2021 Subaru Forester vs Honda CR-V
Are you wrestling with the ultimate decision – which small SUV should grace your driveway this year? The 2021 Subaru Forester and the 2021 Honda CR-V have both established themselves as titans on the market, setting a lofty bar for their competitors. To help make your choice easier, allow us to give you an inside look at these two beloved vehicles so that by review's end, there will be no question about what car is right for you.
It's easy to understand why 2021 Subaru Forester has remained a fan favorite for the past few years - it's consistently packed with features! This year, drivers can get standard turn-swiveling headlights and Auto High Beams on every trim level. Plus, the 8.7 inches of ground clearance provides enhanced off-roading capabilities that you won't find in other small SUVs like Honda CRV or similar models. Whether you're looking for reliable all wheel drive technology or extra protection while driving around town at night, there is something special about this fifth generation model that makes it stand out from its competitors!
The 2021 Honda CR-V offers a sporty driving experience with plenty of power and fuel efficiency. Its cavernous interior is utility personified, boasting an array of storage options for life on the go! Comfort abounds while its handling keeps you feeling in control behind the wheel. Though one small caveat - there's no single knob to help fine tune your tech display, alas that comes down to personal preference - not enough tenders make all the difference here. Tow capacity dips below average compared to other vehicles in this class but overall it provides reliable performance regardless of any venture forth.
Which trim level should you get? Let's examine their available powertrains, driving characteristics and safety ratings to assess which offers the best value for your money this model year. Afterward, we'll give our final verdict on which small SUV you should invest your hard-earned funds in this model year.
First and foremost, let us discuss powertrains. Since these are what propel vehicles forward, getting the right one is paramount. The 2021 Subaru Forester comes standard with a 2.5-L 4-cylinder engine producing 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque coupled to an efficient continuously variable automatic transmission (or CVT for short). All-wheel drive (AWD) is standard across all Forester models - providing extra traction and stability control when driving over slippery surfaces for added off-road adventures!
For the 2021 Honda CR-V, we have a standard turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 190 hp that's paired to a CVT transmission. Unlike the Forester, front-wheel drive is standard equipment on all trim levels but you can opt for AWD at your discretion.
Be aware that both vehicles only offer one powertrain option. You cannot upgrade to something more powerful or select a transmission other than CVT.
Now that you understand a little more of what these small SUVs have under the hood, let's take a look at how they perform. What makes a vehicle enjoyable to drive? Acceleration plays an important role, but so do braking capabilities, steering precision, handling capabilities, ride quality interior comfort levels - and of course creature comforts!
Let's first examine what makes driving the Forester such a pleasure. Even though its engine and CVT take 9.3 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph, its other driving characteristics are impressive. The brakes feel secure, allowing you to make an emergency stop with confidence. Even while rounding corners at higher speeds, drivers get enough feedback through their steering wheel for them to feel secure about how well the Forester is tracking. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance plus X Mode (which provides hill descent control and trail capability), the Forester is equipped with capabilities not found elsewhere - making it ideal for off-roading activities which most other small SUVs cannot match.
The Forester will keep you riding in comfort all day long. Long commutes are made cozy by well-padded seats and ample lumbar support in the front seats, while road noise is barely audible and even wind noise (caused by its height) is barely audible - a trade-off for all that extra ground clearance. From behind the wheel you have an elevated view thanks to slender roof pillars. Many Forester trims come equipped with heated front seats while an available automatic climate control system does a thorough and swift job of keeping the cabin at your desired temperature quickly and accurately.
The controls within the cockpit are straightforward to read and use; there's no guesswork involved here, with so many physical buttons available. Furthermore, the 8-inch infotainment system is easy to operate too; its dual screen set-up looks fantastic and is fully functional. Voice commands work seamlessly as the system recognizes natural speech patterns, while you can sync your smartphone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto for even better navigation capabilities.
The 2021 Honda CR-V boasts impressive acceleration compared to its rival, taking you from zero to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds. While not particularly thrilling, it's certainly doable for daily drivers. Plus, with CVT transmission that feels more responsive than expected from such a transmission, steering and handling feel planted at all times for added confidence in driving.
The CR-V's ride quality is impeccable, offering smoothness and serenity inside the cabin. Even when equipped with 19" wheels and shorter tire side walls, it stays comfortable on rough road surfaces. The front seats provide plenty of support during long drives; however, unfortunately the automatic climate control system struggles to keep up with your set temperature.
Up front, you have plenty of adjustability. The tilting and telescoping steering wheel make it simple to find a comfortable driving position. While physical controls are user-friendly enough, the infotainment touchscreen isn't particularly user-friendly; buttons are small and hard to press while driving simultaneously, voice recognition does not work well at understanding natural speech patterns, and navigation screen buttons may feel clunky at times.
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How do these vehicles stack up when it comes to safety features and test scores? That is something you should consider before deciding which SUV to buy. Both Forester and CR-V come well equipped with driver aids, making them both great choices - but which one is safer?
Subaru EyeSight, a suite of advanced driver aids that comes standard on every trim level, enhances the Forester experience. This bundle provides adaptive cruise control (which adjusts your vehicle's speed to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front), forward collision mitigation (which warns you of potential front impacts and applies brakes if it senses you won't), lane departure warning (which alerts you when your car veers off course), and lane keep assist (which will steer the Forester back into its lane when it detects that you have drifted over the keep marker). Upgrading to the Premium trim level unlocks additional options such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. These systems will alert you if a vehicle is in your blind spot while changing lanes or going in reverse, with rear automatic braking available on all models except the line-topping touring which also features a driver monitoring system which keeps an eye on any signs of drowsiness or distracted driving.
The Forester received an impressive five-star overall rating from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) for 2021, with only one point lost due to rollover risk at 16.9%. Furthermore, numerous 'Good' marks were given out by Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) during its safety tests.
Safety is a top priority for Honda. Every trim level comes equipped with the Honda Sensing suite of driver aids, including forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, collision mitigation braking system, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams. Upgrading to EX brings standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert capabilities as well.
NHTSA awarded the 2021 CR-V a five-star rating, with one point deducted for Passenger Frontal Barrier Crash Rating and rollover risk (16.4%). IIHS gave this SUV 'Good' ratings in many tests as well, placing it alongside Subaru Foresters.
Which Offers the Best Value?
The 2021 Honda CR-V boasts impressive build quality with many high-grade interior materials throughout its cabin. While its turbocharged engine is powerful and enjoyable to drive, its infotainment system leaves something to be desired. While Subaru Forester doesn't have similar tech issues, its engine feels slightly slower. Both vehicles have industry average warranty coverage; however, Forester just edges out CR-V due to being competitively priced and providing more well-performing tech features.
Which Vehicle Is Better?
Neither vehicle is superior. If you plan on doing mostly city and suburban driving, then the CR-V might be your best bet. But for those seeking exciting off-road adventures, the 2021 Subaru Forester is an excellent option. The Forester's 8.7 inches of ground clearance and standard AWD make it an incredibly capable off-roader, something most other small SUVs cannot boast. By opting for the Forester instead of the CR-V, you save some money since there is no extra charge for AWD instead of its standard FWD option. While it may take some getting used to, once in motion this SUV is perfect for taking off the beaten path. Pack up some camping gear and take your family on an exciting weekend adventure together!