Subaru Forester vs. Honda CR-V

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - May 23, 2018

Though they compete in the same class, the Subaru Forester and Honda CR-V have significantly different personalities. The new CR-V is more tuned toward the everyday driver who’s looking for roominess and comfort, whereas the Forester still has a bit of a chip on its shoulder to handle some off-road beating and a heavy foot. Which of these personalities do we think is the better buy? Continue reading to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Forester & CR-V »

What the Forester Gets Right

The 2018 Subaru Forester kicks things off with a $23,710 base price (including destination), which is $1,535 cheaper than the base 2018 CR-V. That’s not a huge difference, and you cannot add many features with that money, but in a tight competition, every dollar counts. Also, for buyers who enjoy plain-Jane styling, the Forester is for you – it's as basic as they come, save for the range-topping 2.0XT model.

The Forester also gets a feather in its cap for its standard all-wheel drive and its optional 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that pipes in 250 horsepower. The 2.0XT model also shows off its more performance-friendly ways with a sport-tuned suspension and a revised all-wheel-drive system. Sadly, this performance model will bite the dust in 2019, so get one while you can.

What the CR-V Gets Right

The CR-V, though maybe a touch overstyled for some, shows off a little character when placed next to the Forester. The CR-V also wins the roominess war with 40.4 inches of rear seat leg room – 2.4 inches more than the Forester – and up to 75.8 cubes of cargo room. While in this roomier cabin, passengers will also notice the CR-V is more peaceful and upscale than the Forester.

The CR-V wins the battle of the base engines, as its 184-hp 2.4-liter engine beats the Forester’s base 2.5-liter by 14 ponies. Those looking for more thriftiness can go with the 190-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, which delivers up to 28 miles per gallon city, 34 highway, and 30 combined, per the EPA. This beats the best the Forester can do by two mpg across the board. Add all-wheel drive to the CR-V, which is standard on the Forester, and the spread drops to just one mpg across the board.

Taking the Road Less Traveled? Get the Subaru

The Forester can’t hang with the CR-V overall, but its advanced standard all-wheel drive and 8.7 inches of ground clearance make it better for those who like a little off-road adventure. Plus, its potent 2.0-liter engine is a nice addition for the heavier-footed drivers.

Verdict: Honda CR-V

The CR-V is a leader in its class for a reason: it delivers perfectly where needed and gets by well enough in the not-so-important areas. What really matters in this class is roominess, fuel economy, and comfort, and the CR-V crushes it in all three areas.

Take a closer look at the Subaru Forester »

Take a closer look at the Honda CR-V »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Twitter

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