( Escape tarted up a little ) It drives and handles well and the interior is nice and comfortable. The 200hp v6 has reasonable power. It averages about 21mpg city and about 25hwy. About 20mpg when towing my boat... It does have way too much road noise as stated earlier ( reports are that the 2008 model will have more sound proofing... ) Its best attributes are the leather interior with heated seats and a good 6 CD/MP3 stereo...

    So far I am leaning tword the new Ford Edge, but it is already delayed several weeks and early report are that is has questionable braking capacity for it's portly weight....( not a good sign.... )
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    dick7x22dick7x22 Member Posts: 1
    i just traded my 2006 outback wagon for a 2007 toyota highlander the reason was the jerky ride on the outback
    otherwise it was a great car made for the yuppies
    i am 68 and an old goat needed a smoother ride
    the outback was a great car richard
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    You want some power to tow that boat, try out a Forester XT (turbo). Even at elevation the forced induction will get your boat up those hills.

    Reason I say that is because heated seats is the only way those come.

    A RAV4 V6 ought to do just fine.

    The Edge has similar power but it is heavy, though that's not necessarily a bad thing when towing a trailer.

    Maybe a Sante Fe or Outlander?

    -juice
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    chuck75chuck75 Member Posts: 9
    Here's our take:
    Twin sisters buy 2 new cars within a month of each other.
    1 buys outback, the other buys Rav.
    Both cars are set up very equal.
    The girls try each others car out this weekend the comments are as follows:
    outback owner I can't get over how much room your car has.
    It seems to be about the same size but the interior is so much roomier. The leather is very comfortable (outback is cloth) mpg is unknown for outback but the owner seems to be happy with over all mpg. this is 2nd outback. she states maybe they should have looked into Toyota, but they had been happy with the outback so they just went ahead and replaced it without looking at any thing else (replacing 1st outback because of accident, totaled it). owner lives in northern IL. so heavy traffic and winter conditions exist.

    Rav owner commets about outback:
    nice car, rides ok, sounds noisier, seems smaller than Rav. seems to feel as though you are lower to the ground when sitting thus having a car view. In reality the outback was a couple of inches higher when using their legs a measuring sticks (very scientific, ha ha)

    Both sisters are very happy for each other in there purchase and I've learned many years ago never do anything but agree when it comes to twins and one of them is your wife.

    Rav owner (my wife) on the way home from holiday reunion states you know the reason I like our Rav better is it fits me.
    I mean I just sit in the car I don't feel like I'm climbing into a truck (higher vehicle) or falling into a car lower vehicle (example vet),
    This is needed because of a serious car motocycle accident where we were broadsided back in 1984. Today she has severe back, leg & neck issues. Heated leather seats are great comfort (first ever for us, but not the last). She loves the swing rear door instead of lift gate. again because of back issues same with stepping into the car over the outback the floor seems to be depressed so problems = pain in the outback. She's 5'2" and the loading height is just perfect. This car of every car we tested won hands down with her. So all that was left was to get the best deal. Absolutely pleased with the overall car.
    As far as the Highlander goes nice vehicle but she didn't want to climb into another truck. mpg was same as 2002 explorer ok but nothing to write home about. hybrid highlander was only an insignificant amount better and the price was nuts, tax advantage was already reduced in half when we were looking to buy. so that was a very definite deal breaker, though for us it was never in the running.
    2002 still runs fine and now our daughter is driving it. Hope to see 125 to 150k on it, shouldn't be a problem.
    so there's the review from the owner of a rav and a twin sister owing a outback and therir comments.
    chuck75
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    paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    You want displacement for towing. Turbo motors are not going to be real good towing, as much as I love Subarus, I'd go with a V6 or greater for towing (or an H6 for that matter) the low end grunt is what you need to get the weight of a boat trailer going.

    -mike
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    evergreenevergreen Member Posts: 213
    sranger....I was in the same boat re heated leather seats. Then I discovered that for the same money you can get aftermarket heated leather which is better quality and there are more color choices.
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    outbackboyoutbackboy Member Posts: 5
    I am the original owner of a 2003 outback 2.5L 4cyl 165hp. My wife just bought a 2007 Rav4. I haven't tried the Rav offroad yet but my guess is it will out perform the Outback offroad. I think the Outback has a nicer ride and handling the Rav feels more truck like while the Outback is more car (even somewhat sporty). The outback does not have enough ground clearance for any serious offroading however it will handle the normal stuff. The subby has great AWD traction. If you want better offroad performance I'd go with the Rav. If your offroading isn't too extreem the Subby will probably do fine.
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    paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Haaa you really think the Rav will do well offroad? I highly doubt that. I'd pit an OB v a RAV4 in any offroad contest. I have lots of experience offroading and the Rav4 is not what I'd want there.

    -mike
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    lostwrenchlostwrench Member Posts: 288
    Ground clearance - RAV4 - 7.5 inches
    Ground clearance - Outback - 8.4 inches!
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    rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    The '07 Rav4 has an on-demand AWD. In the past they had a full-time AWD. All Subies have full-time AWD units, which are better for off road use.

    The only off-road advantage the Rav4 has over the Outback is a better angle of approach and angle of departure.

    A better comparison would be to compare the Rav4 with the Forester, as the Forester has better approach/departure angles than do the Outbacks.

    Bob
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    xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,872
    I would not have any reservations with taking a Rav4 off-road, as long as there was a Subaru along on the trip to pull me out every time I was stuck.... :P
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
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    johnvjohnv Member Posts: 40
    RAV4 Angles: 29/25
    Outback Angles: 18/22
    Forester Angles: 22/21

    RAV has better angles, outback has better clearance.
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Just to complete the trio:

    Ground clearance - Forester - 8.1".

    The turbo actually have only 7.9".

    Subaru offers an OE rear skid plate, too. They're fine for light duties.

    -juicer
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    grahampetersgrahampeters Member Posts: 1,786
    G'day

    In my experience (quite a lot) the Outback is substantially more competent off road than the RAV4. It is tempting to think that because the RAV4 looks more macho, that it is more competent off road. However, the reverse applies. As noted elsewhere, the rear overhang of the Outback is the chief bugbear particualrly when fitted with a towing hitch. You need to think hard about approach and departure angles, taking washaways on an angle and such like.

    The Highlander (Kluger to us) is probably marginally better off road under most conditions particularly in higher trim levels where the electronics control wheelspin to reduce need for locking diffs. The Subaru has a locking (Torsen) central diff which is very effective provided front or back is getting good griop. The Highlander is slightly more effective with the all round electronics.

    None of these vehicles is suitable for serious off road use but it is doubtful that you could get into too much strife provided you stick to formed road surfaces.

    Driving on soft sand will find out any of these cars and you should approach with caution. Remember that they are Soft Road Vehicles, not Off Road Vehicles.

    If you want to check performance out under varying conditions, make sure you have a serious 4WD with winch and tow ropes and know how to use them.

    Cheers

    Graham
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    george2000george2000 Member Posts: 4
    I've recently drove 2007 rav4 (4cylinder), CRV and legacy 2.5i auto on the same day. RAV4 and CRV were wery noisy, especially on the highway. RAV4 felt rough when switching gears. Out of the three, subaru was smoother, quieter inside. I also liked it's interior better than the others. I have not tried the Highlander. It seemed too big, and the salesman told me that it's v-4 version was underpowered.
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    peter78peter78 Member Posts: 284
    I have driven the Honda Element and then the Rav 4 and I found the 4 cylinder Rav 4 to be lots of fun to drive. I am trying to replace a old Honda and would like a wagon like vehicle with a little bit better mileage than my 2001 Toyota 4Runner. I'll keep the 4Runner for towing and as my second car.

    I also notice the 4 cyl Highlander is running about the same cost as a 4 cyl Rav 4 in the local papers. So, I test drove a 4 cyl Highlander. First thing I notice is how quiet and solid the Highlaner is. The Rav 4 was a good bit louder and much more fun to drive. I could feel the shift points in the Highlander, meaning it was holding the gear more and working harder. Still for the test drive I felt the 4 cyl Highlander was adequate. I would go for a longer drive if I decided to buy. I didn't like the silver trim and the small tack on the Highlander. I did like the hatch in the Highlander, it opens from the roof like my 4Runner, not from the side and it did not have that big tire on the back.

    Still, I am leaning toward the Rav4, but if the Highlander starts dropping even more in price the closer it gets to the new 2008 Highlander, I might be tempted to live with a bigger slower, not quite as fun to drive Highlander.
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    If you pull up to the curb side a lot (e.g. grocery store, Costco), the swing out door on the RAV4 might be a nuisance, as it blocks the curb.

    Basically they designed it for the JDM, and decided not to re-do the latches for the US market to cut costs.

    -juice
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    andrew17andrew17 Member Posts: 26
    Dear Outbackboy and Rsholland!
    We have two Toys (V-6, AWD), my neighbor has a Jeep (V-6, AWD), an other friend has the Subaru Outback.

    Please, don't take cross-country neither the Subarus, nor the Toyotas: these were designed for bad weather city SUVs. I had the impression that on steep, rocky terrain, crossing deep trenches under an angle: their frames flexes slightly. -Take a Jeep instead, for the stiffer frame/ suspension: it was designed for cross-country service. (But you will miss the pleasant, obedient city drive!)
    In my mind off-roading is cross-country, nasty, bad terrain.

    Happy motoring, enjoy your cars! =Andrew17
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Depends on what you mean by steep rocky terrain. This wasn't Engineer Pass out of Ouray, but the Forest Service sign said 4WD only. :P

    image
    See more Car Pictures at CarSpace.com
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I think the idea of a stiffer frame is a bit of a myth. A full ladder frame will actually flex more than a unibody will, all other things being equal.

    I jack up the front tire of my Forester, and the rear tire actually comes off the ground. The frame is extremely stiff.

    Note that off road Jeeps will actually disconnect sway bars to increase flex. They drive them up a steep ramp to see how high they can go without taking the other 3 wheels off the ground, i.e. the goal is for it to flex as much as possible and allow for maximum wheel travel to keep the wheels where they can make traction.

    Different goals for different intended audiences.

    What the Jeep offers are skid plates to protect the under body, thicker drive shafts, and locking differentials (as opposed to limited-slip).

    Pic for fun:

    image
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    andrew17andrew17 Member Posts: 26
    Steve, I agree: if the Forest Service recommends 4wd it is OK to use any of these SUVs. I was referring to cross country driving as driving off the road on hilly terrain.

    The picture showing the red Jeep with one wheel lifted is a static test. If you drive it at 5 mph and cross a trench under an angle and bounce over rocks - you have a dynamic test that really tests your chassis and suspension... - but I see your point, most of us would leave our cars at the last parking area and walk/ climb on our own. (By the way, I like that red car!) =Andrew17
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    andrew17andrew17 Member Posts: 26
    Dear Ateixeira!
    I can tell that you are a "pro" in this business - I would never dare to try this, or driving through rocks on such a steep terrain - in spite of my good life insurance. I like your truck - what kind of engine do you have in it? Based on the tire type and wear, you take it off road.

    Good job - convincing evidence! Enjoy your SUV: Andrew17
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    I used to do some more difficult stuff with a Jeep club back in the mid-70's when I had a CJ-5. Nothing too extreme and I never learned how to read a line out on the trail.

    Mostly I learned that the more off-road worthy your rig it, the farther away from the asphalt you wind up getting stuck. :shades:
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