The Toyota RAV4, similarly to the Subaru Forester, came to market in North America during the 1990s. Both subsequently grew in offerings and size to offer more driver comfort, increased space, and enhanced utility.
In this legacy vehicle head-to-head, we will compare both vehicles across important categories such as safety features, performance, and interior features to establish which one takes first place in this comparison.
Published date: 06/03/19
Each 2019 RAV4 comes standard equipped with Toyota Safety Sense™ 2.0 (TSS 2.0).
The Toyota Safety Sense® 2.0 (TSS 2.0) safety system includes driver assistance features such as Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Sway Warning System (SWS), Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), and Automatic High Beams (AHB).
Subaru offers a similar package called EyeSight® technology, but not all trims include a comparable feature to Toyota’s Automatic High Beams.
Both TSS 2.0 and ToyotaCare come at no extra cost on all 2019 RAV4 models. ToyotaCare is a no-cost plan that offers free 24-hour roadside assistance and complimentary factory scheduled maintenance for 2 years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Subaru Forester offers 3 years/36,000 miles of roadside assistance, but a maintenance plan is not included. The cost of comparable plans will vary by dealer.
Toyota believes in building every vehicle with "Quality, Dependability, and Reliability" in mind. In fact, Kelley Blue Book® awarded Toyota the award for Best Resale Value Brand in 2018. Eco-sensitive features and a responsive engine contribute to the RAV4’s performance in this section.
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester have many similarities when it comes to overall performance, but the RAV4 edges ahead.
The Forester gets slightly better fuel economy with its EPA-estimated 26/33/29 MPG (city/hwy/comb) compared to RAV4 XLE AWD's EPA-estimated 25/33/28 MPG. However, the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid offers EPA-estimated MPG numbers of 41/38/40 (city/hwy/comb) which the Forester simply cannot match.
The Forester does not offer a hybrid option, though it does have standard all-wheel drive. RAV4 models offer greater flexibility since you can choose one with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The RAV4 also delivers more horsepower at 203 HP (or 219 net HP for the hybrid model) compared to the Forester’s 182 HP.
Small comforts go far when it comes to investing in a new car. Having been around for more than twenty years, RAV4 carries a legacy of not only being fuel-efficient, but offering a comfortable ride as well.
Both the 2019 Toyota RAV4 and 2019 Subaru Forester feature useful entertainment options. Of course, a few key advantages set the RAV4 and Forester interiors apart.
A base model Forester comes with four speakers, Android Auto, and an in-dash CD player. However, every RAV4 features Apple CarPlay™ and the base-grade RAV4 LE features six speakers to boost entertainment. You can also view entertainment options better in a RAV4 with its 7 in. touch-screen display vs. 2019 Forester Premium’s 6.5 in. touch-screen.
The 2019 RAV4 XLE also features dual-zone automatic climate control standard. The 2019 Forester Premium only offers single-zone automatic climate control.
The Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester both stand the test of time, offering great options in a vehicle. RAV4 delivers more HP and similar fuel economy compared to the Forester. But the RAV4 offers a hybrid version which the Forester does not. While RAV4 offers all-wheel and front-wheel drive options, all Foresters are all-wheel drive.
When it comes to entertainment, RAV4 maintains a distinct advantage. The base-grade 2019 RAV4 offers six speakers standard while the base-grade Forester offers just four. RAV4 also offers a 3-year trial with Safety Connect and 6-month trial of Wi-Fi Connect Powered by Verizon with up to 2GB at no extra cost.
The base-grade Forester MSRP is $24,295 while the RAV4 LE is $25,650. But RAV4 includes the no-cost ToyotaCare maintenance plan and roadside assistance, plus the complete suite of safety features in TSS 2.0. Automatic High Beams (AHB), a distinct feature for the RAV4, are not available on the 2019 Forester or 2019 Forester Premium.
With a more comprehensive safety suite, better standard interior features, and more performance options, the 2019 RAV4 emerges the winner of this head-to-head.