2021 Honda CR-V vs. Toyota RAV4 vs Subaru Forester

2021 Honda CR-V vs. Toyota RAV4 vs Subaru Forester

If you’re searching for a vehicle that combines everyday versatility with confident styling and go-anywhere performance — it’s hard to ignore the compact crossover segment. In terms of value, practicality, and innovative technology — the Honda CR-V has remained a leader in the segment for decades. With more and more choices in the segment than ever before, choosing the right model can seem difficult at first. To demonstrate how the CR-V continues to set the benchmark, our team at Germain Honda of Dublin has assembled this in-depth model comparison. You’ll see exactly how the Honda CR-V compares to two of its biggest rivals — the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester. Armed with the right information, you’ll easily see how Honda continues to top the competition.

Honda CR-V vs Toyota RAV4

Honda CR-V EX
Toyota RAV4 XLE
2021 Honda CR-V EX 2WD VS 2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE 2WD
$29,035* MSRP (including destination charges)* $28,520
18 inches ✓ Wheel Size 17 inches
Standard ✓ Power Sunroof Not Available
Standard ✓ Remote Engine Start Optional
Standard ✓ Heated Front Seats Optional
Standard ✓ Walk Away Auto Lock® Not Available
Standard ✓ Road Departure Mitigation Braking Not Available
102.9 ✓ Passenger Space (cu ft) 98.9
75.8 ✓ Cargo Volume (cu ft) 69.8
3 Years / 36,000 Miles ✓ Roadside Assistance Coverage 2 Years / Unlimited Miles

Comparing equivalent trim levels of both the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, the only real similarity is the starting price. Sharing virtually identical price tags, these two SUVs are actually quite different in terms of overall value once you take a closer look at their respective features.

Premium standard features included on the CR-V EX include a power moonroof, stylish 18-inch alloy wheels, a remote engine start system, and heated seats for both the driver and passenger. All of these great amenities will require you to step up to a more expensive trim level of the RAV4 or shell out extra cash to get them individually.

Technology is another reason to choose the CR-V over the RAV4. Standard Walk Away Auto Lock® helps protect your valuables while Road Departure Mitigation Braking helps protect your safety by lessening the severity of an accident in the event that your vehicle leaves the road. In terms of both passenger and cargo room, the CR-V has an advantage over the RAV4 as well. Finally, choosing Honda over Toyota means that you’ll receive an additional year of roadside assistance coverage for greater peace of mind behind the wheel.

Honda CR-V vs Subaru Forester

Honda CR-V EX
Subaru Forester Premium
2021 Honda CR-V EX AWD VS 2021 Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium AWD
190 / 179 lb-ft Horsepower / Torque 182 / 176 lb-ft
27 City MPG** 26
18 inches Wheel Size 17 inches
Standard Front Fog Lights Not Available
Standard Road Departure Mitigation System Not Available
Standard Blind Spot Information System (BSI) with Cross Traffic Monitor Optional
Standard Walk Away Auto Lock® Not Available
Standard Remote Engine Start Optional
Standard Dual-Zone Climate Control Not Available
75.8 Max Cargo Volume (cu ft) 69.2

Next up to challenge the Honda CR-V is the Subaru Forester, known for its standard all-wheel drive system. Comparing the similarly-equipped CR-V EX AWD against the Forester Premium, you’ll notice some key differences between the two. Despite greater horsepower and torque figures than the Forester, the CR-V is also able to deliver greater city MPG. More power and more efficiency? Sounds like a winning combination to us.

Larger 18-inch alloy wheels give the CR-V EX a more commanding stance on the road. Groundbreaking driver-assist technologies are included as standard on the CR-V EX as well. Examples include the Road Departure Mitigation System, Blind Spot Information System (BSI) with Cross Traffic Monitor, and Walk Away Auto Lock®. Adding both confidence and peace of mind behind the wheel, these great features are either unavailable or are costly options on the Subaru Forester Premium.

In terms of interior comfort, the standard dual-zone climate control system paired with a standard remote engine start system makes the CR-V the more comfortable choice. Great for those living active lifestyles, the CR-V also offers a far greater maximum cargo capacity for bringing all of your gear along for the adventure.

Honda CR-V

Winner – Honda CR-V

Now that the results are in, the clear winner of this in-depth model comparison is the Honda CR-V. Both the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester are unable to compete with the tremendous value, versatility, driver-assistive safety features, and premium technology included with the CR-V. Ready to experience the CR-V for yourself? Our team at Germain Honda of Dublin is standing by to help you choose the trim level that’s perfect for your lifestyle and budget.


*MSRP includes $1,175 destination charge but excludes tax, license, registration, and accessories. Dealer prices may vary. MSRP does not include $395 charge for select premium colors. $395 charge applies to 2021 and newer models.

**28 city/34 highway/30 combined mpg rating for 2WD trims. 27 city/32 highway/29 combined mpg rating for AWD trims. Based on 2021 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors.