Comparison: Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid vs. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

can be reached at christianwardlaw@gmail.com
  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

can be reached at christianwardlaw@gmail.com
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When comparing the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid to the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, the first thing you need to realize is that one is a plug-in hybrid and one is not. Therefore, comparing these hybrid SUVs is like choosing between an apple and an orange.

The Subaru is the plug-in hybrid, and the Toyota is the traditional hybrid. Both offer EV driving, sort of. The Subaru travels up to 17 miles at speeds as high as 65 mph, while the Toyota operates solely on electricity for short distances at low speeds. Think: backing out of your driveway. Each of these crossover SUVs also offers standard all-wheel drive, seating for up to five people, and folding rear seats for added cargo capacity.

Crosstrek Hybrid availability is limited, and it comes only in Limited trim. The price is $35,970 including the destination charge, and the government offers a federal tax credit of $4,502, which helps to reduce the cost if you owe that much or more in taxes.

Toyota sells the RAV4 Hybrid nationwide and in large quantities. The SUV comes in four different trim levels, and the price ranges from $28,970 to $36,970 with the destination charge. Since it doesn’t plug in, no federal tax credit is available.

Aside from these primary differences, which of these green-leaning crossover SUVs is the right one for you? Let’s find out.

The Best Things About the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid vs. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Dashboard Views
Only the Subaru supplies both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and a generous 10-year subscription to connected services. In the Toyota, you settle for Apple CarPlay and Alexa, and much shorter trials of the company’s various Connect service plans. (Subaru and Toyota)

As an urban runabout for a single person or a couple without kids, the Crosstrek Hybrid makes sense. During the week, you can commute and run errands mainly on electricity. On the weekends, adventure beckons thanks to the Subaru’s superior 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

Additionally, it comes loaded with equipment right out of the box, and that helps it edge the Toyota both in terms of creature comforts and a standard IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating that only applies to the RAV4 Hybrid when it is optioned with upgraded headlights.

Subaru also provides both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, while Toyota supports only Apple and Alexa devices. The Starlink connected services package in the Crosstrek Hybrid is also more inclusive than Toyota’s standard menu of features and is free for 10 years, a much longer period of time.

The Best Things About the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid vs Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Rear Views
With 37.5 cu.-ft. of cargo space behind the rear seat and a maximum of 69.8 cu.-ft. with the rear seat folded down, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid spanks the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid when it comes to utility. (Subaru and Toyota)

Got stuff? Need to haul it? Then the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is right for you. While interior passenger volume is about the same as the Subaru the Toyota offers significantly more cargo space.

It also travels farther between stops for gas, thanks to an EPA rating of 40 mpg in combined driving and 580 miles of total range. And with a similar curb weight but a combined 219 horsepower, the RAV4 Hybrid is both the hot-rod and towing champ of this duo. Plus, it comes with free scheduled maintenance for the first two years or 25,000 miles of ownership.

A lower starting price is possible because there are four trim levels: LE, XLE, XSE, and Limited. Equivalently optioned, the Subaru is the bargain thanks to the federal tax credit. At the same time, Toyota offers some features that are not available on the Subaru, such as ventilated front seats. The company also shuns real leather for an ecologically sensitive synthetic substitute called SofTex.

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid vs. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Which is Better?

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid vs. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Front Quarter Views
Buy the Subaru for its electric driving range and 8.7 inches of ground clearance. Buy the Toyota for every other reason on your list. (Subaru and Toyota)

If traveling purely on electricity or getting as far off the beaten path is high on your list of requirements in a new hybrid SUV, the Subaru Crosstrek is the answer. But it provides those benefits at the cost of cargo space, which shrinks to accommodate the larger battery. And the Crosstrek Hybrid’s availability is limited.

Otherwise, the Toyota RAV4 is the better choice. Supplying 40 mpg and more than double the cargo volume behind the rear seat, it is the more practical daily driver. Plus, its more powerful and will go longer between fill-ups. Best of all, Toyota gives you a variety of versions from which to choose, no matter where you live.

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About the Author

  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

can be reached at christianwardlaw@gmail.com
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