2020 Subaru Forester vs Toyota RAV4 Comparison in Olympia, WA

The Subaru Forester is an impressive small SUV that has the legendary quality, capability, and longevity that Subaru is known for. Of course, the small SUV segment is packed with competition. In 2019, the Toyota RAV4 was the best selling SUV in the United States. But when you take a look at what these two SUVs have to offer, you'll discover that popularity isn't always a good indicator of which model is best. On this page, we'll take a look at just how these SUVs compare so that you can find the one that's best suited to your family's needs.

2020 Subaru Forester interior with rear seats folded

Subaru Forester vs Toyota RAV4: Interior Size & Comfort Features

Whether you're using your SUV to drop the kids off at school, handle the daily commute, or head out for a weekend of adventure, space is vital. With 98.9 cubic feet of passenger volume, the Toyota RAV4 may seem roomy . . . until you see the interior of the 2020 Subaru Forester, that is. It has an incredible 111.9 cubic feet of passenger volume! And, while the Toyota RAV4 does have more cargo space behind the rear seats, the Subaru Forester has greater maximum cargo capacity when you fold down the second row.

It's not just the larger size that makes the Subaru a more comfortable choice. At the entry level, the 2020 Subaru Forester comes with automatic climate control and carpeted floor mats. These may not seem like big enough features to mention specifically, but the 2020 Toyota RAV4 lacks them on the entry level!

2020 Subaru Forester driving on an off-road area

Subaru Forester vs Toyota RAV4: Capability

Versatile capability is one of the many things that sets Subaru apart from the crowd, and the Forester is no exception. Every 2020 Subaru Forester, from the entry-level model to the top-of-the-line trim, comes with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. This AWD system provides comfortable, stable, and responsive handling capable of handling off-road travel. Combined with the 8.7 inches of ground clearance, this AWD system makes the Forester perfect for a variety of driving conditions. The 2020 Toyota RAV4, by comparison, comes standard with front-wheel drive. It has all-wheel drive as an available upgrade, but it will cost you more and still lacks the brawn of the Subaru AWD system. What's more, every 2020 Subaru Forester but the entry-level model includes Hill Descent Control and X-MODE® (which further improves traction on off-road areas). Hill Descent Control is available in the Toyota RAV4, but you have to choose certain higher trim levels to get it.

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2020 Subaru Forester driving down a road

Subaru Forester vs Toyota RAV4: Performance

At the heart of the 2020 Forester is a SUBARU BOXER® engine. The flat layout of this engine and its low placement in the engine compartment means that the 2020 Subaru Forester has exceptional balance and a low center of gravity, as well as reduced noise, vibration, and harshness. This is apparent when you compare it to the inline engine of the Toyota RAV4. Its vertical design means it can't be placed as low, giving it a higher center of gravity. Though the engine in the Subaru Forester is less powerful than that in the Toyota RAV4, it still generates an impressive 182 horsepower.

Family loading a 2020 Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester vs Toyota RAV4: Safety

The standard all-wheel drive does more than just give the Subaru Forester its impressive capability: it also makes it safer to drive on wet or snowy streets by providing extra traction. It's one of the reasons we think the Subaru Forester is one of the safest SUVs on the road--but you don't have to take our word for it! The IIHS gave the 2020 Subaru Forester its most prestigious award, the 2020 Top Safety Pick+. The 2020 Toyota RAV4 also did well, but it only earned the less prestigious 2020 Top Safety Pick award. Similarly, both SUVs earned five out of five stars in NHTSA testing for the Side Crash and Overall Rating categories, but the 2020 Toyota RAV4 only earned four starts in the Frontal Crash category. The 2020 Subaru Forester earned a perfect five.

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Subaru Forester vs Toyota RAV4: Value

The 2020 Subaru Forester has a starting MSRP that's $1,455 less than that of the 2020 Toyota RAV4, but even that doesn't capture the difference in value! That Toyota RAV4 starting price is for the stripped-down base model that lacks many of the features that come standard in the Subaru Forester, from floor mats to all-wheel drive. We invite you to come experience the Subaru Forester for yourself at Hanson Subaru.

2020 Subaru Forester2020 Toyota RAV4
$24,495Starting MSRP*$25,950
33 Highway MPG / 26 City MPGFuel Economy (AWD)34 Highway MPG / 27 City MPG
176 lb-ftTorque184 lb-ft
StandardAll-Wheel DriveAvailable Upgrade
8.7"Ground Clearance8.4"
111.9 cu ftPassenger Volume98.9 cu ft
76.1 cu ftMaximum Cargo Space69.8 cu ft
StandardAutomatic Climate ControlAvailable
Standard FeatureCarpet Floor MatsAvailable Upgrade

*Manufacturer's suggested retail price does not include destination and delivery charges, tax, title and registration fees. Destination and delivery includes handling and inland freight fees and may vary in some states. Prices, specifications, options, features and models subject to change without notice.