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Discussion Starter #1
I own a 2006-2008 Forester and am happy with it, but planning the next car. Looking at the RAV4 LE AWD , the Crosstrek 6MT, and maybe even a Mazda CX-5.

  • What's your take on your new 2019-2021 RAV4 relative to your old Subaru?
  • What did you have/what RAV4 trim/drive did you get?
  • What's better, what's missing, worse, etc?
 

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2020 RAV4 hybrid XLE, Magnetic Grey metallic, cold weather package.
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Since you are in Canada, I am not sure my experience matter, but...

I am in USA NJ. I just ,late September, switched from my 2010 Forester Premium to a new 2020 RAV4 hybrid XLE.
Well overall it was an upgrade as obviously 2020 hybrid xle has more stuff than 2010 Subaru.
I can not speak for drivetrain just yet. I do not drive as much as normally and on dry roads the difference is barely noticeable if any. Now in my opinion, if you moving from Subaru and drive alot, I would consider a hybrid rav4. You get a little more power and AWD standard yet MPG difference is big.
from what small experience I have with my new ride I like the way Toyota safety sence works. I like the adaptive cruise control performance, I like how the line keep assist work, needed it get used to it but now all is good.

Hope it helps.
Good luck.

PS... I do not like Mazda, but my sister drives 2020 Crosstrek, again I'm USA , and she loves it. She moved from 2000 bmw i328.
My father just got a 2021 Forester Premium. Also love it. It's his 4th Suby. Frankly, if I didn't want a hybrid I would have gotten 2020 Forester Sport.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I would consider a hybrid next round if I drove a lot, but leaning toward gas only as I don't, and the AWD on the gas models is more suited to muddy tracks.

I don't like CVT transmissions. If Subaru used a reliable Aisin conventional automatic transmission, I would buy a Forester. However, they have lost me with the CVT. Since I won't buy a Subaru CVT, that leaves only the slower and smaller Crosstrek with the manual. I would consider a 2018 with a 6MT, but there are lingering concerns with unacceptable oil consumption on the FB25 engines, especially with the manual. It seems that 2017 Foresters also had terrible AC unit reliability. A conventional automatic is best for soft-roading though.

A very good 6 speed auto puts Mazda in the picture, albeit with less ground clearance and cargo space. Also concerned with depreciation and rust resistance.

So cargo, transmission, build quality, D4S engine, depreciation, and size lead me back to the RAV4, as long as it's as good in the snow as my old Forester, my knee doesn't ache from rubbing on that god-awful wide console, and they put some tow hooks on the front of it.

And that's why I'm asking for prior Subaru owner experience like yours. Again, thanks for the reply. :)
 

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2019 Rav4 Excel AWD
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I went from a pair of Foresters- an 09 Diesel then a 15 diesel CVT to the 19 Rav AWD Hybrid. There are many similarities between them IMO but comfort economy and performance are all better in the Rav. I did try the E-Boxer but didn't like it- the hybrid doesn't have enough power, the Euro 2.0 engine has little power, and there's no spare wheel.

The electric AWD is very impressive, although it will chirp the inside front tyre on sharp takeoffs in a way that neither Subaru did. No real delay as such, certainly nothing like the time it takes (say) a VW 4-mo to engage the rear wheels...
 

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Thanks, I would consider a hybrid next round if I drove a lot, but leaning toward gas only as I don't, and the AWD on the gas models is more suited to muddy tracks.

I don't like CVT transmissions. If Subaru used a reliable Aisin conventional automatic transmission, I would buy a Forester. However, they have lost me with the CVT. Since I won't buy a Subaru CVT, that leaves only the slower and smaller Crosstrek with the manual. I would consider a 2018 with a 6MT, but there are lingering concerns with unacceptable oil consumption on the FB25 engines, especially with the manual. It seems that 2017 Foresters also had terrible AC unit reliability. A conventional automatic is best for soft-roading though.

A very good 6 speed auto puts Mazda in the picture, albeit with less ground clearance and cargo space. Also concerned with depreciation and rust resistance.

So cargo, transmission, build quality, D4S engine, depreciation, and size lead me back to the RAV4, as long as it's as good in the snow as my old Forester, my knee doesn't ache from rubbing on that god-awful wide console, and they put some tow hooks on the front of it.

And that's why I'm asking for prior Subaru owner experience like yours. Again, thanks for the reply. :)
If you want tow hooks, you will need a Rav made in Japan. Sorry cant help with Subaru experience, but as you probably already know, The Limited gas, TRD, Adventure are the ones with Torque vector AWD, and also tow more, which is more apple's to apple's with Subaru, I suppose.

Toyota does win in the hybrid category, but they have 20 years on everyone and this generation is very refined. The rear motor is drive by wire so no drive shaft to maintain or worry about. Also, don't worry about the eCVT in the hybrid, it has nothing to do with a conventional CVT and is very robust and maintenance free in most situations or until very high mileage.
 

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We loved our 2017 WRX. it was a kick in the ass to drive, to be driven and enjoyed like a rally car. But we need a larger vehicle, had to maintain AWD, and felt that while transitioning to that we wanted to have PHEV capability.
 

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Traded in my '17 Impreza Sport 5 Door last month, got a '21 XSE Hybrid. The Rav4 feels a lot better put together, but the posts about roof leaks are scaring the shit out of me.

What I don't like #1: The Impreza had a 2nd screen in the middle of the dash, that I had displaying my audio info. Station/Service (XM, Spotify, etc), Artist, Song, year, etc. It was REALLY convenient, because I listen to a lot of XM or "discover new music" playlists, and I like to know what I'm listening to. With the RAV4, I can't see that unless I actually exit out of Android Auto/Carplay and go to the audio screen, which is a pain in the ass. I wish the dash cluster, which TRIES to display that info, was actually successful. What it actually displays is a GIANT Sirius XM logo, the station name, and the rest gets cut off. Yay. Thanks.

What I don't like #2: Either I haven't found a solution yet or Toyota has a bad implementation. When I make/receive a phone call, the default call volume is SUPER low, at like at 15 or 16 volume level out of 51. So every call, I have to manually crank the volume up to like 40-45. It's ridiculous that I can't set a higher volume level by default, and if I CAN do it, it's ridiculous that it's taken me a month, asking on here and on reddit, and still haven't found a solution.
 

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I drive a ‘20 RAV4 XLE (gas) while my wife drives a ‘20 Forrester Sport, and I’ve driven both in some pretty decent snow (8+ inches, unplowed), both with the stock all season tires. Hell, it started snowing while I was signing the papers for my RAV, so I drove it home for the first time in some dicey conditions and didn’t have a single concern. They both are fantastic in the snow and ice, and I would say the base AWD system is just as good as what’s on most Subarus today. On paper they function the same way, and it really just comes down to how the computers deal with things.

The one thing I will say is that to get them on the level playing field, you have to get dual mode X-Mode on the Subaru. The RAV4 comes with separate modes for “Rock & Dirt” and “Mud & Sand”. These are equivalent to X-Mode 1 and 2. If you just get the single mode version of X-Mode, which was only on the Sport trim and up I believe (on 2020 models, haven’t looked at 2021), then you would be missing the ”Mud & Sand” equivalent, which is what you want to really deep snow.

As far as what’s missing on the RAV, X-Mode includes hill descent control, which is missing from my RAV (not sure if other trims have it). That’s the biggest thing I can think of in terms of performance. Otherwise, I think the touch screen in the Forrester is better, and its menu system makes more sense and is better laid out. As far as transmission, this is an area where I don’t think I’ve really driven the Forrester enough to really judge it fairly. But I will say that the CVT is not as big of an issue for me as it seems to be for other people. Subaru’s CVT very closely mimics the feel of real gears, if that’s your concern. In fact, my wife doesn’t even notice a difference.

If you want tow hooks, you will need a Rav made in Japan. Sorry cant help with Subaru experience, but as you probably already know, The Limited gas, TRD, Adventure are the ones with Torque vector AWD, and also tow more, which is more apple's to apple's with Subaru, I suppose.
Actually, the torque vectoring AWD in the higher end RAVs is better than anything offered by Subaru. At least on paper. Here are some great videos that explain the systems:
Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive Explained: AWD, VCD, and DCCD
Toyota AWD Explained and Tested: 2019 RAV4, Highlander, Prius AWD
 

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I came from a 2015 Subaru Forester XT that I lowered and added auto dimming rear and side view mirrors, fog lights, mud flaps, wheels, etc. Really like it except having to use 93 octane for the turbo or happy getting 25mpg. I kept it for 100k then the turbo hoses were leaking oil, a/c wasn't running cold, and passenger seat sensor went. My concern at that point was the CVT if it failed would cost around $6k to replaced cannot be repaired. They stop making the XT with the new generation.

So I went back to Toyota I got a 2019 Hybrid XLE for about $100 less then what I paid for the Subaru in 2014. The issues I have with the hybrid is filling the gas tank, apple car play and rear seating with less leg room than the Subaru.

As far as AWD I used snow tires on the Subaru since it was all time AWD I would say I would be more confident in it than the hybrid.

If the Crosstrek with the 2.5l motor was offer in a manual I would of considered it. The CX-5 no dealers in our area.

Good luck with your search.
 

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I came from a 2015 Subaru Forester XT that I lowered and added auto dimming rear and side view mirrors, fog lights, mud flaps, wheels, etc. Really like it except having to use 93 octane for the turbo or happy getting 25mpg. I kept it for 100k then the turbo hoses were leaking oil, a/c wasn't running cold, and passenger seat sensor went. My concern at that point was the CVT if it failed would cost around $6k to replaced cannot be repaired. They stop making the XT with the new generation.

So I went back to Toyota I got a 2019 Hybrid XLE for about $100 less then what I paid for the Subaru in 2014. The issues I have with the hybrid is filling the gas tank, apple car play and rear seating with less leg room than the Subaru.

As far as AWD I used snow tires on the Subaru since it was all time AWD I would say I would be more confident in it than the hybrid.

If the Crosstrek with the 2.5l motor was offer in a manual I would of considered it. The CX-5 no dealers in our area.

Good luck with your search.
There may be a TSB to help with your CarPlay issue. I know that CarPlay was listed in the release notes of the TSB update for my 2019 with Premium audio. Also, I am sure you know the gas tank has a fix now.
 

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There may be a TSB to help with your CarPlay issue. I know that CarPlay was listed in the release notes of the TSB update for my 2019 with Premium audio. Also, I am sure you know the gas tank has a fix now.
Funny I went to the dealer today and mention both problems neither of which they addressed or offer to look into. Last year I started a case with Toyota on the gas tank and have not heard back. Fixed these two problems and I would not have much issue.
 

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Funny I went to the dealer today and mention both problems neither of which they addressed or offer to look into. Last year I started a case with Toyota on the gas tank and have not heard back.
Here is the Toyota site where you can download an update for the head unit. Toyota may have something more recent but this may help in the interim,

Toyota Downloads

Perhaps find another dealer to help with both issues as I had my gas tank replaced and my head unit flashed to the latest firmware so fixes do exist.
 

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If you are in to modifying your vehicle the Crosstrek looks good lowered or lifted.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Agree on the Crosstrek looks, but I would only get it with the manual. The manual would be a pile of fun, but is less suited to soft roading than a conventional auto (though may be better than the CVT). I'm afraid that torque might a bit lean for slow going on grades, and the cargo space is a bit small. Still really like the car though!

Considering the CX-5 as a happy medium between car and SUV, but the RAV4 has more cargo space, better ground clearance and likely better soft-road AWD given the testimonial above. I haven't driven a CX-5 so the jury is still out on that one. I like the 2000 pound towing capacity.

Toyota should make the RAV4 quieter, add recovery points and passenger seat height adjustment for the mid-cycle refresh. Also concerned about the center console as my knee was banging against it. Consumer reports isn't doing the 2019+ any favours for reliability, and the Edmunds reviews on the 4.5 are dismal. Maybe the Mazda is a better car at this point?
 

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I don't get it, why are so many people clinch to manual TS?
Why having an extra pedal and extra need to use the stick shift instead of concentrating on driving so important to some people?
Most new cars are auto. And it seams all manufacturing is moving that way. And as we are moving to EV manual makes no sense anymore. Many new safety features can not work with manual.

I have been driving for 30 years. I never learned manual, but I did drove with few people who did drove manual before and now use auto and I have never hear any of this people say, damn I miss manual TS. Ever!.

I don't see a situation where manual transmission give you an advantage to come up in most of your driving. Never came up for me in 30 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I don't get it, why are so many people clinch to manual TS?
Why having an extra pedal and extra need to use the stick shift instead of concentrating on driving so important to some people?
Most new cars are auto. And it seams all manufacturing is moving that way. And as we are moving to EV manual makes no sense anymore. Many new safety features can not work with manual.

I have been driving for 30 years. I never learned manual, but I did drove with few people who did drove manual before and now use auto and I have never hear any of this people say, damn I miss manual TS. Ever!.

I don't see a situation where manual transmission give you an advantage to come up in most of your driving. Never came up for me in 30 years.
I have driven manuals of every size and sort, on and off pavement over the years. From subcompacts, to 4x4 crew cab pickups and Landcruisers, to panel trucks. I have owned both manuals and automatics.
  • The manual transmission can be a lot of fun to drive. There is a direct connection between you and the powertrain, and you plan your driving a bit more while on it. Driving is more engaging.
  • There is also satisfaction once a particular car becomes second nature.
  • If you travel a lot, you will often bump into a situation where the rental is a manual. Couple that with driving on the other side of the car, on the other side of the road, and being familiar with manual driving pays dividends.
  • A manual is often more reliable than the manufacturer's automatic offerings.
  • A manual is almost always simpler and cheaper to service when something does go wrong. CVTs aren't by a long shot, for the most part.
  • With a weak 4 cylinder, the manual will often be quicker. The manual Crosstrek shaves a full second off the CVT 0-60 and has a lower crawl ratio.
  • Manuals can be annoying in heavy traffic or when you need to crawl out of a tight situation. 'Hill holder' features are supposed to help with that. I've never had the pleasure.
So for the Crosstrek, I think the manual is the smarter choice.

Suggest buying a cheap used Civic or Mazda3 with a stick and trying it. You may not know what you are missing. :)

If I were rich, I would have an automatic 4Runner or Landcruiser, and an ND Miata or Toyota 86 with a manual. All itches would be scratched. :cool:
 

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Have had a number of Subaru and Toyota's over the years. Currently have a 2021 Hybrid XLE and a 2013 FRS.
I will say the Subaru AWD system is significantly more confident than what's offered with the FWD + rear electric motor setup on the Rav4 Hybrid.
The Toyota system regularly makes itself known with flashing lights and front wheels slipping and just feels sloppy in comparison.
Even the mechanical AWD system in my Venza was like this where you'd occasionally notice front wheel slip but the Rav4 Hybrid is significantly worse.
The Subaru symmetrical system is nowhere near as nervous and is much less likely to lose traction on a day to day basis, even compared to Toyota's mechanical AWD.

Handling wise, both the Crosstrek and CX-5 are noticeably better than the Rav4. I find going with a 245 tire helps a lot with this chassis but then you're taking a hit with acceleration and fuel economy.

In Canada the pricing for the LE didn't really make sense to me compared to XLE, you really do get a lot more car for the money even though some features I didn't really want (sunroof).
The Hybrid is also a way better long term value in terms of power, fuel economy, and resale value. Spending the extra $2000 up front will pay dividends (check prices for a 4th gen hybrid vs regular in your area and you'll see).

Maintenance-wise, the Rav4 should be a lot cheaper if you are planning to keep it over 5 years. Things like valve cover gaskets, head gaskets, spark plugs are just inherently a lot simpler with an inline 4 compared to a boxer 4.

Very happy with my Rav4 Hybrid after my first 2000kms of ownership. It's a very functional and practical car, the handling is underwhelming but I mostly sit in traffic and don't mind it.
 

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I will say the Subaru AWD system is significantly more confident than what's offered with the FWD + rear electric motor setup on the Rav4 Hybrid.
The Toyota system regularly makes itself known with flashing lights and front wheels slipping and just feels sloppy in comparison.
Even the mechanical AWD system in my Venza was like this where you'd occasionally notice front wheel slip but the Rav4 Hybrid is significantly worse.
The Subaru symmetrical system is nowhere near as nervous and is much less likely to lose traction on a day to day basis, even compared to Toyota's mechanical AWD.
Your description of the AWD system in the Hybrid RAV4 is interesting but somewhat confusing. The flashing lights and front wheels slipping are a function of the tires losing traction (due to lack of tire grip, ie torque and tire tread design vs road surface conditions), and not an indication of loss of traction due to the AWD system's design. In other words, with front wheels having similar tire and surface conditons, slippage would occur whether you're in a RAV4 Hybrid or Subaru. It seems to me the difference would be in how much torque is applied (more torque would increase slippage), and tire design (snow tires would lead to less slippage).
 
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