2021 Subaru Forester fuel-mileage, features, specs
Denis Flierl's picture

2021 Subaru Forester Real-World Fuel Mileage And Why There’s No Hybrid

Does the 2021 Subaru Forester get good fuel mileage? Among small SUVs with all-wheel-drive, how does the Forester compare with the competition?

What compact SUVs have the best real-world fuel mileage? There are quite a few choices for consumers looking to save money at the pump and still drive an all-wheel-drive SUV. Consumer Reports recently tested small SUVs in real-world tests to see which vehicle did the best. The 2021 Subaru Forester ranks number one among mainstream brand compact SUVs.

The Forester has an EPA fuel mileage estimate of 26/33 city/highway mpg and 29 combined mpg. How does it stack up against the competition in real-world testing? In CR’s testing, they achieved 20/38 city/highway and 28 combined mpg. The highway fuel mileage is considerably better than the EPA’s rating.

2021 Subaru Forester fuel-mileage, features, specs

The Honda CR-V 1.5 liter engine with all-wheel-drive scores next best with CR getting 20/37 city/highway and 28 combined mpg. EPA estimates are 27/32 city/highway and 29 combined mpg. Again, Consumer Reports gets better real work highway mpg with the CR-V.

The Mazda CX-3 is next best (20/36/28), followed by Kia Seltos (20/35/28), Toyota RAV4 (19/38/27), Mazda CX-3 (18/37/27), Nissan Rogue Sport (19/34/26), Hyundai Kona (18/34/26), Buick Encore (18/33/26), Ford Escape (17/37/26), Chevrolet Equinox (17/34/25), and Volkswagen Tiguan (16/35/25).

2021 Subaru Forester fuel-mileage, features, specs

The fifth-generation 2021 Subaru Forester comes with a 2.5-liter Boxer engine with direct injection, and higher compression, along with the active valve control system. The newly-upgraded engine gets an increase in power, producing 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. EPA estimates crept up one mpg improvement highway and combined over the previous generation model.

Why doesn’t Subaru offer a Forester Hybrid?

In Consumer Reports testing, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Honda CR-V Hybrid, and Ford Escape Hybrid all had the best real-world fuel mileage. Why doesn’t Subaru offer a hybrid model like the Crosstrek Plug-In Hybrid in the U.S.?

Subaru offers a Forester e-Boxer hybrid in Japan, Europe, and Australia but does not sell it in North America. The bottom line why Subaru of America doesn’t bring a 2021 Forester e-Boxer hybrid to customers is because they don’t need to. The fifth-generation Subaru Forester is the Camden, N.J. automaker’s best selling vehicle in its lineup and just had its best September ever.

Until demand for hybrid models increases, don’t look for Subaru to launch a Forester Hybrid in the U.S. anytime soon. Subaru says they will have an electrified lineup (hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric) by a mid-2030 timeframe.

By 2030, Subaru’s goal is to have 40 percent of all global sales from electric vehicles (EVs) or hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). With Toyota increasing its stake in Subaru to 20 percent, customers can look for Subaru to develop an all-new Forester hybrid trim using Toyota technology that will debut later in the decade. Until then, the 2021 Subaru Forester scores best in real-world non-hybrid fuel mileage tests.

You Might Also Like: Subaru Forester Is Speeding Up Not Slowing Down - What's Coming in 2022?

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Subaru Report - We’ve got you covered! Check back tomorrow for more unique, informative SUBARU news, reviews, and previews you can trust.

Leave your comments below, share the article with friends and tweet it out to your followers!

Photo credit: Subaru, Competition Subaru

Subscribe to Torque News on YouTube.

Follow Torque News on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.


Subaru would be stupid to bring the e-boxer hybird Forester to the US. It 's only a MILD hybrid and its MPG numbers vs the TRUE hybrids would not entice many to buy it for a premium price
I had forester (2 of them) for the past 20 years. I will not buying it again until they have higher mpg with hybrid. I am leaning right now toward Toyota rav4. I may be in minority, but I think that Subaru is making major mistake to rest on past laurels. Once switched I may not come back to it again
Good to see. I've had my 07 model since 2013 and it's always been a little thirsty. For SUV duties it will hopefully bsee me through to when EVs make more sense. I may replace the engine before then, but the around town fuel consumption will remain in that 23 to 22 mpg range. For a 4wd wagon it's pretty light I guess.
Mazda CX-3 was listed twice in the order of mileage yet has two different numbers. "The Mazda CX-3 is next best (20/36/28), followed by Kia Seltos (20/35/28), Toyota RAV4 (19/38/27), Mazda CX-3 (18/37/27), ..."
From Australia. We've got the FORESTER Hybrid - essentially only a Hybrid badge. It's only 48 volt "MILD HYBRID", and has had almost no improvement in fuel use. But as much premium in $$$ as a RAV4. Makes no sense to pay the extra.
I live in Yuma arizona, I have a 2017 outback. I would buy a new suberu but there’s no dealership or service under warranty here. wHY? Every other car is sold in Yuma, your missing out as many snowbirds spend 6 months here from up north. I bought mine in Colorado before moving here. I need help here if I want it serviced.
They don't have to? How about you should for the benefit of the environment and pollution levels, asthma, and other diseases from car exhaust. How is it that Japan, Korea, Europe, and other countries get all these hybrids and plug in hybrids. Are the multinational oil cartels having some kind of a deal with car companies for more oil profits by holding back these autos from the US so we use more oil? If that is the case it is putting profit over health.
Junk. Engine is unstable looking to sell for Toyota
My first car was a GL wagon back in the 80’s. We then bought an Outback in 97. Currently I own the 2014 Crosstrek Hybrid, which is hard to call a hybrid, although I love the size and AWD system. I am EXTREMELY disappointed that Subaru is not taking an aggressive stance on electric vehicles. 2030 is WAY TOO LATE. Our other current vehicle is a Rav 4 which we are looking to replace. Unfortunately we will not be buying a Subaru, rather the new Rav 4 Prime or other electric vehicle. Take a stand on the environment Subaru. DITCH gasoline.
To put more salt in the wound, Subaru won’t sell the plugin Crosstrek where I live in COLORADO, aka SUBARU-WORLD. Something about the State not adopting California’s clean air standards. PFffffft.