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Head-To-Head 2023 Subaru Forester Vs 2023 Toyota RAV4 - The Winner Is..

How does the 2023 Subaru Forester compare with the Toyota RAV4? Both are good picks for compact SUV shoppers, but which is the best? Check out the results here.

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Compact SUV shoppers have many choices, but which new model is the best? A recent report from U.S. News pits the 2023 Subaru Forster against the Toyota RAV4. Which model is the best? In the head-to-head battle, they pick the Subaru Forester. Here's why and we'll give you our take.

Compact SUV shoppers want a Compact SUV that's roomy, safe, reliable, fuel-efficient, and loaded with features. The Forester and Toyota RAV4 are good picks and offer what consumers want most. But the Forester is a top pick for several reasons.

2023 Subaru Forester

U.S. News says, "The Subaru Forester comes out slightly ahead in this head-to-head battle. The Forester costs less than the RAV4 and has higher safety and predicted reliability scores. The Subaru is quieter and roomier inside, and the base model has an impressive maximum cargo capacity."

Both compact SUVs are worth considering for several reasons. Both models offer similar interior quality and driving dynamics.

What U.S. News likes about the RAV4

2023 Subaru Forester

"The Toyota RAV4 has a more powerful engine that returns better fuel economy. It can also tow more than the Forester, though you have to opt for the Adventure trim ($32,780), which is priced nearly the same as Forester's Wilderness trim ($32,820). The RAV4 also bests the Forester with a larger infotainment touch screen in the base model and more room for cargo behind its rear seats," says U.S. News.

Our Take

The Forester is the best pick for active customers using the SUV for more than a commuter vehicle or grocery hauler. The Forester comes with all-wheel-drive on all trim levels, and it's not an expensive option.

Forester has 8.7 inches of ground clearance and X-Mode for improved severe weather traction. Forester also offers a new Wilderness trim level, and the Sport and Wilderness trims offer a dual-function X-Mode with Deep Snow and Deep Mud settings. For customers who live in a cold weather state and will use their vehicle to get further off the grid, the Forester is the top pick.

What is the price of the Forester?

All 2023 Forester trim levels increased by $550 in price, including destination and delivery. The 2023 Forester comes in six trim levels; The Base Forester starts at $27,620, Premium ($30,620), Sport ($32,190), Limited ($34,300), Wilderness ($35,245), and Touring ($37,720). Pricing includes dealer fees ($1,225).

What are Forester's safety scores?

The 2023 Subaru Forester was named a new Top Safety Pick+ winner by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Forester gets the highest five-star rating from the NHTSA.

Forester comes standard with Subaru's EyeSight safety technology. The next-generation system has a broader field of view and updated software. Automatic Emergency Steering is included on models equipped with Blind-Spot Detection with Lane Keep Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. The safety feature works with EyeSight and Blind-Spot Detection to assist with steering control to help avoid a collision at speeds less than 50 mph.

What is the Forester fuel mileage?

The 2023 Subaru Forester compact SUV comes with standard all-wheel drive and gets an EPA-estimated 29 combined mpg and 26/33 city/highway mpg. The Forester comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Boxer engine.

When will the Forester get a complete remodel?

If everything goes as expected, the compact SUV will be redesigned in the second half of 2023 and be available as a 2024 model. The anticipated 2024 Forester release date in the U.S. is about one year away, in the Fall of 2023. For customers who do not want to wait, the 2023 Subaru Forester is the top pick by U.S. News which says it's the best choice for compact SUVs compared with the Toyota RAV4.

The 2023 Subaru Forester won't leave you stranded in a snow or ice storm this winter. If you'll use your SUV for weekend road trips to get further off the grid, the Forester is your best lifestyle choice over the Toyota RAV4.

You Might Also Like: The 12 Best Small SUVs For Your Lifestyle - Subaru Forester Isn't A Good Fit For Everyone

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report, where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru, Toyota

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Nick (not verified)    December 25, 2022 - 5:24PM

As long as the Forester comes with eyesight standard, I'll pass. Eyesight may be good for people constantly staring at their cell phones, but it removes any enjoyment one can derive from driving while paying attention. My wife has a Forester, and I absolutely hate driving that car.

Bryan (not verified)    December 26, 2022 - 12:19PM

I like the forester as my aunt has one and it's nice to drive around in. That being said she has had all kinds of issues with the car. I on the other hand had bought my wife a Rav4 trd off road and that car is downright awesome. We went up to the mountains a couple days ago to stay in a cabin for Christmas and it had no problems going off road and dealing with snow and mud. It does have a little less clearance than the forester but the half inch didn't prove to be any trouble. The reliability and quality of a Toyota makes the price worth it. My aunt out of the last 3 months has spent more time at the dealership fixing issues with her forester Than I have in the last year.