Compared: 2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2022 Subaru Forester

See what sets these popular compact CUVs apart. We compare price, fuel economy and features.

Toyota RAV4 over a Subaru Forester with a versus in betweenToyota/Subaru

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The Toyota RAV4 is one of America’s most popular new vehicles, but success breeds tough competition, like the Subaru Forester. This friendly rivalry has shoppers caught in the middle. Here’s what separates these five-passenger compact crossovers among the key attributes of price, fuel economy, and features.

Subaru Forester TouringSubaru

Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Forester: Price

Starting at $26,370 with destination fees, the base 2022 Subaru Forester is slightly more affordable than the RAV4 and features standard all-wheel drive (AWD). A new-for-2022 off-road oriented Wilderness trim goes for a $33,995 asking price. The loaded Touring trim costs $36,470.

The base, gas-only 2022 Toyota RAV4 is available with front-wheel drive (FWD) for $27,740 or AWD for $28,510. Unlike the Forester, there’s the RAV4 Hybrid AWD ($30,290) and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) RAV4 Prime AWD ($41,015).

Toyota RAV4 OffroadToyota

Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Forester: Fuel Economy

The Forester comes only with a 182 hp four-cylinder gas engine and continuously variable automatic transmission powertrain. Most models score an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The new Wilderness trim is less fuel-efficient, delivering 25 and 28 mpg, respectively.

The most fuel-efficient gas-only RAV4s, with a 203 hp four-cylinder and eight-speed automatic, get 27/35 mpg with FWD and 27/34 mpg with AWD. As you can imagine, the electrified RAV4s are more efficient. The RAV4 Hybrid AWD is rated at 41/38 mpg, and the 302 hp Prime PHEV scores a 38 mpg city/highway combined estimate, plus the ability to drive up to 42 miles on electric power alone.

Subaru Forester InteriorSubaru

Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Forester: Features

The Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 come with a comprehensive suite of safety equipment, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic high beam headlights, and lane-keeping. The Forester lacks the standard road sign recognition of the RAV4, but both vehicles offer blind-spot monitoring as optional equipment.

While both compact crossovers come with standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, the Subaru Forester makes do with a standard 6.5 inch touchscreen for infotainment duties. The screen in the RAV4 is half an inch bigger and includes Amazon Alexa compatibility. Both vehicles offer larger screens on higher trim levels, but only the RAV4 offers wireless phone charging.

When it comes to seating and upholstery, you’ll find heated seats and a heated steering wheel are available on both vehicles, though only the RAV4 has the option for ventilated front seats. On the other hand, the Forester offers leather seating surfaces, while the RAV4 makes do with something Toyota calls SofTex.

All Subaru Forester trims offer X-Mode, designed for dealing with slippery conditions like snow and mud, but AWD versions of the RAV4 feature a terrain select system to help in a wider variety of road conditions. The RAV4 Hybrid and Prime also include efficiency-minded settings to eke out more mileage from the gas tank and the battery.

For those desiring off-road confidence, the Subaru Forester Wilderness and Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road match up pretty evenly, and both come with all-terrain tires. The Wilderness boasts 9.2 inches of ground clearance, while the TRD Off-Road has 8.6 inches, but the Toyota has larger tires and a unique suspension system.

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Sami Haj-Assaad
Sami Haj-Assaad is an award-winning automotive journalist who has contributed to several automotive, electric vehicle, luxury lifestyle, and technology publications. His work isn't just limited to the written word, as he's also hosted YouTube videos and podcasts. Having grown up in the '90s, he has a strong sense of attachment to that era's style, though he also loves to geek out about the modern, futuristic tech and powertrains rolling out today.