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Honda CR-V AWD or Subaru Forester?


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I've driven Hondas for the last 14 years, and they've been super reliable, but I've also read a lot of good things about Subarus, and I definitely want something that handles well in rain & snow — especially since DS has taken the Pilot to college this year. DD (17) and I are currently sharing the Odyssey, and we need a second car. I'm mostly looking at 2016 models, because I want the backup camera for DD, and I can find a good selection of 2016 CRVs and Foresters with low miles (<30K) at a decent price point.

Has anyone owned, or at least driven, both of these and can compare? If the price, mileage, and trim package were comparable, which would you prefer?

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Have been car searching recently.

 Forester has better reviews than CRV especially in regard to safety/crash testing.  That for me led to elimination of the CRV (as compared to Forester) when thinking of vehicle with a young driver in mind — even though I’ve driven Hondas for the past 27 years. 

I think we’ve pretty much settled on Forester but are now figuring out trim level / or add on  packages .  

Avoid Foresters with turbocharged engines (designated XT, I believe, if available) , I was told, because the turbo engine has had some troubles / or causes some troubles for the CV transmission.  

For safety features reasons I’ll probably be looking at either top trim level I can afford, or a lower trim with safety add ons. 

I haven’t decided whether the camera that watches driver looking for inattentiveness is worthwhile or not (and don’t know if it’s available in any trim in 2016).   I have so far test driven a 2019 “Sport” and “Premium”.  I preferred the Sport, but not sure if it was the trim level or that I had grown more familiar with the feel of vehicle at that point.  

The Sport had rear cross traffic detection which operated and which I liked.  It also had paddle shifters which might be helpful in some circumstances (?)...  possibly snow being one of them.

Edited by Pen
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Adding: the Honda got higher reliability ratings iirc—usually a top consideration for me.  But in this situation (young driver) the higher safety ratings will trump that for me.   Also, I think that the Subaru usually costs less for a comparable Honda if AWD is on the Honda. (The savings may be spent on more repairs however ? ) 

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Actually for models from 2016, if you were to get one with the optional “front crash protection package”, the 2 were close to equal in safety ratings—though possibly the forester headlights were preferred.  In 2019 the CR V dropped to IIHS “top pick” (still quite good) while Forester is still “top pick plus”...  it’s not clear how much that this is due to vehicle changes vs more stringent standards to get the “plus” designation 

Without the front crash protection packages, looks like both were not “plus” designated in 2016 (?, hard to tell)

 

 

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will you need to ever tow anything?  (no to Subaru)

subuaru will be best in snow.

 

dd bought a car in march?  test drove the honda cr-v, looked at the Subaru - and bought a rav4.  (she also looked at the lexus - and give how sloped its back is - ds came up with a new definition of suv.  (the polite one) was: sedan upgrade vehicle. reminds me of the hatchbacks of the 70s/80s.)

 

here's a great site to do side-x-side comparisons of cars.  I used it a lot when I was looking.

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We're also a Honda family. We had 2 Odysseys--a 2000 and a 2012 wheelchair conversion van. The transmission was going on our 19.5 year old one this summer, and we ended up getting a 2019 CR-V to replace it. Our Hondas have been super reliable, great to drive, so I was strongly leaning toward Honda. We mostly looked at the CR-V, the HR-V, and the Rav4. I just wanted something a little smaller than a minivan, but I had to be able to fit dd's wheelchair in it for emergency situations. The HR-V was a little small for that--had to lower armrests on wheelchair. The CR-V felt delightfully roomy in comparison. The Rav4's interior just isn't as nice as the CR-V (IMO), and it cost more. Local dealers only stock AWD models in our area. We don't get snow often; we can have icy roads a few weeks in winter. I like the CR-V's looks best of these crossover SUV's. Youngest and I kind of share it as we try to leave the conversion van for oldest and her caregivers to use. I think it's going to be a good fit for us.

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6 hours ago, gingersmom said:

I have owned both. 

My Subaru forester was way better in the snow. My Honda was much more mechanically sound.

 

 

What sorts of mechanical troubles did the Subaru have? 

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I just bought a Subaru Outback. I researched both Outbacks and Foresters pretty heavily, as I went in to purchase a Forester originally.

 I can't speak to the Honda other than several family members have them, and yes, they are mechanically sound.

I know that if you're going new, even the base model Subarus have some pretty great safety (and other) features. The Outback and Forester both have the auto braking, and the adaptive cruise. If you step up one notch into a bottom level premium, you get lane departure warnings (in fact, it's possible you even get that on the base). Also, since ALL Subarus are AWD, you don't have to worry about that being an add-on.

The ground clearance is really great - 8" on both models. The Forester is shorter bodied overall (seating area is almost identical though - cargo room is shorter), but has more headroom than the Outback. The Outback has a long wheel base, so the ride was a little smoother than the Forester, but, due to less weight, and slightly more horsepower, the Forester felt a little more peppy.

I don't think you could go wrong either way, but I LOVE my Subaru!!

 

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I’m driving a CR-V today.  (Rental) I like it quite a lot.  It drives more like other Honda vehicles I’m used to.  Not as smooth as 2019 Forester.  Steering feels more responsive though.  The auto eco start-stop is off by default and can be turned on (possibly irrelevant to 2016 models) the opposite of Forester.  Forester has nicer back up camera, but Ironically I find the CR-V one easier to adjust to.  

 

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The CRV I’m driving is from a 2017 new model update ...     2016 of either vehicle would be previous model — with less safety features perhaps?    The weather isn’t anything where AWD aspect comes into play to compare that.  

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I love that the CRV doesn’t like the info/sound system to be dealt with while in motion ... Ds was trying while in passenger seat (car computer didn’t know it was passenger) — but I like that it wants car stopped because even a passenger leaning forward to adjust the info screen could be distracting 

dont know how that is on Forester

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I was unable to figure out how to turn on the CRV lane keeping assist system and make it work.  I guess if I owned the car I’d learn, but the Forester seems to have it default to “on” rather than off, and I like that.  Also I think it will work at slightly slower speeds on Forester than CRV.  Again I don’t know if 2016 of either car had that yet. 

I preferred the CRV steering wheel feel.  

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