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Head to Head 2024 Subaru Forester Vs. 2024 Toyota RAV4 And the Winner Is..

Which compact SUV is the best, the 2024 Subaru Forester or the 2024 Toyota RAV4? Check the score here before you buy.

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I have covered the 2024 Subaru Forester extensively, but what does U.S. News Autos say about the Forester compared with the 2024 Toyota RAV4? Both are good choices for new compact SUV shoppers, but which model is the best?

Here is the U.S. News breakdown, category-by-category, of which of these two SUVs is the best pick now. I will explain why the Forester is the best now but why you may want to wait until spring. 

2024 Subaru Forester driving

RAV4 vs. Forester: Which Compact SUV Should You Choose?

"The 2024 Subaru Forester and 2024 Toyota RAV4 continue long-standing traditions of excellence for both automakers in the compact SUV market. Both are roomy, competitively priced, and have comfortable on-road family cruisers that can be equipped for some light off-roading."

"The question remains, though: Which one is the right choice for you when it's time to buy? U.S. News is here to break down both SUVs, category by category, to compare strengths and weaknesses and help you decide whether Subaru or Toyota makes the compact SUV right for you."

Price: Winner: 2024 Subaru Forester

"The Subaru Forester starts at $27,095; the RAV4's base price comes in at $28,475, giving the Subaru the clear edge. The price differences get closer higher up the trim tree, with the RAV4 and Forester coming within a few hundred dollars of each other in certain similarly-equipped packages."

The 2024 Forester pricing for every trim level. 

The Forester comes in six trim levels: The Base Forester starts at $28,190, Premium ($31,390), Sport ($32,960), Limited ($35,070), Wilderness ($36,015), and Touring ($38,490). Pricing includes destination and dealer fees ($1,295).

Reliability: Winner: 2024 Subaru Forester

"J.D. Power's predicted reliability score for the Forester is 84 out of a possible 100; the Toyota RAV4 gets 76 out of 100. A J.D. Power predicted reliability score of 91-100 is considered the Best, 81-90 is Great, 70-80 is Average, and 0-69 is Fair and considered below average."

Seat Comfort: Winner: 2024 Subaru Forester

"The RAV4 and the Forester are compact SUVs with two rows of seating for up to five occupants. Both are comfortable no matter which seat in the house you have, with roomy rear rows for both headroom and legroom. Both offer standard cloth upholstery and manual adjustment; upgrades to synthetic leather, power-adjustable seats, heated front and rear seats, and heated steering wheels are possible in both."

Cargo Space: Winner: Tie

"The Toyota RAV4 has much more space behind the rear seats than the Forester (or most compact SUVs in general), with 37.6 cubic feet vs. the Subaru's 28.9 cubic feet. However, the Forester boasts more total cargo space, with a cavernous 74.2 cubic feet with the second row folded flat to the RAV4's (still excellent) 69.8 total cubic feet with its back row stowed."

Interior Quality: Winner: 2024 Subaru Forester

"Both the RAV4 and the Forester feel well-constructed but simple. Neither would be mistaken for a flashy luxury car on the inside, but neither feels overly cheap. Both SUVs offer ample protection from road and wind noise in motion, which helps the cabins feel more placid at speed."

Interior Technology" Winner: 2024 Toyota RAV4

"The Toyota RAV4 has a freshly-redesigned touch screen and infotainment system, and it's much better for it. The standard 8-inch touch screen and the larger 10.5-inch optional one are cleanly designed, quick to respond, and work via voice commands. The Toyota also offers a Wi-Fi hotspot and six speakers; the Forester comes standard with four speakers, and Wi-Fi is optional."

Powertrain: Winner: 2024 Toyota RAV4

"The Subaru Forester only offers one engine option: a 2.5-liter boxer-four-cylinder engine that makes 182 horsepower and routes power to all four wheels via a continuously variable transmission. It's generally considered noisy and underwhelming at highway speeds."

Fuel Economy: Winner: 2024 Toyota RAV4

"The 2023 Subaru Forester delivers strong fuel economy for the compact SUV market, with an excellent 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The RAV4 is simply phenomenal for its class, with 27 mpg city and 35 mpg highway delivered in its most efficient guise (the front-wheel-drive base LE trim). All-wheel-drive drops the RAV4's numbers to 27/34 city/highway, which still bests the Subaru."

Towing: Winner: 2024 Toyota RAV4

"Most Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 buyers will get the same towing capacity: 1,500 pounds (when properly outfitted). However, Forester Wilderness buyers will boast 3,000 pounds of towing capacity. Toyota RAV4 Adventure and TRD Off-Road buyers can pull up to 3,500 pounds, which gives the Toyota the edge here."

Ride and Handling: Winner: 2024 Subaru Forester

"Neither the Toyota RAV4 nor the Subaru Forester ride like sport-tuned machines. Instead, they focus on traditional family-SUV-style comfort with softer suspension that focuses on smoothly shuttling occupants over harsh pavement. Neither suffers from body roll, and both have strong, confident brakes with smooth engagement and good pedal feel."

Safety: Winner: Tie

"Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have fully crash-tested the 2024 Subaru Forester or the 2024 Toyota RAV4. Both models have many standard safety features like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keep assist."

Note: U.S. News fails to mention that the 2024 Subaru Forester is identical to the 2023 Forester, which the IIHS has tested. The Forester earned the highest Top Safety Pick+ award

The Winner between the Forester vs. the Toyota RAV4 is …

2024 Subaru Forester

"For our comparison, the Subaru Forester is the winner, thanks to its lower price, higher reliability score, greater interior quality, roomier seats, and more composed handling."

My Take:

Active customers who want the best compact SUV should look at the 2024 Subaru Forester. It comes standard with Subaru's Symmetrical all-wheel-drive, has 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and has X-Mode for severe weather capability. The Forester Sport trim has dual function X-Mode for all-terrain ability, and the Forester Wilderness is for active customers who want to get further away from civilization and off the grid for extreme adventures. 

Customers may want to wait until next spring when the remodeled sixth-generation 2025 Subaru Forester makes its dealer launch. I have covered the model extensively. Check out the links below for additional information. 

Thanks for reading, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this Subaru Forester vs. Toyota RAV4 comparison. See you tomorrow for my latest Subaru Report.

For additional articles related to new 2025 Subaru Forester, here are a few of my top stories you may enjoy. 

My Must-Read Top Picks

Check out the YouTube video from Realistic: 2024 Subaru Forester / Buy Now or Wait for 2025?

I am Denis Flierl, a 12-year Torque News senior writer with 20+ years of Subaru and automotive journalism experience. I enjoy bringing you, the Subaru fans and customers, the most up-to-date Subaru news, reviews, and new model information. You'll find the latest Subaru stories on the Subaru page. Follow me on my The Dirty Subaru website, Dirty Subaru blogSubaruReportAll Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierlFacebook, and Instagram.

I’ve got you covered! - I cover all Subaru all the time - It’s called the “Subaru Report.” Check back daily for my expert Subaru analysis!

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photo credit: Subaru, Toyota

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Steve (not verified)    November 24, 2023 - 8:10PM

I don't believe JD powers reliability rating. I’ve owned Subarus and Toyotas. Subarus Achilles heal is their head gaskets which often go out at about 100K miles and need an expensive repair. Otherwise they are great and go 200k miles no problem. Also this article doesn’t take into account Toyotas hybrid drivetrain which is more efficient and reliable.

Tyler (not verified)    November 24, 2023 - 8:45PM

Your Subaru bias is showing a wee bit. While I love my Subarus, I will be buying a TRD off-road package RAV4 next year over a Wilderness Forester. You can’t get a Forester Wilderness for your listed MSRP anyway. A Forester limited is $37k+. I’ve looked at one on a local lot. J.D power is a joke when it comes to ratings anymore. Subaru has been plagued with trans issues, among other things. The Subaru subreddit and Subaru forums are full of constant complaints and issues.

Ted (not verified)    November 25, 2023 - 11:20PM

In reply to by Tyler (not verified)

Never trust anecdotal stories from people in the internet, never. Places like consumers reports have millions of REAL data points over many years and their reliability data is FAR more accurate than any other source, news article, internet forums, or polls. JD power is also getting much better with Long term reliability, I could give a rat's ass about their ridiculous initial quality data which means nothing.

Mustakvi (not verified)    November 27, 2023 - 3:20PM

In reply to by Tyler (not verified)

I have a 2016 Subaru and I made mistake buying Subaru forester instead I can invest in Touareg or Audi. Forester got oil consumption went to the dealer and they start playing some games, then I fixed problem my self and now is trans issue it’s a lot of problems with Subaru so thanks no more stupid Subaru any more

Eric Young (not verified)    November 25, 2023 - 10:59AM

Excellent article. My 2 cents. You should mention that the Forester is AWD only. There is no price for the RAV4 trim levels given. But if you do I would give the AWD version to make it apple to apple comparison. The Forester has a small display which can be upgraded but seriously I wish it was standard. Same with power lift gate feature. My wife won't use a car without it.