I can completely understand why some motorists prefer SUVs. The high ride height and seating position offers a feeling of extra security, and the extra visibility in the traffic doesn’t hurt either. There’s perhaps a feeling of invincibility which is worth paying for, over the price of a standard four-door sedan.
However a full-sized SUV can be very expensive to buy, very expensive to maintain, and if you choose a petrol engine, almost certainly expensive to run. Each tyre will require a call to your bank manager to replace, and then of course there is the daily battle of parking the thing without scratching it.
Enter the mid-size SUV. Sometimes built on car platforms, these often offer the best of both worlds. For about the same price as a normally-sized family sedan, you can buy yourself that high seating position, the status of an SUV and the added benefit of being more capable when the going gets rough. The engines are smaller so they use less fuel; the tyres are standard so they cost less.
We took two of the most popular mid-size SUVs on the market and put them head to head in a couple of tests. In our main feature video, we’ll take you through how much they cost, which one is better to drive, which one offers more interior space, handles the best and last but not least, which car’s tailgate has the best built in safety system. That one’s hard to explain, you’ll just have to watch the video.
The cars tested in this video are both the top spec, highest price vehicle in their ranges. The Toyota Rav4 has been with us forever now, and this latest generation is a particularly brilliant revolution of a very popular nameplate in South Africa.
In the USA, the Subaru Forester outsells the Rav4. It is by far and away the company’s most popular vehicle in this country. With a reputation for bullet-proof reliability, the Forester offers a sports-car feel, with all the practicality of a big SUV body. The XT tested here also offers 177kW, using the same engine as the rally-bred WRX, making this the GTi of the segment.
Be sure to watch the other videos from this head-to-head shootout.
Handling Test, Gravel and TarWhich car will lose grip first? Ciro makes himself nauseous while driving in circles, trying to see which car can reach the highest speed using their clever all-wheel drive systems, without understeering - losing grip. The Forester is famed for its Symmetrical All Wheel Drive, so can the Toyota Rav4 keep up?
Boot Race, Boot Safety: Ciro Sticks His Neck OutMany cars are now available with electronic bootlids or tailgates. So we organised a race to see which was fastest to open and close, between the new Toyota Rav4 and Subaru Forester. Ciro then tested the safety systems of these bootlids by literally sticking his neck out.
The Ultimate Space Test: We Ask Some Schoolkids To Load Up The Two CarsCiro is lazy. He enlisted some school kids to pack all of their bags into the new Toyota Rav4 and Subaru Forester, to see which offers more load space. The winner was surprising.
Toyota Rav4 vs Subaru Forester XT – Everything you need to know
|Toyota Rav4 2.5 AWD VX||Subaru Forester XT AWD|
|Price||R428 900*||R529 000|
|Engine||2.5-litre inline four||2.0-litre flat-four turbo boxer|
|Gearbox tested||Six-speed automatic||Lineartronic Sportshift CVT|
|Power||132 kW||177 kW|
|Torque||233 Nm||350 Nm|
|Acceleration||Not supplied||7.5 seconds|
|Top Speed||Not supplied||210km/h|
|Fuel consumption||8.5l/100km (claimed average)||8.5l/100km (claimed average)|
|Tank capacity||60 litres||60 litres|
|Warranty||3 year/100 000km, 3 year corrosion, 3 year roadside assistance||3 years/100 000km|
|Service Plan||5 year/90 000km service plan||-|
|Maintenance Plan||-||3 years/75 000km|