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Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Outback


PUBLISHED THURSDAY, JULY 15, 2021

An adventurous pair of SUVs.

Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Outback: Hero | CarMax

From confidence-building AWD to practical touches that can improve daily life, a compact or midsize SUV is an excellent choice for people on the go. Both the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Outback offer useful features, spacious interiors, and peppy engines in a city-friendly size. Plus, the current tech that gets packed into these SUVs can help you meet the demands of your modern life. With the RAV4 or Outback, you can escape to your next adventure.

Find out how these two SUVs stack up to one another in this Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Outback comparison.

Side-by-Side Comparison

2019 Toyota RAV4

2019 Subaru Outback

Average Price

Less than $26,500

Less than $26,500

Performance

Base Engine

2.5L four-cylinder

2.5L four-cylinder

Horsepower

203 hp

179 hp

MPG

30 mpg combined

28 mpg combined

Towing Capacity

3,500 lbs

3,500 lbs

Interior

Seating

5

5

Cargo Space

37.6 cu ft

35.5 cu ft

Front-seat Legroom

41 inches

42.9 inches

Rear-seat Legroom

37.8 inches

38.1 inches

Overall Interior Space

136.4 cu ft

108.1 cu ft

Ratings

NHTSA Safety Rating

5/5

5/5

Certain vehicles may have unrepaired safety recalls. Click here to look up a specific vehicle.

Features and Trim Options

The Toyota RAV4 is up for whatever daily life sends its way, and the Subaru Outback is built for adventurous living. Both are packed with practical features and options, making them ideal choices for an SUV.

Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Outback: Toyota RAV4 Features #1 | CarMax

With a focus on your daily needs, the 2017-2018 Toyota RAV4 is where function and form meet. Or you can keep your adventurous side happy in the completely redesigned 2019 RAV4, which features the Adventure trim. The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure can tow an estimated 3,500 lbs when properly equipped—ideal if you want to tow some toys to the lake or campsite.††† The 2017-2018 RAV4 is powered by a 179 hp, 2.5L four-cylinder engine, which increases to 203 hp in the 2019 RAV4.

All 2017-2018 Toyota RAV4 models include these standard features:

Toyota RAV4 front profile
  • Rearview camera

  • Bluetooth audio streaming

  • Driver aids like adaptive cruise control, pre-collision warning, and lane-departure warning

All 2019 Toyota RAV4 models include these standard features:

  • Multi-LED headlights

  • A seven-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth streaming

  • Additional driver aids, including lane-tracing assist and road sign assist

Subaru Outback

Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Outback: Subaru Outback Features #1 | CarMax

Tackle the path less traveled with the legendary symmetrical AWD that powers the 2017-2019 Subaru Outback. There's seating for five passengers, and more than enough cargo space for your gear. Plus, the 2017-2019 Outback can tow an estimated 3,500 lbs with the standard 2.5L engine, when properly equipped.††† And the available Subaru EyeSight® system puts an impressive suite of driver aids at your disposal.

You'll find these standard features on all 2017-2019 Subaru Outbacks:

Subaru Outback front profile
  • Symmetrical AWD with active torque vectoring

  • Bluetooth® audio streaming

  • A 6.2-inch touchscreen and four-speaker audio system

  • X-MODE® multi-terrain mode selector with hill descent control

Engine Options

One engine is available for the 2017-2019 Toyota RAV4, while the 2017-2019 Subaru Outback offers a choice of two engines. However, if a hybrid is what you're after, the 2017-2018 RAV4 Hybrid drivetrain could help extend the distance between fill-ups.

The 2017-2018 Toyota RAV4 has two engine options:

Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Outback: Toyota RAV4 Engine | CarMax
  • A 176 hp, 2.5L four-cylinder engine

  • A hybrid platform with 194 hp and a 2.5L four-cylinder engine

All 2019 Toyota RAV4s are powered by a 203 hp, 2.5L four-cylinder engine.

The 2017-2019 Subaru Outback is powered by either:

Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Outback: Subaru Outback Engine | CarMax
  • A standard 175 hp, 2.5L BOXER® four-cylinder engine

  • An optional 256 hp, six-cylinder engine

Fuel Economy

Stretch out the distance between trips to the pump with the 2017-2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. This 194 hp hybrid system gets an EPA-estimated 34 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.†† For 2019 and later, you can expect the Toyota RAV4 with AWD to get an EPA-estimated 27 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.††

The 2017-2019 Subaru Outback lets you pick between power and fuel consumption, so you can shop for the engine that best suits your needs. The base-model 2.5L engine and AWD nets an EPA-estimated 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, or 28 mpg combined.†† When you opt for the 256 hp, six-cylinder engine, you can expect an EPA-estimated 22 mpg combined fuel economy.††

Towing

Are you pulling a small boat or trailer? The 2019 and later Toyota RAV4 has you covered. All 2019 and later RAV4 models can tow an estimated 1,500 lbs when properly equipped.††† Want more towing capacity? Look for the 2019 and later AWD RAV4 Adventure trim, which can tow an estimated 3,500 lbs when properly equipped.†††

The 2017-2019 Subaru Outback can also tow a small load, with an estimated 3,500-lb towing capacity with the standard 2.5L engine, when properly equipped.†††

Tech Features

If the latest tech features are near the top of your list, the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Outback don't disappoint. Loaded with essentials, the base-model 2019 Toyota RAV4 may impress you with its standard driver aids.

The 2017-2019 Subaru Outback has an optional seven-inch high-resolution navigation system, which is a great choice if you regularly journey outside your local area. In addition, EyeSight driver aids come on 2017-2019 Outback Touring trims.

Here are the other tech features you can expect across both models from 2017-2019:

Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Outback: Toyota RAV4 Tech | CarMax
  • Adaptive cruise control, forward pre-collision braking, automatic headlights (standard for 2017-2018), and lane-tracing assist (standard for 2019)

  • A seven-inch touchscreen high-resolution navigation system (2017-2018 Limited and Platinum trims)

  • Wireless charging capability (2019 Limited trim)

  • Apple CarPlay® capability (standard for 2019 and later)

Subaru Outback

Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Outback: Subaru Outback Tech | CarMax
  • A seven-inch high-resolution touchscreen with navigation (Touring trim)

  • A 12-speaker Harman Kardon® sound system (Limited and Touring trims)

  • Pandora®, Aha, and Stitcher smartphone app integrations

  • Siri® Eyes Free (Premium trim and higher)

Cargo Space

When you're taking a group of people along for an adventure, you need the space to stash their gear. Both the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Outback offer lots of flexible interior space for passengers and cargo.

The 2017-2018 Toyota RAV4 has room for 38.4 cu ft of luggage behind the second row, which opens up to 73.4 cu ft with the second-row seats folded. The 2019 RAV4 offers 37.6 cu ft of cargo space behind the second row.

Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Outback: Toyota RAV4 Cargo Space | CarMax

The 2017-2019 Subaru Outback can fit up to 35.5 cu ft of cargo behind the second row, which increases to 73.3 cu ft with all seats folded.

Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Outback: Subaru Outback Cargo Space | CarMax

Pricing

See below for average CarMax prices for recent model years of the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Outback.

Toyota RAV4

  • 2017 – Average prices less than $20,500

  • 2018 – Average prices less than $21,500

  • 2019 – Average prices less than $26,500

  • 2020 – Average prices less than $28,000

Subaru Outback

  • 2017 – Average prices less than $23,000

  • 2018 – Average prices less than $24,500

  • 2019 – Average prices less than $26,500

  • 2020 – Average prices less than $32,500

Safety Ratings

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 received an overall five-star safety rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The 2019 Subaru Outback also achieved a five-star safety rating. Certain vehicles may have unrepaired safety recalls. Click here to look up a specific vehicle.

2019 Toyota RAV4

Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Test: A head-on collision between two similar vehicles traveling at 35 mph.

Overall: 4/5

Side Barrier Crash Rating Test: A vehicle standing in an intersection sustains driver-side impact from a vehicle moving at 38.5 mph.

Overall: 5/5

Side Pole Crash Rating Test: A vehicle slides sideways at 20 mph and impacts a tree or telephone pole.

Overall: 5/5

2019 Subaru Outback

Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Test: A head-on collision between two similar vehicles traveling at 35 mph.

Overall: 5/5

Side Barrier Crash Rating Test: A vehicle standing in an intersection sustains driver-side impact from a vehicle moving at 38.5 mph.

Overall: 5/5

Side Pole Crash Rating Test: A vehicle slides sideways at 20 mph and impacts a tree or telephone pole.

Overall: 5/5

Reliability

Both the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Outback have above-average reliability scores. Read on to see how these two SUVS stack up.

Toyota RAV4

RepairPal gave the Toyota RAV4 an overall reliability rating of 4 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as above average.

Cost: RepairPal reports that the average total annual cost for repairs and maintenance on a Toyota RAV4 is $429, compared to an average of $521 for compact SUVs and $652 for all the vehicles RepairPal considered in its dataset.

Frequency: According to RepairPal, Toyota RAV4 owners bring their vehicles into a repair shop for unscheduled repairs an average of 0.3 times per year, compared to an average of 0.3 times for compact SUVs and 0.4 times for all the vehicle models RepairPal considered in its dataset.

Severity: RepairPal reported that the probability of a repair being a severe or major issue is 10% for the Toyota RAV4, compared to an average of 11% for compact SUVs and 12% for all the vehicles RepairPal considered in its dataset.

Subaru Outback

RepairPal gave the Subaru Outback an overall reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as above average.

Cost: RepairPal reports that the average total annual cost for repairs and maintenance on a Subaru Outback is $607, compared to an average of $573 for midsize SUVs and $652 for all the vehicles RepairPal considered in its dataset.

Frequency: According to RepairPal, Subaru Outback owners bring their vehicles into a repair shop for unscheduled repairs an average of 0.4 times per year, compared to an average of 0.4 times for midsize SUVs and 0.4 times for all the vehicle models RepairPal considered in its dataset.

Severity: RepairPal reported that the probability of a repair being a severe or major issue is 12% for the Subaru Outback, compared to an average of 13% for midsize SUVs and 12% for all the vehicles RepairPal considered in its dataset.

RepairPal Reliability Ratings are based on the actual cost, frequency, and severity of unscheduled repairs and maintenance on make/model data for select 2010-2019 vehicles. The reliability of a specific vehicle may vary depending on its maintenance and driving history, model year, trim, and features.

*RepairPal Reliability Ratings are provided by RepairPal and CarMax is not responsible for their accuracy. These ratings are based on RepairPal Reliability data as of 12/31/2018. Learn more.

Performance

The fastest Toyota RAV4 from zero to 60 mph is the FWD 2019 model, powered by a 203 hp, 2.5L four-cylinder engine. It accelerates to 60 in 8.2 seconds (according to the manufacturer, when new). If you're looking for the RAV4 with the lowest fuel consumption, check out the 2017-2018 RAV4 Hybrid, with an impressive EPA-estimated 32 mpg combined.††

Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Outback: Toyota RAV4 Performance | CarMax

With a powerful 256 hp, 3.6L six-cylinder engine and CVT, the 2017-2019 Subaru Outback 3.6R hustles from zero to 60 mph in just 6.9 seconds (according to the manufacturer, when new). The Outback's symmetrical AWD is designed to keep it planted in a variety of road conditions. When equipped with the 2.5L four-cylinder, the 2017-2019 Subaru Outback gets an EPA-estimated 28 mpg combined.††

Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Outback: Subaru Outback Performance | CarMax

Emissions

The greenhouse gas emissions for these two vehicles depends on the powertrain you choose. Take a look below for details.

Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Outback: Toyota RAV4 Emissions | CarMax

According to EPA estimates, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 2.5L AWD produces an estimated 296 grams per mile of greenhouse gas emissions. The 2017-2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid produces an EPA-estimated 275 grams per mile.

Subaru Outback

Toyota RAV4 vs. Subaru Outback: Subaru Outback Emissions | CarMax

According to EPA estimates, the 2019 Outback produces the following greenhouse gas emissions:

  • The 2.5L four-cylinder AWD Subaru Outback produces an estimated 320 grams per mile.

  • The 3.6L six-cylinder AWD Subaru Outback produces an estimated 398 grams per mile.

These estimates are based on a brand-new model. Visit fueleconomy.gov for more details.

The Bottom Line

Whatever adventure you have in mind, an SUV like the Toyota RAV4 or Subaru Outback can check all your boxes. There's plenty of cargo space for luggage or gear, tech to stay connected, and comfort for a long ride. AWD and multi-terrain drive modes can give you confident traction in a variety of road conditions. Both the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Outback stand ready to tackle life's next grand adventure.

Looking for more information on vehicles like these? Check out these additional resources:

Based on prices on CarMax.com from October 1, 2019, through March 1, 2021. Actual prices may vary based on your selected model year, features, and trim packages. Prices do not include taxes, tags, titles, and any applicable fees.
††Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates for when vehicle sold as new. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. Unless specified, figures are for vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. See fueleconomy.gov.
†††Various factors may impact towing capacity, including weight of passengers, cargo, and options/accessories.
* Price excludes taxes, title, registration, and fees. Applicable transfer fees are due in advance of vehicle delivery and are separate from sales transactions.

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