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Best New Models Under $30,000 - Subaru Forester Is Still The Top Small SUV

What are the best compact SUVs for 2021? See why the 2021 Subaru Forester still ranks number one overall.


Is the 2021 Subaru Forester the best compact SUV? A new report from Consumer Reports (by subscription) says yes. They rank the Forester number one among twenty-three compact SUVs. CR says it's the best compact SUV rated ahead of compact SUVs like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Kona, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-30, and Mazda CX-5.

The Forester scored high in road-test performance, owner satisfaction, predicted reliability, and safety to earn CR's number one ranking. CR also gives the 2021 Forester high marks for its roomy interior, excellent visibility, commendable fuel economy, simple controls, a comfortable ride, and responsive handling.

2021 Subaru Forester pricing, features, specs

Where does the Forester need to improve?

Consumer Reports likes the Forester's 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine's best-in-class fuel economy. But they say, "acceleration isn't exhilarating, and the engine's noise isn't the most pleasant."

The 2022 Subaru Forester arrives later this year with a refresh to enable the compact SUV to keep its high ranking. Read the complete 2022 Forester model guide report here.

2022 Subaru Forester pricing, features, specs

What is the price of the 2022 Subaru Forester?

For the 2022 model change Forester comes in six trim levels; The base Forester starts at $26,320, Premium ($29,320), Sport ($30,890), Limited ($33,000), new Wilderness ($33,945), and Touring ($36,420). Pricing includes destination and delivery fees ($1,125). The 2022 Forester base trim price increases +$475, Premium +$475, Sport +$445, Limited +$555, and Touring +$475.

What do owners say about the 2021 Forester?

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 rebuy the same car. The owners were the most satisfied with their Forester compact SUV.

CR's top-rated small car, midsize car, and sporty car

Consumer Reports says the Nissan Sentra is the best small car under $30,000, Toyota Camry is the best midsize car, and the Mazda MX-5 Miata is the best sporty car.

In the latest Consumer Reports rankings, the 2021 Subaru Forester is number one among twenty-three compact SUVs. CR says in a year that's seen rising new car prices, it's the best 2021 model year compact SUV under $30,000.

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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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Photo credit: Subaru


John Goreham    October 15, 2021 - 12:56PM

When I bought my 2016 Forester this is exactly how I thought of the models to consider. Best under $30K. At that time, no other brand had decent AWD and emergency auto braking along with a Top Safety Pick rating.