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CR Says Avoid The Ford Escape And Buy The Subaru Forester Instead

Is the 2023 Subaru Forester the best compact SUV you can buy? Consumer Reports says it's one of the best picks for small SUV shoppers and that you should buy it and avoid the Ford Escape. Check out the report here.

What are the best compact SUVs for shoppers this summer? An updated Consumer Reports (by subscription) ranking of new compact SUVs says you should avoid buying the 2023 Ford Escape and buy the 2023 Subaru Forester instead. CR now ranks the Forester as the #1 of twenty-eight new compact SUVs.

The Forester performed well in CR's road tests, has good reliability, has crucial advanced safety equipment, and performs well in crash tests from the IIHS.

2023 Subaru Forester Vs. Ford Escape
Photo credit: Competition Subaru

Why should you avoid the 2023 Ford Escape?

Consumer Reports says, "The Escape lacks the fundamentals to compete with the best small SUVs. A key concern is its continued below-average predicted reliability. In our tests, the standard 1.5-liter turbo three-cylinder engine returned 26 mpg overall, which is good. However, although it provides sufficient oomph, the engine transmits an annoying vibration at low speeds."

Consumer Reports says the 2023 Nissan Rogue is an "under-the-radar" alternative to the Ford Escape.

What does CR say about the Forester?

Consumer Reports says, "Compact exterior dimensions, a surprisingly roomy interior, fuel-efficient engine, standard all-wheel-drive, standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and AEB highway."

2023 Subaru Forester Vs. Ford Escape
Photo credit: Competition Subaru

Our take on the 2023 Subaru Forester

The Forester is the best pick for active customers using the SUV for more than a commuter vehicle or grocery hauler. The Forester comes with all-wheel-drive on all trim levels, and it's not an expensive option.

Forester has 8.7 inches of ground clearance and X-Mode for improved severe weather traction. Forester also offers a new Wilderness trim level, and the Sport and Wilderness trims offer a dual-function X-Mode with Deep Snow and Deep Mud settings. The Forester is the top pick for customers who live in a cold weather state and will use their vehicle to get further off the grid.

What is the fuel mileage of the Forester?

The 2023 Subaru Forester compact SUV has standard all-wheel drive and an EPA-estimated 29 combined mpg and 26/33 city/highway mpg. The Forester comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Boxer engine.

What is the price of the 2023 Subaru Forester?

All 2023 Forester trim levels increased by $550 in price, including destination and delivery. The 2023 Forester comes in six trim levels; The Base Forester starts at $27,620, Premium ($30,620), Sport ($32,190), Limited ($34,300), Wilderness ($35,245), and Touring ($37,720). Pricing includes dealer fees ($1,225).

When will the Forester get a complete remodel?

If everything goes as expected, the compact SUV will be redesigned in the second half of 2023 and be available as a 2024 model. The anticipated 2024 Forester release date in the U.S. is about four to six months away, in the fall or winter of 2023. However, for customers who do not want to wait, the 2023 Subaru Forester is the top pick by Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports says to avoid the 2023 Ford Escape and buy the 2023 Subaru Forester instead. Forester is rated CR's best compact SUV because it performed well in CR's road tests, has good reliability, comes with crucial advanced safety equipment, and gets the highest crash scores.

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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: Competition Subaru


The Motoring Guy (not verified)    May 24, 2023 - 9:33AM

Denis, I know your reviewing the 2023 Escape against the 2023 Forester. My issue is the 2020 - 2022 Escape's track record has been reliably good. CR has been one of the few to really pan it compared to other models. Edmunds is a 7.7 out of 10 and on the Forester an 8.3 out of 10. I have to say you do not report the after 100K miles of either vehicles, but with Subaru's history of engine issues, high service costs and maintenance from 100K - 200K as well as its' poor overall MPG and lack of EV or hybrid model, it truly can't be more functional for the + 5,000 dollar markup compared to the Escape for the difference.. When you say your going to compare - let's see you really compare than it all be about the good of one model and no detail on the other.. Thanks.

Bruce Langet (not verified)    May 26, 2023 - 4:56PM

In reply to by The Motoring Guy (not verified)

I have to agree with the Motoring Guy. I own a 2021 Ford Escape hybrid and haven't had amy problems. CR failed to mention the other Escape engine options, the 2.5-litre Atkinson engine on the hybrid and the 2-litre turbo. I agree with the base engine that it's unrefined, plus the transmission is totally unsuited to the powerplant. The hybrid's fuel economy is way better than the Forester. The Forester's all-drive system is awesome but unless you live in a snowy area, it's overkill.

Peter (not verified)    May 28, 2023 - 9:27PM

I was wondering how much Subaru paid CR for this add against the Ford Escape, as a Ford Escape owner they did a good job trying to discredit the Escape notice they never directed there attention towards any other brand is SUV.!!

Tim Beaumont (not verified)    May 30, 2023 - 1:21PM

Denis - my 2018 Forester XT with 45,000 miles just got t-bone totalled. I credit it for no injuries. Loved it, but no turbo anymore, and current 2.5 a little anemic. Can you dig more to find out about performance envelope for new Forester strong hybrid, using the Toyota Hybrid System(THS)? Saw the most recent article in May but not a lot of detail, especially ICE engine component, NA 2.0 vs NA 2.5 vs turbo 1.8? My wife is Japanese and my be able to help with translation if needed. Thx