2022 Subaru Forester vs. 2022 Toyota RAV4 Comparison

Erin Riches-Wong | Feb 18, 2022

How did compact crossover SUVs get so popular? Subaru and Toyota deserve plenty of credit. These manufacturers launched the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 in the late 1990s. At the time, these SUVs offered an appealing blend of size, efficiency, and convenience, and that remains true today.

Since then, the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 have taken different paths. Subaru emphasizes interior space, safety, and winter-weather and off-road capability with the Forester. There's no hybrid version.

In contrast, Toyota tries to cover all the bases with the current RAV4. It offers more passenger room and off-highway capability than previous Toyota RAV4s, and consumers now have their choice of a regular 4-cylinder engine, a hybrid version, or the plug-in hybrid (PHEVRAV4 Prime.

Which one is right for you? Here's a 2022 Subaru Forester vs. 2022 Toyota RAV4 comparison to help you decide.

Price and Value

2022 Subaru Forester White Front Quarter View

2022 Subaru Forester

Consumers researching compact SUVs will find that the 2022 Subaru Forester ranges in price from $25,195 to $35,295, not including the $1,175 destination charge. Unique for this class, the Forester has standard all-wheel drive (AWD).

Trim levels are base (known as just Forester), Premium, Sport, Wilderness, Limited, and Touring. All 2022 Foresters come with a naturally aspirated, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine.

Subaru's connected services, known as Starlink, are available starting on the Forester Premium trim level. Automatic collision notification, live emergency assistance, rapid access to roadside services, and vehicle diagnostic alerts are complimentary for the first three years. Other features like remote locking, remote engine starting, stolen-vehicle location, and geofencing settings for less trusted drivers are free for the first six months. Subaru also offers concierge services; there's no free trial, but owners can subscribe on a monthly or annual basis.

In addition, all 2022 Subaru Foresters except the base model have a Wi-Fi hotspot. One lower-tech feature you might find helpful is Subaru's PIN Code Access system, which allows you to lock your key in your vehicle while you're exercising outdoors. It's more work to set up than a proper digital key system, but it's free.

Subaru offers a complimentary 2-year, 24,000-mile scheduled maintenance plan in a few southern states, but it's not a nationwide program.

Resale value is a Subaru Forester strength. The Forester ranks highest among compact SUVs in the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. ALG Residual Value Awards.

If you're shopping for a 2022 Toyota RAV4, you will find that this compact SUV covers a broader price range. The RAV4 starts at $26,525 and tops out at $43,125, not including the $1,215 destination charge. Within this range, the most affordable Toyota RAV4 Hybrid costs $29,075, while the Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid SUV starts at $39,800. A federal tax credit on the 2022 RAV4 Prime reduces your total cost by $7,500, and your state might offer an additional rebate.

On the gas-engine 2022 Toyota RAV4, you'll find LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and Limited trim levels. The LE, XLE, and Limited have standard front-wheel drive (FWD) and optional AWD ($1,400), while the other trims have standard AWD.

All hybrid RAV4s have standard AWD, a 4-cylinder engine, front and rear electric drive motors, and a battery pack. The Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV has a much larger battery pack that enables 42 miles of pure electric range. Toyota offers the regular 2022 RAV4 Hybrid in a wide range of trim levels, including LE, XLE, SE, XLE Premium, XSE, and Limited. The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime comes in SE and XSE trim.

Every 2022 Toyota RAV4 has a Wi-Fi hotspot and a one-year subscription to Safety Connect (part of Toyota Connected Services), which includes automatic collision notification, live emergency assistance, and rapid access to roadside assistance. Most RAV4s also have one year of remote locking and engine starting. Higher trim levels provide a year of concierge services.

Toyota offers free scheduled maintenance for the first two years or 25,000 miles that you own a RAV4.

Advantage: Subaru Forester

Reliability and Quality

2022 Toyota RAV4 SE Hybrid Silver Front Quarter View Action

2022 Toyota RAV4 SE Hybrid

The Subaru Forester ranks third among Compact SUVs in the J.D. Power 2022 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). It does not rank among the top three Compact SUVs in the J.D. Power 2021 Initial Quality Study (IQS). The 2022 Subaru Forester comes with the following warranty and roadside assistance coverage:

  • Standard warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Roadside assistance: 3 years or 36,000 miles

The Toyota RAV4 does not rank among the top three Compact SUV models in either the 2022 VDS or the 2021 IQS, though Toyota ranks higher than Subaru in both studies at the brand level. The 2022 Toyota RAV4 comes with the following warranty and roadside assistance coverage:

  • Standard warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Hybrid system warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles
  • Hybrid battery warranty: 10 years or 150,000 miles
  • Roadside assistance: 2 years and unlimited miles

Advantage: Toyota RAV4

Performance and Efficiency

2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness Interior Dashboard

2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness

Every 2022 Subaru Forester comes with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, making 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard across the board. The Forester Wilderness trim level gets an upgraded version of the CVT that Subaru says is programmed to provide better low-end torque response.

In addition to AWD, all 2022 Foresters have Subaru's X-Mode technology, which, according to the manufacturer, helps limit wheel spin in various situations to maximize traction. The Premium trim adds hill-descent control, and the Sport trim upgrades to dual-mode X-Mode, which adds a Deep Snow/Mud setting. The Wilderness trim alone has a low-speed/low-ratio gradient control mode that detects steep grades and selects a lower CVT gear ratio.

Most 2022 Subaru Foresters have 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and the Wilderness has an impressive 9.2 inches and all-terrain tires. A properly equipped Subaru Forester Wilderness also has a 3,000-pound tow rating versus 1,500 pounds on other Foresters.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the 2022 Subaru Forester at 29 mpg in combined city and highway driving. With its knobbier tires, taller ride height, and revised CVT, the Forester Wilderness rates only 26 mpg in combined driving.

Consumers looking at the 2022 Toyota RAV4 will find that Toyota's compact SUV also comes with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder as its base engine. The 4-cylinder makes 203 hp and 184 pound-feet of torque, and an 8-speed automatic transmission is standard.

All-wheel-drive Toyota RAV4s feature selectable terrain modes. Similar to Subaru's X Mode, Toyota offers an upgraded AWD system with torque-vectoring capability that transfers engine torque between the rear wheels to improve grip. It's available on Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and Limited AWD models. The Adventure and TRD Off-Road also have hill-descent control.

The 2022 RAV4 offers 8.1-8.6 inches of ground clearance, depending on the trim level. The TRD Off-Road has all-terrain tires and suspension revisions to improve off-road capability. A properly equipped Adventure or TRD Off-Road model can tow 3,500 pounds versus 1,500 pounds on most other RAV4s.

You'll find a hybrid-specific version of the 2.5-liter engine on the 2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime. This engine develops 176 hp and 163 pound-feet of torque on the regular hybrid. With the contributions of the 118-hp front and 54-hp rear electric drive motors that draw current from the 1.6-kWh battery pack, the total horsepower is 219. In place of a conventional transmission, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid uses an electric CVT (eCVT) to blend its power sources.

Toyota equips the plug-in hybrid RAV4 Prime with a larger 18.1-kWh battery pack and a more potent 179-hp front electric drive motor. The 4-cylinder gasoline engine contributes 177 hp and 165 pound-feet of torque, and combined system power is 302 hp.

The RAV4 Prime has a standard 3.3-kW onboard charger that will recharge the battery pack in 4.5 hours at a 240-volt, Level 2 charging station. The XSE's optional 6.6-kW charger reduces charging time to 2.5 hours. If you use the 120-volt outlet that's already in your garage, plan for 12 hours of charging time.

Although AWD is standard on the hybrid RAV4s, it's different from the setup on non-hybrid RAV4s: There's no physical driveshaft, so the rear wheels only receive torque from the rear electric motor. A properly equipped RAV4 Prime has a decent 2,500-pound tow rating.

The EPA rates the base-engine 2022 Toyota RAV4 at 30 mpg in combined driving with FWD. The RAV4 rates 28-30 mpg combined with AWD, depending on the trim. Like the Forester Wilderness, the RAV4 TRD Off-Road is the least fuel-efficient due to its all-terrain tires.

The RAV4 Hybrid is the fuel economy leader with a 40-mpg combined rating. The heavier 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime rates 38 mpg in combined driving, and the EPA says it provides 42 miles of pure electric range.

Advantage: Neither

Most consumers will prefer Toyota's diversity of powertrains and impressive mpg, but if your adventures will take you off the pavement, the Subaru has an edge.

Safety and Driving Assistance

2022 Toyota RAV4 SE Hybrid Rear Seat

2022 Toyota RAV4 SE Hybrid

All 2022 Subaru Foresters have the EyeSight 4.0 package of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS). It includes a forward-collision warning (FCW) system with automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-departure warning (LDW), lane-keeping assistance (LKA), adaptive cruise control (ACC), and lane-centering assistance. With ACC and lane centering enabled, the Subaru Forester provides traffic jam assist (TJA), a basic form of Level 2 semi-autonomous driving assistance.

Starting on the Forester Premium, you can get a blind-spot warning (BSW) system with rear cross-traffic warning as an option, along with Automatic Emergency Steering. The latter item is new to EyeSight for 2022 and works with AEB to help avoid collisions at speeds under 50 mph. A low-speed rear automatic braking system is also optional at this level.

rear-seat reminder system is standard on all 2022 Foresters. The Forester Touring has Subaru DriverFocus, which uses facial-recognition technology to monitor driver distraction and fatigue. This system uses alerts to rouse an inattentive driver and can eventually bring the Forester to a complete stop and contact emergency responders if necessary.

The 2022 Subaru Forester earned the highest-possible 5-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Also, the Forester has a Good rating in most of the crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, in the Institute's latest side-impact crash test (which simulates a heavier vehicle hitting the SUV at higher speed), the Forester earns a lower Acceptable rating.

Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0) is standard on every 2022 Toyota RAV4. It matches Subaru's standard ADAS package. The RAV4's TJA system includes traffic sign recognition. A BSW system with rear cross-traffic warning is optional on the RAV4 LE and standard on all other RAV4 trim levels.

You can get low-speed front and rear automatic braking systems on the RAV4's higher trims.

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 received a 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, though it earned 4 stars for frontal-impact crash-test performance. As of this publication, the IIHS had not released full crash-test ratings for the 2022 Toyota RAV4. The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime rates Good for small-overlap, frontal-offset crashes affecting the passenger side.

Advantage: Subaru Forester

Infotainment and Technology

2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness Blue Rear Quarter View

2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness

The standard infotainment interface in the 2022 Subaru Forester includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen display. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration is standard. Subaru also offers an 8-inch display with voice controls and near-field communication for quicker Bluetooth pairing. A factory navigation system is optional with the 8-inch display.

All 2022 Subaru Foresters come with two front-seat USB ports. Rear USB ports are available on the Premium trim. A wireless charging pad is not available.

You can get one of three infotainment displays in the 2022 Toyota RAV4. The base interface uses a 7-inch touchscreen display, while the 2022 RAV4 Prime SE has an 8-inch display. The higher trims use a 9-inch display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is standard across the board. Factory navigation is available with the 9-inch display.

Base LE trims have just one USB port. All other 2022 Toyota RAV4s have six USB ports. A wireless charging pad is available on the higher trims.

Advantage: Toyota RAV4

Comfort and Utility

2022 Toyota RAV4 SE Hybrid Silver Rear Quarter View

2022 Toyota RAV4 SE Hybrid

The 2022 Subaru Forester will have particular appeal to those drawn to the elevated ride height of SUVs. It's ridiculously easy to get in and out of the Forester, and from the driver seat, you can see out of it in all directions.

The back seat is expansive for a compact SUV with ample room for adults and rear-facing car seats. Rear air-conditioning vents are standard starting on the Premium. The Forester Touring adds hand-gesture temperature adjustment for the climate control system. One complaint is the panoramic sunroof: The tint isn't dark enough to keep the cabin from baking if you leave the shade open.

The sunroof also impacts cargo capacity. Without it, the 2022 Subaru Forester has a 28.9-cubic-foot cargo bay behind its rear seats. Folding them yields a maximum capacity of 74.2 cubic feet. With the sunroof, the Forester has 26.9 cubic feet and 69.1 cubic feet, respectively. A power liftgate is available starting on the Premium.

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 is not as overtly roomy for passengers as the Subaru, but most consumers will find its driver seat comfortable. Besides that, its controls are large and easy to find in the usual Toyota way, and there are plenty of storage slots.

There's more room in the back seat than in previous RAV4s, and families of four should have little difficulty fitting car seats. The LE trim lacks rear air-conditioning vents, but other RAV4s have them. Leather upholstery isn't available in the RAV4, but Toyota's vegan-friendly SofTex mostly feels like the real thing.

Even though the maximum capacity is slightly lower, the 2022 Toyota RAV4 has a larger cargo bay than the Forester. In the gas-engine RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid, the cargo bay measures 37.6 cubic feet behind the rear seats. Toyota's compact SUV has 69.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. The RAV4 Prime has a 33.5-cubic-foot cargo area, but the maximum capacity remains 69.8 cubic feet.

You can get a power liftgate on most Toyota RAV4s. Hands-free access is available on the Limited and Prime XSE.

Advantage: Neither

The Subaru has advantages in outward visibility and passenger space, while the Toyota has more cargo space.

Learn More About the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4

If you'd like to learn more about these compact SUVs, be sure to read our expert reviews of the 2022 Subaru Forester and the 2022 Toyota RAV4. To find out how people like you rate models in this segment, be sure to check out our ratings from verified vehicle owners.

Also, please keep in mind that while the information in this article was accurate and valid on February 17, 2022, it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker's website or your local dealership.

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