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Adventurous crossovers have become cash cows for automakers and popular picks for drivers. The Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Crosstrek are the cream of the crop, consistently ranking among the best models for resale value and sales. While the two compact SUVs are pretty popular, the 2023 Toyota RAV4 has some significant advantages over the Crosstrek.

Is the Crosstrek the same size as the RAV4?

The 2024 Subaru Crosstrek faces away from the viewer overlooking the ocean at sunset with a tree in the foreground.
2024 Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru

No – while the RAV4 is a compact SUV, the Subaru Crosstrek is technically a subcompact SUV.

While drivers often compare these two crossovers, the two actually belong to slightly different segments. The RAV4 is larger than the Crosstrek, leading to distinct advantages over the Subaru.

The RAV4 has a cargo capacity advantage

A blue 2023 Toyota RAV4 faces the camera directly with a grey studio background.
2023 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

If maximizing cargo space is essential to you, the Toyota RAV4 is a better choice than the Subaru Crosstrek.

Pop the hatch on the newly redesigned 2024 Subaru Crosstrek, and you’ll find 19.9 cubic feet of cargo space. That’s pretty respectable for a crossover that shares its platform and body with a hatchback. According to U.S. News and World Report, folding down the rear seats expands the Crosstrek’s cargo space to 54.7 cubic feet. That’s competitive for the subcompact crossover segment but still falls short of the Toyota.

The 2023 RAV4 offers an impressive 37.6 cubic feet of space in its rear cargo area. U.S. News and World Report says that capacity expands to 69.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. That’s plenty of room for luggage, hobby equipment, or furniture shopping.

The 2024 Crosstrek has fewer powertrain options

While the Toyota RAV4 offers a mix of gas, hybrid, and plug-in powertrain options, the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek is limited to just two traditional gas-powered engines.

The Toyota RAV4’s engines give it major advantages over models like the Subaru Crosstrek. The RAV4 Prime, with its powerful plug-in hybrid system, has turned into a surprise hit with high demand and higher prices. The RAV4 Hybrid is excellent for balanced performance. And the conventional RAV4 offers the performance of Toyota’s ubiquitous 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine.

The new 2024 Crosstrek lags behind, offering only two engine options. Its base 2.0-liter engine provides only 152 horsepower. It feeds through a CVT and Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system and consequently feels underpowered. According to Kelley Blue Book, moving up to the available 2.5-liter Boxer engine gets you about 30 more horsepower.

A lack of electrification puts the Crosstrek at a disadvantage compared to models like the RAV4. Car and Driver reports that a hybrid Crosstrek is likely to arrive – but for now, the crossover trails behind the RAV4 in fuel efficiency.

Which Subaru is a good competitor to the Toyota RAV4?

The Subaru Forester is a direct competitor to the Toyota RAV4.

While comparisons between the Crosstrek and RAV4 are inevitable, the new Forester is a more equal competitor. The Forester is much bigger than the Crosstrek, allowing it to challenge models like the Toyota RAV4.


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