Honda CR-V vs Subaru Forester: A Crossover Comparison

Honda CR-V vs Subaru Forester: A Crossover Comparison



The crossover segment is one of the fastest growing vehicle classifications. Why wouldn’t it be? A well-built crossover offers the great drivability of a sedan with the ground clearance, cargo space, and AWD (aka 4WD) of an SUV. It’s the best of both worlds.

Of the small handful of crossovers that are rugged, spacious, comfortable, and fuel efficient, two really seem to stand out—the Honda CR-V and the Subaru Forester. Each offers full crossover benefits on top of affordable price tags. The used Honda CR-Vs currently available have an average cost of just $4,500, while a used Subaru Forester will cost $3,900 on average. Keep reading for a full crossover comparison of the Honda CR-V vs Subaru Forester.

Design Comparison

The current models of the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester are nearly identical in size. The only noticeable difference between the two is in their width. The CR-V is 58 mm wider in the rear, making it seem like there is a small amount of extra passenger space in the back, but all that extra space goes to the cargo area. On the other hand, the passenger space in the Subaru Forester is uniform throughout. The CR-V has a cargo capacity of 37.2 cubic feet where the Forester features 31.2 cubic feet.

Engine and Transmission Comparison

Honda CR-V

Under the bonnet, the Honda CR-V is powered by any of three engines. Depending on the market, the base unit can be either a 1,496 cc turbocharged I4 capable of 190 bhp and 243 N-m of torque or a 2,354 cc I4 capable of 184 bhp and 245 N-m of torque. The only diesel offering is a 1,596 cc turbodiesel I4 offering 160 bhp and 350 N-m of torque. Prior to 2013, the most common gearbox found in a Honda CR-V was a five-speed automatic, but that has been slowly phased out in favor of a CVT (continuously variable transmission), or single-speed transmission.

Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester has been powered by different versions of the same 1,988 cc I4 since 2008. The current power plants are capable of 148 bhp and 198 N-m of torque in the lower trim level and 276 bhp and 350 N-m of torque in the top trim package. The single turbodiesel offering is capable of 130 bhp and 328 N-m of torque. The most common gearbox found in a used Subaru Forester is a four-speed automatic, but some units can be found with a five or six-speed manual.

Safety Feature Comparison

Honda CR-V

Both the Honda CR-V and the Subaru Forester have received top ratings from safety agencies around the globe. To insure your safety, a used Honda CR-V can be equipped with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, active front head restraints, front side and side curtain airbags, a back-up camera, LaneWatch blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and a forward collision warning and mitigation system. The most recent version of this system is also able to distinguish between vehicles and pedestrians and apply the brakes automatically.

Subaru Forester

A Subaru Forester can be equipped with these safety features—antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side and side curtain airbags, a rearview camera, the Starlink Safety Plus telematics system, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and forward collision mitigation systems with automatic braking.

Fuel Efficiency Comparison

Honda CR-V

There are so many engine and transmission combinations that we could spend all day talking about fuel efficiency on a CR-V vs Forester comparison. To save on time and mental energy, we’ll look only at the most fuel efficient powertrains. Because the Forester is an AWD-only vehicle, we’ll use the numbers for an AWD equipped CR-V for a fair comparison. The Honda CR-V that would be the 2,354 cc I4 paired to a CVT. That combination is capable of delivering 10.6 km/l in town and 13.0 km/l over open road.

Subaru Forester

A Subaru Forester equipped with a 1,988 turbo I4 paired to a CVT is able to offer owners 9.78 km/l in the city and 12 km/l on the freeway. These numbers are for well tuned vehicles. Read this post to find out how to keep your fuel economy at its best.

Driving Experience Comparison

Both the CR-V and Forester offer great handling and a driver-focused experience. Each corners well and is able to take turns like a mid-size luxury sedan. There is little-to-no body roll, even when you take tight turns at higher speeds. While the Forester experienced some criticism about road noise, Subaru listened to its customers and completely eliminated the problem for all newer models.

Honda CR-V vs Subaru Forest: There Is No Wrong Choice

One of the perks of doing a crossover comparison between two superior specimens is that they have all the right things in common. The handling in each is nearly identical as are all of the standard and optional safety equipments available.

You really can’t go wrong with either of these vehicles. In one corner, you have the Honda CR-V with its first rate fuel efficiency and 2WD options, which make it even more fuel efficient. In the opposite corner, you have the ever affordable Subaru Forester that features a time-proven AWD system known to be one of the most durable on the market. Beyond that, we hope this CR-V vs Forester crossover comparison has provided the information you need to make an informed decision about the crossover that is right for you.

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