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2023 Subaru Forester vs. 2023 Honda CR-V

Comparison of 2023 Subaru Forester and 2023 Honda CR-V

1. Introduction

The 2023 CR-V features a redesigned front end and rear bumper, along with more upscale features and technology throughout. The 2023 CR-V also adds a newly designed SE model to the lineup. The SE model adds 17" alloy wheels to the already long list of standard features on all CR-Vs. All models now have body-colored side moldings and a new tailgate spoiler. The LX model now has standard steering wheel audio controls and a 160-watt audio system. The EX model and above now have a 6-disc CD changer. Interior, exterior, and features enhancements add comfort and convenience to an already solid and functional vehicle.

The new trim levels, new features, and a revised front fascia and grille distinguish the 2023 Forester from the 2022 model. The most notable change is a new outdoor-activity-themed Sport model. All versions have restyled front bumpers and body color side cladding. The Sport, Limited, and Touring models gain a new look with a high-gloss black and silver metallic finish on the center dash panel and cargo area, along with a new LCD colored display in the meter combination. A new Keyless Access and Start system is added to the Limited and Touring models, and the Touring models now come with a memory driver's seat function. The changes add a premium quality feel in the cabin.

1.1 Overview of the 2023 Subaru Forester

Visually, the 2023 model has been modernized, but retains the identity of previous models and has a good balance of luxury and quality. The traditional Subaru grille has diagonal cross member caught with the oval shaped headlamps and has composite light units and integrated indicators. Wheel arch protection mouldings have increased in thickness so these are more effective and provide a more robust look to the vehicle. 2.5XS and 2.5XS Premium models now come with a colour coded aerodynamic body kit to further enhance the sporty theme. At the rear, new combination lamps have a separate section for the indicator and they are housed in a red circle making them more visible to following drivers. The 2.5XT turbo model is distinguished by a mesh type front grille and 'turbo' badge at the rear. All models come with newly designed 16-inch alloy wheels and have wider 225/60R16 tyres. Step in and out of the vehicle is now easier due to wider opening doors and reduced side sill height. These reduce the distance between the vehicle floor and seat cushion to help prevent clothes becoming soiled when getting into the vehicle. A two-stage reclining system has been provided for rear seats and an electric parking brake is now fitted.

Subaru has unveiled the 2023 Forester, one of its most popular models with customers in Europe and North America. Updating the model, Subaru increased the ground clearance, and the Forester gains in size and capability. Engine and transmission are taken from the Subaru Impreza, but in the Forester they have been complemented by the company's Symmetrical AWD (All-Wheel Drive) system.

1.2 Overview of the 2023 Honda CR-V

Newly redesigned 2023 Honda CR-V is the compact SUV to watch. With a dramatic interior and exterior makeover, more powerful engine and smooth, quiet ride, as well as best off-in-class fuel economy (EPA estimated anticipated), the CR-V is an all-around winner sure to draw attention of car buyers. Available in fall of 2022, the CR-V will certainly retain and bolster its status as one of the most popular compact SUVs on the market. High anticipated fuel economy (with the aid of a new direct injection engine) and best in class crash safety ratings (6), the CR-V will be an incredibly functional and sensible choice for consumers. Exemplary fuel economy comes in the form of the CR-V hybrid as well, which offers the additional benefit of all-wheel drive. Step over to the hybrid model and buyers can enjoy a smooth, responsive driving experience and nary a thought about pulling into a gas station. Horsepower and torque best in class ratings for 1.5L and 2.0L engines from the 2017 CR-V have been increased to 190 and 179 lb-ft, and this power comes on lower in the RPM range with the aid of a new CVT transmission, resulting in quicker and more direct acceleration. Honda targets top-class cabin and cargo space, and the CR-V delivers with best in class interior space and rear seat legroom, and top-class and more conveniently configured cargo space. An 80mm length increase will assist with handling more unwieldy cargo. With many consumers using their SUVs for family transport and/or active lifestyles, the CR-V further stands out with top-class and family-friendly rear seat accessibility – Honda's unique single action adaptive brightness walk-in function for the driver's seat is now complimented by the single action one motion feature for the 60/40 split rear seat, allowing it to fold flat with ease. High-end models of the CR-V will receive upgrades such as wireless phone charging, hands-free access power tailgate, and perforated leather seats with ventilation and heating features. The new CR-V will certainly draw many new and previous customers alike, whether it is for its style, function, or simply enjoyment of the drive.

2. Performance

The 2023 Subaru Forester comes with a nice upgrade for its 182 horsepower 2.5-liter flat-4. Subaru says it is beefier and more responsive than last year's model, and the extra power is definitely noticeable. The 2023 Honda CR-V is still available with a 2.4-liter inline-4. 156 horsepower still gets you around, but with what competitors are offering, it fails in comparison. Opt for the 190-horsepower version. The variable valve timing and lift electronic control (VTEC) give you a boost in power that is definitely noticeable. Overall, when comparing base models and those with upgraded engines, the Forester performs better in terms of horsepower. Both vehicles come with optional all-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available on all models and engine choices. The Forester's AWD is a viscous-coupling type center differential that splits the power 50/50 front to rear and adjusts more torque to the wheels with the best traction. An electronic limited-slip control can be activated at the touch of a button and remains activated up to speeds of 25 mph. This advantage is not found on any other crossover vehicle. All these features make for a very stable ride on slick or uneven surfaces, outstanding handling and response, and the ability to get out of some difficult situations. The CR-V has a Real Time AWD with an Intelligent Control System. This system eliminates the need for a mechanical linkage between the transmission and rear differential, allowing AWD to engage only when front wheel slippage is detected. Although Honda's real-time AWD system provides good inclement weather traction, it lacks the stability and performance of Subaru's AWD system. This is the result of being primarily a front-wheel drive system and having the rear wheels only engage when slippage is detected. Handling and response are better than your typical FWD system, but the CR-V still does not match the stability and response of an AWD system where power is constantly being split to all four wheels. Overall, both vehicles come with a very capable AWD system, but Subaru's is far superior to CR-V's. AWD versions of both vehicles also come with an X-mode feature. The Forester's X-mode feature is an electronic system that is able to control the engine, AWD differential, and brakes to provide the best traction and grip in poor conditions, particularly an off-road situation. X-mode also includes hill-descent control. The CR-V's Real Time Control System has a Normal, Snow, and Sand mode which helps improve AWD performance. Although this is not as advanced as Subaru's X-mode, it is still enough to improve the CR-V's AWD performance in poor conditions compared to its older models without the system.

2.1 Engine Specifications

Subaru and Honda both offer two engines for their compact SUVs, but the Forester only comes with the larger engine in Canada, so this comparison will focus on it. The Forester 2.5L boxer 4-cylinder was all-new in 2019 and carries over with slight changes for 2020. It currently makes 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque, which is less than the pre-2019 models but fuel economy was improved. The base engine for the CR-V is a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder making 190 hp and 179 lb-ft in most trim levels. This powerplant is shared with the Civic and is a detuned version of the 205 hp motor in the Accord and uplevel trims of the Civic. In the base LX trim, or the 2WD Sport models, the CR-V is powered by a carryover 2.4L 4-cylinder making 184 hp and 180 lb-ft which is still available in the US as a budget option with FWD only. This engine makes similar power to the Forester but the CR-V is lighter and uses a CVT, so this low-end CR-V is actually quicker than the base AWD Forester. This motor was available in the past two generations of CR-V so we will look at acceleration for this version separately. The Forester offers slightly more horsepower and torque in the Touring and Limited trims, and the gap widens even more when comparing to the premium fuel recommended for the 1.5L CR-V engine. A new 2020 Forester will run from 0-100 km/h in roughly 9.5-10 seconds, making it one of the slowest in the class with any engine, while the 2.4L CR-V should be a few seconds quicker and is still outpaced by the 1.5L turbo model. This is the area where the CR-V is a clear winner for the average consumer, and the 1.5L turbo is a rare offering with the top trims of the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage being the only other competitors in this class still using more powerful engines. In regards to the reliability of these engines, the K24 that the CR-V has used for the past 13 years has been one of the most reliable engines ever put in an SUV, and we expect the 1.5L turbo to be better with the oil gas dilution issue being the only concern so far, but it has been causing problems in the US and Honda has yet to find a solution. The FB25 that the Forester uses has had many head gasket issues in the past, but the NA version of this engine used exclusively for 2019 and on is now built in Japan whereas previous models were built in the US or Mexico. This move has been part of Subaru's efforts to improve reliability and initial reports do suggest these engines are better so far. Overall, the power and engine range options give the win to Honda if you are looking for some quality pep in your step, and we have rated both of them with the same performance score.

2.2 Fuel Efficiency

The Subaru Forester has a 13.87 gallon fuel tank and gets 22/28 MPG. This means that when the fuel tank is full, the car can travel approximately 305 miles before running out of fuel. This is an improvement on previous models and is a fairly average amount of efficiency for a compact SUV. The CR-V comes in either a 13.2 or 14 gallon tank (depends on model) and gets around 26/32 MPG. This results in a potential 460 miles for the 2WD/14 gallon models. This is a considerably long distance for a small tank and is certainly above average for a compact SUV. From a direct standpoint, the CR-V is more fuel efficient than the Forester and will get you further on a smaller amount of fuel. This in mind, the CR-V could be cheaper to directly run in the fuel category.

The fuel efficiency of a car refers to the distance a car will travel on a certain amount of fuel. It is a very important aspect to consider when purchasing a new car as it will have a lasting effect on your running costs. There are a number of advantages of higher fuel efficiency such as reduced fuel costs, increased performance with the same fuel, and environmental benefits. Basically, something that is more fuel efficient will get further on less fuel compared to something which is less fuel efficient.

2.3 Handling and Suspension

Body roll is likely to be better managed in the CR-V due to the way that it was designed to sit on a low center of gravity so as to improve its handling and to try and fend off the common roll on tall suspension. It is also highly likely that the CR-V will be the more sportier drive when compared to the Forester especially with the 150bhp K20 engine. Unfortunately, this may well compromise the ride quality in the Honda as the stiffly sprung chassis and motors may be a bone shaker on anything other than smooth tarmac. The Subaru is no slouch itself and with revised rear multi-link suspension, there is agility and responsiveness. The new Forester is likely to be the most fun model to drive yet. But this is by no means a contest to show which is the sportiest SUV; the priority for both manufacturers is to create a vehicle that can be driven anywhere and in whatever conditions. It would not be a true comparison of the Subaru and a Honda if we do not bring up the fact that the CR-V is available both as 2WD and AWD, something which is reflected by its crossover nature. The intelligent control system in the CR-V can send as much as 20-40% of torque to the rear wheels when needed and it also gets a more advanced terrain system with sand and mud modes. This is sure to make it superior to the Forester for all-season and all-road use now that Subaru has unfortunately dropped the manual mode from their X-mode system in the latest Forester. This means that X-mode, which is a more advanced system in other Subarus, will be limited to controlling the braking system and will not be as effective as previous automatic variants.

3. Interior Features

Cabin space and comfort The Subaru Secluded is competitive with the CR-V for space and pragmatism. Legroom and headroom in the forefront are excellent, while a tall ceiling provides generous rear-seat dimensions. No Forester has trim, and each has a chunky roof rack with folds close to reduce wind noise and turbulence. The windows are large for better aspects all around, and that rough two-SUV genealogy means getting unlucky is competitive into anyone. Not surprisingly, the turbocharged XT model feels quite lively, but even the base 2.5 X's performance is adequate. CR-V cultivates a more compact image opposed to previous generations, but its passenger volume still betters all current model competitors by at least 2 cubic feet. Of particular note are the rear seat's legroom and the ensuing load floor when it's folded; this can be attributed to a rear seat bottom cushion that flips forward to rest against the front seatbacks, and a two-piece tailgate in lieu of a single unit. Lower doorsills than those of the previous CR-V make entry and exit easier, and there's still plenty of glass area. Both models' emergency pedals have been lowered a centimeter, and though the driver's seat has been shifted an inch inward, Honda claims interior dimensions are virtually unchanged from before. L and LX models have more hollow-feeling, hard plastic trim than EX and above versions, which are graced with a better grade of material. Leather upholstery is not offered on any CR-V, but a more durable seating material is used on EX trims; base DX and LX models have a removable, washable cargo area shelf. Overall, it's a comfortable and space-efficient interior, with a competitive array of storage bins and cupholders.

3.1 Cabin Space and Comfort

From the outside, both of the vehicles look quite similar in size and shape, but when you get inside and sit in the driver's seat, the difference really shows. The Forester feels much bigger on the inside, with more room to stretch out and a full view of your surroundings. The front seats have plenty of cushion and bolster to hold you in place, with the armrest and center console at just the right height. Although the CR-V has lots of interior space, the feeling of spaciousness is taken away somewhat by the high window sills and large center console, giving it a more traditional SUV feel. Both vehicles have rear seats that split and fold for easy access to the commonly used cargo space, and both have available rear seat armrests. The Forester stands out here with the available panoramic moonroof, a feature not available on the CR-V. The Forester also has a power rear gate at a lower cost than the CR-V, creating much more convenience when loading the vehicle. Both vehicles scored well in comfort with lower back support and position in all seating areas. However, with more room and better visibility for everyone in the vehicle, the Forester takes the cake for cabin comfort.

3.2 Infotainment System

Subaru Forester and Honda CR-V both have a huge number of infotainment highlights. The Forester offers the alternative of a 7-inch or 8.9-inch touchscreen or a 12.3-inch advanced instrument bunch while the CR-V's infotainment is shown on a 7-inch screen. The Forester offers Sirius XM radio and HD radio in addition to a Wi-Fi hotspot after a membership installment. Clients can likewise exploit the GPS route framework and a 9-speaker Harman Kardon sound framework. Starlink is a membership-based administration that can likewise be gotten to through the Forester's infotainment with additional on additional items like far off motor beginning from a cell phone. Honda's CR-V upholds both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Sirius XM radio, and an 8 or 9-speaker sound framework. Integrated route and a 9-inch screen can be found on the better quality forms of the CR-V. Both infotainment frameworks have advantages, the Forester's is more at the front line of innovation with the option of voice enactment and the choice to control an assortment of capacities for the new headlamp tech, climate control system, and wipers. However, CNET says that the format is on the muddled side and it very well may be hard to focus on the screens while driving. Influence says the CR-V's framework is clear and straightforward and uses actual fastens and handles for radio and atmosphere controls. They were practically ready to agree with the Blue trim CR-V, which has a modest bunch of cutting-edge wellbeing highlights and a more reasonable value contrasted with speccing up a better quality model.

3.3 Safety Features

The 2023 Subaru Forester includes a variety of near-essential features in active safety. Standard on all trim levels is Subaru's EyeSight system, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and departure mitigation, and pre-collision braking. In addition, a new feature is the Lane Centering Function, which is a hands-on system that centers the Forester in its intended lane for added safety and assists drivers with an extra amount of stability. When entering and exiting the vehicle at night, the Forester offers the added safety of the new approach lighting feature. This operates the automatic headlight feature and lights the vehicle's path for added stability and safety. All trims of the 2023 Subaru Forester come standard with LED headlamps for added visibility and an added touch of style. The 2023 Honda CR-V is also standard with a variety of active safety features. These include road departure mitigation system, adaptive cruise control with low speed follow, collision mitigation braking system, and a lane keep assist system. Also being a standard feature is the auto high beam which provides drivers with a better view and faster recognition of hazards at night and also reduces the risk of a collision. All in all, the Forester includes more safety features as standard than the CR-V, but those looking to spend a lower price on a base model can find the CR-V to provide enough safety for their needs.

3.4 Cargo Capacity

The CR-V has 39.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 75.8 cubic feet of total cargo space. The Forester has 33.0 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 70.9 cubic feet of total cargo space. The CR-V and the Forester have 60/40 split rear folding seats and an easily foldable back seat. The Forester has two levers in the rear cargo area that drop the seats. The CR-V has a lever at the top of the seat that needs to be pulled for the seat to drop. The same result, but the CR-V method is not as simple. The Forester provides a power liftgate. This is standard on all but the base model. This can be very useful when your hands are full and you don't want to set something down to open the gate. With the CR-V, you have to either get the Touring trim or optional with the EX-L trim. This feature is not available with the base model.

4. Pricing and Options

The additional features and upgrades available on the Forester include the all-weather package for $500 which is available for all models except the base, a power rear gate at $300 and keyless access with push button start for $350. There are more additional options available, such as a remote engine starter, some exterior cosmetic upgrades and some added safety features. The CR-V offers more variety of upgrades including an all-wheel drive option, a power sunroof and an automatic dimming rear view mirror. Either car offers a variety of features that allow for customization and personal preference to cater towards many consumers.

For the Forester, there are four available trims, starting with the base model and working its way up to the Sport, Limited and Touring models. The prices are as follows: $24,795, $26,295, $29,395 and finally $31,395. The CR-V has a wider availability of trims, starting with the LX model at a price of $24,045, moving up to the previously mentioned SE model at $25,250, then the EX for $27,560, the EX-L at $30,050 and finally the Touring model at $33,250, which is more expensive than the Forester's top Touring model.

The starting base model for the Subaru Forester starts at a price of $24,795, whereas the CR-V base model starts at $24,045. A clear advantage to the CR-V, there is a more expensive Sport Model available on the Forester for $28,795, whereas the CR-V offers a different edition of the car rather than just the sport, offering the SE, starting at $25,250.

4.1 Base Model Pricing

The 2023 CR-V has a MSRP starting at $26,068 which is much cheaper than the 2023 Forester's starting MSRP of $30,895. The CR-V comes with all-wheel drive and an automatic transmission. This contrasts with the Forester, whose base AWD model starts at $31,895 with a CVT transmission. However, Subaru offers a bevy of standard safety features in the Forester such as EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, advanced adaptive cruise control, automatic pre-collision brakes, and lane centering function. It is also worth noting that AWD is an option in the CR-V, as the base FWD model has a starting MSRP of $24,393. All in all, if your main concern is budget either up front or long-term, the CR-V is the clear winner for base model pricing. Step into the realm of base model value, however, and a viable argument can be made for the Forester.

4.2 Available Trims and Packages

The 2014 Subaru Forester comes in three available trims: the base 2.5i, the 2.5i Premium, and the 2.5i Limited. A 2.0XT is available as an upgrade for the premium and limited models. The base 2.5i is equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission or a CVT. This is starting to become a rare option from most manufacturers since the 1996 Honda Civic. From there, the Premium and Limited each are equipped with their own CVT featuring a manual mode and paddle shifters. The 2.5i, Premium, and Limited can expect to see a consistent increase in gas mileage from the Impreza's own wheel drive system compared to both all-wheel drives, and comparing CVT to manual each increase in transmission drops it by around 2 mpg combined. By far the most notable addition to the Forester 2.5i Premium is the All-Weather Package: heated front seats, heated side mirrors, and windshield wiper de-icer. For only $500 more than the base price, this will essentially be replacing the standard model for anyone living in a cold climate and has to park outside. A moonroof is also an available option for the Premium. The 2.5i Limited is expected to provide the best value combining both luxury and price. Leather seating, automatic climate control, and the X-Mode off-road system are all standard features compared to similar competitor trims which may be up to around $5,000 more. The Limited also has an available package including a navigational system and EyeSight driver assist. The 2014 Honda CR-V comes in four available trims: the LX, EX, EX-L, and EX-L with navigation. Each model comes with a 5-speed automatic transmission and available all-wheel drive for an additional $1,250 to the price. It's noted by most reviews and market value that the CR-V has an incredible amount of standard features for the base price. Bluetooth came as a standard feature for the 2013 model, and several features that are an option on the Forester are standard on the CR-V such as a rearview camera and Pandora internet radio. The CR-V LX has no available packages and some have said if there was any disappointment, it's that the base model has everything it's going to get. Beginning with the EX model and the EX-L, the Forester has the potential to be rivaled. Sunroof, alloy wheels, and fog lights are basic features for these trims. Although lacking an AWD-Perceived System like the Forester, the CR-V has a more fuel-efficient standard drive configuration and the EX-L comes with the luxury of additional features. Dual-zone climate control, leather seats, heated rear seats, and a power tailgate are all standard in the EX-L. The optional navigation version of the EX-L is Honda's answer to the Forester Limited with similar features and price difference from the base model.

4.3 Additional Features and Upgrades

This is the section which may be very important to car enthusiasts who are looking to get a new car with all the options. They may want to narrow their search down to only the cars with the options they want. For the most part, they have excluded much of this kind of data online. The most specific thing I have found online are the basic specs of each car. But in the case of a couple features or options, I was unable to determine if they were available in the CR-V. I also have a few things to note about the Subaru. In an automotive forum, another person asked an identical question, with no replies. He listed the following options he wanted in the CR-V. The last possible upgrade would be projector headlights. The CR-V has regular headlights, and the Forester has reflector headlights. The Forester also has an auto-off headlight feature. From what I understand, these are headlights that stay on for a set period of time after you turn off the car. This is a cheap feature to add for the manufacturer, but far more convenient than automatic headlights which the CR-V does not have for the base trim. Step up to the Forester premium and you get the all-weather package, adding heated exterior mirrors, 2-speed heated front seats, and windshield wiper de-icer. Note that this might be a 4th possible stopping point, as the limited and Touring trims for the CR-V add a lot of features but are much more expensive than the comparable Forester trims. And finally, the Forester has a panoramic power moonroof available on the Touring trim. He did not mention the moonroof, but it seems like every SUV has this feature man and it's pretty sweet. So this could be a deal-maker for someone that's trying to decide between the Forester and a CR-V.