2014 Subaru Forester vs. 2014 Honda CR-V

By Emme Hall.

Some people, by choice or circumstances, live in an environment with weather. Not just a bit of rain. I’m talking snow. The kind of snow that makes little RWD or FWD sedans quiver with fear. For those people, we give you the 2014 Subaru Forester and the 2014 Honda CR-V. Both are AWD troopers that can get you through the elements easily, but which one comes out on top here at Autocomparison.

Our 2.5i Touring test model was equipped with the 2.5L horizontally opposed 4 cylinder engine, producing 170 horsepower and 174 lb/ft of torque. A 2.0L turbo is available. A 6 speed manual transmission is standard with the lower trim levels, but ours came with the CVT. 60 mph comes in about 9 seconds, and EPA fuel ratings are 24 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 27 mpg combined for the CVT, and 22/29/24 for the manual.
The Touring trim line includes 17” alloy wheels, a roof rack, power accessories, cruise control, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, a backup camera, an 8 speaker sound system, power lift gate, sunroof, roof rails, heated front seats, leather upholstery, navigation, and a 6.1” touchscreen display.

2014 Subaru Forester

The 2014 Subaru Forester comes with full time all wheel drive and has just a bit more ground clearance than your average sport crossover. The 2014 comes with the new “X Mode,” which helps to maximize traction in dirt and snow, yet it still drives like a regular car on the pavement. The CVT will be a shock to those who haven’t experienced it before, as it can be loud and doesn’t shift as a conventional automatic would.

Every 2014 Honda CR-V comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine good for 185 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is also standard, though buyers have a choice of front- or all-wheel drive on all models. In Edmunds performance testing, an EX-L with all-wheel drive went from zero to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds. This is average for the segment.

2014 Honda CR-V

EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. Each lowers by 1 mpg with all-wheel drive. We’ve observed that these estimates tend to be accurate in real-world driving, unlike those of several competitors.

Our Honda CR-V comes with a 2.4L 4 cylinder engine, knocking out 185 horsepower and 163 lb/ft of torque. A 5 speed automatic is standard, but you do have the choice of FWD or AWD. 0-60 mph happens in 9.4 seconds and EPA fuel ratings are 22 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined. Numbers are slightly better for the FWD.

2014 Honda CR-V

Our EX-L test model comes well equipped including 17” alloy wheels, power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, backup camera, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, a sunroof, heated front seats, satellite radio, roof rails, a 7 speaker sound system with satellite radio. A navigation system is optional.

Like the Forester, the CR-V offers AWD to help you get through the rough stuff, but it performs like a car while on the pavement. The automatic works well enough, but it’s time for Honda to upgrade to a six speed. With more power than the Forester, the CR-V nonetheless turns in a slower 0-60 time.

2014 Subaru Forester

The 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Touring starts at $29,995 and the 2014 Honda CR-V EX-L comes in at $28,945. This is a tough call here. The Forester is undoubtedly the better car, but it’s tough to recommend a CVT as I find them loud and unresponsive. However, the Honda’s transmission is not much better and the car doesn’t have the same oomph as the Forester. So I’m giving this one to Subaru. Reluctantly.

(Note: All vehicles provided by manufacturers for comparison test purposes. Photos provided by Honda and Subaru.)