2019 Subaru Forester ・ Photo by Subaru
If you’re on the run from the law in Rutland, Vermont, and you need to blend in, hop into the nearest Subaru and they’ll never find you. The same advice applies to fugitives in Colorado and Oregon, or almost anywhere with rough winter weather and mountainous terrain. Subaru SUVs are tremendously popular wherever all-wheel drive, decent ground clearance, and rugged utility are necessary.
The Subaru Forester hovers near the top of the brand’s sales charts, battling it out with Outback for bragging rights. 2019 marks the beginning of a new generation of Forester, the fifth since its debut as a 1998 model. Forester has evolved from a tall wagon with slightly awkward proportions into a mature, compact crossover vehicle. Forester gets standard EyeSight Driver Assist Technology for 2019, along with DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation. Prices start at $24,295 and go up to $34,295. If you want to see what else is out there, here are 10 Subaru Forester competitors to consider.
Since its debut as a 2005 model, the Chevy Equinox has been a worthy competitor to the Subaru Forester. Following a makeover and the beginning of its third generation in 2018, the 2019 Chevrolet Equinox makes the most of the General Motors engine library, offering three options under the hood. All three are turbocharged engines: a 1.5-liter four-cylinder (170 hp/203 lb-ft of torque); a 2.0-liter four-cylinder (252 hp/260 lb-ft of torque) gasoline powered; and a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel engine (137 hp/240 lb-ft of torque).
Forester only offers one engine, a 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder gasoline engine that is naturally aspirated (non-turbo) and produces 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. Prices for the 2019 Equinox start at $24,995 for the L 1.5-liter turbo with front-wheel drive, and go up to $36,195 for Premier 1.6-liter turbo diesel with all-wheel drive.
Photo by General Motors
Powertrain choice is one feature where Forester’s competitors outdo the Subaru. Like the Chevy Equinox, the 2019 Ford Escape has three available engines (though all Escape engines are gasoline, not diesel): a 2.5-liter inline-four (168 hp/170 lb-ft of torque); a 1.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four (179 hp/177 lb-ft of torque); and a 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four (245 hp/175 lb-ft of torque). Front-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive is available with the turbo engines.
Escape’s first generation began as a 2001 model, followed by a second generation from 2008 to 2012. The current third-generation Escape debuted as a 2013 model, and continues with evolutionary upgrades, a facelift and a few tweaks. Base prices for the 2019 Escape start at $24,105 and go up to $34,120.
Photo by Ford
The 2019 Honda CR-V remains a benchmark compact crossover vehicle thanks to its sophistication, grace, and reliability. It beat the Forester to North America, debuting here as a 1997 model, and it has evolved over five generations from a cute ute to an SUV for grown-ups. The latest generation debuted in the 2017 model year, gaining additional standard and available safety and driver assistance technologies, including Honda Sensing (standard on EX, EX-L, and Touring models).
Base LX models come with a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder gas engine (184 hp/180 lb-ft of torque), while EX, EX-L, and Touring come with a turbocharged 1.5-liter (190 hp/179 lb-ft of torque). Both engines use a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) like the Forester does, and front-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel drive is available on all trims for an additional $1,400. Pricing starts at $24,350.
Photo by Honda
A fierce Forester competitor, the Hyundai Tucson debuted as a 2005 model, and has been produced over three generations since. Its latest iteration debuted as a 2016 model, and got a facelift for 2018. The 2019 Hyundai Tucson follows the familiar brand formula with tons of standard and available features, a very reasonable pricing structure, and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty that Hyundai calls “America’s Best Warranty.”
Base prices start at $23,200, and go up to $31,550, plus options. Two gasoline engine choices are available: a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder (164 hp/151 lb-ft of torque); and a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder (181 hp/175 lb-ft of torque), each using a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available on all trim levels for an additional $1,400.
Photo by Hyundai
Jeep unveiled the current Cherokee in 2014, reviving the Cherokee badge for the successor to its compact Liberty crossover. The 2019 Jeep Cherokee has been reimagined as a compact crossover with urban ambitions and off-road chops, with models designed for every purpose. Cherokee is one of Forester’s chief competitors when it comes to off-road capability, especially in Trailhawk trim.
Buyers can choose between a 2.4-liter Tigershark inline four-cylinder engine (180 hp/170 lb-ft of torque), a 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 (271 hp/239 lb-ft of torque), or a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder gasoline engine (270 hp/295 lb-ft of torque). For the Cherokee, 4x2 is standard and 4x4 is available on all models. Prices start at $25,240 and go up to $36,890 for the top-of-the-line Trailhawk Elite trim level.
Photo by Nathan Leach-Proffer
Sportage made its debut in the United States as a 1994 model. Now in its fourth generation, the 2019 Kia Sportage is a worthy competitor for the Subaru Forester. Like Forester, Sportage has evolved from a chunky, functional design to a more elegant, sophisticated crossover. Sportage has genuine flair, and can be loaded down with technology and infotainment options.
A choice of two engines is offered: A 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder (181 hp/175 lb-ft of torque), and a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder (237 hp/260 lb-ft of torque), each with gasoline direct injection. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive with a locking center differential is available with each engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Pricing starts at $23,750 for LX and goes up to $33,100 for SX Turbo, plus options. A 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty is included with all Kia vehicles.
Photo by Kia
The Mazda CX-5 currently is in its second generation, and is a stout competitor for the Subaru Forester. CX-5 debuted as a 2013 model, and was the first vehicle to feature the complete suite of SKYACTIV technologies.
For 2019, CX-5 Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring models get a SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline engine (187 hp/186 lb-ft of torque). A turbocharged 2.5-liter engine is now standard for the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trim levels, tuned to produce 250 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque with Premium gas. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available on all trim levels (standard with the turbocharged engine). Pricing starts at $24,350 for Sport with front-wheel drive, and goes up to $36,890 for the new Signature trim level.
Photo by Mazda
The Nissan Rogue has emerged as a robust competitor for the Subaru Forester thanks to an available hybrid powertrain, which Forester lacks. Launched as a 2008 model, Rogue is now in its second generation of production since the 2014 model year.
The 2019 Nissan Rogue is available with a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline engine (170 hp/175 lb-ft of torque), or with a hybrid gasoline-electric powerplant using a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline engine (141 hp/144 lb-ft of torque) and a 30 kW electric motor that brings net system horsepower up to 176. Like Forester, Rogue uses a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Front-wheel drive is standard with both gas and hybrid versions, and all-wheel drive is available for both, too. Pricing for Rogue starts at $24,920 for S front-wheel drive models, and goes up to $32,890 for SL Hybrid all-wheel drive examples.
Photo by Ron Sessions
Now entering its sixth generation of production, the Toyota RAV4 is a significant competitor for the Subaru Forester. In the final year of its fifth generation, RAV4 was the best-selling SUV in the United States. For 2019, RAV4 is based on Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K) platform that underlies the current Toyota Camry and Avalon, along with the Lexus ES.
Pricing on RAV4 LE with a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline engine (204 hp/184 lb-ft of torque) starts at $25,500, while a RAV4 Limited with all-wheel drive starts at $34,900. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional (standard on Adventure trim level). A new RAV4 Hybrid with 219 net system horsepower and standard all-wheel drive will arrive later in 2019, with starting prices to be announced.
Photo by Toyota
The Volkswagen Tiguan offers another option for buyers who are considering a Subaru Forester. Tiguan debuted in the United States as a 2009 model, and underwent a complete makeover for the 2018 model year. A compact crossover riding on VW’s MQB (modular transverse matrix) platform that also underlies a host of VW, Audi, Skoda, and SEAT models across the globe, the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan is available with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine that produces 184 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque.
Volkswagen’s People’s Warranty offers great peace of mind with six years/72,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper limited coverage, by far the industry’s best standard bumper-to-bumper warranty. Prices start at $24,295 for a 2019 VW Tiguan S with front-wheel drive, and go up to $38,895 for an SEL Premium R-Line with 4MOTION all-wheel drive.
Photo by Volkswagen