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Outback vs Highlander vs RAV4



  • I was comparing the Outback 2.5 i to my current Malibu Maxx, which weighs about the same but generates 30 more HP and mostly in the lower rev ranges. The maxx passes very well as long as the engine stays below 5000 rpm, at which point it "starves" and runs out of pull. The Maxx SS, with more sophisicated valve control, runs hard to the redline.

    The 2.5 i did ok "off the line" (traction was fine), but trying to pass on a moderate hill going 45 or so was sluggish (hard push on the accelerator did very little, and as the trans shifted down there was very little difference in acceleration), and inspired no confidence it will handle mountain grades I deal with on trips.

    I'm not trying to be ultra quick (if so the WTX STI would be the choice, and it isn't), but I definitely don't want to go backwards in terms of vehicle engine responsiveness in return for the nearly $30+ K Subaru is asking for that car.

    Thnx for info on the RAV4: I suspect the Subie will do better wrt traction, but the RAV4 is more efficient in that its AWD appears to be reactive,not full time.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,246
    The 2.5 i did ok "off the line" (traction was fine), but trying to pass on a moderate hill going 45 or so was sluggish (hard push on the accelerator did very little, and as the trans shifted down there was very little difference in acceleration), and inspired no confidence it will handle mountain grades I deal with on trips.

    Agreed; especially in the 40-55 mph area, one has to drop the transmission to 2nd in order to get good response. 5000-6000 rpms provides a lot of "ummph" in this car. ;)
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Well, it seems wrt the outback I have three engine choices:

    the 4 cylinder 170 hp that doesn't have enough power for confident passing,

    the 4 cylinder with turbo which has turbo lag and (unless you check a particular bolt with filter frequently) vunerable to oil stavation,

    the 6 cylinder which has little low end torque.

    bummer. :(

    Is it perhaps because of racing emphasis that Subaru engines don't seem to work very well unless the driver is "revving" the engine and using a manual? I really hadn't planned on buying a race car :confuse:
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    They are fairly small engines with turbos pushing cars that weigh 3300+ lbs. I'm not sure how to really overcome such things w/o a larger engine.

    As for the turbo fliter, if you change your oil and filter there is no need to worry. I have a 94 Legacy Turbo Racecar with 150k street miles and 10k race miles, the drivetrain is 100% stock and never rebuilt. Heck it doesn't even have an intercooler on it.

    My 05 LGT has no issues at 50k miles and I push the turbo hard on and off the track, but I use synthetic oil and change it every 5k miles.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't think the oil starvation issue is common at all.

    They need to replace the 3.0l H6 with the new 3.6l H6, though.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,246
    Yeah, it sounds to me like the original poster likes the looks of the XT, but otherwise wants to convince himself not to buy a Subaru. ;)
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • The original poster ___likes___ the Outback (the AWD and interior were impressive!), but raised concerns about the available engines.

    Ateixeria's nailed it - the new 3.6I H6 sounds good. Subaru needs to get it into the Outback (perhaps by Outbacks' redesign in '10 :confuse: ).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's a hot topic. I think they should phase out the 3.0l H6. Other think it should be refined.

    Subaru recommends premium fuel for the 3.0l, and not for the 3.6l, which is better in every way. I'm not sure how much more it costs to produce, though.
  • Having a slightly more powerful engine with more lower end torque __and__ regular fuel would make the Outback very enticing for me, provided the price was around that of the current model (which is a ___lot___ for a Subaru).

    For the turbos, Suraru __requires__premium fuel __and__ oil changes at 3.8K miles or less. Not very enticing for my circumstances (your mileage may differ :) ).
  • I can see you have had a lot of responses to your question and I was leaning toward the Subaru until I drove the RAV. I bought a 2008-Limited V6 4wd. The reasons, first, much more room for passengers. The second row seats move forward and back, I’m six foot three and had plenty of room, also the seats recline a bit with give more room than the Subaru. Mileage was a big factor in my purchase. I drove from Southern California to Bend Or. About 911 miles, and got 27 mpg vs. 19 or 20 for the Subaru. In Oregon we had ice and wet weather, the RAV never missed a beat. My daughters 2wd 4runner could not handle the ice so she used our RAV to get around.
    My suggestion, go out and test drive each one. If you are going to do off roading get the Subaru . If you want an economical., safe all condition vehicle with plenty of power, get the V6 4wd Rav4.

    2008 Limited V6 4WD.
  • If you do the research, you will see the the Subaru has 173 hp compaired to the RAV V6 at 269 hp. Price wise, the Subaru flat V6 turbo delivers 263 hp at a price of over 32k. I was avle to get the RAV under 29K. The biggest complant that I have is in Calif. you can not order the option you want. Toyota has packages and that all you get. I almost had to go to Oregon to get what I wanted. Again, you should make a list of what you want and go test drive..

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,246
    Subaru is offering a turbo on the H6? Are you.... sure? ;)
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Only naturally aspirated 6 in the Outback. And it does not have as much torque as the Turbo-boosted 4 in the XT.

    I will check the v6 RAV 4 out before I make the decision. Hearing that Rav4 works well in Oregon is a + (I live in Portland), as there are two good Toyota dealers near me. Not so for Subaru.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Things to look for:

    * 2GR V6 engine is a gem (a big reason I bought a Sienna)
    * gas mileage is also good
    * transmission is not the 6 speed known for hesitation, so reliability is a +

    * fairly basic AWD system
    * rear door opens to the curb side, blocks loading
    * obstructed visibility

    Consider the NAV system with a backup cam, that would resolve the 3rd issue mostly.

    We do a lot of Costco shopping so my wife found the door-opens-the-wrong-way kind of dumb. I can't see why they don't at least reverse the hinges, though you can get a liftgate on the Highlander.
  • cbmortoncbmorton Posts: 252
    Agreed re the RAV4's rear door - it can be inconvenient. We don't load at the kerb so the way it opens is immaterial to us, but it requires more room behind the vehicle to open than a hatch does. In the real world this translates into a little extra thought required when parking - I don't back in as much as I used to.

    The AWD system, although front-biased, is more sophisticated than it's generally given credit for - there's more to it than "slip-and-grip".

    Like ateixeira, I'm happy with the 3.5 V6. Surprisingly powerful and efficient.
  • Got to ride (not drive) a Subaru XT turbo this evening - was a manual. In 35 degree weather it took about 6-8 minutes for the windshield to get de-iced (sales rep was idling it in parking lot). Firm ride, and firm seats. Some clunks under the dash on bumps. Smooth idle for a 4. Headlights had very sharp cutoff. Engine needed to be 3K and up in torque band to generate real power, and then car accelerated well. Cover over hatch area kinda chinzy for a $35 K car. Noted the door switch gear and lower door trim had same look and feel (including internal molding ridges) as similar parts in my Malibu - Subaru Indiana must be using parts from the same supplier.

    Hope to drive an auto Subie XT in a week or so - next on deck is RAV4 AWD6
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't think you're going to find Audi-like interior materials in any of these 3. They're pretty basic materials, generally assembled well.
  • Well the A4 Avant I briefly looked at did have a nicer interior than these 3 (the A3's only slightly better.).

    ...but A4 Avant 2.0T costs more (V6 costs _lots_ more), has less power (only by a little), and no choice of dealers (in my area). The last, given Audis' reliability remains worse than the others here, puts it out of the running. A pity. :sick:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    A friend of mine has a really nice one, but he works for VWVortex and bought it as a press car for cheap. They are very nice. His had nice aftermarket rims and tinted windows, so it looked very nice (not just "for a wagon").

    I would have the same concerns you list.

    Can you wait for the 2009 Forester? It'll be here in March. I think it looks great. The wheelbase will be almost 5" longer, and it's nice and boxy so cargo room should beat the Outback.
  • seems odd that Subaru would introduce a 2009 model in March...

    Or is this the Japanese introduction date, with a later USA date to follow?

    If this new Forester has a comfortable seat (with real heigth adjustment), and the WRX engine with a 5-speed auto option, that would be a winner for me.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's in (pre-?) production now. Spy photographers are catching all sorts of photos, even though it has not made an auto show debut, officially.

    They may keep the 4EAT for the first year on the Forester, which IMO is a mistake. Not sure if the XT models will get a 5EAT.

    Shoot, Mitsubishi's Outlander already has 6 speeds.

    Problem is, Subaru is working on a CVT, so they may not want to invest in the auto right now.

    Here's what it looks like:
  • ...the drive train will make or break this one with me.
    Hopefully Subaru will improve it, and not just carry it over from last year.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm gonna guess the base model will get 175hp and a 4EAT or 5MT.

    The turbo will stick with the same powertrains it has now, as the WRX did.

    Again, they're working on a CVT so I'd be surprised if they put in a 5EAT (though I hope I'm wrong).

    One good thing - the automatic has been reliable, so it lessens the risk on a new model.
  • Finally got to drive one but only on crowded city streets where salesperson and I had to dodge bicyclists, cars, homeless, etc.

    Observations of the Outback XT limited:

    In sport mode, it __definitely__ had turbo lag. Sport took at least 1-2 seconds before the engine decided it wanted to "go". More linear but softer response in Intelligent mode - car didn't feel particularly peppy then. Sport sharp helped the in town responses somewhat but lag still there. Noted some drive line lash (car was brand new). Seats comfortable but get too hot on maximum heat setting. Ride was euro firm but didn't notice any harshness. Seats leather and comfortable. Dash lights had a big step between maximum and the next level down, then stepped in increments. Did not have chance to try manually shifting the trans. Relatively quiet for a high revving 4 cylinder. Didn't tip much in corners.

    I'll have to try the 6 before I'll know if this will work or not. The pretty much on-off turbo is a worry given several other publications have commented on hesitation and lag with this model. A pity Subaru has not addressed it other than the 3-position switch ( how about a dual-tuned intake manifold or some other torque extending technology , Subaru? :confuse: ).
  • anyone had experience with the 6-cyl version of the Outback?

    How does it compare to the 4 cylinder models?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You may want to try test driving a used one. The transmission is adaptive and will learn your driving habits and adjust its shift map accordingly.

    I just wonder if a used one would already be adjusted, and feel any different?

    No manual for you, I suppose?

    The turbos feel a lot quicker with the manual, a good second or so to 60mph.
  • Hi everyone. I bought a 2008 RAV4 Limited last Saturday and can't find a clothes bar to fit into the holes provided. Has anybody found a fix? Thanks!
  • thnx for suggestions, ateixeria. I will be doing just that.

    No interest in manuals unless they are clutch-pedal-less, and Subaru does not offer them yet.
    VW/Audi does, but reliability and dealer issues make me very hesitant wrt those.
  • apparently the Haldex systems, per , can be "trapped" if two wheels on either side can't get traction.
    Perhaps this is what the latest HALDEX system emarked for Saab's 9-3 is supposed to fix? But the Saab's out of the running (price, preceived market, etc.).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Nowadays they pair up AWD with traction/stability control anyway.
This discussion has been closed.