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Subaru Outback vs Toyota RAV 4

Two different cars in one photograph.

Choosing which cars to get is difficult without the right information to understand which is better. That can be the case for the Subaru Outback vs. Toyota RAV 4, which are both great vehicles on their terms. That’s why I researched quite thoroughly to see the differences between the two to find better.

Overall, the Subaru outperforms the Toyota RAV in safety features, space, comfortability, and off-road readiness. The Toyota does have a slightly more powerful engine that is more responsive than the Outback’s standard engine, and you can get a hybrid version that is more fuel-efficient

The RAV 4 and Outback come in the same price range, with the Toyota RAV 4 having more engine options. However, the Outback has a better interior than the RAV 4, making it feel more quality worthy of your money.

Outback vs. RAV 4

Front view of a white toyota car.

The Outback across each year model has become refined to what we now know as a station wagon mixed with a mid-sized SUV; however, it still takes a lot of exterior design inspiration from the wagon. The Outback drives like a sedan and has an SUV’s ground clearance to give a great bird eyes view. The Outback is a unique styled vehicle that gives more than just versatility and comfortability on the road or off.

The Outback is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who want something fuel-efficient for the city and can take you out of the city for some adventurous times. Thanks to its all-wheel drive, it makes going off-road possible while retaining a sleek urban look.

The Proportions of the new RAV 4 is better than what it was, with a longer wheelbase but shorter overall, which makes it still line up with other middle-sized family crossovers such as the Qashqai, Honda CRV, the VW Tiguan, and Peugeot 308.

The RAV 4, similar to the Honda CRV, followed the footsteps of creating a  mid-sized SUV that is fun to ride on the road and can be taken off the road to get you to your favorite hiking spots. It feels and drives as you would expect from a mid-sized SUV, which feels like more of a family-ready car that looks slightly aggressive.

However, it could maybe be the well-made Toyota model on the market. It’s perfectly designed as a mid-sized SUV, ticking many boxes in different aspects to which drivers would look when choosing a vehicle like this.

Size Comparison

Full side view white car in the picture.

The Toyota RAV 4s exterior dimensions are surprisingly shorter than the Outback’s body, making it the smallest two. The RAV 4s wheelbase is 105.9 inches; its length is 180.9 inches overall, a max-width of 73 inches, and an overall height of 67 inches. The dimensions emphasize the boxy shape of the RAV 4 compared to the Outback.

Due to its smaller size in length, the Toyota RAV has smaller room for passenger’s legs and luggage. The RAV 4s legroom in the front is 41 inches, and the second row of seats at the back has a snug space of 37.8 inches. Rav 4 can only seat five people; one can only expect a max volume of passengers to be 98.9 cubic feet.

The Outback has a bigger wheelbase of 108.1 inches, giving the Outback more area on the road allowing for a comfortable ride. The overall length of Outback is 191.3 inches, a max-width of 73 inches, and an overall height of 66.4 inches. The Outback and RAV 4 are similar in both width and height of the vehicle.

The Outback uses its wagon shape to its fullest ability giving passengers comfortable seating space. The front row seats legroom space is 42.8 inches; back seats have 39.5 inches of legroom space, enough to stretch those legs on a long road trip. The Outback seats five people with a max cubic volume of passengers at 109 cubic feet.

Comparing the twos cargo volume, the RAV 4 shines at the back, having 37.6 cubic feet, compared to the Outback’s 32.5 cubic feet. However, overall the Outback still has the most when the back seats are down with 75.7 cubic feet of space, and the RAV 4 has 69.8 cubic feet.

Engine Comparison

An inside view of toyota rav4's engine.

The Toyota RAV 4 comes standard with a 2.5-liter non-turbo four mated to an eight-speed automatic with FWD (Front-wheel-drive) standard and optional AWD (all-wheel drive). The engine produces 203 horsepower and 184 pounds of torque, which is above the Outback’s standard engine.

The fuel economy for the RAV 4 is similarly as good as the Outback; the Front-wheel drive pumps out numbers of 28 miles per gallon for the city and 35 mpg for the highway. Those numbers do drop as low as 25/32 mpg in the higher premium version of the RAV 4; AWD-only TRD Off-Road.

Unlike Subaru, the RAV4 has a hybrid option that makes 213 horsepower, with a standard electric AWD motor that can do 41/38 mpg. The Toyota comes with more options for you to choose from in terms of different engine sizes and types.

The Outback, on the other hand, standard comes with a boxer 2.5L DOHC engine that produces 182 horsepower and 176 @ 4400 of torque. The Outback does have a turbocharged engine model that produces 290 horsepower, which outperforms any of the Toyota RAV 4 models.

The Outbacks fuel economy is slightly less than the Toyota RAV 4, with 26 mpg for the city and 33 mpg driving on the highway. The turbocharged model does affect that number but not on the plus side as one would’ve wished for.


The Outback and Rav 4 both have similar features on the outside and inside; the only thing that is necessary to point out is that the quality of material on the Outback’s interior is better than the RAV 4s.

The Outback has more safety features than the RAV 4, but that’s Subaru safety quality for you; what more can be said. On both the RAV 4 and Outbacks models, there are a lot of extra upgrades, but the Outback’s interior is focused on luxury and the RAV 4 more sporty interior.


The Outback and RAV 4 are closely similar, and their performance specs come in really close to one another. It’s a decision that will come down to taste, value for money, what type of car you’re looking for, and so forth. The Outback is perfect for more off-road with its all-wheel-drive capabilities, and the RAV 4 suits more urban usage.

Comparing the two, the Outback does seem to have the edge in many areas, but when it comes down to the car’s performance on the road, the RAV 4 does seem better on the standard level. If you’re looking for something that takes fuel economy seriously, the RAV 4 is the better choice.