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RAV4 Adventure vs RAV4 TRD Off-Road vs Honda Pilot vs Subaru Outback

6840 Views 12 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  tmel88
We're looking for a compact to mid-size SUV and really like the RAV4 Adventure and TRD trims. RAV4 is larger than a CR-V or CX-5 and smaller than a Pilot or
Passport and a nice size for two people and a dog. We want a traditional automatic so no CVT's, want to avoid a turbo unless it's a design that's been around for a while and proven reliable, don't want or need the third-row seating, and want something solid and reliable. We keep up on maintenance and usually get about 120k to 140k out of our vehicles and want something that can do the same.

How does the TRD-tuned suspension with beefed-up coil springs and twin-tube shocks compare to the Adventure suspension? Is it a significant step up for light off-roading like forest service roads, sandy desert roads, and gravel roads. Thinking of Borrego Valley trails and Colorado extensive network of well-maintained dirt trails, not high clearance 4WD roads. The car will be a daily driver and travel vehicle and we're not expecting 4Runner or Tacoma level performance off-road but need something that can get into places a Camry or Avalon can't.

Haven't been to find info on what shocks are being used and what tires are specced on the Adventure vs TRD other than the TRD has beefed up suspension all-terrain oriented tires. Guessing shock is an in house Toyota design vs Bilsteins seen on other models and interested to see what tire they specced

For the Adventure and TRD are there any differences between their torque-vectoring AWD? Interested in how it compares to the Honda/ Acura best in the business torque vectoring systems? And do they both have auto cruiser control either radar or laser
based that adjusts speed?

RAV 4 is a nice size and the addition of the torque vectoring in on the Adventure and TRD makes it appealing. Decent power and a traditional 8-speed auto.

Passport's highest trim with the better six-speed (vs their 9-speed) is an EX-L only features missing we care about is the sound deadening front windshield and better audio. Sound deadening windows can be expensive to replace so not sure if it's worth having. Pilot/ Passport/ Ridgeline collision avoidance systems are a step behind too.

Subaru Outback is a great platform but they lost us with the CVT and recently dropped the reliable 3.6 boxer for an untested 2.4 turbo. 2.4 turbo makes more power but hasn't been around long enough to know about long term reliability.

CX-5 is the driver's car and ok in snow and some loose traction areas but isn't going to handle the light off-roading well and the CX-9 is too big and costly.
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I thought about Passport it was just right size and it ticked all the boxes except crappy driver assist package in comparison to TSS 2.0. Specifically dynamic cruise control and lane keeping which I use quite a bit in Rav4.
Thanks, a friend has Ridgeline and driver-assist is terrible. I wish the Passport was closer to the Ridgeline with beefed-up components and the 6 speed auto on all trims.
Good post and good questions. As someone considering the TRD Off Road, I'm looking forward to seeing the replies from experiences Rav4 owners
I'd hold off for now. This is probably the worst new vehicle launch for toyota in a long time.

8 speed transmission is suspect and people are still having issues even after a software revision.

44k potentially recalled engines.

Bad fuel system in hybrid

Adventure has clunking driveline disconnect problem.

I'd take a pass and wait if they can resolve these issues.
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Rav4 could be a great vehicle but there are real teething issues
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I like my Adventure. It drives and handles great, no problems at all. I have rented non-Adventure 2019 and 2020 RAV's and they are nice, too, but the Adventure handles better and sits up a little higher, has option for ventilated seats which are awesome and are very comfortable...handles my trailer hitch which always has a bike rack in it very well. The extra tranny cooler and trailer package make it nicer. No experience with TRD, would have considered it if it had been available when I bought but it is much more expensive. Sorry, no dirt roads on my paths to test...18000 miles and no problems.
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Gotta say, I have had my 2020 RAV4 TRD for a month and a half now, and it has been great. I have put 3500+ miles on it with no issues.
We have gone on plenty of dirt trails and forest roads and it has handled great with the stock TRD tires & suspension.
I have not had to air down my tires on any trails I have been on, and the Falken Wildpeak tires have maintained a very solid grip on the ground.
Certainly not as capable off road as a 4runner or Jeep, but for light off-roading it does a great job.
I would not take it rock crawling on the Rubicon, but the RAV has definitely been capable of getting us to some secluded campsites.


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I’d like the RAV4 for all of the reasons you stated. I think the Pilot and Passport have the V6 right? If it does and you end up going that route, research the hell out of their cylinder deactivation (variable cylinder management) issues.

I had an Odyssey but installed a VCM “muzzler” to disable that feature. The tech has a long track record of prematurely wearing out engine mounts, getting piston rings stuck and causing spark plugs to foul from oil getting past, etc. The fix otherwise is ripping apart the block to replace the piston rings.

The cylinders cutting in and out was frustrating as well too. Engine noise on the highway would make the van sound like it was running on rough pavement when VCM was at work. If you had to punch the gas there was an extremely perceptible sluggishness as the engine had to fire those cylinders back up before reacting how you wanted it to. Disabling VCM at a loss of 1-2 mpg made the vehicle so much better to drive while ensuring longevity of the drivetrain.
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Be aware, most of the teething issues have been with the higher trims and technologies. The only one that applies to the lower gas vehicles has been the low-speed lurch, which is supposed to be fixed with the TSB.

In any case, after having a brand new Ford's ECU fail on the highway after 6 weeks of ownership, forcing me to swerve off the road barely avoiding a semi behind me, I 1000% new I was going back to Toyota.

Bottom line, this is why I bought my Rav over its competiton...

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Thanks, a friend has Ridgeline and driver-assist is terrible. I wish the Passport was closer to the Ridgeline with beefed-up components and the 6 speed auto on all trims.
Here's some info / perspective on the Hondas . . .
All 2020 Ridgelines have the 9AT transmission now which includes paddle shifters and idle stop start. Passport is the same; THEY ALL HAVE THE 9AT. Depending on the trims, the Pilot will either be the 6AT or the nine speed. Preliminary transmission reports for the 2020 Ridgelines have been positive so there is some hope that Honda has truly dialed in the 9sp. In general (for Honda anyway) the 9sp hasn't really been plagued with reliability issues as much drivability issues. . .
Honda's latest VCM (cylinder deactivation) engines don't appear to be having much in the way of issues either with oil consumption or motor mount issues. It is also pretty much unnoticeable in everyday driving. You can buy a muzzler if you you are so inclined to disable the cylinder deactivation.
Honda's V6 is smooooth and quiet and puts out good power. Definitely more refined than the four in the Rav. Gas mileage for the larger Honda vehicles with the V6 will most certainly not equal the smaller 4 cylinder vehicles.
Honda's AWD system is truly excellent but I don't have any first hand experience on how it compares to the TRD / Adventure Rav.
Interior space / comfort / quietness / refinement will be much better in the larger Honda's than in the RAVs.
Honda's overall quality has slipped as of late. Corporate wise they are making efforts to "right the ship" but its something to think about. By the same token Toyota's roll out of the RAV4 has been a pretty bumpy ride so far. . .That said my wife's 2019 XSE (Hybrid) RAV4 is has so far been a great and fuel efficient vehicle.
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We narrowed it down to the Subaru and the RAV4 XSE. Found the RAV4 more comfortable, better mpg, better looks, and Toyota’s reliability. 12,500 miles later the RAV4 has not disappointed us!
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