What Makes the Subaru Forester a Leader in the Compact Crossover SUV Segment?

Fun and functionality don't have to be mutually exclusive automotive traits anymore. Modern engineering makes it possible for a family vehicle to be both practical and enjoyable to drive -- but not every small crossover SUV can balance these two characteristics quite as well as the Subaru Forester. This modestly-sized hauler is as safe and levelheaded as it is well-appointed -- and Fort Stewart, Wilmington Island, Georgetown and Georgia area drivers have been thoroughly impressed by the Forester's high-tech cabin.


Looking for more specifics on what makes the Forester such a worthwhile investment? We went ahead and pitted it against the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V so you don't have to do the comparison shopping for yourself.

You can browse our findings below:

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The Subaru Forester versus the Honda CR-V

  • Part of the everyday utility of the Forester is its affordability, something that gives it an edge over the more expensive CR-V.

  • While more inexpensive, the Forester doesn't skimp on size, as it's longer and taller than the CR-V with greater cargo and passenger space.

  • Even with its traditional SUV capabilities, the Forester balances its ruggedness with such refinements as a standard Subaru STARLINK™ infotainment system with smartphone app integration and a touchscreen display. This system is exclusive to the Subaru brand so, needless to say, you can't get it on the CR-V. And CR-V drivers must pay more for general infotainment as well as a dashboard screen.

  • As you might assume from its Subaru branding, the Forester boasts more off-road oriented with standard AWD, selectable drive modes for optimum traction, available hill descent control, and a tighter running radius than that of the CR-V. An AWD system is available at a cost for CR-V drivers, and the other features aren't even an option.

  • The Forester gives drivers a choice of engines, including a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that overshadows the CR-V in both horsepower and torque. The CR-V can only come powered by a bland four-cylinder.

  • Again, the Forester's standard manual offers rare driver engagement for the crossover class, and that's something the automatic-only CR-V just can't compete with.

The Subaru Forester versus the Toyota RAV4

  • As a purebred Subaru vehicle, the Forester comes equipped with standard all-wheel drive (AWD), so you can benefit from all-weather traction year-round. Base models with AWD are a rarity in this class, as most automakers ask drivers to pay more for the luxury of surefootedness. All-wheel drive is only an option on the RAV4 -- and to top it all off, the Forester earns better AWD fuel ratings than the RAV4, too.

  • Speaking of uncommon conveniences, the Forester also come standard with a manual transmission, which is a rare treat in the segment. Do you enjoy the engaging driving dynamics that comes with manually shifting gears? You don't have that option on with the automatic-only RAV4.

  • Six trim levels versus three -- which would you rather choose? You get many more options with Subaru than Toyota thanks to half a dozen Forester models.

  • The Subaru STARLINK™ interface is exclusive to the Subaru brand, and it comes standard with the Forester (including smartphone app integration). The RAV4's entertainment and safety features are packed into higher trim levels, which costs you more money.

  • The RAV4 only has one, four-cylinder engine option, while the Forester boasts two choices, including a potent turbocharged engine.

  • The Forester is lighter and taller than the RAV4, making room for more cargo and passenger space.