2017 Subaru Forester vs. Its Competition

2017 Subaru Forester
Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Senior Editor

Small SUVs are now the hottest segment of a surging new-car market, and the Subaru Forester is selling well.

But there's tough competition out there too, starting with the Big Three: the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Ford Escape.

The CR-V wins on interior space and family-friendly versatility, even if it's not that much fun behind the wheel.

The RAV4's safety ratings lag those of the Forester and other contenders, but it is a fine value otherwise.

The Escape puts priority on design and sporty driving, but the real-world fuel economy of its turbocharged EcoBoost 4-cylinder engines has been questioned.

Mazda's CX-5 is also fun to drive and it delivers excellent fuel economy.

The Jeep Cherokee may be the closest match to the Forester's rugged but practical personality.

It can be outfitted for serious off-roading, or ordered with a more powerful engine, but its less efficient interior and polarizing design rate it lower among our editors than the award-winning Forester.

2017 Subaru Forester2017 Subaru Forester
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2017 Ford Escape2017 Ford Escape
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2017 Honda CR-V Touring 2017 Honda CR-V
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2017 Jeep Cherokee2017 Jeep Cherokee
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2017 Mazda CX-5 First Drive2017 Mazda CX-5
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2017 Toyota RAV42017 Toyota RAV4
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Quick Specs
One of the best small SUVs, the 2017 Subaru Forester is a good value, with remarkable interior volume, thrifty fuel economy, and top safety scores.
The 2017 Ford Escape foregoes a bit of utility in the name of style and sportiness, making it one of the better crossovers to drive.
It's hard to imagine a compact crossover better aligned with the needs of most buyers than the 2017 Honda CR-V.
The 2017 Jeep Cherokee still antes up considerable trail-riding talent, but other crossover SUVs do a better job of daily driving.
The 2017 Mazda CX-5 takes a lot of small steps forward, but are any of them big enough changes to sway buyers?
There's a RAV4 for just about everyone, and while we applaud Toyota for adding more safety technology for 2017, the competition is worth a good look, too.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
22 MPG City / 32 MPG Hwy21 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy25 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy19 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy23 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy
Regular Unleaded H-4Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded I-4
EPA Class     
Small SUV 4WDSmall SUV 2WDSmall SUV 2WDSmall SUV 2WDSmall SUV 2WDSmall SUV 2WD
Style Name     
2.5i ManualS FWDLX 2WDAltitude FWD *Ltd Avail*Sport FWDLE FWD (GS)
All Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
Sport UtilitySport UtilitySport UtilitySport UtilitySport UtilitySport Utility
Manual w/ODAutomatic w/ODCVT w/ODAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/OD
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2017 Subaru Forester vs. 2017 Ford Escape2017 Subaru Forester vs. 2017 Honda CR-V2017 Subaru Forester vs. 2017 Jeep Cherokee2017 Subaru Forester vs. 2017 Mazda CX-52017 Subaru Forester vs. 2017 Toyota RAV4