2019 Subaru Forester vs. 2019 Honda CR-V

The latest trend in the automotive industry has seen a surge in consumer interest in vehicles that can handle any weather consider while transporting passengers and gear in comfort and style. Crossovers fit this bill well and few more so than the Subaru Forester, a vehicle that has had all-wheel-drive as standard on all models since its introduction in 1997.

2019 Subaru ForesterOther vehicles like the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV have all-wheel-drive as an expensive add-on, but the Subaru Forester arguably set the blueprint for the crossover craze that continues unabated around Olathe, Kansas City, Lee’s Summit, and across the country.

With so many rival crossovers on offer, does the Forester remain the top choice? Let’s consider it against its biggest rival this year, the 2019 Honda CR-V.

Let's See How The Competition Stacks Up


Perhaps the most striking difference between the 2019 Subaru Forester and the 2019 Honda CR-V is how they drive. Subaru is known for making vehicles that handle better on the roads of Lenexa and Shawnee thanks to the boxer engines that lower the center of gravity and the full-time symmetrical all-wheel-drive. Take both vehicles for a test drive around the streets of Olathe and you’ll instantly notice how the Forester feels more steady on its wheels, and that’s even before we consider off-road japes.

The 2019 Subaru Forester’s four-cylinder engine has received a bump in performance this year, with increased horsepower and torque. Now, you’re getting 182 horsepower and 176 pounds per foot of torque, more than enough for most people.

The Subaru Forester is two inches taller than the Honda CR-V and has much better ground clearance. In fact, at 8.7 inches of ground clearance, it offers the most ground clearance in the sector by far.

It’s worth noting too that the Subaru Forester has excellent off-road abilities without sacrificing general on-road manners. When driving in the city or on the highway, there’s no body roll in corners, and the suspension eats up almost all bumps on the road.

The Honda CR-V’s all-wheel-drive costs more than $1,400 to add as an optional extra, and it’s a part-time system inferior to the Forester’s advanced full-time system.

Interior Room

See the Honda CR-V and the Subaru Forester side by side in a Kansas City parking lot and you’ll recognize they’re both roughly around the same size. Step inside, however, and you’ll find that the Subaru Forester has made much better use of the interior space. There’s at least 5 cubic feet more passenger space in the Forester compared to the CR-V.

Interior Features

We all want our vehicles to be as comfortable as possible, and this includes modern technology in the cabin. Every 2019 Subaru Forester has support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard. You’ll have to pay for a trim upgrade to get it in the Honda CR-V.

The Subaru Forester has a 6.5-inch or 8-inch screen with a high resolution that seamlessly switches between Subaru’s STARLINK system and Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. The menus are intuitive, the fonts are easy to read, and everything works smoothly.

Want a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot in the crossover? You’re out of luck if you choose the Honda CR-V, whereas it’s an optional feature on the 2019 Subaru Forester.

And what about a great sound system? The absolute best system you’ll find in a 2019 Honda CR-V outputs just 330 watts, whereas the 2019 Subaru Forester can come with a Harman Kardon 576-watt premium sound system that envelopes all corners of the cabin with precise, clear sound.

Safety Features

Both the Forester and CR-V are very safe vehicles, but the Forester packs more into every model whereas on the CR-V you’ll need to pay for the higher trim levels to get access to the full suite of safety tech.

Subaru’s EyeSight suite of driver-assistance features are outstanding and come standard on all models. You get adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, forward-collision warning, and lane-keeping assist.

EyeSight in 2019 even includes Lead Vehicle Alert. This feature tracks the vehicle in front and if it pulls away without our vehicle moving, an audible beep and message are provided. It’s designed for people who sometimes get distracted when waiting for a long time at a stoplight.

Of course, all of these features can be enabled and disabled as you see fit.

Price and Resale Value

Pre-owned Subaru Foresters are a popular choice in Olathe car showrooms and picking up a used Subaru Forester is usually a bargain that’s snapped up quickly.

Honda vehicles also benefit from good resale value. But the CR-V has crept up in price so much that the Subaru Forester looks way better on paper.

The Forester’s base price is lower than the CR-Vs despite including a wealth of features the CR-V doesn’t offer. For example, Subaru EyeSight is included as standard on all trim levels of the 2019 Subaru Forester, but the comparable driver-assist system from Honda – Honda Sensing – is only available on the higher trim levels.

Similarly, the Forester includes all-wheel-drive as standard but the Honda CR-V only offers it as an expensive optional extra.


The Honda CR-V is a worthwhile vehicle with good safety features and a big back seat.

However, there’s no overlooking that the 2019 Subaru Forester for sale in Olathe today comes with all-wheel-drive and EyeSight advanced safety features as standard despite the 2019 Subaru Forester price being lower.

It’s a vehicle that’s happy to tackle off-road terrain whereas the CR-V is best kept to the smooth city streets. Even with AWD, the Forester posts comparable fuel economy figures to the Honda CR-V.

The Forester even offers more high-end features than the CR-V as we go up the trim levels – an eight-way power passenger seat, heated rear seats, and a Harman Kardon audio system. Perhaps next year Honda can take some cues from Subaru and the Honda CR-V will improve enough to challenge the Subaru Forester, but the Forester certainly remains the best AWD crossover to buy in 2019.

Categories: New Inventory

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