Does the 2021 Subaru Forester or Toyota RAV4 perform better? According to Consumer Reports (by subscription), they just picked the Forester over the RAV4. Since 1997 CR has chosen the Forester 14 times as winner versus nine times for the RAV4 in the head-to-head battle.
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 is the best-selling compact SUV in America with 40,895 models sold versus the 2021 Subaru Forester with 19,452 models delivered to customers last month. But CR says even though the Forester is not the top-selling compact SUV, it’s the best performer for five reasons.
Consumer Reports puts cars through comprehensive road tests based on 50 tests performed at their 327-acre auto test center so you can know how a vehicle performs in all driving situations. The Subaru brand that includes the popular 2021 Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek SUVs, most known for its all-wheel-drive all-weather capabilities, is rated the Best Mainstream Brand for road test scores over all other automakers.
When it comes to cargo capacity, no compact SUV can match the 2021 Subaru Forester. The Forester has 35.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the second-row rear seats up, less than the RAV4’s 37.5 cubes. With the seats folded flat, however, the Forester offers a class-leading 76.1 cubic feet of cargo space, beating the RAV4’s 69.7 cubic feet.
The all-new fifth-generation Forester’s boxy design has been criticized that it’s plain and boring and isn’t as stylish as other small SUVs. Still, the Japanese automaker is proud of its big windows, square greenhouse, and thin roof pillars that offer outstanding visibility for the driver. Visibility is a core value for the brand, and Subaru has kept its conservative exterior design for this reason.
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. Forester gets one mpg more than the RAV4.
The 2021 Subaru Forester also has an advantage with its above-average reliability. The Toyota RAV4 is just average, according to Consumer Reports.
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.
The 2021 Subaru Forester is the number one rated compact SUV out of sixteen in its category. CR says, “The Forester is the easy choice between these two compact SUVs. The Forester is a bit less expensive than a similarly equipped RAV4. Overall, we think the Forester will make buyers happy for years to come.”
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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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