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2022 Subaru Outback vs Toyota RAV4

2022 Subaru Outback vs Toyota RAV4
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

2022 Outback vs RAV4 - How Do They Stack Up? Which is Better?

The Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Outback are both known as durable, practical SUVs that can handle a lot. They both have two rows of seats and plenty of space for gear, and they're made by well-established companies that have reputations for designing safe, reliable vehicles. The Outback and RAV4 have been around for a long time, and they've gained many fans. The 2022 versions of the vehicles are quite impressive. This overview will highlight what they to offer as well as outline ways in which the two SUVs differ from each other.

The Powertrain

The Subaru Outback suggests two choices. The first choice comprises trims in the lower half of the lineup, which comes with a 2.5-liter engine that is capable to produce 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. This engine allows the Outback to drag up to 2,700 pounds.

The top half of the Subaru lineup consists of the Onyx Edition XT, Wilderness, Limited XT, and Touring XT. Each of these models is equipped with a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine. This engine has much more power than the 2.5 liters engine, which is capable to produce 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. With this stronger and more powerful engine, the towing capacity also increases to 3,500 pounds.

The Subaru Outback comes with either engine option, both of which utilize a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission. The car comes with all-wheel drive as well as X-MODE, which improves grip on challenging surfaces like snow and mud. Additionally, all Outbacks are outfitted with hill descent control, which helps regulate the car's speed when going downhill, as well as active torque vectoring and traction control, which come as standard features.

If anyone is planning on traversing through rugged terrain on a regular basis, then the Wilderness trim would probably the best choice out of all the Outbacks. It has 9.5 inches of ground clearance instead of 8.7 inches like the other trims have. It's been designed with more ideal approach and departure angles for clearing obstacles, and it comes standard with all-terrain tires and off-road wheels. Further, it has re-tuned gearing so that it can climb steep slopes with greater ease.

Toyota offers several rugged trims of the RAV4, such as the Adventure and TRD Off-Road, among others. These trims come with dynamic torque vectoring all-wheel drive as a standard feature, which can allocate more power to the left or right rear wheel as needed. The TRD Off-Road also has TRD-tuned suspension and all-terrain tires. Additionally, these trims have a Multi-Terrain Select dial that enables drivers to choose between modes for mud and sand, rock and dirt, snow, and normal driving. This feature is similar to the X-MODE found on the Outback. Moreover, many RAV4s come equipped with downhill assist control.

The RAV4's Hybrid SE and Hybrid XSE trim come equipped with sport-tuned suspensions that differ from the suspension in other trims. The stiffer suspension on these models improves handling, giving drivers a better connection to the road and enhanced cornering at higher speeds. Although some drivers would prefer it, However, this firmer suspension may not provide the same level of comfort as the standard suspension. To aid with cornering, all RAV4 models include active cornering assistance.

Since there are 12 RAV4 trims, there's a lot of variation in the lineup. When it comes to engines, though, there are two options. The standard one is a 2.5-liter engine that comes with 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, and the other is a 2.5-liter engine that works with a pair of electric motors to deliver a net horsepower of 219. Besides the available drive modes mentioned above as part of the Multi-Terrain Select feature, RAV4s have sport, eco, and normal drive modes. The hybrids have the addition of EV and trail mode.

The RAV4's standard engine is slightly more powerful than that of the Outback, and the alternate engines for the two vehicles present different features. While Subaru went with a turbocharged engine for some of its trims, Toyota opted for a much unique route several years back and started making hybrid versions of the RAV4.

There actually is a more powerful RAV4 available, and that's the plug-in hybrid called the RAV4 Prime. Thanks to its strong motor and robust battery, it has 302 horsepower. Since the RAV4 Prime is kind of in its own class, this overview will just concentrate on the regular RAV4 and the hybrid version.

The RAV4 offers two options for engine drive: front-wheel or all-wheel. All hybrid models come standard with electronic on-demand AWD and feature a slightly lower ground clearance at 8.1 inches compared to the non-hybrid's 8.6 inches, but unfortunately falls short when it comes to its maximum tow capacity of 1,500 - 1,750 pounds – half that of what an Outback can manage.

The RAV4 is an efficient SUV choice, with its front-wheel drive achieving a remarkable 27/35 mpg in cities and highways respectively. And while all-wheel drive detracts slightly by 1 mile per gallon on the highway, it still maintains high efficiency at 27/34 mpg.

Subaru Outback's with 2.5-liter engines come equipped with all-wheel drive and boast a respectable fuel efficiency rating of 26/33 mpg, whereas XT models boasting turbocharged engines offer drivers 23/30 miles per gallon. However, the most powerful Wilderness trim falls short at 22/26 miles per gallon on average. That said, Toyota's hybrid RAV4 rises to the occasion; thanks to its advanced engineering it can achieve an enviable 41 MPG in city driving and 38 MPG highway - truly leading the pack when it comes to saving fuel.


These SUVs feel responsive and agile. They give the driver a fairly high stance from which she/he can see the road.

The Toyota RAV4 has a length of 180.9 inches and is roomy enough to fit three in its back seat. It has 37.8 inches of rear-seat leg room and 41 inches of space in its front row. Behind its rear seat, it has a cargo area that has a volume of nearly 38 cubic feet. That can be expanded to almost 70 cubic feet when the rear seatbacks have been folded down.

The Outback is more than ten inches longer than the RAV4, which could make parking in tight spaces more difficult. The Outback is also one inch shorter than the RAV4, but this doesn't seems significant.

The front seat of the Outback has 42.8 inches of legroom. Back-seat passengers will cherish having 39.5 inches of legroom. The area behind the rear seats isn't as substantial as what the RAV4 has. This rear cargo capacity in the Outback measures 32.5 cubic feet. However, when the rear seats are lowered, cargo volume expands to 75.7 cubic feet, which is more than what the Toyota SUV offers.
Having different features can play a major role in the overall driving experience. It can be comfortable to have power-adjustable front seats with heated and possibly ventilated too, and that's what both the models offer. They can even be advanced with heated rear seats and heated steering wheels. The Outback is the only model between the two that offers leather upholstery. Instead, the top trims of the RAV4 have SofTex upholstery, which is synthetic leather.

Both models have accent lights, small storage compartments, and smart key entry with a push-button start. The Outback has up to four USB ports, and the RAV4 has five USB ports and also a wireless charging pad. Having many charging options will be handy for people who travel with multiple mobile devices or passengers who have their own devices.

The Outback and RAV4 both have a seven-inch touchscreen that comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth. They also have SiriusXM, but only the RAV4 has Amazon Alexa. Wi-Fi is available in every RAV4 trim, and in all Outback trims except for the base one.

The entry-level Outback is actually the only trim that has the seven-inch touchscreen. All the rest have 11.6-inch touchscreens, with several having integrated navigation and premium Harman Kardon sound systems with 12 speakers.

Lower and mid-level RAV4 trims have seven-inch touchscreens with the equipment mentioned above. Select trims can have nine-inch touchscreens. That touchscreen can be upgraded with integrated navigation as well as 11-speaker JBL sound systems.


With advanced safety measures now in place, drivers of the Outback and RAV4 can rest assured knowing that their vehicles are equipped with rear-view cameras as well as monitoring and mitigation systems to help protect them on the roads. In addition, they also have access to alerts for approaching objects at speed, plus automatic emergency braking capabilities - ensuring peace of mind while out traveling.

Adaptive cruise control makes long drives a breeze with its ability to maintain and adjust the preset speed. As if that weren't enough, both vehicles feature intuitive technologies such as high beam auto-activation based on prevailing light conditions and lane centering functionalities for added driver peace of mind.

Typically, the higher trims of both the RAV4 and Outback are installed with more amenities that include blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The RAV4 offers a bird's eye view camera, providing a complete 360-degree view of the vehicle during low-speed maneuvering. Conversely, the Outback has a 180-degree front-view monitor, aiding drivers in identifying potential road hazards. Moreover, the Outback provides a DriverFocus distraction mitigation system and reverse automatic braking, while in contrast the RAV4 can be equipped with front and rear parking assist that encompasses automatic braking.

Which Has the Best Value?

These vehicles have reasonable prices, at least when looking at the lower trims. The cost of the base trim of Outback is $27,645, and the next trim is priced at just under $30,000. Three RAV4 trims i.e the LE, Hybrid LE, and the XLE - are priced under that mark, with the LE being the most affordable at $26,975. This cost only applies to the models having front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive will cost a bit higher for the Toyota but is already factored into the cost of the Subaru.

The nicer trims start to have more expensive price tags. For example, the fully decked out Subaru Touring costs more than $38,000, and the Touring XT with the turbocharged engine costs a little more than $40,000. That turbocharged engine may be worth it to some buyers, especially those who love to accelerate quickly and/or have plans on towing cargo.

Toyota has set the price of the RAV4 at a maximum of $38,075, which resonates with the exact cost of the Hybrid Limited model. On the other hand, the regular Limited version, which boasts a variety of high-tech equipment and luxurious features, is priced at $35,475, which is quite reasonable.

Although both cars hold value, the RAV4 is considered more economical. Nevertheless, it lacks the luxurious amenities found in the top-tier Outback versions, such as leather seats and an advanced touchscreen.

Which is Better?

Potential buyers are faced with a plethora of options, as there are eight trims available for the Outback and twelve for the RAV4. The wide range of choices is impressive, providing satisfaction to those looking to maintain a low budget, as well as those seeking a more considerate purchase.

There are specialized trims in both lineups. That being said, since the Outback has a higher ground clearance, a greater maximum cargo capacity, and standard all-wheel drive, it seems like the more adventurous vehicle. The Outback Wilderness is perfectly suited for off-roading escapades, and all vehicles can tow more than a decent amount. The available turbocharged engine makes for quite a thrilling experience, too.

The RAV4 can be at home in both the city and the backwoods, and the fact that it comes as a hybrid is a huge advantage. Anyone keen to save money on gas will likely bend towards the RAV4. It's spacious enough to be very practical, and it has a solid engine under its hood.

The RAV4's taller build and classic SUV frame may offer broader appeal compared to the Outback. On the other hand, the Outback caters to a specific type of buyer, who prefer all-wheel drive and greater interior space.
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2021 Subaru Outback VS Toyota RAV4