2021 Subaru Forester vs 2021 Toyota Rav 4


The 2021 Subaru Forester and the 2021 Toyota RAV4 are two of the most popular compact SUVs. Great for running around town and heading down the highway, these SUVs are also dependable off-road vehicles. Both vehicles are known for their versatility. They are perfect for shuttling families and their gear hither and yon to do extracurricular activities. The SUVs are also lots of fun to drive over hill and dale to enjoy all types of off-road vacation adventures. But to decide which SUV to choose, let's take a minute to closely compare them. 

Key Features

The 2021 Subaru Forester has standard all-wheel drive, a solid chassis, a roomy cabin, many standard safety features, a powerful engine, Continuously Variable Transmission, rugged, attractive exterior, great ground clearance, a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds, and understated styling. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 is known for above-average reliability and quality, its off-road capability, ability to tow 3,500 pounds, and its available hybrid and PHEV models. Plus, it has a TRD off-road package that features a Multi-Terrain Select system. However, it does not have as much standard equipment as the Forester.

Standard Features

The 2021 Subaru Forester now has even more standard features than ever before. It now has keyless entry, Adaptive LED headlights, the EyeSight Driver Assist suite, blind-spot monitoring, as well as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a host of other great features. The higher trim levels have even more standard equipment. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 does not have the striking good looks of the Forester, but people love it for its car-like ride, quality and reliability, torque vectoring, and large wheels and tires. Although the RAV4 has a strong resale value, the Subaru Forester's resale value is the best in its class. 

Under The Hood

There's a 182 horsepower, 2.5-liter, Flat-4 engine that produces 179 pound-feet of torque powering the 2021 Subaru Forester. It works in tandem with Continuously Variable Automatic Transmission to swiftly and powerfully propel the Forester through in-town traffic, down the highway, or on off-road terrain. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 has a 203 horsepower, 2.5-liter Inline-4 engine that can produce 184 pound-feet of torque. Plus, the engine is mated with 8-speed automatic transmission. And its torque-vectoring sends power to its rear wheels. Add the TRD package and the RAV4 gets more power and better traction. 

Cabin Size

Although both the 2021 Subaru Forester and the 2021 Toyota RAV4 have seating for 5, the Forester has more passenger volume, 107.8 cubic feet to 98.9 cubic feet and more cargo space, 70.9 cubic feet to 69.8 cubic feet. Plus, the Forest has greater overall length, 182.1 inches to 180.9 inches, is taller, has more front headroom, more front, and rear legroom, and shoulder room, but a smaller turning diameter. That means the 2021 Subaru Forester can maneuver better in small, tight spaces and bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Infotainment And Connectivity

Part of the reason people love traveling in both the Subaru Forester and the Toyota RAV4 is that they have good, user-friendly infotainment and connectivity features. But while both vehicles have touchscreens, AM/FM radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and Apple CarPlay, only the Forester has Android Auto. Wireless smartphone connectivity, smart device integration, and USB ports are available in both vehicles, however, the Subaru Forester has twice as many standard USB ports. Plus, both vehicles have a high-quality sound system with multiple speakers, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity. 

The Interior

Slide inside either the 2021 Subaru Forester or the 2021 Toyota RAV4 and you will find a roomy, comfortable cabin. The Forester has the best-in-class cabin space. Plus, the crossover SUVs have tilting and telescoping steering wheels, 6-way manually adjustable driver seats, and 4-way adjustable front passenger seats. Both vehicles have day-night rearview mirrors, rearview cameras, air filtration systems, and 12-volt power outlets. The RAV4 has two DC power outlets and the Forester has three. Plus, the Forester has an ignition switch light, variable instrument panel lighting, reading lights, and ambient lighting. 

Safety Features

The safety features on the 2021 Toyota RAV4 and the 2021 Subaru Forester include anti-lock brakes, stability control, front and side-impact, knee and overhead airbags, seatbelt pretensioners, as well as a security system that disables the ignition if thieves try to steal it. Plus, they both have power door locks and LATCH system child seat anchors. The NHTSA gave both vehicles five-star crash ratings and the IIHS gave them a top safety rating. But the Subaru Forester does even more. It has a Driver Monitoring System that helps to make driving even safer by alerting the driver if it detects signs they are distracted or drowsy.

Driver-Assistance Features

Both Toyota and Subaru have equipped the RAV4 and the Forester with driver assistance features for enhanced safety while driving. Toyota gave the RAV4 the Safety Sense 2.0 driver assistance system. It includes automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assistance, lane departure alert, blind-spot monitoring, pedestrian detection alert, and a traffic sign reader. The 2021 Subaru Forester with its Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist Technology has all of those driver assistance features and adds hill-descent control, rear-seat reminder, lead vehicle start alert, lane sway warning, and much more. 


The 2021 Toyota RAV4 has quick acceleration, limited lean when cornering, can handle city driving, has a powerful engine, and smooth gear changes. It performs well on the open road with its high top speed and has a capable TRD off-road package featuring Multi-Terrain Select and a good braking response. But, it's stiff and jumpy and its engine is noisy. The 2021 Subaru Forester does well in city driving, has responsive acceleration, is quick and nimble, and has a roomy, quiet cabin. With a ground clearance of 8.7 inches and symmetrical all-wheel drive, the Forester can handle highway driving, icy roads, and rugged off-road terrain with ease. That makes it a better choice.

Want A Subaru Forester?

Interested in a 2021 Subaru Forester? Visit Granite Subaru. They have a wide selection of Subaru Foresters from which to choose.