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Subaru Forester Vs. Hyundai Tucson, U.S. News Says One Is Far Better And Why We Disagree

Which is the best compact SUV, the Subaru Forester or the Hyundai Tucson? Check out the recent U.S. News comparison.

There are good compact SUVs, and then there are the best. This week, we'll check out two top models: the 2024 Subaru Forester and the 2024 Hyundai Tucson. U.S. News recently compared the two compact SUVs. See which one they say is best, and then I'll explain why they are wrong. 

Here are ten areas where U.S. News compares the two models and the winner in each category.  

Price: 2024 Subaru Forester

"The 2024 Subaru Forester's entry-level model has a base MSRP of $27,095. The Premium trim starts at $30,295, the Sport trim starts at $31,865, and the Limited starts at $33,975. The Wilderness trim starts at $34,920, and the range-topping Touring starts at $37,395."

"The Base MSRP for the 2024 Hyundai Tucson is $27,500 for the SE trim and $29,650 for the SEL trim. The XRT starts at $34,325, and the Limited starts at $36,760. Selecting all-wheel drive adds $1,500 to any of these prices on the Tucson. AWD comes standard on the Forester."

Reliability: 2024 Subaru Forester

"The Subaru Forester has a J.D. Power Quality & Reliability score of 84 out of 100, while the Tucson has a score of 80 out of 100."

"A J.D. Power predicted reliability score of 91-100 is considered the Best, 81-90 is Great, 70-80 is Average, and 0-69 is Fair and considered below average.

The Forester has a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, while the Tucson has a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Seat Comfort: 2024 Hyundai Tucson

"The Hyundai Tucson provides two rows of adult-friendly seating. The front seats provide plenty of space and are supportive and comfortable, and the rear seats are just as roomy. The Forester also has spacious front seats, but the rear seats do not offer as much headroom and legroom."

"The Forester comes standard with cloth upholstery, the Limited and Touring trims with genuine leather upholstery, and the Wilderness trim with synthetic leather upholstery. The Tucson comes standard with cloth upholstery, the SEL and XRT with synthetic leather upholstery, and the Limited with genuine leather upholstery."

Cargo Space: 2024 Hyundai Tucson

"With the rear seats folded, the Hyundai Tucson has 74.8 cubic feet of cargo space, and the Subaru Forester provides up to 74.2 cubic feet. That's close, but Tucson's versatility stands out when using the rear seats. With the rear seats in use, the Tucson still provides 38.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Folding up the rear seats in the Forester brings cargo space down to 28.9 cubic feet."

"Both vehicles have a manual liftgate in their base trims. All other Forester trims have a power liftgate, and all other Tucson trims have a hands-free smart power liftgate."

Interior Quality: 2024 Hyundai Tucson

"The 2024 Tucson boasts an interior that impresses with its high-quality feel, featuring a sleek design, robust construction, soft materials, and a cohesive dashboard extending across the cabin. It's a hushed, tranquil place for a long drive, thanks to excellent soundproofing that muffles external noise, ensuring a serene drive."

"Similarly, the 2024 Forester's interior has fine materials, especially as you move through the trim lineup. Its well-insulated environment guarantees a peaceful journey, undisturbed by road or wind noise intrusion."

Interior Features: Tie

"Standard features on the Tucson include two USB ports, HD radio, an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay, and wireless Android Auto. Available features include two additional USB ports, an upgraded stereo, wireless device charging, dual-zone automatic climate control, a fully digital instrument panel, and a 10.25-inch touch-screen infotainment system."

"The Forester comes standard with a single USB port, automatic climate control, and a 6.5-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Available features include a Wi-Fi hot spot, additional USB ports, a larger touch screen, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a panoramic moonroof."

Acceleration: Tie

"The Hyundai Tucson has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 187 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed through an eight-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels or available front-wheel drive."

"The Forester has a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed boxer four-cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed through a continuously variable transmission to standard all-wheel drive. Despite the slight power differences, both vehicles accelerate from zero to 60 in a leisurely nine seconds, making this category a tie."

Fuel Economy: 2024 Subaru Forester

"Most Subaru Forester trims (all of which come standard with all-wheel drive) return fuel economy of 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The Wilderness trim returns 25 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway."

"The most efficient Hyundai Tucson is the front-wheel-drive model. It returns fuel economy of 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The all-wheel-drive version returns 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. The Tucson is also offered in more efficient hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants, which are not covered in this article."

NOTE: Forester does not offer a front-wheel-drive version. 

Ride and Handling: 2024 Hyundai Tucson

"The Tucson punches above its weight when it comes to ride quality. Though not as agile as the segment-topping Mazda CX-5, the Tucson can corner well and feels stable through sharp turns. It's also easy enough to park in tight spaces, soaking up bumps in the road."

"The Forester can tackle most bumps and cracks in the road and there's only a bit of body lean through corners. The steering is well-weighted and responsive."

Safety: 2024 Hyundai Tucson

"The 2024 Hyundai Tucson received a five-star frontal crash and four-star rollover rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Tucson a Top Safety Pick."

"The 2024 Subaru Forester got a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, except for the Wilderness trim. The Forester is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick, though it earned lower scores in a few tests, which brings its U.S. News safety score down below the Tucson's."

"The 2024 Tucson features standard safety tech, including a driver-attention monitoring blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights. Optional safety tech includes parking sensors and a blind-spot camera."

"The 2024 Forester comes with lane-keep assist, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, and a rear-seat alert. Blind-spot monitoring and driver-attention monitoring are optional."

Overall Winner: 2024 Hyundai Tucson

"The Tucson and Forester are two of the best vehicles in the compact SUV segment, but the Hyundai comes out on top in this comparison. It offers ample cargo and passenger space in a refined cabin, composed handling, and plenty of standard safety features. It also won our Best Compact SUV for the Money and Best Compact SUV for Families awards."

'If you want practical elements like the lowest price or most reliable vehicle, you can't go wrong with the Forester, but if you want one of the top entrants in the segment, the Tucson does give you a lot for the price."

Here Is What U.S. News Fails To Consider

Fuel economy, price, and reliability are the three areas where the Forester is the winner, according to U.S. News—all excellent attributes. But there's more customers should consider. 

U.S. News fails to consider the Forester's best attributes: its Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system and all-weather capability. The Forester also has X-Mode for severe weather and dual-function X-Mode on some trims for all-terrain performance. 

Active customers who use the compact SUV to get far away from the city for biking, camping, hiking, kayaking, snowboarding, and overloading excursions will want the Forester.

But, if you'll use the compact SUV for commuting and grocery hauling, the Hyundai Tucson will be a good choice. 

The Subaru Forester gets a remodel for the 2025 model year. It's arriving this spring with significant new upgrades. Compact SUV customers will want to check it out before buying. 

Thanks for reading, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this Subaru Forester vs Hyundai Tucson report. See you tomorrow for my latest Subaru Report.


I am Denis Flierl, a top Torque News and Subaru reporter since 2012. I’ve invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role, working with every major car brand. I am an experienced Rocky Mountain Automotive Press member. You'll find my expert Subaru analysis here. Follow me on my The Dirty Subaru website, Dirty Subaru blog, X SubaruReport, All Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierl, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Competition Subaru


RichinPhoenix (not verified)    April 8, 2024 - 2:37PM

The mileage for the Forester is not close to the EPA estimates. More like 20 mpg in my real world driving experience. No hybrid is offered for the Forester. The Hyundai Tucson Hybrid has EPA estimates of about 35 mpg and it actually achieves the advertised mileage and has a 500 miles range, again based on my real world driving experience. Plus the Tucson Hybrid has an overhead camera and front and back cameras. It's a superior vehicle unless you do very hard off-road driving.