2019 Subaru Outback vs Toyota RAV4
There are numerous small crossovers on today’s market. However, a few models stand out from the pack. The 2019 Subaru Outback is among the most adventurous SUVs in the segment. Standard all-wheel drive and a high ground clearance make it a great option for outdoor lovers. Don’t forget about the 2019 Toyota RAV4, which is always a top seller. Let’s find out which one of these fine crossovers is the better option.
Powering the 2019 Subaru Outback is a familiar 2.5-liter, Boxer four-cylinder engine. It generates an adequate 175 horsepower. Drivers who need more muscle should upgrade to the Outback’s six-cylinder engine. Subaru rates it to kick out a brawny 256 horsepower. This is enough power to tow up to 3,000 pounds.
All versions of the 2019 Toyota RAV4 come equipped with Toyota’s new 2.5-liter, Direct Force four-cylinder engine. Output stands at a competitive 203 horsepower. When called upon, the RAV4 can pull up to 3,500 pounds.
While the Outback uses a continuous variable transmission, the RAV4 comes equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Drivers appreciate the easygoing nature of the Outback’s automatic CVT. Meanwhile, expect the RAV4’s gearbox to also deliver a smooth performance.
When equipped with its base four-cylinder engine, the Outback is slow. Opting for the six-cylinder engine really enhances performance. A brisk 0-60 mph time of 6.9 seconds puts the Outback among the segment’s quickest performers. Although the RAV4 isn’t fast, it feels responsive enough for the average driver. Expect to hit 60 mph in around 8.6 seconds.
Both of these crossovers will return good gas mileage. According to the EPA, the 2019 Subaru Outback will return a combined 28 mpg on regular unleaded. Of course, getting the six-cylinder engine noticeably lowers fuel economy. On the other, trust the 2019 Toyota RAV4 to deliver a combined 30 mpg.
Of these crossovers, the RAV4 has the most confidence-inspiring braking system. Although the RAV4 doesn’t stop much quicker than the Outback, it does not display as much nosediving during emergency stops.
Subaru equips every new Outback with its effective Symmetrical AWD system. The RAV4 offers all-wheel drive as an option. Not only does the Outback deliver a good performance in the snow, but it’s also a very good off-roader. A nifty X-Mode feature optimizes traction at the touch of a bottom. You can also take advantage of the Outback’s 8.7 inches of ground clearance.
For 2019, Toyota has added a new Adventure trim to the RAV4’s lineup. Aside from having an 8.6-inch ground clearance, the RAV4 Adventure also benefits from an upgraded AWD system with torque vectoring. It’s a good alternative to the new Outback.
Like most Toyota vehicles, the 2019 RAV4 has a high predicted reliability rating. In J.D. Power’s latest dependability test, it received a four out of five rating. By comparison, J.D. Power gave the 2019 Outback a three out of five rating. This means the new RAV4 is less likely to have an unexpected breakdown. Warranty coverage is the same for both SUVs.
The 2019 Subaru Outback is a breeze to drive. Effortless steering and a seamless transmission help everyone to experience a relaxing drive. Folks will also appreciate the 2019 Toyota RAV4’s drivability.
In terms of handling, the Subaru Outback has its strengths and weaknesses. While the Outback’s body leans around corners, its steering system is very responsive and precise. When taking curves, drivers will notice the RAV4’s sportier handling. Unfortunately, it suffers from a rather numb steering system.
Whether you choose the RAV4 or the Outback, ride quality will be very good. Subaru tunes the Outback’s suspension to offer outstanding everyday comfort. Even when traveling on cracked asphalt, the Outback still manages to deliver a cushy ride. While the RAV4’s ride is not quite as impressive, most people won’t have any issues.
Testers rave about the Outback’s great driving position. A wide seat helps create a relaxing driving environment. You’ll also appreciate the Outback’s superior outward visibility. Because of the crossover’s large windows, drivers shouldn’t encounter any big blind spots.
Although the RAV4 provides a good driving position, tall drivers may desire more seat adjustments. Fortunately, the RAV4 does provide impressive outward visibility. Drivers won’t have any trouble spotting vehicles approaching in the next lane.
Both of these crossovers are ideal for families. However, the Outback is bigger on the inside. While there’s not a dramatic difference in rear-seat legroom, there’s nearly two more inches of legroom in the Outback’s front seat. This fact should catch the attention of tall drivers. Front headroom in the Outback is also better.
Very few small crossovers provide more cargo space than the Toyota RAV4. When taking a road trip, all of the family’s extra stuff will fit inside. Despite giving up some storage space to the RAV4, the Outback is just as practical. A grocery-bag hook makes runs to the supermarket more rewarding. Dog owners will also appreciate the Outback’s boxy design. It’s among the best crossovers for pets.
Roof rails with integrated crossbars are standard on the Outback. They help road trippers to secure larger items.
Interior quality is good with both of these crossovers. Like the Outback, the RAV4 has easy-to-use controls. Adjusting the climate control system only takes a few seconds. However, passengers can expect to hear a fair amount of wind noise at fast highway speeds.
The edge in technology goes to the Subaru Outback. Drivers will especially enjoy Subaru’s Starlink infotainment system. A high-resolution touchscreen and responsive controls make the interface easy to use. The system’s voice controls are exceptional.
Despite the improvements made to Toyota’s Entune infotainment system, it’s still not as good as Subaru’s Starlink system. At times, the RAV4’s touchscreen does not respond quickly. However, Toyota’s voice controls do work well.
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When crash tested by the NHTSA, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 scored a five-star overall rating. It also secured a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS. These safety credentials will give families extra peace of mind.
The 2019 Subaru Outback also received an NHTSA five-star overall safety rating. However, it scored a perfect rating in more crash tests than the RAV4. This is a testament to the Outback’s superior impact protection. As expected, this crossover aced all of the IIHS’ critical crash tests as well.
Standard Toyota Safety Sense Suite 2.0 helps the RAV4 to keep families secure. This accident-avoidance package includes pre-collision braking, smart cruise control, and lane departure warning. Remember, even the least expensive trim receives these safety features. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is found on the upper RAV4 trims.
Subaru's EyeSight safety system also comes standard on the new Outback. Its list of safety features is virtually the same. However, the new Outback does benefit from hill descent control. When traveling off the beaten, this feature helps Outback drivers to safely descend steep slopes.
While the Outback’s rearview camera helps when backing up, only the RAV4 offers an optional surround-view camera. Drivers will have an even better view of potential obstructions. Parking will definitely be made easier. Reverse automatic braking is available on both vehicles. It’ll help drivers to avoid collisions on an everyday basis, especially in busy areas.
Toyota offers the RAV$ with a special Line Tracing Assist system. It helps drivers to better identify traffic lanes. Whether taking a long road trip or stuck in congestion, drivers will experience less stress when Line Tracing Assist is in use.
Don’t overlook the benefits of the Outback’s full-time Symmetrical AWD system. It gives drivers more confidence when traveling on slick roads.
Which Has the Best Value?
Prices for the 2019 Subaru Outback begin at $26,345. Meanwhile, Toyota has priced the RAV4 at $25,650. As you can see, the Outback buyers will have to shell out an extra $700. However, available incentives will make the Outback just as affordable.
The base Outback 2.5i competes against the base RAV4 LE. Some of the Outback’s standard equipment includes a 6.5-inch touch display with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Bluetooth, and a four-speaker sound system. While Toyota equips the base RAV4 with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, it only provides Apple CarPlay. Android Auto is not offered on any trim. However, RAV4 buyers will enjoy a more rewarding six-speaker stereo and standard LED headlights.
For luxury car shoppers, Toyota offers the RAV4 Limited. It has a starting MSRP of $33,650. Subaru counters the RAV4 Limited with the Outback Touring, which starts at $37,770. Plenty of niceties come inside the RAV4 Limited. Highlights include satellite radio, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with navigation, and driver-seat memory functions. Goodies, like ventilated front seats and an 11-speaker JBL sound system, are optional on the RAV4 Limited.
While the Outback Touring has a higher starting price, it does have a luxurious feel. It provides a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, heated rear seats, and leather upholstery. LED headlights are an extra cost.
After owning the Subaru Outback for five years, drivers can expect to spend an estimated $4,800 in maintenance and about $790 in repairs. Meanwhile, RAV4 owners can anticipate spending $4,816 in maintenance and $648 in repairs. Like the Toyota RAV4, the Subaru Outback tends to have a high resale value.
Which Is Better?
To find out which SUV is better, we must look back at the key categories. The 2019 Subaru Outback’s available six-cylinder engine gives it an advantage in the performance department. It enables the Outback to offer much quicker acceleration. Despite having an advantage in power, the Outback still has a lower towing capacity. Remember, sticking with Subaru’s standard four-cylinder engine will result in sluggish acceleration.
Traditionally, the Subaru Outback has been one segment’s most capable off-road vehicles. However, outdoor enthusiasts can also enjoy the new RAV4 Adventure. Both of these models will satisfy the average weekend warrior.
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 has a hot new look. Everyone will notice its bold exterior styling. Fender flares help give the RAV4 Adventure a more rugged nature. While some people will appreciate the Outback’s refined exterior styling, others will desire more flair. Most people on the road are unlikely to give the Outback a second glance.
Drivers who have a family will especially like the Outback. Its interior feels spacious and relaxing. The Toyota RAV4 is also a comfortable people mover. However, taller drivers may desire a bit more headroom.
Both of these SUVs offer modern technology. Like the RAV4, the Outback comes loaded with in-demand safety features. While Toyota’s Entune infotainment system isn’t bad, it’s simply not on par with Subaru’s Starlink interface.
Let’s now crown the winner of this head-to-head comparison. While the 2019 Toyota RAV4 is reliable and packs a lot of style, the 2019 Subaru Outback slightly edges it out. There are plenty of drivers who’ll appreciate the Outback’s great comfort and everyday practicality.