The 2024 Honda CR-V and 2024 Subaru Forester are compact SUVs with room for five adults and commodious cargo holds. Each has a well-earned reputation for value, fuel economy, and reliability, too.  

To help drive this point home, the recently redesigned CR-V recently scored our Compact SUV Best Buy award. We’ve come away impressed by the CR-V’s easy-going driving nature, smooth ride, quiet cabin, and a long roster of driver aids. 

However, let’s not overlook the Subaru Forester’s KBB trophy cabinet. It includes our Lowest 5-Year Cost to Own award and our Best Resale Value award. Of these two SUVs, the Forester is the only one to come standard with all-wheel drive (AWD).

In addition to squaring off against each other, the CR-V and Forester compete with rival SUVs like the Mazda CX-50, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Chevrolet Equinox, and Ford Escape.

Let’s explore some key highlights of the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester.

2024 Honda CR-V 

The CR-V is available in three trims: LX, EX, and EX-L. Under its hood is a 190-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder coupled to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). 

Front-wheel drive is standard, though AWD is optional on every trim. At its most frugal, an FWD Honda CR-V returns an EPA-rated 30 mpg in a mix of city and highway driving. You can get more mpg for your Honda dollar with the fuel-sipping CR-V Hybrid, though we review that model separately. Pricing for the CR-V starts at $30,850, including factory-to-dealer destination charges.

Honda CR-V Highlights 

Friendly driving manners: Regarding its ride and handling, this Honda SUV comes across as highly refined (or polished, if you prefer) in everything it does. There is more than enough power for highway passing maneuvers, and the light steering makes the CR-V easy to navigate in urban traffic. 

Honda Sensing and strong safety scores: Every CR-V comes with the Honda Sensing bundle of driver aids. These consist of automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation, and more. The CR-V was recently given a Top Safety Pick+ rating, the highest possible score, by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Cargo volume: Few compact SUVs come close to matching the amount of cargo space the CR-V delivers. Behind its split-folding second row is more than 39 cubic feet of room. Fold that rear seat back down, and space expands to a whopping 76.5 cubic feet. 

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the CR-V models for sale near you. 

2024 Subaru Forester

2024 Subaru Forester in green at sunrise.

The 2024 Subaru Forester has a starting price of $28,440, including factory-to-dealer destination charges. There are six trims to choose from: Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, Wilderness, and Touring. 

You get all-wheel drive as standard, and every Forester is powered by an 182-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, which, like the Honda CR-V, is paired to a CVT. The Forester is equally easy on a fuel budget thanks to its EPA-estimated 29 mpg combined.  

Subaru Forester Highlights

Symmetrical AWD: Subaru has a long history of expertise in all-wheel drive hardware. This is why AWD is standard on nearly every Subaru sold today — the exception being the brand’s sporty BRZ coupe. Many SUV shoppers want this extra grip for those times when roads turn treacherous.

Wilderness trim: The Forester Wilderness makes this compact SUV even more adept at all-terrain adventures. That’s because it comes with go-anywhere features like trim-specific bumpers for better approach and departure angles, a lifted suspension for added ground clearance, lower gearing, off-road tires, an underbody skid plate, and a more advanced version of the Forester’s X-Mode driving system.  

EyeSight safety bundle: The Forester also comes standard with its own grouping of active safety features. The Subaru EyeSight safety bundle includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, lane-departure alert, adaptive cruise control, and a rear-seat reminder. 

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Forester models for sale near you. 


The CR-V and Forester are savvy choices for anyone who wants a roomy SUV, particularly one that doesn’t cost a fortune and will provide years of trouble-free driving. They have relaxed driving manners and solid fuel economy ratings. They’re also versatile for carrying a full complement of passengers or bulky cargo.


The Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester have many fine attributes that prove why these two SUVs remain so wildly popular. We’re big fans of Forester’s off-road credentials, not to mention how it’ll save you money in terms of resale value and low ownership costs. If you insist on AWD, the Forester makes a strong case as the more frugal option.

Yet the Honda CR-V is a little bit better when it comes to everything, from its stronger acceleration to its roomier trunk and crisp steering responses. Maybe one drawback is that you see CR-Vs seemingly everywhere you roam because it’s such an overachiever. 

Don’t hold its popularity against it; this Honda SUV is a winner. 

  2024 Honda CR-V  2024 Subaru Forester
Starting Price  $30,850 $28,440
Popular Powertrains      
Engine  Turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder 2.5-liter 4-cylinder
Horsepower  190 hp @ 6,000 rpm 182 hp @ 5,800 rpm
Torque  179 lb-ft @ 1,700-5,000 rpm 176 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
Transmission  CVT  CVT 
Fuel economy MPG 28 city/34 highway/30 combined 26 city/33 highway/29 combined 
Also Available  AWD
Basic Warranty  3 years/36,000 miles  3 years/36,000 miles 
Powertrain Warranty  5 years/60,000 miles  5 years/60,000 miles 
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5-Star  5-Star 
Max Seating Capacity 
Wheelbase  106.3 inches  105.1 inches 
Overall Length  184.8 inches  182.7 inches 
Width  73.5 inches  71.5 inches 
Height  66.5 inches  67.5 inches 
Turning Diameter  37.3 feet  35.4 feet 
Headroom, Front  40.0 inches 41.2 inches 
Headroom, Rear  38.2 inches  39.6 inches 
Legroom, Front  41.3 inches  43.3 inches 
Legroom, Rear 41.0 inches  39.4 inches
Shoulder Room, Front  57.9 inches  58.1 inches 
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.9 inches 57.2 inches
Cargo Volume  39.3 cubic feet   28.9 cubic feet 

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