Toyota Highlander vs Subaru Forester (2022 Model): 11 Big Differences


Subaru and Toyota are both well-known for their dependability. Subaru’s, in particular, are well-known for their standard all-wheel-drive and practicality, while Toyotas have long been market leaders due to their affordability and safety. These companies provide customers with two excellent options: the 2022 Forester and Highlander.

There are some significant differences between the two models, such as the 2022 Toyota Highlander’s three rows of seats versus the 2022 Subaru Forester’s two rows, but there are also many similarities. This overview will go over several in-depth topics so that customers have all the information they need to make the best decision.

The 2022 Subaru Forester and Highlander share some similarities, but there are several notable differences. First and foremost, the Highlander has more seating. For some buyers, the third row is essential. To that end, the Highlander has more cargo space, but the Subaru Forester still has plenty of interior space.

Engine & Horsepower 

A hybrid powertrain with a system output of 243 hp and a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque are both available in the 2022 Toyota Highlander. The Highlander also has a good fuel economy of 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

The 2022 Subaru Forester doesn’t exactly excel at acceleration or top speed. The only available powertrain is a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter boxer-four engine coupled to a CVT, which will probably disappoint most customers. This engine’s output is 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. As a result, it has an outstanding fuel efficiency of up to 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.


SUVs are vehicles for drivers who respond to the call of adventure, even if the adventure becomes a little messy. Both the Forester and the Highlander have stain-resistant upholstery, so you can enjoy nature without worrying about bringing it inside with you. The interior of the 2022 Toyota Highlander has some nice features, such as heated and cooled seats, dual-zone climate control, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and smartphone integration for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A head-up display is also available on the Toyota Highlander 2022.

On the other hand, the interior of the 2022 Subaru Forester is likewise a pleasant place to be because of its ample room, high-quality interior materials, and superior build quality. The dash and center controls are well-designed and simple to operate. Particularly with the Sport trim, colored highlights and stitching give the inside a vibrant, pleasing appearance. StarTex, which repels water, and copper stitchings are features of the Wilderness trim.

2022 Toyota Highlander interior
2022 Subaru Forester Interior

Specification & Features 

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is standard on all 2021 Subaru Forester models, allowing you to traverse snow, ice, rain, sand, mud, and any other surface with maximum traction, handling, and control greater confidence wherever you go. The 2022 Toyota Highlander comes standard with front-wheel drive, and while all-wheel drive is available on all models, it is more expensive and will only widen the price gap between the two vehicles.

The new Toyota Highlander has more standard horsepower than the Subaru Forester but gets less gas mileage. If you want to spend less time at the pump, the Forester is the way to go.

Fuel Economy / Gas Mileage 

Buyers of Toyota can choose between a more powerful V-6 and a fuel-efficient gasoline-electric hybrid. The Highlander Hybrid’s power drops from 295 hp to 263 hp, but it delivers has a good fuel economy of 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

According to the EPA, the 2022 Forester gets 26 mpg in the city, 33 on the highway, and 26 on the road. That’s roughly the same as all-wheel-drive versions of the Toyota Highlander, which combine 28 and 29 mpg. Both of those crossovers, however, can be equipped with hybrid power, with EPA combined ratings in the 40-mpg range.


To extend the shelf life of an SUV, or use it at an optimal level for a long time, following the standard maintenance schedule is vital. A 2022 Toyota Highlander’s total annual cost for repairs and maintenance is $489, compared to $573 for midsize SUVs and $652 for all vehicle models. Every 5,000 miles or every six months, whichever comes first, you should take your 2022 Toyota Highlander in for routine maintenance. As for the 2022 Subaru forester, it is recommended that Subaru Forester is serviced every 6,000 miles or one year, whichever comes first.

Read More: 2022 Subaru Forester Review + Specs, Price & All FAQs

Common Problems 

The 2022 Toyota Highlander models face NHTSA complaints about incorrect fuel tank capacity. Also, as a part of the SUV family, the Toyota Highlander is said to be available for everyday trips in 2022. The car company wants customers to “explore where your boundaries take you,” but with this model, it doesn’t seem to be very far. As for the 2022 Subaru Forester, the common problems include issues with the powertrain, electrical issues, and the engine. 

Drivers have voiced their complaints about the engine noise. The sound is described as “abrasive buzzing.” The noise is further made worse by the variable transmission on the SUV.


If you’re looking for a low-cost option, the 2022 Subaru Forester outperforms the 2022 Toyota Highlander. The new Subaru Forester starts at slightly more than $25,000, while the new Toyota Highlander starts at slightly more than $35,000. With that price difference, you can get the highest Forester Touring trim level for roughly the same price as the base Highlander model. This difference in price is huge and the 2022 Subaru Forester is proving a better value for money, as it delivers well for its price.

Safety & Reliability 

The 2022 Toyota Highlander receives mostly favorable safety ratings. According to the IIHS, the performance of its headlights varies by trim. The LED headlights on Platinum trims are “Good” by the IIHS, while the LEDs on other Highlanders were rated “Acceptable.” Even so, the Highlander is a Top Safety Pick+.

The Highlander gets adaptive cruise control, active lane control, lane-departure warnings, and automatic emergency braking on all models. A surround-view camera system and parking sensors are available as options. Blind-spot monitors are standard on Highlander LE and higher, and they help with the large crossover, though outward vision is adequate.

The 2022 Subaru Forester receives an overall five-star rating from the NHTSA, with a single four-star rating for rollover resistance. Because of “Good” crash-test results across the board and LED headlights that track with steering input, the IIHS named it a Top Safety Pick+.

Every Forester comes standard with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. Blind-spot monitors are a small additional cost. We’d buy them, but the Forester has thinner roof pillars and more glass than some competitors, providing excellent outward visibility.


The 2022 Subaru Forester standard has 2-row seating for five people and cloth upholstery. As an option, car owners can choose leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Its heated front and rear seats can be adjusted up to ten different ways. Because of the longer wheelbase, the cabin legroom is also increased, and the space allows easier access through wider openings.

The Toyota Highlander 2022 has three rows of seats for up to eight people. Seating is extremely comfortable, especially in the first two rows, which are covered in textured leather. Seats in the middle can be adjusted to provide more legroom based on the passengers’ heights.

Why Choose Toyota Highlander vs. Subaru Forester

The bodywork on the 2022 Toyota Highlander is sharper and more distinct. Sleek LED headlights define the front end, and a muscular character line along the profile emphasizes the rear haunches. The Highlander receives excellent praises for its exceptional comfort and superior fuel efficiency. 

For driving through curves, it has confidence, and its quick acceleration is helpful when navigating small towns. Long-distance drives are very comfortable while using it. However, the Highlander’s third-row seat is uncomfortable and falls short of the standards set by the best competitors in this market.

2022 Toyota Highlander

Why Choose Subaru Forester over Toyota Highlander

The 2022 Subaru Forester is a well-thought-out crossover SUV with exceptional space, a great ride, and standard AWD without a fuel-economy penalty. The 2022 Toyota Highlander cannot compete with the 2022 Subaru Forester in terms of value. The new Toyota Highlander starts at slightly over $35,000, while the new Subaru Forester has a starting price of just over $25,000. With that pricing difference, the base Highlander vehicle can be upgraded to the top Forester Touring trim level for around the same cost.

2022 Subaru Forester


These are competitors with varying strengths. The 2022 Toyota Highlander offers a significant advantage in looks, but drivers prefer the 2022 Subaru Forester’s punchy low-end performance. Although the Highlander has a lower cost of ownership, the Forester has more cargo space and third-row legroom. Neither SUV will disappoint, but we’d go with the Subaru for our money.

The two models are comparable in terms of amenities, safety, and technology. When one model is compared to the other, nothing stands out. The overall effect of Highlander’s high-quality components is impressive. If a customer can afford the higher trim levels of the Highlander, they will be rewarded with a fantastic ride.

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