The turbocharged 2.0XT Subaru Forester is gone forever and it’s been replaced by the 2019 Forester Sport trim. The 2019 Forester Sport gets “specially enhanced” standard equipment, but what if it came with Toyota TRD trim like the new RAV4 Off-Road model?
Forester Sport ($29,770) comes with Dual-function X-MODE with Hill Descent Control, SI-DRIVE with Sport Sharp mode, and of course, Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Outside appearance upgrades include 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with black finish, roof rails with integrated tie-downs, front, rear and side under guards with orange accents, and gloss black and orange exterior accents.
You can read our full review of the 2019 Subaru Forester Sport here.
RAV4 TRD Off-Road
Toyota offers the RAV4 TRD Off-Road ($33,995) model. Here’s a quick rundown of the TRD goodies on the RAV4. It comes with 8.6-inch ground clearance (Forester has 8.7-inches) and the TRD Off-Road suspension. It features a Multi-Terrain Select with Mud & Sand mode for beach driving, or Rock & Dirt mode for trails, and Snow mode for wintery conditions.
RAV4 TRD Off-Road is powered by a 2.5-liter, 203-horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque four-cylinder engine, paired with an 8-speed Direct-Shift Automatic Transmission. Outside it gets 18x7-inch matte black TRD alloy wheels with Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail all-terrain tires. The RAV4 TRD Off-Road is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds.
The new 2019 Subaru Forester Sport is powered by the standard 2.5-liter naturally aspirated Boxer engine. The new power plant comes with direct injection, higher compression, along with active valve control system (AVCS) on the exhaust side. The new engine produces 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque, versus 170 hp and 174 lb-ft in the previous-generation Forester.
The 2.5-liter boxer comes mated to a Lineartronic CVT featuring a seven-speed manual mode with steering wheel paddle-shift shifters. The Forester Sport trim comes with a version of the Subaru WRX STI Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) with Intelligent and Sport Sharp modes as upgrades. The Forester Sport will tow up to 1,500 lbs.
What’s the difference?
The Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail all-terrain tires could easily be added to the Forester Sport. The big difference the TRD Off-Road package makes is Forester can only tow up to 1,500 lbs., where the RAV4 Off-Road trim comes with up to 3,500 lbs. of towing capability. For those wanting to tow a larger camper, boat, or trailer, the RAV4 is the better vehicle. It also has more horsepower than Forester and an 8-speed automatic gearbox but so does the standard RAV4. Forester’s CVT automatic is the SUV's weak point in the drivetrain.
The difference in price between the Forester Sport and the RAV4 Off-Road trim is $4,225. Towing capacity is the big factor with the TRD package, and the standard RAV4’s horsepower and transmission are significant differences over Forester. Which model would you choose to take off-road?
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Photo credit: Subaru USA