2020 Honda Passport vs. 2020 Subaru Forester

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/01/27

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Passport deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Passport’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Forester’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

Both the Passport 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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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 Passport’s warranty.

Reliability

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The engine in the Passport has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the Forester has dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 16th in initial quality. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.

Engine

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The Passport’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 98 more horsepower (280 vs. 182) and 86 lbs.-ft. more torque (262 vs. 176) than the Forester’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Honda Passport is faster than the Subaru Forester:

Passport

Forester

Zero to 30 MPH

2.2 sec

3.7 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

9.6 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

10.5 sec

15.5 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

3.1 sec

4.4 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

17.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

82.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Passport’s fuel efficiency. The Forester doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Passport has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Forester (19.5 vs. 16.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Passport has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Forester doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Passport’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Forester:

Passport

Forester Base/Premium

Forester Sport/Limited/Touring

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.2 inches

11.2 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Passport has larger standard tires than the Forester (245/50R20 vs. 225/60R17). The Passport Touring/Elite’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Forester (265/45R20 vs. 225/60R17).

The Passport Sport/EX-L’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Forester’s standard 60 series tires. The Passport Touring/Elite’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Forester Sport/Limited/Touring’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Passport has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Forester. The Forester’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

The Passport has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Forester doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Passport’s wheelbase is 5.8 inches longer than on the Forester (110.9 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Passport is 5.2 inches wider in the front and 5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Forester.

Chassis

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The Passport 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, the interior of the Passport Elite AWD is quieter than the Forester Touring:

Passport

Forester

Full-Throttle

76 dB

81 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

76 dB

Passenger Space

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The Passport has 4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Forester (115.9 vs. 111.9).

The Passport has 5 inches more front hip room, 3.8 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom, .2 inches more rear legroom, 3.7 inches more rear hip room and 4.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Forester.

Cargo Capacity

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The Passport has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Forester with its rear seat up (41.2 vs. 35.4 cubic feet). The Passport has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Forester with its rear seat folded (77.9 vs. 76.1 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Passport Touring/Elite’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Forester doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

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The Passport’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Forester’s (3500 vs. 1500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Subaru Forester is only 1500 pounds. The Passport AWD offers up to a 5000 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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The Passport’s front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Forester’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Passport the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Forester can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Passport’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Forester’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Passport Elite’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

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

Manual rear side window sunshades are available in the Passport to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Forester doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Passport Elite keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Forester doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Passport has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Forester Limited/Touring.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Honda Passport Elite has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Forester doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The Passport Touring/Elite has a 115-volt a/c outlet, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Forester doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

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

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