Fuel efficiency is one of the hottest and most competitive areas in the compact crossover segment, with the all-new Honda CR-V and the Ford Escape both touting gas-mileage ratings far higher than earlier models of the same cars. While the Subaru Forester is just 1 or 2 mpg down on most of its rivals' all-wheel-drive versions, it may get left behind in the ceaseless march toward higher gas mileage.
The 2013 Subaru Forester gets an EPA combined rating of 23 mpg (21 mpg city, 27 mpg highway) for the five-speed manual transmission, less for the probably more popular four-speed automatic, at 21 mpg combined (19 mpg city, 24 mpg highway).
That puts the Forester at a disadvantage against such vehicles as the Ford Escape and even the new Ford C-Max. During a recent Ford C-Max Hybrid "escape test," we averaged about 23 mpg overall--right in the middle of the predicted ratings.