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Outback vs Highlander vs RAV4



  • adding, briefly, 1 more model to this discussion:

    Ford Escape Hybrid AWD. This uses the Prius Synergy Hybrid drivetrain but with an additional motor and shaft driving the rear wheels. Ford claims the drive system is intelligent (i.e., it transfers power to the wheels opposite from what are slipping ).

    This one's looking attractive as given the big hills I have to go up and down (which guzzle gas going up, and use up the brakes going down) this SUV may help save a lot of gas and brake wear and none of the other 3 in this discussion can avoid using.

    yes it's less powerful than the other three, but uses way less fuel. I have yet to drive it to see how responsive it is.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,761
    I would have seriously considered this vehicle as well except for my sub-arctic location. I cannot see the batteries lasting long enough to make the investment worthwhile. In a more temperate environment like Portland, why not try it?
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    IMHO it really, truly, depends on the price you pay.

    At low-mid 20s, it's fine.

    For a well equipped one, they get near $30k, and then the interior starts to feel cheap.

    See what sort of prices paid people are getting. At $25k or less it makes a good case for itself, higher than that it just feels too low-rent.
  • Edmunds completed its long term test of a RAV4. Interesting remarks about the V6 engine . It's first time I have heard Emunds saying a vehicle had too __much__ horsepower, but apparently the V6 RAV4 had nasty torque steer.

    By comparison, I have never seen/felt Torque steer on any '08 Subaru outback I have driven, even when two wheels were in gravel and other two on pavement. m On other hand, the Subies don't respond well to the throttle (they have good ultimate power, but you have to wait to get it).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's the difference between a part-time AWD system and a full-time one, basically.

    All you have to do is manage the throttle carefully. My Sienna has torque steer if you aren't careful, so generally I wait until the it's aimed straight before really punching it.
  • cbmortoncbmorton Posts: 252
    Note that Edmunds' comments refer to the FWD model. The AWD RAV4 is less prone to torque steer - I only notice it when nailing the pedal at speed, when it's running in mostly FWD mode. In daily driving it's a non-issue.
  • this '07 had 48 miles on it, no clunks in the driveline, and less of (but still some) hesitations when accelerating (about a second or so). The salesperson riding shotgun explains the AWD weight was responsible for some of the lag. There was no huge turbo surge. Amazing how two XT's could be so different.
    It felt very substantial, with absolutely no torque steer no matter what I or salesrep did. Although the roads were wet, I noted no brake pulsing or loss of traction on any of the wheels.

    How do the seats differ from H6 to XT? Narrower? Larger bolsters? Subaru only says the XT has "performance" seats.
  • it had telescoping steering.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You should buy that exact car. Seriously.

    Some cars just seem to be blueprinted, i.e. built perfectly to specs.
  • Drove a RAV4 Limited V6 AWD today. Edmunds was right about this one - the engine almost seems too powerful for the chassis (some torque steer, for sure) and there was some hesitation from the 5 speed auto (about a second or so ..vs.. less from my existing Maxx).

    It easily out-responded all the Outbacks I have driven - almost felt like it was going to run away with itself at times. The fact that RAV4's V6 engine uses regular gas is another plus. A minus is the RAV4's throttle's hair-triggerish, like the Outback in sportsharp, but all the time.

    You sit higher in the RAV4, and the leather seats are perforated like the LL.BEAN (the XT has solid leather seats). The seats seem a bit firmer. The RAV4 interior trim's not quite as nice as Outback, but ok. There's more interior room for passengers, with a little less for cargo unless seats are folded down. The rear cargo cover was almost a copy of that used in the Subaru. Most glaring cheapness in RAV4 was mouse-fur headliner.

    I couldn't test the AWD (dry weather for a change, but was impressed the RAV4 could be locked on demand, and had various features to help with hills. It's not quite as sophisicated as Subarus, but for slow speeds such as driving on really bad roads I suspect there won't be much noticeable difference.

    A Frankenstein project might be an Outback with a toyota V6 engine... ;)
  • ...also, I am not sure if Toyota or Subaru is better at helping resolve customer problems.

    Years ago, when I had to resort to legal action to solve a lemon problem, I asked the lawyer (a reputable one) which car manufacturers were the easiest or most difficult to deal with. He responded that Honda and Mercedes were by far the most difficult, with Toyota being somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately, I had not asked him about Subaru.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hmm, I have a 3.5l Sienna, and a Legacy. I could do the engine swap myself ... :D

    Better yet, I'll put the V6 in my Miata. :surprise:

    Subaru needs to ditch the 3.0l H6 and replace it with the 3.6l H6. I've only sampled that engine in the Tribeca, but it's a match for Toyota's mighty 2GR V6. The 3.0l is not.

    Now you have to drive a Forester when that comes out, should only be another 8 weeks or so.

    I'm not sure about who is easier to deal with when it comes to Lemons, but an Edmunds member that is a supplier to SIA surprised me when he said that Subaru's inspections are more stringent than Toyota's (at the same plant).

    Not sure if that's why Toyota dropped to 3rd in reliability rankings, but it wasn't enough to sway me away from a Sienna. The engine alone is worth the $25 grand.
  • Thanks for info, ateixeria.

    Yes, I am concerned Toyota has slipped in reliability. Toyota talks too much of cost cutting. It shows (some of the RAV4 parts are downright cheap), and that has hurt them.

    But I certainly agree with you wrt Subaru H6's being outclassed by the Toyota 2GR V6.
    Still, I doubt Subaru will use their 3.6 H6 in anything but the Tribeca for the next two years.

    Wrt forester, Subaru has to improve the seats, the transmission and (lower torque) the engine. The current seats got a bad rap from CU, and they've proved pretty accurate for my older frame.

    Also, very likely now I will relocate to a level area in Portland (out of the mountains), making AWD much less important for short term. Long term, it remains desirable.
  • the remarks of Edmunds test of the '09 Forester now makes me wonder what real advantages the Outback has.

    The Outback has a 5 speed auto and nicer interior.

    The Forester seems to have better mileage, performance, handling (no tail happyness, apparently) and space utilization.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Yeah, I suspect for MY 2009 the Outback could have some problems. Besides what you stated, it's still more refined than the Forester, but not by much. That should change for MY 2010 when an all-new Outback arrives.

  • If Subaru gives the LLBean outback the Tribeca engine and trans for '09, that would alleviate any concerns I have about it.

    Anyone hear if they might be planning that?
    Or will they sit on the model until '10 and then do it all at once (from sound of it, it will be too big for me, unfortunately) ?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,761
    Well, they need to do something for the MY change. Considering they just did an extensive face-lift for '08, they are really only left with the possibility of mechanical and gadget upgrades (further expanded VDC in the line-up, blue-tooth, etc). Like Bob has expressed, sales for the '09 will likely lag without some considerable interest-grabbers.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    C'mon, kurt!

    Join me in a group buy. Two 2009 Foresters.

    We'll get a great deal! :D
  • I'll see how that '09 Forester looks up at the Oregon car show. ;-)
    Hopefully Subie will let folks get inside to get feel of interior.

    By comparison, Mazda and Mitsubishi seem to prefer keeping people out of their new models. I guess they're afraid the cars will get stripped or damaged.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The LL Bean Forester is wide open at the DC Auto Show. I'm checking it out this weekend. :shades:

    Keep your eyes peeled, I'll have photos and maybe even some video. :shades:
  • saw it at Portland Auto show, and posted in separate thread.
    In brief, was impressed - in many ways better than the Outback, and cheaper.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Did you see my detailed comments in the 09 Forester thread?
  • yes...I'm posting there as well. Thanks for heads up on that.
This discussion has been closed.