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K

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Discussion Starter #1
Has any of you guys considered Subaru Forrester X vs RAV4 Base 4X4 4-cyl?

I've been wanting a small AWD SUV/wagon for a long time, for better handling in the wet weather and occasional trips to the mountains (We are in Northern CA). I'm currently driving a 97 Nissan Sentra - pretty scary when it rains. We settled on the Forrester as more roomy and comfortable over the Impreza Outback Sport.

A co-worker suggested that I check out Toyota Matrix and RAV4. The Matrix was a definite no, but I was taken in with the new RAV4.

The invoice is comparable, but there is a $2000 rebate going on with the Forrester. And the quotes I'm getting are about $3000 more for the RAV4 Base 4X4 4-cyl (options: side/curtain airbags, roof rails/cross-bars, alloy wheels, floor mats) vs Forrester X (options: auto-dimming mirror with compass, floor mats, cargo area light, cargo tray).

Pros for RAV4: Redesigned for 2006 - more shelf life. More elegant than Forrester (not so utilitarian). Handles a lot like a small sedan, not so "boaty" as the Forrester.

Cons for RAV4: Not all-time AWD, but on-demand - but maybe it's a plus? Rear seats not comfortable, sort of flimsy. More expensive. Is 4-cyl enough for the bigger size/weight in '06?

Has anyone had experience with both the Forrester and the new RAV4 and can share some insights?

Thanks!
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Doesn't the Forrester require Premium gas?
They also have less ground clearance (if that's important to you).
The engine (with a bit more HP for '06) does a great job handling
the extra weight. I've gone up a steep 2 mile long hill on a highway
nearby at 75 mph with the accelerator less than half way down & without the transmission even downshifting. No problem there.
 

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The Forester does not need premium gas and has more ground clearance than the RAV4, not less. It also has a bit more power and weighs less, but is a smaller vehicle overall.

My other car is an Impreza Outback Sport so I have some Subaru experience. The cargo area is definitely bigger and more square in the Forester, but passenger room isn't huge in either -- they're based on the same platform. The RAV4 would be no doubt superior in terms of interior volume, although the Subaru is far from uncomfortable in the back. I can sit "behind myself" without being cramped.

In the real world I'd expect the Forester to be a bit better on gas -- my Impreza has the same engine/drivetrain and I can get 33 mpg on highway trips. The Subaru can be had with a manual transmission, unlike the RAV4, but I assume you're looking at an automatic if you're comparing it against the Toyota. One feature that the Subaru doesn't have is stability & traction control, if that's important to you.

I'd say you have to compare features and size and see which fits you best considering the price. Is there anything about the RAV4 that justifies paying a few thousand more in your situation?
 

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Ouch - an Autoconsumernet.com comparison. Autoconsumernet is a company that writes biased comparisons, promoting one vehicle over another, for dealerships to link to on their web sites. These are written specifically to make another vehicle look bad compared to the one the dealer is selling.

Here's the Forester vs RAV4 version that's written to make the Subaru look better:

http://www.autoconsumernet.com/021147/Subaru/forester/toyotarav4_ful.htm
 
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Discussion Starter #7
hit_the _road said:
Doesn't the Forrester require Premium gas?
The Forester XT needs 93 octane. The X and LL Bean don't.

I've been actually considering the same question, though I'm looking at the XT and a Limited 4x4 V6 Rav. That XT engine is the same as the WRX, so I'm sure it kicks pretty nice.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
RAV4 V Forester

Just bought my RAV4 V6 Ltd, my second car is a 98 Sub Forester. The RAV handles better, is quieter and has much more room. I test drove a RAV4 I4, and it did not seem as powerful as the 2.5L Forester, but the V6 would dust any Forester out there. There is more rear seat leg room in the RAV, and I do not think the back seat is uncomfortable and it is adjustable. Hard to gauge how the RAV4 handles in the snow in comparison to the Forester, but maybe we will get a final snow in NE PA next week and I can test it out......I can only say that I was thinking of getting a second Forester (or a VUE) and I am happy I bought the RAV4
 

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The subaru does not have VSC or side curtain airbags. This makes the toyota a far safer vehicle. Since the Rav4 passngers sit higher, there is far less chance of a bumper to head incursion from another SUV.
 

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bmorton said:
The Forester does not need premium gas and has more ground clearance than the RAV4, not less. It also has a bit more power and weighs less, but is a smaller vehicle overall.

My other car is an Impreza Outback Sport so I have some Subaru experience. The cargo area is definitely bigger and more square in the Forester, but passenger room isn't huge in either -- they're based on the same platform. The RAV4 would be no doubt superior in terms of interior volume, although the Subaru is far from uncomfortable in the back. I can sit "behind myself" without being cramped.

In the real world I'd expect the Forester to be a bit better on gas -- my Impreza has the same engine/drivetrain and I can get 33 mpg on highway trips. The Subaru can be had with a manual transmission, unlike the RAV4, but I assume you're looking at an automatic if you're comparing it against the Toyota. One feature that the Subaru doesn't have is stability & traction control, if that's important to you.

I'd say you have to compare features and size and see which fits you best considering the price. Is there anything about the RAV4 that justifies paying a few thousand more in your situation?
I think these are too different to compare apples to apples, the new Rav4 has moved up to a bigger class more comparable to the Tribecca, which is the ugliest car currently on sale by the way :) I really like Forresters, I was going to buy one when I bought my 99 Rav4 but I didn't becuase of allt he reports of head gaskets and wheel bearings going in the 98-00 Forresters, reenforced by the fact tha tthe only two people I know that own one had those problems too, and it was expensive. I would hope the new ones have these problems sorted out. If you are trading in your Outback, you will probably get a better trade from the Subaru dealer. If you are keeping it, well it might be nice to try something completely different because the Outback and Forrester are not that different.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for your comments! Well, we came back from test driving the Forrester X and RAV4 Base, again.

I'm even more befuddled since the RAV4 I drove today was a V6 and man does it have the power! Very fun to drive. So now there are three choices, as if two were not difficult enough.

Forrester: Nice feel to it, and about the right size, but feels rougher on the road than the RAV. RAV4 feels like a "luxury" budget SUV, compared to the Forrester. RAV4 4-cyl can be had for $23K, V6 for $24.5K (same options) while Forrester is a $20K. (Prices do not include TTL and fees).

Tought choice!!

flyingn said:
The automatic 06 Forester is ALSO on demand 4wd just like the RAV. Its NOT full time 4wd. Thats on the 5 speed ONLY.
This is news to me. I thought that all Subarus are AWD, all the time. Could you elaborate.
 

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All Subarus are full-time 4WD/All-Wheel Drive, no 2WD and no part-time 4WD -- always have been for years. Some analysts have said that although Subaru considers it a hallmark standard feature going across their entire lineup, it could eventually be a detriment to the marque, because 2WD versions of their vehicles would get better gas mileage.

Make sure you use Edmunds or some other research site to get the line item comparisons and also from the manufacturer's websites. Both vehicles have had some incorrect information posted in this thread -- no fault intended to the posters, because sometimes specifications and features do actually change from year to year and not all websites update in kind.
 

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nope. Like I said the automatic forester is NOT full time 4wd. Only the 5 speed is.. Honest Tony Im not lying. :) Go to the Sube dealer and find out for yourself.
The automatic Forester is fwd switching to awd as needed like the Rav.

in fact, Sube has TWO awd systems that is 'on demand' and not full time 4wd. One is called 'active' awd and the other is called 'VTD' . The Automatic Forester has 'active' Here is a C&P from the website..

Active All-Wheel Drive: Models equipped with 4-speed automatic transmission utilize an electronically controlled variable multiplate transfer clutch to distribute power to where traction is needed. Sensors monitor parameters such as wheel slippage, throttle position and braking to help determine torque distribution to the wheels with optimum traction.
 

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All Subarus are full time 4WD. Even if they have a reactive system they never run in 2WD. They run as 4WD but the drive bias changes as the conditions do.
 

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you guys are hard heads..

Go to the subaru website and LEARN

http://www.subaru.com/shop/overview.jsp?model=FORESTER&trim=25_X

and click 'awd technology' to see the 5 different awd systems Sube has. only one is full time 50/50 awd. Four are part time..

Mohit said:
All Subarus are full time 4WD. Even if they have a reactive system they never run in 2WD. They run as 4WD but the drive bias changes as the conditions do.
 

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I think you need to read it yourself again. I never said anything about 50/50. The Subaru system doesn't run in 2WD mode like the 4.3 system does (until all wheels are called upon to perform). All wheels of the Subaru system are constantly tranmitted power (regardless of front/rear bias).
 

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Mohit- as much as you are refusing to believe it. Its true. I have a neighbor who is a Sube salesman and he told me this.. Sube don't want to admit it and play on words on their brochures to confuse people but most of their cars are 'on demand' awd.. Much like our Ravs.. Whether you stomp your feet and scream NO!! or not .. its true.

So unless the salesman is incorrect. But I figure HE should know..
 

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Subaru has so many AWD systems it's not surprising that a salesman would be confused. Mohit is right -- the reality is that ALL Subaru AWD systems run full-time in AWD. However, most Subarus with automatic transmission (except for those using the different VTD AWD system) are FRONT-BIASED. This is where some of this "part-time" confusion comes about. The Forester with automatic transmission runs at about 80/20 F/R torque bias by default and can shift more to the rear as needed, whereas I believe the RAV4 runs 100% FWD by default. There's your difference.

5-speed Subarus are 50/50 and automatic VTD Subarus are 45/55.
 
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Discussion Starter #20
I traded my 2002 Impreza non turbo auto for the Ltd V6 Rav. I grew very displeased with the Subaru. Fuel consumption was poor and more importantly I had a serious PISTON FLAP problem in colder weather. Subaru was very difficult to deal with and they told me that all of their cars did this noise. It sounded like the pistons were going to come through the engine head IT SOUNDED LIKE AN EGG BEATER. As a result of this, Subarus resale values have taken a real nose dive here. For instance a WRX that cost $36k new + tax will sell 3 years later for $16k far less than Toyotas would.
 
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