2023 Subaru Forester Vs. Toyota Rav4 Review- Which SUV Is Better?

Which is better toyota rav4 or subaru forester

The 2023 Subaru Forester and 2023 Toyota RAV4 are among the best SUV launches of this year. Both models offer safety, reliability, and top features that have people raving about which is better Toyota Rav4 or the Subaru Forester?

SUVs are the most popular vehicles across the globe since 2020. They have proven themselves as spectacular rides that are not only suitable for grownups but also the best cars for college students.

Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 are top models in the SUV class. With every year’s launch, their automakers have something new to offer.

Forester and RAV4 offer two-row seating with ample space, advanced tech features, good safety coverage, and entertainment that will not get you bored.

But the question remains: Which of these two models is the best for your next big purchase, the Subaru Forester or Toyota Rav4?

To help you make this tough decision, we bring you this guide where we compare these two SUV models on different automobile aspects. Review all new 2023 Forester and 2023 RAV4 with us and make an informed decision.

Subaru Forester vs. Toyota Rav4: Which Compact SUV Should You Choose?

SUVs make great rides both for families and individuals. Suppose you are in the market for a spacious car that offers good seating space (especially for adults) and can hold a lot of cargo.

In that case, the Subaru Forester or Rav4 are equally good recommendations. While both models have a lot in common, some clear differences set them apart.

The Subaru Forester was redesigned in 2019 and got exterior restyling in 2022, with a new trim joining the lineup. Whereas Toyota RAV4 also got redesigned for the 2019 model year and got an infotainment system upgrade in 2023.

There might not be big changes in both these model lineups in the last two model years, but they carry some spectacular features you can not ignore.

To help you get a better picture of these Japanese car brands‘ models, we will first explore Forester and RAV4 individually.

2023 Subaru Forester

which car is better subaru forester or toyota rav4

The Subaru Forester for model year 2023 is one of the best cars with panoramic sunroof in the compact sport utility class.

This vehicle has two rows with seating for five adults. This practical ride boasts a spacious interior, comfortable ride, intuitive features, and a standard all-wheel-drive system.

Subaru offers six models under the Forester lineup, ranging from $26,395 to $36,795. This amazing ride can attain a top speed of 115 mph and sprint from zero to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds.

Key Specifications

  • MSRP: From $26,395
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 182 hp
  • Torque: 176 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Continuous variable transmission
  • Drivetrain: AWD
  • Top Speed: 115 mph
  • Acceleration (0-60 mph): 8.5 Seconds
  • Dimensions: 183″ L x 72″ W x 68-69″ H
  • Cargo Volume: 26.9 to 28.9 ft³, 69.1 to 74.2 ft³ with seat area
  • Towing Capacity: 1,500 to 3,000 lbs

Trim Levels

  • Base: From $26,395
  • Premium: From $26,695
  • Sport: From $31,265
  • Limited: From $33,375
  • Wilderness: From $34,320
  • Touring: From $36,795

Standard Safety Features

  • Rearview camera
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Automated emergency braking
  • Lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist
  • Forward collision warning
  • Forward automatic emergency braking
  • Adaptive cruise control with lane-centering
  • Adaptive headlights with automatic high beams
  • Rear-seat alert (reminds you to check the back seats for kids or pets before you exit the vehicle)


  • Well built interior
  • Spacious two rows
  • Good fuel economy
  • Composed ride and handling


  • Slow acceleration

2023 Toyota RAV4

subaru forester vs toyota rav4

RAV4 is one of the most talked about launches of Toyota in 2023. This compact SUV has a refined interior, outstanding fuel economy, and well-balanced performance.

This reliable ride comes packed with many safety features. For 2023, you get an updated infotainment system with a large screen, wireless Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Also, a 12.3″ digital gauge cluster is available. All new 2023 RAV4 can go as fast as 114 mph and sprint from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds.

Also Check:

Key Specifications

  • MSRP: From $28,275
  • Engine: 2.5-L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 203 hp
  • Torque: 184 lb-ft
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: AWD, FWD
  • Top Speed: 114 mph
  • Acceleration (0-60 mph): 5.7 Seconds
  • Dimensions: 181-182″ L x 73″ W x 67-69″ H
  • Cargo Volume: 37.5 to 37.6 ft³, 69.7 to 69.8 ft³ with seat area
  • Towing Capacity: 1,500 to 3,500 lbs

Trim Levels

  • LE: From $28,275
  • XLE: From $29,785
  • XLE Premium: From $32,675
  • Adventure: From $34,470
  • Limited: From $36,580
  • TRD Off Road: $37,895

Standard Safety Features

  • Rearview camera
  • Traffic-sign recognition
  • Lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist
  • Forward collision warning with pedestrian detection
  • Forward automatic emergency braking
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Three-point seatbelts for all seating positions


  • Great fuel economy
  • Roomy seating
  • Big cargo hold
  • Composed ride and handling
  • Many standard tech & safety features


  • Noisy engine

Which Car Is Better Subaru Forester or Toyota RAV4 In 2023?

One of the best ways to choose between two options is to explore and compare them without being biased. In this Subaru Forester vs. RAV4 dilemma, we strive to help you learn which model is better for you.

Both SUVs have built themselves a good reputation in the American automotive market. Thus making it understandable why people want to know everything about the Subaru Forester vs Toyota Rav.

Below, we have compared both models based on crucial car buying factors like price, reliability, interior space, features, safety, and more.

Go through each factor, and you will easily learn which SUV is a better and more economical purchase, especially compared to the european car brands.

– Price

The 2023 Subaru Forester is available in six trim levels. You can buy the base model for a starting price of $26,395 and the top model for an initial price of $36,795.

The 2023 Toyota RAV4 is also available in six trim levels. However, you will have to initially pay $28,275 for its base model and $37,895 for its highest model.

Toyota RAV4 costs more than the Subaru Forester in both the lowest and highest trim levels.

Winner: Subaru Forester

– Reliability

Regarding reliability, both the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 have been tested and scored by J.D. Power. As per J.D. Power’s predicted reliability, a score of 91-100 is considered BEST, 81-90 is GREAT, 70-80 is AVERAGE, and 0-69 is BELOW AVERAGE or FAIR.

2023 Forester has a predicted reliability score of 84 out of 100, and 2023 RAV4 has a score of 81 out of 100.

Winner: Subaru Forester

– Ride & Handling

Another crucial factor that can help you decide which is better Toyota Rav4 or Subaru Forester, is ride & handling dynamics.

This is one of those few features to which no obvious answers exist. The preference for driving dynamics depends on the personal preference of buyers.

What might seem good for you can be awful for a fellow buyer and vice versa. But both of these compact crossovers provide smooth ride and composed handling, which is great.

Winner: Tie/Both

– Interior

Forester and RAV4 offer spacious interiors with impressive build quality and good overall fit and finish. There is the use of high-quality materials, giving good interior aesthetics. Both of these SUVs are more durable and functional than most of their competitors.

As we move up the trim levels, both models have done well in upgrading the interior. The highest trims are more upscale than the base but can not be considered luxury SUVs.

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Forester offers genuine leather seats in higher trims, whereas RAV4 offers synthetic leather upholstery. Overall, the interior of these trending SUVs is impressive and on the same level.

Winner: Tie/Both

– Comfort

Another factor that can answer which car is better, the Subaru Forester or Toyota RAV4, is seating comfort. Both RAV4 and Forester are two-row SUVs offering seating for five people. Both these rides have enough room to seat adults, which is not seen in most other models in the same class.

In both these Japanese SUVs, you get manually adjustable front seats. But as soon as you move up from the base model, you get a power-adjustable driver’s seat in both vehicles.

Overall comfort in both the models is good. Both have comfortable and supportive seats. However, Forester offers more overall passenger volume.

Also, Subaru offers more headroom and legroom in both rows of Forester, giving much-needed comfort, especially for those long trips.

Winner: Subaru Forester

– Interior Features

Another factor you must look into to decide which is better Rav4 or Subaru Forester, is the interior features. The 2023 Forester has a user-friendly 6.5″ standard infotainment touchscreen system, which can be upgraded to 8″.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are standard, but you need an upgrade to get Wi-Fi hotspot capability. Also, Subaru’s infotainment setup is basic and not as responsive as most models in its class.

On the contrary, the 2023 RAV4 has a standard 8″ infotainment touchscreen system that can be upgraded to 10.5″. Wireless Apple & Android connectivity, Wi-Fi hotspot, and the “Hey Toyota” virtual assistant are standard.

RAV4’s infotainment system is intuitive, with many buttons & knobs present for easy usage. This new setup is sleek and highly responsive.

Winner: Toyota RAV4

– Cargo Hold

When it comes to cargo space, both these SUVs are better under different scenarios. Toyota RAV4 offers 37.6 cubic feet behind its rear seats, while Subaru Forester offers 26.9 cubic feet.

Similarly, the RAV4 gets you 69.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down, and the Forester gets you 74.2 cubic feet with the rear seats down.

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You can see clearly that the 2023 RAV4 offers more space behind its second row, while the 2023 Forester offers more space with the second row folded down.

Thus, the Toyota RAV4 is a better choice for cargo if you will use your second row most of the time. If not, the Subaru Forester is a clear winner with more overall cargo volume.

Winner: Subaru Forester

– Powertrain

Both Forester and RAV4 come with a single powertrain. Where Forester is a gas-only model, RAV4 comes in hybrid and PHEV configurations.

Forester gas-only powertrain comprises a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission producing 182 hp and offering smooth shifts.

The gasoline RAV4 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with 8-speed automatic transmission, producing 203 hp.

This powertrain of RAV4 is strong for the class and delivers powerful acceleration. But the setup gets noisy when you push.

Your car shakes on acceleration if you go too hard with your acceleration, so be careful. Forester is a great ride for daily commutes, but RAV4 is more likely to impress you for those long highway drives.

Winner: Toyota RAV4

– Fuel Economy

As per EPA, Forester gives an estimated 26 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway. Whereas RAV4 delivers an estimated 27 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway. But as you move to the higher trims, you will see they are not as efficient.

Toyota RAV4’s Hybrid and PHEV models are more efficient than the gasoline ones. With its all-wheel drive setting, Forester also gives good fuel efficiency numbers but still can not top RAV4.

Winner: Toyota RAV4

– Acceleration

With its robust engine, Subaru Forester can obtain a top speed of 115 miles per hour. It can sprint from zero to 60 mph in under 8.5 seconds. Toyota RAV4 can go as fast as 114 miles per hour, the max. Also, you can accelerate with this SUV from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds.

Thus, the RAV4 might be insignificantly slower than the Forester in terms of top speed. But it sure accelerates faster than the other.

Winner: Toyota RAV4

– Towing

The base models of both Forester and RAV4 lineups can easily tow 1,500 pounds. But this number increases to 3,000 pounds for Forester with its Wilderness trim.

However, the RAV4 can tow a maximum of 3,500 pounds with its Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims.

Winner: Toyota RAV4

– Off-Road Performance

When it comes to off-road performance, there are no better rides than Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco. Neither Forester nor RAV4 can touch these great rides regarding off-roading. However, they offer some great features that can help you get a little off the grid.

Forester features standard all-wheel drive, flexible suspension, and 8.7 inches of ground clearance. Also, all the models above the base come with hill descent control and X-MODE, which help you tackle slippery off-road conditions well.

The RAV4 comes with a ground clearance of 8.6 inches with available off-road related features like downhill assist control, front skid plate, & more.

Its TRD off-road trim has more heavy-duty suspension systems and many terrain driving modes. But overall, Forester delivers better off-road performance than RAV4.

Winner: Subaru Forester

– Safety

Regarding owning the safety features, both SUVs come packed with a long list of standard safety features in all their offered trims. The 2023 RAV4 and Forester have five-star overall safety ratings from NHTSA and the 2023 Top Safety Pick from IIHS.

Forester got five stars in front & side crash tests and four stars in the rollover evaluation. Whereas RAV4 got five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash test.

Also, both rides come standard with a long list of advanced safety driver assistance features. Both SUVs have similar overall safety ratings and outperform their rivals in tests, so they tie in the safety category.

However, you can consider buying a body camera to be safer on the road, especially on long journeys.

Winner: Tie/Both

FINAL VERDICT: Winner Is “2023 Subaru Forester”

Subaru Forester is the obvious winner of Subaru Forester vs Toyota Rav4 for the model year 2023. Out of all the factors that we compared the two models head to head, the 2023 Forester won.

Both the SUVs are equally worth considering for all the obvious reasons. Forester costs less, but the RAV4 has a stronger engine. The new Forester is roomier inside and has maximum cargo capacity, whereas RAV4 provides a better infotainment system.

Both these SUVs are equally capable with their offered options for light off-roading. But Forester is still better.


The battle of which is better Toyota Rav4 or Subaru Forester, the 2023 Subaru Forester, is a clear winner.

This SUV gives you good seating & cargo space, a decent infotainment system, advanced standard safety features, good off-road capabilities, and a starting price affordable to most buyers.


Ritambra is an absolute car fanatic who loves the ultimate Porsche 911. It is her dream car she wishes to own someday. She has over four years of experience in automotive writing. She loves to explore new car launches, different car accessories, latest automobile technologies, find out the best purchases, and where can fellow car fanatics find the best buying deals. With her skillful writing and in-depth knowledge of the automotive industry, you will learn about the latest automotive trends, news, launches, car reviews, top automobile comparisons, car maintenance, usage advice, and more. Her writing is delightful, informative, and entertaining, even for casual readers. You will fall in love with cars with Ritambra's writing and unshakable passion for them.

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