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2014 Rav 4 vs. 2014 Outback

Hi everyone,

I wonder if you could please give me your thoughts about the Rav 4 performance and reliability as compared to the Outback.


Here are my thoughts. We all have biased opinions about vehicles so just decide what you want and have a mechanic look at it. You are going to get pretty much the same answers as in your other threads.
I have told this before: Some time ago someone listed what they wanted in a vehicle. The thread went on for quite awhile with several recommendations. They actually told us what they bought, an all electric BMW which was not mentioned by anyone.

Both of those cars have had a larger than normal percentage of engine failures. The Rav 4s from improper;y torqued head bolts or poor piston design and the 4 cylinder Outbacks from blown head gaskets. If you can find a 6 cylinder of either one they were ok, but they are hard to find.

Are you sure about the 2014 RAV engines. This is the 2.5 engine that is updated compared to the 2.4 used in the prior models.

As far as comparing, if the RAV is FWD would have less parts to break than the AWD Subaru. Now if you need AWD then it is a different story.

The Subaru has a CVT transmission and it could be a bit more annoying to drive and more prone to breakdown.

As we always say, you have to test drive them. If the seat on one is uncomfortable then what we think is irrelevant. Also with any used car, previous maintenance would be a key factor. For a 2014 I would say previous abuse is more an issue as probably it has only needed 2 oil changes.

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While I agree with everything that Mr Volvo has said, since you specifically mentioned these two vehicles, here it goes.

3 years ago, I was in the market for a vehicle and looked at 2015 model of both of these vehicles. We didn’t like Rav4 a bit. We loved Outback but was out of our budget so we went with 2015 Forester premium trim with EyeSight. We are quite happy with our purchase.

So if your 2014 Outback has an EyeSight and you live in a snow-prone area then I would go with Outback without a second thought. The AWD system of Outback makes life very safe to drive on snow/icy roads. That said, recently Subaru sent us a notification that warranty for our transmission is extended to 10 years or 100,000 miles whatever comes first. That indicates that there are more problems with the transmission that the company anticipated so if you want. I have not read transmission issue of these vehicles on the boards yet but there is a possibility.
Plus, Subaru has an issue with oil burning. If you maintain it well, you should be good but still expect to pour half to one quart of oil over the period of 6 months.

In spite of all this, I plan to buy another Subaru in a year or two. The winter performance of this car takes the cake.

In addition to the mostly-valid comments made already, I have to point out what should be obvious–namely that the OP is comparing vehicles that are in different size categories.

The Rav-4 would be properly compared to the Subaru Forester model with which it actually competes.
The Outback would more comparable to Toyota’s Highlander model, or–even better–with the now-discontinued Toyota Venza.

Consumer Reports did on-snow uphill testing of Subaru, Honda and Toyota AWD cars a couple or few years back. I don’t recall which models, but my hunch is Forester, CRV and RAV4. I do remember the Subaru was clearly superior to the others in that test.

Noelm, What was price difference between outback and forester premium? You know, I don’t and I am not going to look it up. I would guess it a few thousand? How would a 27k car wreck your finances vs a 29k car?

I have a 2014 Legacy 2.5L which is the sedan version of that platform. I can’t speak to the RAV4.

Supposedly the head gasket problem with the 2.5 has been fixed but the fix may be nothing more than a bottle of “conditioner” (stop leak) added to the coolant system so that if the head gasket starts to leak, it is sealed back up immediately. So far no problems with mine at 63k miles.

The CVT may have a faulty solenoid in the valve body. It requires that a new valve body gets installed. Mine has had this done, that is why the 100k mile warranty was issued for the transmission. Mine went bad at 58k while still under the factory warranty.

One very big issue with these vehicles are the seats. A high percentage of drivers find them very uncomfortable after an hour or so. Not all drivers find this but I would recommend a long test drive to be sure. If you can sit in them for two hours without back pain, then you should be good to go. I use an aftermarket lumbar support in my car, even though it has the adjustable lumbar support built in, it is positioned too high for me (for anyone in my opinion, the lumbar is not at kidney level).

One last thing that may or may not be important to you. I have already had to have the charcoal canister replaced, fortunately under warranty. This is about a $1200+ job. The problem is if you go through deep water, in my case about 4", water gets into the canister filter and saturates it. That is about a $500 replacement. After the filter was replaced, the air pump for the filter quit working and that required the canister to be replaced.

The Outback has a higher ground clearance, but I have hears about this happening to Outbacks and Forresters on a Subaru forum.

I have mixed feelings about factory adjustable lumbar supports in general

I’ve got a bad back, but not everybody’s got the same bad back as I do

And those lumbar supports are a waste of time for me, but I know people for whom they’re a godsend

My appologies for my old eyes, I misread the question and was replying about the 2004 models.

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As far as personal experiences, we were shopping for something in the RAV4 class in 2016. I ended up with an ex-rental 2015 Tucson with 30K miles on it. It had more power and more extra’s compared to the LE RAV4 and also was quite cheaper as used. Normally I do not care about the extra’s but this car was mostly for my daughter, teen at the time and she is used to auto lights off, BT, rearview camera, etc.
I did a lot of research and the Tucson came with the Hyundai extended warranty included. Since then Hyundai has extended a recall on their 2.4 Theta II engine to include 2014 models and the jury is still out whether my 2015 has the same engine issue or they REALLY addressed the poor bearing design by then. For now I have another 70+ K miles on the warranty and make sure to keep all the receipts from the DIY oil changes.
Moral of the story, you can never be too careful and do still go wrong, It is a car.

I agree. The last part of the sentence is the most important. Any vehicle can quickly be destroyed by neglect, abuse, or an accident. A good look-see by a good mechanic is essential. And believe absolutely nothing the seller says.

Thanks Volvo_V70!