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Subaru Forester vs Toyota RAV4



  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    "Vancouver BC, to Mexico" - That's a long way to haul a trailer! The furthest I've towed anything was about 200 miles pulling a 5x8 U-Haul trailer loaded with furniture. The 2001 manual tranny Forester handled it okay but it will definitely put a BIG dent in your mpg. So your automatic transmission should do okay but adding a transmission cooler and an extra cooling fan would certainly be good insurance.

  • thecatthecat Posts: 535
    Yep, use to pull one all the time with my (now my Ex's) 99' auto. You won't have any problems just allow extra space for braking distance.

    If you look at a globe, you will note that your entire trip is downhill :)

    - hutch
  • megamailmegamail Posts: 2
    thanks for that info. Even with a cooler and auxilary fan I'm worried that that distance and the heat will be too much for my wee subaru :sick:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hey Hutch, did you see I got a new Sienna? That means our cars have the same engine (again).

    The 3.5l is nice, eh? Dual variable valve timing and Direct Injection, too. 2 weeks so far, 2 trips to the beach, and I'm averaging 24mpg. :shades:

    We decided the Tribeca just wasn't big enough. 2 kids, a nanny, a dog, and the occasional car pool made my practical side choose a minivan.
  • thecatthecat Posts: 535
    AJ - Congrat's .. yeah it's a wonderful engine. I'm getting on average .. 27 highway. It's amazing. My neice bought a Sienna a few months ago. Great people mover.

    I can't believe you left the Subie fold.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, the bottom line was Subaru didn't offer a minivan.

    The Tribeca was close, very close. The new 3.6l H6 is very nice and really makes it a lot more fun than the van.

    But...remember I also have the Miata. So we were looking for a family/trip car. I was outvoted 3 to 1.

    I think if I had to drive just one vehicle, I would have picked the Tribeca. It's smaller, more nimble, more fun around town. The van would feel clumsy in city traffic.

    But I don't - I have the Miata to commute in the city. So getting a van was the practical choice for suburbs/highway driving only.

    Don't tell anyone, but it's not so bad, I actually like it! :D

    Drove to the beach and the wife sat in the back seat with the kids, watched The Sound of Music on a 12" DVD screen we had put in.

    I had total peace and quiet the whole way. :shades:
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Hutch, he's still got the Legacy wagon, so he's not Subie-free. :)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    And more than a few Subaru Bucks ready to be spent on (hopefully) the 2009 Forester when it arrives.

    The changes to the 08 Impreza are very encouraging - longer wheelbase, ultra-compact rear suspension, and nicer interior. If the 09 Forester gets similar upgrades that's what will replace the Legacy.
  • I have heard a lot of people talk about how well the forester performs in the snow but how about in the mud and dirt.

    I live in Texas and wont be seeing any snow; however, I will be crossing some mud, water, and unpaved roads. I am considering the 2007 Forester X.

    Any experience with this car offroad?

    by the way...this is my first post here, although I have been poking around for a few days. I have got lots of great info. so thanks!

    Also...anyone know if a large size plastic kennel fits in the back of the forester with just one or none of the seats down?

    Thanks again,
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would take it with you to the dealer when you go for test drive. Nothing like an actual test fit.

    The cargo area is nice and boxy, though, so unless you have a Great Dane I bet it will fit.

    I was one of the few that took my Forester off pavement, and it was fine in the sand. Only did light trails, mostly farm roads and stuff like that, no boulder hopping.

    I think as long as your expectations are realistic, it will do fine. The angle of approach is not that good - there is a long front overhang and your bumper may scrape if the terrain has lots of ups and downs.
  • kavoomkavoom Posts: 181
    Short of a full 4WD, they are substantially better than anything else. The Australians swear by them. Their AWD is different than others as in it's AWD all the time. There.

    I've been off road "as you described" and my Forester's have been great.

    They are not, however, heavy duty off road. If you are worried, there are modifications starting with the pretty inexpensive differential protector (bout a hundred bucks) and under plates that can further enhance your experience.

    Try if you want to ask serious questions.
  • thecatthecat Posts: 535
    One of the things that caught my attention when I was shopping for a vehicle back in 98-99 was a review by consumer reports on the Forester. They tested a variety of "SUV's" and were amazed at, and subsequently selected as the top pick, the Forester. One comment that I remember was "it did amazingly well in deep mud and soft sand". That was a 98' review and the AWD system has been improved since then. Most notably adding a limited slip rear.

    I can tell you I drove mine through some ridiculous stuff and never got stuck. Just don't high center it .. and you're fine. Drove mine on the beach near Ocean City MD in very soft sand with a little air let out of the tires .. and some absolutely absurdly deep snow .. did fine.
    - hutch
  • dstew1dstew1 Posts: 275
    The Forester is a blast in the dirt and light mud; just don't take it rock-crawling and you'll be ok. As far as water crossings, anything under a foot or so and you should be fine, as long as you know what you're doing. Also, two tires companies are starting to make off-road oriented tires in sizes that will fit the Forester now; the General Grabber AT 2 and Yokohama Geolander A/T-S.

    If you want some detailed answers w/pictures, head over to subaruforester dot org or offroadsubarus dot com (sorry, but it's generally been a no-no to paste links to other forums on this message board). Both of those are great sources of information and everyone is usually extremely helpful and friendly.

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    I've got the largest size plastic kennel and I'm pretty sure it will fit sideways with both seats up. However, the fit's so tight that you can't open the kennel door so Fido can get in or out. Lengthwise, you have to have both seats down because the strut towers intrude from the sides.

  • I see that this thread has been going on for a very long time. However my question is the very one that started it all. I am looking at the Foresster vs the Rav 4 and am very torn as to which is the better vehiclke. I am coming from a minivan so downsizing for sure, but we no longer have the need to haul kids back and forth to college.
    I would like a small SUV, love the Tribeca and Murano but they seem too big and too pricey. So we have so far narrowed it to the rav and the Foresster.
    Can anyone who has recently gone through all this give me a better idea of the cars and which and why they chose it?

    I have to make a decison in the next week or so as for right now I am car less. My beloved minivan saved my life in a car accident a few weeks ago. So for now I am begging for rides everywhere I need to go.

    Thanks so much~Happy Dad's Day.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Have you driven the cars? Here are some observations:

    1. AWD on Subaru is awesome. Better than Toyotas.
    2. Forester is noiser than RAV4.
    3. Forester and RAV4 have 4 speed transmissions, except for the V6 on the RAV4, which has a 5 speed.
    4. Forester XT is a hoot to drive and fast as all get go, lack of a fifth gear compared to the RAV4 V6 will result in worse gas mileage. Forester can be had with a manual transmission if that is your bent.
    5. IMO, the Subie handles far and away better than the RAV4. More confident and surefooted.
    6. Sunroof is awesome on Forester.
    7. Subaru Forester has been getting good crash grades for years.
    8. The RAV4 options are more upscale than the Subaru.
    9. Unless you need 7 seats in the RAV4, there should be plenty of room in both cars. RAV4 back seats are diminutive.

    Good luck.
  • thecatthecat Posts: 535
    I've owned them both .. a 99 Forester S and a 06 RAV4 V6. They're very different vehicles and I liked them both. I would have purchased another Forester but wanted more back seat room and the ability to tow a 3500 lb trailer. You got good advice from the previous poster .. go drive them both. Nobody can say what's best for you like you can. Make your selection and don't look back. You really can't go wrong with either vehicle.
    - hutch
  • Jerseymom,

    I just went thought this. We bought A forester brand new in 2001 and just sold it. The forester was very reliable, likable, comfortable and was probably the best car buying decision we had made to date. Recently we had a baby, the subaru was pushing 100,000 miles with no trouble but the subaru has one serious flaw with kids; the backseat is not deep enough! These car seats take up a lot of room. The only way to fit a rear facing car seat in a subie is to put it in the middle of the back seat and have it intrude between the two front seats. I did a TON a research and tried out the RAV$ - we have been delighted so far. This car allows you to put the car seat directly behind a front seat with plenty of rear leg room and front room. I think the Rav4 has 38.3 inches in the back seat vs, 33.7 for the subie. In general the car is much roomier. Also, the V6 is not offered in the subie and gets only 1 mile per gallon less than the 4 cylinder. If the rear seat room issue is not a factor, than buy which ever you like better; you can't go wrong. But I suspect from your name you have kids, so I'd get the rav4.

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "Also, the V6 is not offered in the subie and gets only 1 mile per gallon less than the 4 cylinder."

    Don't need a V6 with the turbo.
  • Sidious or anyone who has an answer~for that matter,
    Thanks for your input. It means alot. While I don't have any car seats in my life right now~the leg room in general is I'm gathering you purchased the limited? That is what we are thinking of as when our family is all together~our son visiting, he is 6ft tall and with the ability to move the seats back, I think there would be enough leg room.
    One other question; Does having the full spare bother you in any way? I love the idea that the rear opens like a door rather than a van door as I have a very bad back, thus we are also going for the lumbar support. I have heard you can either get or it comes with a hard shell that is lockable to prevent theft or damage?
    Thanks again. My family is leaning towards the RAV, now I just have to test drive them one more time and make a decision.
This discussion has been closed.