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.
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).
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.
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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.
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