Automotive

2021: Outback XT versus Rav4 Hybrid versus Kia Sorento

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 16th, 2021 8:52 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Dec 27, 2011
22 posts
6 upvotes

2021: Outback XT versus Rav4 Hybrid versus Kia Sorento

Which would you choose? I have to do a long road trip move in one with some boxes from a studio apartment. And then will be using it as a daily driver in a snowy Kootenay town. Safety, seat comfort, ride quality, handling are all important to me--as is adaptive cruise/lane centering tech that works very well. I'm an amateur in snow driving, so one that makes it easiest is important.

Any idea which one would negotiate me the best deal on a top of the line trim (outback premier, rav4 hybrid limited, sorento sx)?
31 replies
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
36577 posts
22729 upvotes
Center of Universe
A hybrid would be the better choice for long road trips.
Sr. Member
Dec 25, 2006
638 posts
559 upvotes
Winnipeg
One bit of advice - DO NOT RELY ON TECHNOLOGY to help you be a better driver. What happens if and/or when it fails?
Driving is not "easy". You need to stay alert and on top of what you're doing at ALL times. Far too many people aren't these days.

As far as vehicle choice - my brother bought a RAV4 hybrid and loves it for it's fuel economy. I have no idea on driver aids.

Kia no idea/experience although Kia's resale values don't seem to be too great in comparison to Toyota and Subaru.

As to Subaru - their Eyesight package is ok. I owned a '16 Legacy which is one generation older. Eyesight is/was completely vision based so in heavy/medium snow and rain it would completely shut down. Cruise control wouldn't even work - was a giant pain.
People will believe what they want to believe whether fact or fiction.
'tis most frustrating when they aren't open to see and/or learn which is which.
Sr. Member
Jul 3, 2001
836 posts
239 upvotes
GTA
vkizzle wrote: A hybrid would be the better choice for long road trips.
Hybrids excel when urban/city driving, not on the highway. You'd hardly see any difference between a hybrid vs regular version on a road trip/highway driving.
Deal Addict
Mar 17, 2016
1693 posts
1696 upvotes
Outback XT will have the best AWD system out of all of those by far, so it will be a lot better in the snow. It is also the most powerful and quickest out of the three. Sorento will be the biggest in terms of interior space out of the three and RAV4 hybrid obviously the most fuel efficient.
Sr. Member
Feb 25, 2015
696 posts
233 upvotes
ON
All fine choices OP. Test each one and pick the one you like best. Happy car shopping.
Newbie
Mar 14, 2018
42 posts
31 upvotes
I'd probably take a hard look at the Sorento X-Line(? I don't see a SX). Kia seems to have upped their game overall and their adaptive cruise is supposed to be one of the better systems. Of course, like others say, there are questions about reliability (2021 is a re-design) and resale value seems to be questionable although I've never followed Korean car prices.

I wasn't able to test drive the RAV4 in November as they are very popular and the local dealer didn't have any. The wait time for a car can vary by area, but I'm guessing there isn't much wiggle room in pricing. I was interested in the Venza, but 3-6 month wait and price wasn't negotiable in Quebec.

The top end Outback has a giant touch screen that controls everything - including your heated seats. I've seen on reviews that people are not happy since it's hard to operate with gloves. Starting your car in the winter, and then fussing through the display to find your heated seats and climate controls is stupid. The lower trims have plenty of buttons though. Theoretically you can do this through your phone and start the car remotely but I don't want to install an app that controls my car remotely.

I'm sure all of the cars are capable in winter driving when you budget good winter tires. I've been very happy with Nokian tires for at least a decade now, except for the Hakka 7's. Maybe it was just my luck/where I was living/weather but I kept getting flats on them and the traction never excelled. I'm very happy with my Hakka R3s now.
Deal Addict
Oct 1, 2015
1922 posts
2384 upvotes
Barrie, ON
Snow? Road trips? Subaru is the easy choice here.
Sr. Member
Oct 21, 2006
887 posts
626 upvotes
I personally prefer the RAV4 for reasons of comfort, reliability, and safety.
Deal Addict
Nov 10, 2018
4332 posts
4565 upvotes
Hmm. Do I want to potentially replace an incredibly expensive battery (both from a $ and environmental perspective?).

No. Plus, you can disable the auto start stop module now on the Outback with a 3rd party add on for about $100 and 30 minutes of labour. I'd take the Outback anyday, even though the 2020+ year models have that large stupid infotainment screen now out of the 90s.
For legal topics and discussions, the opinion, guidance, and thoughts provided are my own and are not considered to be legal advice, in any manner.
Deal Addict
Jun 14, 2008
3657 posts
2432 upvotes
Montreal
rmleider wrote: I'm an amateur in snow driving, so one that makes it easiest is important.
Be very careful if you get the Outback, it'll have so much grip to get going that you won't realize how slippery the road is until you try to turn or stop.
[OP]
Newbie
Dec 27, 2011
22 posts
6 upvotes
jzmtl wrote: Be very careful if you get the Outback, it'll have so much grip to get going that you won't realize how slippery the road is until you try to turn or stop.
I thought grip just was from tires
Deal Addict
Apr 22, 2013
2824 posts
2169 upvotes
Markham
rmleider wrote: I thought grip just was from tires
It is, but the Outback will have a planted feeling making it very easy to feel overconfident.
Sr. Member
Sep 15, 2017
668 posts
703 upvotes
Rav4 easily here. Kia and Subaru are a tier below.
Deal Addict
Jul 21, 2005
1902 posts
974 upvotes
Alberta
oilerfan89 wrote: Rav4 easily here. Kia and Subaru are a tier below.
The oilers are a tier below :P, Subaru would be a clear winner in the snow. Somehow this is a third thread in a row where the same story comes up, but with the 18" of snow recently I drove around a new Toyota RAV4 on a super snowed up residential road, parked my car, helped dig/push the guy out of the same snow I drove through 4x already this day.....then got back into my Forester and carried on home. Some of these AWD systems are a joke. Spinning 4 wheels in one spot doesn't help the car move, nor would not providing enough torque to the wheels that don't spin to actually get you out.
Deal Addict
Apr 22, 2013
2824 posts
2169 upvotes
Markham
oilerfan89 wrote: Rav4 easily here. Kia and Subaru are a tier below.
Definitely not when it comes to handling. The RAV4 consistently fails the moose test, the Plug in hybrid most recently failed while the regular car failed last year. To my shock the old Kia Sorento a vehicle where I have little opinion on its handling and despite being bigger, heavier and older...does better. If you want your RAV4 to handle more safely, supposedly you will have to ask your Toyota dealer to reprogram the VSC...but I highly doubt this message came over to North America, thus I wouldn't be surprised if you asked and they have no idea what you're on about. Unfortunately North American tests focus on crashing and I don't know how many RAV4 owners here know of how poorly this car handles, it seems the only Europeans test safety with regards to handling.

I've said good things about the new Corolla and the Camry because it was warranted, neither is super amazing but I've driven them and found them reasonably good. I've always said the RAV4 was one of Toyota's worst new model particularly for its handling, always felt its handling was bad, always wondered if driving a sports car daily has made me be overly harsh on normal cars...turns out I was actually too nice.
[OP]
Newbie
Dec 27, 2011
22 posts
6 upvotes
eblend wrote: The oilers are a tier below :P, Subaru would be a clear winner in the snow. Somehow this is a third thread in a row where the same story comes up, but with the 18" of snow recently I drove around a new Toyota RAV4 on a super snowed up residential road, parked my car, helped dig/push the guy out of the same snow I drove through 4x already this day.....then got back into my Forester and carried on home. Some of these AWD systems are a joke. Spinning 4 wheels in one spot doesn't help the car move, nor would not providing enough torque to the wheels that don't spin to actually get you out.
I don't understand. You say you were driving your new rav4, got out to help someone, and then got back into your forester?
Deal Addict
Jul 21, 2005
1902 posts
974 upvotes
Alberta
rmleider wrote: I don't understand. You say you were driving your new rav4, got out to help someone, and then got back into your forester?
Read again, I drove AROUND a new Toyota Rav4, helped him get out, then carried on. He was trying to get out from residential road and ended up diagonally across into oncoming traffic, so I drove around the side through fresh undisturbed powder, parked, and got my shovel to dig him out and push it. Since there have pushed out 3 more cars, none were AWD though, my neighbors RWD mercedes, a Sienna and just this morning a Toyota Yaris (no idea where this guy thinks he is going in FWD small car like that on all seasons)

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