2020 RAV4 vs. Forester Comparison

Versatile is the perfect way to describe the crossover styles of the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester. With capabilities to drive smoothly under adverse weather conditions and the fuel efficiency for your daily commute, these vehicles can do it all. Originally released in Japan in 1994, the RAV4 made its way to North American drivers in 1996.

The Toyota RAV4 got its start as the RAV4 concept at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show. Toyota wanted to create a car that could handle light off-roading like an SUV but sport the plush comfort of an on-road passenger car. In fact, the name "RAV4" stands for Recreational Active Vehicle with 4WD.

The Subaru Forester entered the market a little later for the 1998 model year. Despite the late entry into the crossover market, the Forester differentiated itself by offering a performance trim called the XT. In the years since their debuts, both vehicles have shown themselves to be notable performers.

There are many features on the 2020 RAV4 that drivers may enjoy, one of which is the powerful performance of its gas and hybrid engines. The 2020 RAV4 gas trim has 203 horsepower while the hybrid trim has 219 net horsepower. The 2020 Forester has 182 horsepower.

But that’s not where the differences end for these compact crossovers. In this head-to-head comparison, we’ll see how the 2020 RAV4 and the 2020 Forester match up in categories like safety, performance, and interior.

Publish Date: 06/26/2020

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Safety

Both vehicles come standard with their own suite of active safety features. The RAV4 has Toyota Safety Sense® 2.0 (TSS 2.0) while the Forester has EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology.

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Safety

  • Both vehicles come standard with active safety features. The RAV4 has Toyota Safety Sense® 2.0 (TSS 2.0). The Forester has EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology.
  • The 2020 RAV4 has Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (BSM w/RCTA) as an option for the base trim. The Forester has a similar convenience package (Available Blind Spot Detection/Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Keyless Access w/Push Button Start - Optional Pkg 1) but at an additional cost of $795.
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Performance

In this RAV4 vs. Forester head-to-head on horsepower, the RAV4 zooms ahead. The RAV4 gas trim has a net combined horsepower of 203. The hybrid trim has a net combined horsepower of 219. The Forester only has a net combined horsepower of 182.

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Performance

  • Gas-powered and hybrid trims of the 2020 RAV4 outperform all Forester trims when it comes to horsepower.
  • The 2020 RAV4 hybrid trim has an EPA-estimated 41 city and 38 highway MPG. Subaru doesn’t offer a hybrid Forester trim.
  • Both the 2020 RAV4 and 2020 Forester have AWD trims.
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Interior

While both cars come standard with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™️ compatibility, audiophiles may notice a significant difference in speakers.

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Interior

  • The base trim Forester only has four speakers while the base trim RAV4 has six speakers.
  • The base trim RAV4 has a 7-in. touch-screen while the Forester’s touch-screen is only 6.5 in.
  • Both cars come standard with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™️ compatibility.
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Conclusion: RAV4 vs. Forester

As the #1 selling SUV in America, the 2020 RAV4 delivers a lot of bang for your buck in its eleven total available gas-powered and hybrid trims.

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Conclusion: RAV4 vs. Forester

  • The RAV4 offers eleven trims including hybrid variants. The Forester does not offer a hybrid engine option.
  • All leases and purchases of the 2020 RAV4 come with ToyotaCare for 2 years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.
  • The 2020 RAV4 offers more horsepower and a better MPG rating than the Forester.
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