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2020 Subaru Forester vs Honda CR-V

2020 Subaru Forester vs Honda CR-V

2020 Forester vs CR-V - How do they stack up? Which is Better?

Designed for adventure-seeking drivers, the 2020 Subaru Forester is equipped with a handful of exclusive mechanical technologies. Featuring five seats, this compact crossover SUV offers five models. Available in four editions, the 2020 Honda CR-V is also built for adventure-minded individuals. Optimized for families that love to embark on road trips, both models offer similar cargo and passenger volume.

From Bluetooth to Apple CarPlay, both crossover SUVs offer lots of connection options for tech-savvy drivers and passengers. Security, entertainment and guidance services are readily available in Subaru's STARLINK Multimedia system. Similarly, the HondaLink portal is optimized for smartphone users. GPS navigation systems with traffic and travel updates are also available in these two-row vehicles. These reliable vehicles have lots of accident-mitigation technologies and driving aides that are tuned for urban and suburban trips.

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The Powertrain

Generating a maximum output of 182 horsepower at 5,800 RPM, the 2020 Subaru Forester's 2.5 L BOXER engine block has one of the most innovative designs on the automotive market. The four cylinders in this patented powertrain oppose each other horizontally for optimum performance. This Subaru model harnesses up to 176 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 RPM from the legendary propulsion system. A 1,500-pound towing rating is given to this lightweight crossover SUV, which is equipped with the standard Trailer Stability Assist for extra balance.

Direct injection controls the flow of unleaded gasoline into the BOXER engine. All 16 DOHC valves are lifted and lowered by the Dual Active Valve Control System. The Auto Start-Stop System is another standard mechanical technology that governs combustion in the horizontally opposed engine block. This innovative function significantly decreases the idle time in typical driving conditions.

Following traditional trends in automotive design, the 2020 Honda CR-V runs on a 1.5 L engine block with four cylinders that are aligned in an inline position. When revolving at 5,600 RPM, the turbocharged powertrain whips out 190 hp. This direct-injected engine yields 179 lb-ft of torque at tachometer readings above 2,000 RPM. All 16 valves in the turbo propulsion system have the conventional DOHC configuration.

This 2020 Honda crossover SUV also offers a hybrid powertrain that packs big punches in terms of output. Running through combustion phases based on the Atkinson cycle, a 2.0 L gasoline engine delivers up to 143 hp and 129 lb-ft. The proprietary i-VTEC nameplate is applied to this efficient four-cylinder engine, which uses port fuel injection to start every combustion cycle.

A lithium-ion battery pack provides on-demand power under the hood of the 2020 CR-V. Additional electrical output is generated by an AC motor that includes a permanent magnet at its core. When working at peak levels, the hybrid powertrain produces up to 212 hp and 232 lb-ft. This Honda crossover SUV can run on the EV, ECON and Sport modes, which are all activated manually by the driver.

When it comes to all-weather handling, the 2020 Forester offers tremendous utility thanks to the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. This standard drivetrain governs the transfer of torque to the wheels. Under normal driving conditions, the Symmetrical AWD sends 100 percent of all available power to the front wheels. On a rainy day, this trademark driveline system may divert most of the available power to the rear axles.

By default, the 2020 CR-V is driven by a front-wheel drive (FWD) system. However, upgrades are available to the optional Real Time AWD that has excellent all-weather capability. Monitoring traction in all four wheels, the Intelligent Control System boosts the performance of this innovative drivetrain.

When it comes to shifting gears in the 2020 Forester, the driver will have endless options thanks to the Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission. Select trims can run on seven different manual modes. This proprietary CVT system also includes the Adaptive Control technology that learns the unique shifting and steering patterns of the main driver.

Featuring the Sport Mode, a non-branded CVT system is standard on the 2020 CR-V. The hybrid powertrain is mated to the E-CVT, which can also operate on the Sport Mode. Deceleration selectors allow the driver to quickly slow down without making drastic changes in gear ratios.

Regardless of the powertrain and drivetrain, the 2020 Forester has a standard fuel economy of 33 MPG on the highway. When tested in the city, this Subaru crossover SUV earns a fuel economy of 26 MPG. The vehicle's 16.6-gallon fuel tank should be filled with regular unleaded gasoline.

When equipped with a 2WD and CVT, the 2020 CR-V offers a gas mileage of 34 MPG on the highway. This configuration also earns a city fuel economy of 28 MPG. Models that run on the Real Time AWD and CVT are rated at 27 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway. The hybrid trims get up to 40 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway. All models come with a 14.0-gallon fuel tank that should be filled with octane 87 fuel.

In terms of reliability, the 2020 Forester and 2020 CR-V are protected by a powertrain warranty that's valid for up to five 5 years or 60,000 miles. The Rust Perforation Limited Warranty has a five-year limit for the Subaru model. Similarly, Honda's Corrosion Limited Warranty expires five years from the date of purchase. The Honda Care covers any CR-V model that's less than three years old.


Standard on the 2020 Forester, the Subaru Intelligent Drive guarantees a predictable ride on paved surfaces. The SI-DRIVE technology operates on two different modes based on feedback from the Engine Control Unit and Transmission Control Unit. Therefore, the driver is less likely to experience erratic movements on the road. The SI-DRIVE precisely calibrates the throttle for a smooth cruise.

The X-MODE technology makes the 2020 Forester much easier to handle than in previous years. By adjusting the spin in all wheels, this cutting-edge function maximizes traction on wet and dry surfaces. When merging on ramps or making sharp turns at narrow intersections, this Subaru crossover SUV is balanced by the Active Torque Vectoring. The car's cornering abilities are dramatically enhanced by this trademark function.

The 2020 CR-V doesn't have as many mechanical technologies that focus on cornering and handling on low-friction roads. However, this Honda model offers a remarkably quiet ride on the highway because of the Active Noise Cancellation. This standard acoustic technology minimizes loud sounds from the powertrain, especially during rapid acceleration. Of course, the EV Mode virtually reduces any noise that's typically produced during combustion.

The 2020 Forester base trim has a passenger volume capacity of 111.9 cubic feet. All other models offer a passenger volume capacity of 107.8 cubic feet. By contrast, most of the CR-V trims have a passenger volume capacity of 102.9 cubic feet. The base edition has an additional 3.0 cubic feet of space for passengers. Both crossover SUVs offer slightly more than 40 inches of legroom in the front row.

Up to 31.1 cubic feet of cargo space is available inside the Forester base model. All other editions can store up to 28.9 cubic feet of cargo. These measurements are taken behind the second-row seats. The CR-V base model stores up to 39.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats. When the rear seats are folded, this entry-level trim stores up to 75.8 cubic feet. However, the Honda hybrid trims have slightly lower cargo capacities. Both crossover SUVs are fitted with roof rails that are compatible with third-party racks and other hardware.

Subaru has done an excellent job in minimizing distractions for the driver inside the 2020 Forester. Using advanced microphones in the cabin, the STARLINK Multimedia system recognizes advanced speech commands. The 8-inch LCD monitor is also highly sensitive to gentle touches, swipes and taps. Additionally, the driver will receive important updates from SiriusXM Travel Link and Traffic services that are included in the GPS navigation software.

Measuring 7 inches, the 2020 CR-V's touch screen isn't as good as the STARLINK display in terms of visibility. However, this Honda crossover SUV offers the HD Digital Traffic for proper guidance on freeways. Both models offer hands-free use of mobile phones through the latest Bluetooth technology. Additional wireless pairing may be done through Android Auto, which is ideal for consumers who prefer Google technology.

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Optional in the 2020 Forester, the DriverFocus technology sharpens the driver's awareness of the road. This state-of-the-art feature comes with a separate digital monitor that's positioned above the infotainment system. When it detects drowsiness or other careless behavior behind the steering wheel, the Distraction Mitigation System immediately generates graphical warnings. Such a driving aide isn't available in the 2020 CR-V or most other models from the same class.

The Reverse Automatic Braking is another class-leading safety feature that's optional for the Forester. In addition to receiving assistance from the RAB, the driver may get cues from the Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. Standard in all trims, the Rear-Vision Camera also improves the driver's judgment for steering this Subaru model in reverse. High-resolution images from the camera appear on the STARLINK touch screen.

In terms of preventing accidents, Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist is comparable to the Honda Sensing technology. Both signature safety packages have functions that automatically apply the brakes and correct the steering system. These crossover SUVs also include cruise control systems that automatically adapt to traffic flow.

Equipped with the Hill Descent Control, the Forester is much safer to drive on hills than the CR-V. This Subaru will not accelerate out of control when driving down a steep slope. The HDC works in tandem with the X-MODE to deliver superb stability on elevated roads. Standard on the Honda model, the Hill Start Assist gives the driver extra time to properly shift the gearbox from a parked setting into drive.

Most of the security features in the 2020 Forester are powered by the STARLINK suite. After a crash, the Automatic Collision Notification function comes on. This Subaru model also has the SOS Emergency Assistance. Concierge services and remote services by STARLINK can be easily managed on a compatible smartphone. The 2020 CR-V's HondaLink suite has limited features compared to the Subaru's signature security portal.

A keyless entry system is another standard security technology in the Forester. This feature comes with an answer-back chirp to confirm the locking of all doors. PIN-activated access is also available in most trims for enhanced security. Additionally, this Subaru crossover SUV has a standard engine immobilizer that's linked to an electronic key fob.

Standard in the 2020 CR-V hybrid models, the Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System is an all-new security technology that gives drivers peace of mind. An immobilizer function also controls the direct ignition system in this efficient Honda crossover SUV.

Which Has the Best Value

The 2020 Forester base trim has a starting price of approximately $24,500. Priced at slightly more than $34,500, the Touring is the most expensive model on the roster. The 2020 CR-V LX base edition has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of just above $25,000. When wearing the Touring badge, this Honda model has an MSRP of more than $33,000.

Despite their similar price ranges, these crossover SUVs offer dramatically different value in performance. No extra fees are required for Subaru's iconic Symmetrical AWD or Lineartronic transmission. By contrast, the optional Real Time AWD increases the retail price of the CR-V. The Forester's SI-DRIVE and X-MODE are some other high-performance features that provide better value in handling.

In terms of digital connectivity, the most expensive Forester models offer better features than the most expensive CR-V trims. For example, the STARLINK Multimedia Navigation is directly linked to lots of cloud-hosted services and mobile applications. Near field communication and 4G LTE Wi-Fi are also supported by the STARLINK platform. Such innovative connectivity features are simply not available in the CR-V's infotainment system, which doesn't even carry a patented name.

Consisting of nine speakers, the 2020 Forester's Harman Kardon sound system offers much better entertainment than the 2020 CR-V's generic nine-speaker sound system. The patented audio system in this Subaru crossover SUV blasts nearly 580 acoustic watts. Some awesome music options in the STARLINK suite include iHeartRadio, Aha, Pandora and SiriusXM Satellite Radio All Access. The Honda competitor doesn't even come close to matching such a great music lineup.

As far as value in interior comfort, both crossover SUVs offer heating in the front seats and automatic climate control systems with dual zones. Rear outboard seats with heating are also optional in the Forester. Such features aren't available in the CR-V, but rear heating ducts still keep the rear passengers warm on chilly days.

Designed to block up to 95 percent of incoming UV rays, a panoramic power sunroof is standard on most of the Forester trims. Similarly, most of the CR-V models have a power-adjustable moonroof with one-touch controls and a tilting function.

Which is Better?

Equipped with the BOXER engine, X-MODE, Symmetrical AWD, and other innovative mechanical functions, the 2020 Forester is the better option for drivers who strongly value all-around performance. This Subaru model also offers better value in digital technology through the STARLINK Multimedia system, which has Wi-Fi and an array of music services. Since the 2020 Honda CR-V is available with a hybrid powertrain, this model is a better choice for consumers who prioritize efficiency.

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