How do the Subaru Crosstrek, Forester, and Outback rank among the best new SUVs for commuters? Not everyone thinks of how well you can see from the driver's seat, how easy it is to use the controls, rear-seat comfort, and cabin quietness when testing a new vehicle. But outward visibility, easy-to-use controls, rear-seat comfort, and a quiet cabin are important for SUV buyers.
An updated study from Consumer Reports (by subscription) ranks the 2022 model year SUVs that are the best for new-car shoppers and says their top picks are SUVs "without deal-breaking flaws and that you won't regret buying." The 2022 Subaru Crosstrek subcompact SUV, Forester compact SUV, and Outback midsize SUV score best in their category.
The Best Usability and Controls
The 2022 Subaru Crosstrek is ranked the best in the subcompact SUV category. The other top picks are the Kia Sportage and Nissan Murano. Check out the 2022 Crosstrek pricing, features, and model guide here.
CR says, "The Crosstrek's controls are mostly logical and well-placed. The center control area has two screens; the lower one is for the infotainment system, and the one mounted on the top of the dash displays vehicle data. The standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are appreciated and make the already easy-to-use infotainment system even better."
Where can the Crosstrek improve?
CR says, "It's annoying that the climate control's temperature display disappears a few seconds after the driver adjusts it. There's also a multifunction display in the center of the instrument cluster. It displays fuel economy and vehicle trip information, but it's a bit too fussy to toggle through."
The Best Visibility
The 2022 Subaru Crosstrek, Forester, and Outback all score number one. The 2022 Subaru Crosstrek scores best subcompact SUV in outward visibility; the 2022 Forester is best in the compact SUV segment and the 2022 Outback best in the midsize SUV category.
CR says, "The Crosstrek's view, front, side, and rear, is generally good. Slender front roof pillars, tall front side windows, and a reasonably large rear window contribute to its good visibility."
Where can the Crosstrek improve?
"But the rising belt-line, tapering rear side windows, and chunky rear roof pillars create some big blind spots when you turn your head. The third rear triangular window and blind-spot warning (BSW) help compensate for the compromised view directly back when backing out of a parking space into traffic," says CR.
The 2022 Subaru Forester ranks the best compact SUV in outward visibility. CR says, "The Forester may look like a box on wheels, but that shape gives it several advantages: good headroom, plenty of cargo room, and incredible visibility. It has one of the best outward views of any vehicle we've tested. Every roof pillar is slim, and the windshield and side glass are large."
Where can Forester improve?
CR says, "The side mirrors sit low, so it's easy to see pedestrians and cars at intersections. The rear window is also large, but head restraints can block the view somewhat."
The 2022 Subaru Outback scores the best midsize SUV in outward visibility. CR says, "The Outback delivers one of the airiest outward views of any vehicle on the market. It starts with the SUV-like raised ride height and slightly elevated seating position, contributing to the great view out over the hood. But the slim pillars combined with long and tall side windows grant the Outback excellent outward visibility."
CR has nothing but good to say about the Outback. CR says, "Other helpful elements include the front triangle windows, which make it easier for the driver to see around the side mirrors to spot vehicles or pedestrians at intersections, along with a huge third side window to alleviate rear three-quarter blind spots. And last, the rear window is quite large."
The Best Rear-Seat Comfort
The 2022 Subaru Crosstrek also scores best subcompact SUV in rear-seat comfort, and the 2022 Forester in the compact SUV category.
The 2022 Subaru Crosstrek is the best in the subcompact SUV segment. CR says, "The Crosstrek is a well-rounded SUV that treats rear-seat passengers very well. It's reliable and quiet and has easy-to-use controls and doors that swing wide, making it incredibly easy to get into. The back seat offers plenty of room, even for long-legged passengers, ample headroom, a nicely shaped seat, and good thigh support. There's more than enough space for two adults to travel comfortably on extended trips."
The Subaru Forester ranks in the best compact SUV category. CR says, "As with most vehicles in this class, the Forester is easy to get into. The rear doors open wide, leaving a large opening and an easy-to-reach seat. The space in the back is generous, with impressive headroom, legroom, and foot room. There's plenty of under-leg support, and the seat's contour facilitates a good posture. There's more than enough space for two adults to travel comfortably on extended trips, and three across for short drives isn't out of the question."
Consumer Reports says the 2022 Crosstrek isn't the best but is rated one of the top subcompact SUVs in cabin quietness. The Hyundai Tucson scores best in the Compact SUV segment.
The 2022 Subaru Crosstrek subcompact SUV, 2022 Subaru Forester Compact SUV, and 2022 Subaru Outback midsize SUV score highest in many Consumer Reports' latest evaluations. CR says the three SUVs don't have any of the four significant deal-breaking flaws that make a buyer regret a purchase.
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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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