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Honda CR-V vs. Subaru Forester: Which Should You Buy?

Compact SUV buyers are looking for value and utility, and the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester have plenty of both. When it comes to deciding between the two, which is best for you? Let’s compare the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester to find out.

[See full affordable compact SUV rankings]

2014 Honda CR-V LX AWD

2015 Subaru Forester 2.5i with automatic transmission

185

Horsepower

170

$2,150

EPA-estimated Annual Fuel Cost

$2,000

104.1

Passenger Volume

113.1

37.2

Cargo Volume with All Seats in Use

34.4

3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and 5-year/60,000-mile limited powertrain warranty

Warranty

3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty

Rearview camera, Bluetooth, cruise control, conversation mirror, USB and auxiliary audio ports

Standard Features

All-wheel drive, rearview camera, Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary audio ports

$24,370

Base Price

$23,195

The 2014 Honda CR-V is currently our top-ranked Affordable Compact SUV. It’s also our 2014 Best Compact SUV for the Money. Reviewers love the CR-V because it drives like a car, and has plenty of passenger and cargo space. Those factors have helped drive the CR-V’s popularity, but that popularity has a downside for consumers: it can be tough to get a deal on the CR-V. Our Honda CR-V pricing data show that most buyers pay close to the Honda CR-V’s MSRP. Honda deals on the CR-V tend to be few and far between, which lowers your chance of saving on the Honda CR-V.

[See all Honda Deals]

The 2015 Subaru Forester doesn’t rank as highly as the Honda CR-V (as of this writing, it’s in eighth place), but it has more cargo space when all seats are folded down. It also has standard all-wheel drive. When equipped with all-wheel drive, the Honda CR-V is $1,175 more than the Forester. Even two-wheel drive models of the CR-V LX are just $75 less than the Forester.

[See pictures of the Subaru Forester and pictures of the Honda CR-V]

So why isn’t the Forester a home run? Reviewers say that its base engine could use more power, and that its continuously variable automatic transmission is a bit jerky.  They also say that its optional navigation system seems out of date. The CR-V doesn’t get those complaints. The 2015 Subaru Forester doesn’t have predicted reliability data yet, but its score will probably be similar to the 2014 model’s rating, which is lower than the Honda CR-V’s predicted reliability.

If space, price and standard all-wheel drive are what’s most important to you, go for the Subaru Forester. If you can compromise a little on overall cargo and passenger space, and want a compact SUV with a smooth transmission and highly rated reliability, go for the CR-V.

[Compare the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester for yourself]

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