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2014 Subaru Forester vs RAV4 and Outlander: See who wins

Carsgiude takes the all-new 2014 Subaru Forester and compares it to the new 2013 Toyota RAV4 and Mitsubishi Outlander. See which one comes out on top in a head-to-head test.

The Daily Telegraph’s Carsguide, is the biggest automotive classified brand in Australia with the largest reaching audience nationally in over 130 newspapers, online, mobile and iPad app. Experienced News Limited motoring journalist Neil Dowling takes the all-new 2014 Subaru Forester, the new 2013 Toyota RAV4 and the new Mitsubishi Outlander and compares the three mid-size SUVs in a rigorous test for the magazine. But which one comes out on top in the highly competitive segment?

Carsguide rated the new Forester ahead of RAV4 and Outlander

Subaru’s new generation 2014 Forester takes the top spot in a rigorous cover story comparison test published in today’s Carsguide in The Daily Telegraph. Carsgiude’s Paul Gover, also recently tested the Forester against the 2013 Toyota RAV4, 2013 Honda CR-V and 2013 Mazda CX-5 and came up with the same conclusion. There are a number of key reason both Australian journalists gave for giving the new Forester crossover the nod for the number one spot. In this recent comparison, Dowling rated the new Forester 2.5i-L four stars against three and-a-half stars for new Toyota RAV4 and the three and-a-half stars Mitsubishi Outlander.

While that’s not much difference, it’s enough to keep the Forester firmly planted as the better mid-size SUV in a highly competitive segment. The global Forester is getting high praise for its new exterior styling, roomy interior and extensive new technology, but there are other factors that make the new crossover appealing. The all-new 2014 Subaru Forester has been completely rebuilt from the ground up and the comparison between the competition is worth taking a closer look.

Subaru Symmetrical AWD is legendary

Dowling likes a number of key factors that puts the new Forester ahead of the RAV4 and Mitsubishi Outlander. The first thing he mentions is Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system. He says, “It’s the great all-rounder and won’t give its owners any regrets so gets my nod.” Dowling rates Forester a winner for technology and driving. Saying: “Only the Subaru is constant 4WD, the others driving all wheels only on demand.”

The Symmetrical AWD on the Forester uses a torque split improved by the electronic control, with power balanced to all four wheels depending on which wheel needs more traction. He continues: “Handling tests put the Forester as the most accurate through the bends. It holds its line better than the other two…” Body roll is kept to a minimum in the corners because of Foresters low center of gravity. The Boxer engine sits low in the chassis and keeps the SUV stable where others would have a problem. The RAV4 and Outlander can’t compete in the corners with the new Forester.

The Forester with CVT produces class-leading fuel-economy

The new Forester uses a new Continuaslly Variable Transmission (CVT) that produces excellent fuel mileage. He adds: “The Subaru’s CVT is a better box with its faster engagement and its perkier petrol engine making for a surprisingly quick wagon.” The new Forester’s fuel economy jumps to the head of its segment in all-wheel drive fuel economy. The 2.5i models with the automatic CVT will achieve manufacturer-estimated fuel mileage ratings of 24 mpg city / 32 mpg highway / 27 mpg combined.

Forester X-Mode is for extreme sports

Most RAV4 and Outlander owners will never take their vehicle off-road, but Subaru owners are a different breed and the X Mode gives the extra assist they will need for their extreme sporting activities. Dowling says, “The X-Mode 4WD system in the Forester is brilliant and makes it the best allrounder…”

On unpaved and slippery roads, torque is not distributed evenly to all four wheels and one or more wheels can begin to slip and the vehicle can lose traction and get stuck in the snow or mud. Forester’s X Mode is designed to be used easily and can be engaged with a flip of a switch. The X Mode will allow any driver regardless of skill level, to escape any extreme situation they may encounter.

The Forester has been completely rebuilt from the ground up, and it looks like Subaru has another winner to go along with the new Subaru BRZ and XV Crosstrek. The 2013 Toyota RAV4, and 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander according to Carsguide’s Neil Dowling, can’t match the new Forester’s all-wheel-drive capability, smooth and powerful CVT and off-road X-Mode for sports enthusiasts. Look for the all-new 2014 Subaru Forester to launch this spring in the U.S.