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5 Best SUVs Under $30,000 - 2021 Subaru Forester Now Scores First Place

Which are the best compact SUVs? The 2021 Subaru Forester ranks the top model in Consumer Reports' latest scoring.


The compact SUV segment is one of the hottest new vehicle segments, but with so many choices, which one is the best? In Consumer Reports' latest overall scores (by subscription), they list the five best SUVs under $30,000. The criteria are fuel efficiency, reliability, safety scores, and which models are the most satisfying to own.

Here are the highest-scoring SUVs under $30,000. CR says the 2021 Subaru Forester has the top overall score of 89 points. Forester is followed by the Mazda CX-5 (83), Honda CR-V (82), Kia Sportage (81), and Toyota RAV4 (69).

2021 Subaru Forester pricing, features, specs

Why is the 2021 Subaru Forester rated number one?

Consumer Reports says the fifth-generation Forester "delivers the combination of a roomy interior, excellent visibility, commendable fuel economy, simple controls, a comfortable ride, and responsive handling."

What is the fuel mileage of the Forester?

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 pricing, features, specs

Is there a downside to the Subaru Forester?

Consumer Reports says the 2.5-liter engine doesn't have "exhilarating acceleration," and the engine's noise "isn't the most pleasant.” Read the Torque News report on Forester getting a new turbocharged engine for the 2022 model year change here.

What is the price of the 2021 Subaru Forester?

The 2021 Forester comes in five trim levels, and the base trim has an MSRP of $25,845, Premium ($28,845), Sport ($30,445), Limited ($32,445), and Touring ($35,945). Pricing includes $1,050 destination. CR says the average transaction price for the 2021 Forester Premium is $26,310 after dealer incentives.

Is the 2021 Forester reliable?

In the new 2021 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, the Subaru Forester scored one of the top three small SUVs in dependability in the competitive Compact SUV segment with the Buick Envision and Toyota RAV4.

Is the 2021 Subaru Forester safe?

The 2021 Subaru Forester has the top safety score for 2021 from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Forester earned the highest Top Safety Pick+ award. With standard EyeSight safety technology, Subaru Forester received a "Superior" rating in front crash prevention from the IIHS.

Is Forester satisfying to own?

In Consumer Reports latest annual owner surveys, when asked, "Would you buy this car again if you had to do it all over again," owners of the Subaru Forester said they would definitely rebuy the same car. These owners were the most satisfied with their compact SUV.

In the latest overall scores, Consumer Reports ranks the 2021 Subaru Forester number one of fifteen compact SUVs. They say it's the best SUV under $30,000.

You Might Also Like: The Top-10 Cars Of 2021 - CR Says Subaru Forester And Outback Are Best-In-Class

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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