2019 Honda HR-V vs. 2018 Subaru Forester

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the HR-V and the Forester have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes and lane departure warning systems.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Honda HR-V is safer than the Subaru Forester:

 

HR-V

Forester

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

41%

52%

Neck Compression

46 lbs.

134 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Honda HR-V is safer than the Subaru Forester:

 

HR-V

Forester

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

385 lbs.

598 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

There are over 66 percent more Honda dealers than there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the HR-V’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the HR-V has a standard 410-amp battery. The Forester’s 390-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Honda vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 23rd in initial quality. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 27 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Honda HR-V uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Forester 2.0XT requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The Honda HR-V comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Forester.

Brakes and Stopping

The HR-V stops much shorter than the Forester:

 

HR-V

Forester

 

70 to 0 MPH

170 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

139 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The HR-V’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Forester 2.5i’s standard 60 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The HR-V EX-L AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the Forester 2.0XT Touring pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The HR-V EX executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Forester 2.5i Touring (27.8 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 28.6 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Chassis

The Honda HR-V may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 550 pounds less than the Subaru Forester.

The HR-V is 10.5 inches shorter than the Forester, making the HR-V easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The HR-V Sport/EX/EX-L/Touring uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Forester doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the HR-V EX-L AWD is quieter than the Forester 2.5i Touring (69 vs. 70 dB).

Ergonomics

Consumer Reports rated the HR-V’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Forester’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

Model Availability

The HR-V is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Forester doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the HR-V is less expensive to operate than the Forester because it costs $279 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the HR-V than the Forester, including $138 less for a water pump, $9 less for a muffler, $16 less for front brake pads, $379 less for fuel injection, $128 less for front struts and $178 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda HR-V will be $1635 to $6719 less than for the Subaru Forester.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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