2018 Subaru Forester vs. Its Competition

2018 Subaru Forester
Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor

Small crossover utilities continue to surge in new-car popularity, and the Forester helped Subaru sell more vehicles than ever before last year.

But competitors are upping their games, and the 2014-vintage Forester is now one of the older contenders.

The Big Three are the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Ford Escape.

While the CR-V isn’t too engaging to drive, its family-friendly versatility and sheer interior volume make it a winner.

The RAV4 has only so-so safety ratings, but Toyota delivers a lot of value in this aging model.

The Escape has always been fun behind the wheel, with an elegant interior, but its EcoBoost engines fall down on real-world fuel economy.

The new Jeep Compass is closer to the Forester in size than the larger Cherokee; its off-road credentials shout louder than the Forester, though we might match the Subaru against all but its trail-rated model.

Finally, the stylish Mazda CX-5 has been renovated this year, remaining fun to drive and delivering what will likely be excellent gas mileage.

2018 Subaru Forester2018 Subaru Forester
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2018 Ford Escape2018 Ford Escape
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2018 Honda CR-V2018 Honda CR-V
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2018 Jeep Compass2018 Jeep Compass
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2018 Mazda CX-52018 Mazda CX-5
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2018 Toyota RAV42018 Toyota RAV4
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Quick Specs
The 2018 Subaru Forester continues to offer top safety scores, remarkable space inside, and all-round versatility; it’s still one of the best small SUVs, and a good value for money.
The 2018 Ford Escape has the road manners of another kind of car—but don't worry, it still works well as a crossover.
The 2018 Honda CR-V may be light on personality, but this compact crossover checks off every other box. It’s a very smart choice.
The 2018 Jeep Compass makes some compromises in size and power, but its Trailhawk model hits the crossover-SUV sweet spot.
As long as cargo space isn’t your main reason for buying a compact crossover, the 2018 Mazda CX-5 is an excellent, fun-to-drive choice.
The 2018 Toyota RAV4 has a lot going for it, including a hybrid model, but you’d be wise to cross-shop its rivals as well.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
22 MPG City / 32 MPG Hwy20 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy25 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 32 MPG Hwy24 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 30 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 2WDSport FWDSport 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/ODManual w/ODAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/OD
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2018 Subaru Forester vs. 2018 Ford Escape2018 Subaru Forester vs. 2018 Honda CR-V2018 Subaru Forester vs. 2018 Jeep Compass2018 Subaru Forester vs. 2018 Mazda CX-52018 Subaru Forester vs. 2018 Toyota RAV4