Help me choose between a 2005 Toyota RAV4 and 2005 Subaru Forester

Thursday November 14 2019


By Paul Kaganzi

Hello Paul, I am a mother of two children trying to choose between two SUV cars; a 2005 Toyota RAV4 and 2005 Subaru Forester. Please tell me about these two cars. Cynthia M

Hello Cynthia, the 2005 Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester are second generation compact cross over utility vehicles (small SUVs with some features of the big SUVs). They both share practical features such as five doors with an open rear load space (boot), foldable middle row seats which give way to increased load space and All Wheel Drive AWD feature (optional for RAV4) which gives these SUVS some level of multi terrain access on tarmac roads and occasionally light off road conditions.

Design, exterior and Interior: RAV4’s angular lights and more aerodynamic curves gives it more striking looks and its slightly higher profile makes it stand out in the crowd. RAV4 passengers also enjoy a better view thanks to a slightly higher seating position and better head room.
Forester’s flat face and straight lines give it a more aloof and business like look which overshadows the subtle curves that improves the first generation’s blunt looks. Forester’s slightly lower profile (1650mm vs 1680mm) gives it better centre of gravity which gives you superior handling and control during fast paces on winding highways.

Both cars have reasonably ample seating space as they have the same width (1735mm) but Forester has slightly more legroom for front passengers thanks to its longer profile (4450mm vs 4193mm).
The interior of both cars is plasticky but functional and durable. RAV4 upholstery feels more comfortable and supportive. Audio entertainment, climate control and convenience electric features such as power windows and central locking are basic and easy to use.

Performance and reliability: Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester share platforms with their saloon counterparts Camry and Imprezza. This gives both cars a saloon like feel as you drive them.
Toyota and Subaru provide a variety of engines. RAV4 gives a good blend of modest performance and fuel economy while Forester leans more on the side of thrilling performance and will overtake the RAV4 without breaking sweat. RAV4’s 1.8 litre 1ZZFE engine delivers 120 Horse Power (HP) and fuel economy of 16km/ litre on the highway while the 2.0 litre 1AZFE and 2.4 litre 2AZFE will give you 145 HP with fuel economy of 16.9 km/litre and 160HP with fuel economy 11.4 km/litre respectively.
Forester’s 2.0 litre naturally aspirated engine delivers an output of 137HP and fuel economy of 11.6 km/ litre while the turbo charged 2.0 litre engine delivers 219 HP and fuel economy of 10.7 km/ litre. Foresters 2.5 litre non turbo delivers 173 HP while the turbo charged 2.5 litre engine spews out 224 HP and gives you 11.5 km/ litre. Both cars are reliable in build quality terms with ready availability of service and repair parts both at a dealership and independent level.