Let's take a detailed look at the Subaru Forester vs. the Toyota RAV4, so that you know exactly how the Forester outmatches the RAV4 in OKC.

Specifically, we'll compare two of the more similar trims of these SUVs: the Subaru Forester Premium versus the Toyota RAV4 XLE.

These trim levels are closely aligned and are two of the most popular here in the Oklahoma City area. We will compare and contrast:

  • Visibility
  • Driveability
  • Safety
  • Key Features
  • Performance
  • Space
  • Reviews
  • Summary

Read the reviews, do the research, and then visit Bob Moore Subaru to get behind the wheel of the incredible new Subaru Forester - so you can see and feel the difference firsthand!


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Subaru Forester Premium
Toyota RAV4 XLE
One of the features that captures Forester's essence is the quality of driver visibility, which is commanding in all directions. Notice the narrowing windows on the side of the RAV4 which can cause a potential blind spot. Both vehicles have a back-up camera, but that's no substitute for awareness of what's around you, especially when changing lanes. Here's the view looking over the driver's right shoulder:
Forester Driver's View

RAV4 Driver's View 

Subaru Symmetrical All Wheel Drive System vs. Toyota On Demand 4WD

80% of Subaru owners surveyed [6,693 respondents] revealed that Subaru's Symmetrical All-Weel Drive System was a MAJOR factor in their decision to buy a Subaru. Reasons often cited for this were adverse weather conditions, better handling characteristics, safety, and ability to navigate to remote areas. Since this is a core Subaru technology, how does it compare to Toyota's "On Demand 4WD" and what is it that Forester owners know that RAV owners don't.




Subarus are designed and engineered from the start to be all wheel drive. Notice how the components are aligned in a straight line from the boxer engine --> transmission --> drive train and that both sides are symmetrical. This symmetry is incredibly efficient and provides power to all four wheels all the time for maximum traction, balance and control. Other well known examples of symmetry include butterflies, airplanes and the human body.
The Toyota RAV4 is primarily front wheel drive (FWD) biased that has been re-engineered with a 4WD option package. With a typical transverse engine, output must be rerouted in order to get power to the rear wheels. These AWD/4WD systems often engage AFTER loss of traction is detected. Notice how the drive train is unbalanced, with the axle on the transmission side (L) shorter than the other. Can you imagine an airplane with one wing shorter than the other?


It's pretty hard to split hairs when you talk about safety because the Subaru Forester and the RAV4 have similar active and passive safety features. Most recently, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) named the Subaru Forester a Top Safety Pick Plus, along with the Toyota RAV4. IIHS instituted a new, small overlap crash test that represents 25% of serious injuries and fatalities. Both were awarded ratings of "Good," and the Forester was rated at a "Superior" grade in overall Crashworthiness.
Subaru Forester Premium w/AWP
Symmetrical AWD
Toyota RAV4 XLE
"On Demand" 4WD
(Including Transportation)
Driver's Seat/Adjustment
10-way Power w/Lumbar Support
Manual Seat
Std (oversized)
Winter Package
Heated Seats, Wipers, Mirrors
Heated Mirrors Only
Back-Up Camera/Monitor
Fog Lights
Tilt/Telescoping Steering Wheel
Roof Rails

As you can see, both cars come nicely equipped; but if you are looking for a power driver's seat or heated seats (a must-have for Oklahoma) for the Toyota RAV4, you will have to spring for the top-of-the-line Limited model (fake leather). Not only is the Forester a better value than the Toyota RAV4, it's SIGNIFICANTLY LESS EXPENSIVE at Bob Moore Subaru, the #1 Volume Subaru Dealer in Oklahoma.
 Engine and
Subaru Forester Premium w/AWP
Symmetrical AWD
Toyota RAV4 XLE
"On Demand" 4WD
2.5L 4 cyl Boxer 170 hp @ 5,800 rpm 
174 lb-foot @ 4,100 rpm 
2.0L 4 cyl Boxer (turbo) 250hp @5600rpm
258 lb-foot @2000-4800 rpm
2.5L 4 cyl 176 hp @ 6000 rpm
172 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
EPA (City/Hwy)
26/33 (2.5L)
23/28 (2.0L Turbo)
Fuel Range (Hwy)
509 mi
461 mi
6 spd Manual or 
CVT Auto
No Manual
6 spd Auto

Compared to the CR-V, only the Subaru Forester offers two engine choices - a 2.5 liter engine and for thrill seekers, a 2.0 liter turbo w/SI drive, the same system found on the STI. The Forester also offers both a 6-spd manual transmission or an automatic w/CVT.  You can't get a turbo or manual transmission on the Toyota RAV4. It's simply not offered.

The 2.5L RAV4 has the edge in horsepower but the Forester has greater lb-ft torque, which is a measure of "get up and go" or acceleration.
Subaru Forester Premium w/AWP
Symmetrical AWD
Toyota RAV4 XLE
"On Demand" 4WD


Headroom (in) F/R
40.0 / 39.8
38.9 / 38.9
Legroom (in) F/R
43.0 / 41.7
42.6 / 37.2
Shoulder room (in) F/R
57.0 / 56.5
57.3 / 55.4
Cargo Volume (cu ft)
Rear Seats Up/Down
31.5 / 68.5
38.4 / 73.4


Wheelbase (in)
Length (in.)
Width (in.)
Height (with Rails)
Turning Radius (Feet)
Ground Clearance
Curb Weight (Lbs)
Towing Capacity (Lbs)

Don't let anyone kid you; when it comes to comfort, size matters! The 2020 Subaru Forester was designed for passenger room and comfort in mind. Those extra inches of head, shoulder and legroom are like the difference between flying in first class vs a coach seat. 

As for the cargo volume, the RAV4 cargo floor sits directly on the spare tire. In the Subaru Forester, the cargo floor rests on an additional "hidden" storage compartment, an ideal place for jumper cables, emergency supplies, fix-a-flat, or your spouse's birthday present. The over-sized moonroof also consumes a little more cargo volume without affecting headroom.

Noteworthy is Forester's 8.7 of ground clearance and shorter turning radius. Those extra 2.2 inches wouldn't matter if you lived in the sunbelt, but here in Oklahoma, the higher ground clearance could mean the difference between getting up your driveway or getting stuck in the snow. And who hasn't driven on a dirt road full of ruts or frost heaves around here? 


It's hard to say anything "bad" about a Toyota as they're well known for their reliability and longevity. Perhaps the best summary of the Toyota RAV4 is expressed by these customer reviews concerning performance:

"A long time Toyota RAV owner and fan, this car was a huge disappointment. All the hype AROUND THE LATE REVEAL...LOOKS LIKE ALL THE REST IN ITS CLASS! Performance....felt like I could run faster and the "engine sounds and performance says cheap"...not the sticker...very disappointed...will take a look at some others..suggest you do the same and compare before you buy!"

"Took for a long test drive. city driving was ok, had enough power but when i took it on the highway and put it to the floor it was powerless. Didn't have the power to jump over in the passing lane without getting run over. i was very disappointed since i was ready to purchase. Oh well, ill keep looking"

Or these expert reviews:

"The new RAV4 doesn't have the most powerful engine, the best fuel economy, or the lowest price in this segment." Kelley Blue Book

"In short, the RAV4 is middle of the pack, all the way around. It's not the prettiest, strongest, biggest, smallest, most or least fuel efficient, cheapest or most expensive small crossover you can buy. It will be seen as highly acceptable to buyers who have always liked Toyotas, or those who don't shop around very much."AutoBlog

Whether a measurement or feature favors the Subaru Forester or the Toyota RAV4 is not as significant as some of the core differences that should be explored and validated by potential buyers of either brand. To avoid any regrets, you need to test drive a Subaru Forester or whatever AWD Subaru model that best meets your needs. Consider:
  • Subaru's unique symmetrical all wheel drive system paired with the boxer engine delivers sure-footed balance and control that is unmatched in the industry. It's the DNA that makes a Subaru a Subaru and the "secret sauce" that puts a knowing smile on all Subaru owners.
  • As a Top Safety Pick +, the Subaru Forester sets the bar for small SUV safety. Subaru's available EyeSight Driver Assist System  for the 2020 Forester is one of the most affordable accident avoidance technologies on the U.S. market and includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and throttle management.
And the Winner Is... Subaru!

When comparing the Subaru Forester vs the Toyota RAV4, the Forester offers the best overall value, comparable fuel economy, more driver and passenger room, better visibility, manual or automatic transmission, and two engine choices. What are you waiting for? Call us at 866-414-5520.

Bob Moore Subaru is the #1 Volume Subaru Dealer in Oklahoma City and will GUARANTEE you the lowest price. If you live ANYWHERE in Oklahoma, we can even deliver your new Subaru right to your doorstep for free - and take your trade-in, too!

It's time to experience the superiority of the new Subaru Forester on a firsthand basis. Stop into Bob Moore Subaru and take a test drive today. You'll love everything that awaits you behind the wheel of your new Forester in OKC!
For real-life stories on how Subarus save lives
and the technology that makes it happen.

"Subaru has racked up more endorsements by independent arbiters of automotive quality and safety than just about any other manufacturer. Consumer Reports rates Subaru above Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and every other manufacturer in performance, comfort, utility and reliability, and says the company makes the best cars in America." Fortune Magazine

"Yeah, it's that good." -- Consumer Reports

Leaves competition far behind... 
"Improvements include class-leading fuel economy at 26 mpg overall and 35 mpg highway, a standard backup camera, excellent visibility, a roomy interior, and very easy access." -- Consumer Reports

"If you're looking for a small SUV that's very functional and fuel-efficient, the Forester is hard to beat," Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports, said in an e- mailed statement. The magazine also said the Subaru model has quicker acceleration and leads competitors in fuel economy.

The revamped light truck won praise from the non-profit magazine for "space- efficient design, large windows, and big square doors." Those and other features helped it outscore CR-V, Toyota Motor Corp.'s RAV4 and Mazda Motor Corp.'s CX-5, Consumer Reports said.Automotive News

Additional Reviews

"If you're looking for power, handling or off-road ability, the RAV4 won't impress you. The AWD Subaru Forester offers a powerful turbocharged engine and is more capable when the road turns from asphalt to dirt." -- Kelley Blue Book

"The Forester is a great flexible ride that offers interior space, powerful acceleration, AWD capability and rugged good looks." -- AutoWeek

"Much of the Forester's enduring appeal lies in the fact that it offers most of the SUV attributes people really want and use -- full-time all-wheel drive, a little bit of extra ground clearance and hatchback utility -- without the dreadful fuel economy and bulk of a full-blown SUV." --Edmunds

"Whether you're a Subaru loyalist who appreciates the brand's character, or just want a roomy, reliable compact SUV, the Forester delivers. There may be cheaper or handsomer options in the class, but the Forester remains a solid all-arounder." -- Motor Trend

"Building on its well-established reputation for capability, reliability, practicality and longevity, the new Forester now delivers even more comfort and convenience while offering the added benefit of standard fuel-efficient all-wheel drive - and does it at an outstanding price point." -- Kelley Blue Book