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Subaru Outback vs. Toyota RAV4

Crossovers have dominated the automotive market in recent years, offering a blend of versatility, practicality, and comfort. Two heavyweights in this segment are the Subaru Outback vs. Toyota RAV4. Both are known for their reliability, but when it comes down to the specifics, which one comes out on top? Let’s compare the performance, fuel efficiency, technology and safety features, and other important specifications.



The Subaru Outback offers two engine options: a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 182 horsepower (hp) and 176 lb-ft of torque, and an available 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder generating a robust 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. On the other hand, the Toyota RAV4 comes with a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which delivers 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. While both vehicles provide sufficient power for daily driving, the Outback’s turbocharged engine option gives it an edge in terms of performance, especially for those who desire a more spirited driving experience.

Transmission and Drivetrain

In terms of transmission, both vehicles offer a continuously variable transmission (CVT) as standard. However, Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system, which comes standard across all Outback trims, provides exceptional traction and stability, making it ideal for tackling various road conditions. The Toyota RAV4, on the other hand, offers front-wheel drive (FWD) as standard, with the option to upgrade to an all-wheel-drive system. While the RAV4’s AWD system is competent, it may not offer the same level of confidence as Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD, especially in challenging terrains or inclement weather.

Fuel Efficiency and Sustainability


When it comes to fuel efficiency, the Subaru Outback and Toyota RAV4 are evenly matched. Both vehicles offer competitive fuel economy figures, with the Outback averaging around 26-33 miles per gallon (mpg) combined, depending on the engine choice and trim level. Similarly, the RAV4 achieves approximately 28-40 mpg combined, depending on whether it’s a gasoline or hybrid model. These figures make both crossovers economical options for those concerned about fuel costs and environmental impact.

Electric Vehicle (EV) or Hybrid

While the Subaru Outback is not available as a hybrid or electric vehicle, the Toyota RAV4 offers both traditional gasoline and hybrid powertrains. The RAV4 Hybrid variant boasts impressive fuel efficiency without compromising performance, making it an attractive option for eco-conscious consumers. However, it’s worth noting that the hybrid version comes at a higher price point compared to the standard gasoline model.

Technology and Safety Features

Driver-assistance Features

Both the Subaru Outback and Toyota RAV4 come equipped with a suite of advanced driver-assistance features aimed at enhancing safety features and convenience. Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology includes features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure and sway warning, pre-collision braking, and lane-keep assist. Similarly, Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 offers comparable features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, and pre-collision system with pedestrian detection. While both systems are highly regarded for their effectiveness, some users may find Subaru’s EyeSight system slightly more intuitive and responsive in certain scenarios.

Infotainment System

In terms of infotainment, both vehicles offer modern touchscreen interfaces with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The Subaru Outback features a standard 11.6-inch touchscreen display, which is one of the largest in its class, providing a user-friendly experience with crisp graphics and intuitive controls. On the other hand, the Toyota RAV4 comes with a slightly smaller touchscreen display, ranging from 7 to 9 inches depending on the trim level. While the RAV4’s infotainment system is functional and easy to use, some may prefer the larger screen size offered by the Outback for better visibility and accessibility.

Safety Ratings

When it comes to safety ratings, both vehicles have performed admirably in crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Both the Subaru Outback and Toyota RAV4 have earned top scores in various categories, including crashworthiness and crash avoidance technologies. These high safety ratings provide peace of mind for drivers and passengers alike, knowing that they are protected by robust safety features and structural integrity.

Other Important Specs

Cargo Space

When it comes to cargo space, the Subaru Outback offers an impressive 32.5 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, which expands to 75.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. The Toyota RAV4 provides slightly less cargo space, with 37.6 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 69.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. While both vehicles offer ample cargo capacity for everyday needs, the RAV4 may have a slight advantage for those requiring maximum cargo space.

Passenger Space

In terms of passenger space, both the Subaru Outback and Toyota RAV4 offer comfortable seating for up to five passengers. Both vehicles provide generous headroom and legroom in both the front and rear seats, ensuring a comfortable ride for occupants of all sizes.

Comfort Features

When it comes to comfort features, both vehicles come well-equipped with amenities designed to enhance the driving experience. Features such as heated and ventilated seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, panoramic sunroof, and power-adjustable seats are available on higher trim levels of both the Outback and RAV4. Additionally, both vehicles offer a smooth and composed ride, with well-tuned suspension systems that absorb bumps and road imperfections effectively.

Wrapping It Up

The Subaru Outback and Toyota RAV4 are both formidable contenders in the crossover segment, offering a compelling blend of performance, fuel efficiency, technology, safety, and practicality. The Outback stands out with its potent turbocharged engine option and standard all-wheel-drive system, making it a versatile choice for adventurous drivers. On the other hand, the RAV4 impresses with its available hybrid powertrain and spacious interior, catering to eco-conscious consumers and families alike. Ultimately, the choice between these two vehicles comes down to individual preferences, priorities, and lifestyle needs. Whether you prioritize off-road capability, fuel efficiency, or creature comforts, both the Subaru Outback and Toyota RAV4 deliver excellent value and reliability in their respective ways. offers accurate estimates of new and used car loan payments based on self-selected credit score, current rebates, down payment, and trade equity or negative equity, without customers having to provide their personal identifying information such as email and phone.

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