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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I own both. Obviously not a direct comparison, they’re 3 years apart, Outback isn’t exactly a compact SUV, one is a hybrid. But, both cars fulfill very similar needs and similar trim levels. The RAV4 Limited was $6K more than the Subaru Outback Limited. I’m going to cover some categories and pick a winner for each.

Adaptive Cruise Control : Winner is Toyota, with more natural acceleration and braking. I did 50 miles each way on a road today where speed limits went from 55 to 30 and had several lights, good test of ACC. The Subaru accelerates more panicky and unnatural, which defeats the purpose.

Seats : Outback wins, just more thigh support, but similar power options, both have dual memory. I’m not picky about seats.

Of note: The RAV4 has ventilated seats, heated wheel, and that crazy digital mirror, which the Outback does not have. This goes towards the price difference.

Audio: Toyota’s upgraded JBL system wins. The Outback has the best available Harman Kardon system, 12 speakers to the RAV4’s 11. It could be the different architecture of the cabins, with the Outback being a longer wagon. I don’t know the Toyota bangs better.

Ride: I prefer Subaru. The Outback has a longer wheelbase so on paper it should win anyway, but I’ve been in recent Foresters and it’s just a more composed experience. This is definitely a choice on Toyota’s part, some folks probably prefer a more truckish feeling.

Remote start key fob: Subaru destroys Toyota with sheer range. It seems to me that Toyota deliberately crippled its key fob in order to peddle app subscriptions (remote start is a feature), which leads me to:

Tire pressure readouts on the instrument panel: Outback has it, RAV4 requires you to use the aforementioned app, another blatant money grab, making simple tech less available and charging for it. Not cool, Toyota.

Mileage: RAV4 Hybrid wins easily.

Moonroof: RAV4 wins with pano, Outback didn’t offer a pano, which I’ve never understood.

Lane keeping assist: I dislike both systems, and I disliked Honda’s when I tried it. I hear Hyundai does it well.

Road sign assist: Subaru definitely wins on the speed limit front. I think the way they do it is using the navigation system, which knows speed limits. They just reflect the current speed limit on the nav next to the speedometer. It lags a bit but very consistent. I guess Toyota, not using the nav, uses a camera to scan various signs. Firstly, it isn’t consistent, meaning it misses signs sometimes. Secondly, when it does see the sign, it only shows the speed limit next to the speedometer temporarily. Subaru keeps it up full time, which is preferred by me.

Cabin: The Outback is just a better, more luxurious environment. I prefer the look of the infotainment blending with the dash on the Outback vs Toyota’s “stick an iPad directly on top” approach. Instrument panel on the Toyota is busy, with info jammed in every nook and cranny. Outback seems more holistic somehow. More designed. The Outback climate control setup seems more intuitive to me also, but I do like the switches Toyota used for fan speed, defrost, etc. They could be bigger but I like the look and they have a quality feel.

Cargo area: They look real similar to me, slight edge to Outback. Not significant.

The RAV4 replaced a 12 year old Forester for us, so a vastly improved experience and our first hybrid. If Toyota does it’s usual thing with reliability I’ll be a happy customer.
 

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2020 RAV4 Hybrid LE
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Until Subaru can fix their CVTs, I’ll never consider another. My 2018 Outback failed after owning for a few months.
 

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I own both. Obviously not a direct comparison, they’re 3 years apart, Outback isn’t exactly a compact SUV, one is a hybrid. But, both cars fulfill very similar needs and similar trim levels. The RAV4 Limited was $6K more than the Subaru Outback Limited. I’m going to cover some categories and pick a winner for each.

Adaptive Cruise Control : Winner is Toyota, with more natural acceleration and braking. I did 50 miles each way on a road today where speed limits went from 55 to 30 and had several lights, good test of ACC. The Subaru accelerates more panicky and unnatural, which defeats the purpose.

Seats : Outback wins, just more thigh support, but similar power options, both have dual memory. I’m not picky about seats.

Of note: The RAV4 has ventilated seats, heated wheel, and that crazy digital mirror, which the Outback does not have. This goes towards the price difference.

Audio: Toyota’s upgraded JBL system wins. The Outback has the best available Harman Kardon system, 12 speakers to the RAV4’s 11. It could be the different architecture of the cabins, with the Outback being a longer wagon. I don’t know the Toyota bangs better.

Ride: I prefer Subaru. The Outback has a longer wheelbase so on paper it should win anyway, but I’ve been in recent Foresters and it’s just a more composed experience. This is definitely a choice on Toyota’s part, some folks probably prefer a more truckish feeling.

Remote start key fob: Subaru destroys Toyota with sheer range. It seems to me that Toyota deliberately crippled its key fob in order to peddle app subscriptions (remote start is a feature), which leads me to:

Tire pressure readouts on the instrument panel: Outback has it, RAV4 requires you to use the aforementioned app, another blatant money grab, making simple tech less available and charging for it. Not cool, Toyota.

Mileage: RAV4 Hybrid wins easily.

Moonroof: RAV4 wins with pano, Outback didn’t offer a pano, which I’ve never understood.

Lane keeping assist: I dislike both systems, and I disliked Honda’s when I tried it. I hear Hyundai does it well.

Road sign assist: Subaru definitely wins on the speed limit front. I think the way they do it is using the navigation system, which knows speed limits. They just reflect the current speed limit on the nav next to the speedometer. It lags a bit but very consistent. I guess Toyota, not using the nav, uses a camera to scan various signs. Firstly, it isn’t consistent, meaning it misses signs sometimes. Secondly, when it does see the sign, it only shows the speed limit next to the speedometer temporarily. Subaru keeps it up full time, which is preferred by me.

Cabin: The Outback is just a better, more luxurious environment. I prefer the look of the infotainment blending with the dash on the Outback vs Toyota’s “stick an iPad directly on top” approach. Instrument panel on the Toyota is busy, with info jammed in every nook and cranny. Outback seems more holistic somehow. More designed. The Outback climate control setup seems more intuitive to me also, but I do like the switches Toyota used for fan speed, defrost, etc. They could be bigger but I like the look and they have a quality feel.

Cargo area: They look real similar to me, slight edge to Outback. Not significant.

The RAV4 replaced a 12 year old Forester for us, so a vastly improved experience and our first hybrid. If Toyota does it’s usual thing with reliability I’ll be a happy customer.
Good review, looking forward to the review of the comparison of the Ravs hybrid drive by wire AWD compared to the Outback. I ASSume the Outback wins but who knows. Also, when the Toyota Remote Connect App features are factored in such as Text alerts when a door or window is opened it somewhat makes up for a no on board tire pressure display, but I agree, its 2021, what gives? isn't this a law or something? BTW, It seems that my 2019 key fob works for miles, but changes were made after 2019 with the head unit and the DCM and parasitic drain.

The big selling feature for me with the Rav4 H was the hybrid proven drive train and hopefully the reliability. I get the need for Subaru in the North West, but to me unless you need this type of car, its the Japanese VW, really good at what they do, when they do it. If I lived in Colorado, it surely would be on my short list.
 

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How many miles? Isn’t that CVT good under warranty for 100k miles?
At 14k miles. Yes covered to 100k but I had it with the vehicle. Had multiple other issues to include horrible oil consumption (3.6 flat 6 engine) a bad alternator, clunking with the new transmission/stalling at high speed, and constant alignment issues. Not the same trust Subaru I once had back in the 90s.
 

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Subaru is just plain ugly and that CVT ugh... The interior is a bit more luxurious in Subaru but neither offer fun to ride experience. If I was forced to pick the grocery getter between the two it would be rav4.
 

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What is the point of the Pano? On a hundred degree day doesn't it let a lot of heat in thus driving the A/C use up and thus battery use up?

Never noticed any erratic behavior with the speed limit sign display. And like it where it is. Though I'd really like a HUD now that I've driven a car with it.

I'm constantly amazed at how erratic Toyota is in omitting features from some cars and including them in others.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
What is the point of the Pano? On a hundred degree day doesn't it let a lot of heat in thus driving the A/C use up and thus battery use up?
Not a ton of 100 degree days up north where I live. Don’t think we had one all last year. Not a gas friendly feature, I agree, but huge sunroofs are fun to me.
 

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A good review. Although on some things I may slightly disagree but most are on point. I switched from my 2010 Forester to RAV4 hybrid soily do to hybrid drivetrain. I had a choice of 2020 Forester Sport or 2020 RAV4 hybrid XLE. Hybrid drove the decision.
My father just got his 4th Subaru, his 3rd Forester. So far all is good.
My RAV4 has no sunroof at all, and that is a plus for me. I see no point in it. I had it in my Forester and never used it. On hot days it's anoying as sun huts your head hard and reflects all over. In cold days it sends cold all over. I understand that to each is their own but some things just seams a no go for me. I drove both 2019 and 2020 Forester before and can agree that ACC and engine start/stop features implementations are not refined enough for my liking and those features work even better on Toyota hybrid. I also would say that for Toyota to skip on showing tire pressure on the display and only via app is bad decision, but that is just anoyences. I survived 30 years without them and will do it now.
 

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We were considering the 2020 Outback Touring but went with the 2020 RAV4 Limited Hybrid. For us, it primarily came down to the huge mileage difference. I had checked Fuelly while shopping and there at the time it was 26.0 MPG for the Outback vs. 36.6 MPG for the RAV4h in the real world. Over 200K miles of ownership (about 10 years for me) that’s a difference of about $6,700 in fuel savings (at $3/gallon average) for the RAV4h. If we trend towards the $4/gallon territory again, the savings for will be closer to $9K over the decade of ownership.
 

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We were considering the 2020 Outback Touring but went with the 2020 RAV4 Limited Hybrid. For us, it primarily came down to the huge mileage difference. I had checked Fuelly while shopping and there at the time it was 26.0 MPG for the Outback vs. 36.6 MPG for the RAV4h in the real world. Over 200K miles of ownership (about 10 years for me) that’s a difference of about $6,700 in fuel savings (at $3/gallon average) for the RAV4h. If we trend towards the $4/gallon territory again, the savings for will be closer to $9K over the decade of ownership.
Not to mention reliability and maintenance costs over that timespan.
 

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How did that problem present itself? Could you just not switch gears one day or was it more gradual?
One day all the trouble lights turned on and it went into limp mode. You can “reset” it by shutting it off. After 3x of that I lost power driving it to the dealer. Feels like when you’re driving stick going from 1st gear to 4th.

Trading it in for a Sienna hybrid before it happens again. Even if the CVT was good until 100k you still have a 2.4L direct injection turbo engine without port injection. So there will be carbon build up eventually.

Subaru does have a some really hardcore fans/ambassadors that will defend the brand despite all the issues.
 

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We were considering the 2020 Outback Touring but went with the 2020 RAV4 Limited Hybrid. For us, it primarily came down to the huge mileage difference. I had checked Fuelly while shopping and there at the time it was 26.0 MPG for the Outback vs. 36.6 MPG for the RAV4h in the real world. Over 200K miles of ownership (about 10 years for me) that’s a difference of about $6,700 in fuel savings (at $3/gallon average) for the RAV4h. If we trend towards the $4/gallon territory again, the savings for will be closer to $9K over the decade of ownership.
Not quite correct if you didn't include price difference. Comparably equiped Outback is cheaper and real world difference might roughly be 5k less then rav4 hybrid. So you will need to drive rav4 for at least 7 years to just to break even but plug your own numbers.
 

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Not quite correct if you didn't include price difference. Comparably equiped Outback is cheaper and real world difference might roughly be 5k less then rav4 hybrid. So you will need to drive rav4 for at least 7 years to just to break even but plug your own numbers.
Back when I was looking (August-October 2019), the Outback was a brand new/highly anticipated redesign and was pulling close to MSRP while the RAV4h design was one year post-redesign and pulling about $3,500 less than MSRP for custom orders. Out the door, the RAV4h limited was only $630 more. Break even point was roughly the 1.25 year mark.
 

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A good review. Although on some things I may slightly disagree but most are on point. I switched from my 2010 Forester to RAV4 hybrid soily do to hybrid drivetrain. I had a choice of 2020 Forester Sport or 2020 RAV4 hybrid XLE. Hybrid drove the decision.
My father just got his 4th Subaru, his 3rd Forester. So far all is good.
My RAV4 has no sunroof at all, and that is a plus for me. I see no point in it. I had it in my Forester and never used it. On hot days it's anoying as sun huts your head hard and reflects all over. In cold days it sends cold all over. I understand that to each is their own but some things just seams a no go for me. I drove both 2019 and 2020 Forester before and can agree that ACC and engine start/stop features implementations are not refined enough for my liking and those features work even better on Toyota hybrid. I also would say that for Toyota to skip on showing tire pressure on the display and only via app is bad decision, but that is just anoyences. I survived 30 years without them and will do it now.

Where did you get a Rav4 Hybrid with no sunroof? Did you mean no Panoramic roof?
 

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Back when I was looking (August-October 2019), the Outback was a brand new/highly anticipated redesign and was pulling close to MSRP while the RAV4h design was one year post-redesign and pulling about $3,500 less than MSRP for custom orders. Out the door, the RAV4h limited was only $630 more. Break even point was roughly the 1.25 year mark.
Msrp is much less on comparable subaru (non xt). Also Rav4h wasn't selling for that much off back in 2019
 

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Msrp is much less on comparable subaru (non xt). Also Rav4h wasn't selling for that much off back in 2019
Not sure where you are getting your figures from but I politely disagree with both of your statements.

I just reverified, a naturally aspirated 2020 Outback Touring with similar options to my fully loaded RAV4h came out to $39,736 MSRP. At the time, the dealer would “let it go” for $39,400 ($336 off MSRP). My 2020 RAV4 Limited Hybrid custom ordered in October 2019 with nearly every option possible (including tech and weather packages, AFS, paint protection film, body side mountings, premium blizzard pearl paint, etc) was $40,022 ($3,462 off of MSRP). Again, roughly a $600 difference between the Outback and RAV4h, at that time. The fuel savings alone pays off the difference very quickly.
 
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