Choosing the best SUV between the 2023 Subaru Forester and the 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime is a tough job. These two SUVs are unanimously among the highest rated SUVs. In every category that matters for SUVs, these two models deliver. However, Consumer Reports seemed to pick the winner easily. The 2023 Subaru Forester beat out the 2023 Toyota RAV4 in Consumer Reports.
Is the 2023 Subaru Forester a good SUV?
Consumer Reports ranked the new Forester first in its compact SUV category. Not only that, but it is one of the highest rated vehicles on the site. This may surprise some, but the reality is that Subaru is building some of the best vehicles on the market.
The 2023 Subaru Forester isn’t terribly exciting. For what it lacks in dynamism, it more than makes up for in sheer practicality.
The new Forester seats five with plenty of room for storage. It earned a Top Safety Pick+ score from IIHS and a host of 5-star ratings from NHTSA. In addition to being one of the safest cars on the market, the Subaru also plays nice with polar bears due to its 28 mpg combined. However, that efficiency is achieved by offering just a 182-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It is not fast.
Consumer Reports describes the ride and handling as “expert at absorbing road imperfections, making it one of the best-driving SUVs in the category. And yet it benefits from responsive handling with contained body roll and fairly quick steering around corners.”
Lastly, and most importantly, the Forester can drive itself off-road. I had the Forester Wilderness Edition last year in upstate New York. I took it on a snowy trail I’d never driven, and I haven’t been this confident in anything off-road since my TJ Wrangler. He handled snow, ice and mud with equal grace and grunt.
As long as you don’t need your SUV to be pretty, the Forester will. Consumer Reports struggled to find much to criticize. Aside from the annoying engine noise at higher revs and her unique sluggishness, the CR review sounded like a proud mom telling her friends about her son’s baseball game.
Is the Toyota RAV4 Prime the best SUV?
The 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime is one of the most popular SUVs on the market, and for good reason. The RAV4 Prime is one of the most efficient compact SUVs the world has ever known. The hybrid powertrain alone gives drivers 40 miles of pure electric range before its gas-powered counterpart joins the fun. With charging infrastructure still in limbo, this is the bridge between eco-conscious drivers and the convenience of gasoline.
Consumer Reports said some bad things about Toyota’s newest RAV4. CR’s only serious complaint was the new model’s intended reliability. Given the newness of the model, CR is being conservative with its predicted reliability because the model has not been tested. The first model year was 2021. This means we still have some time to see how this new plug-in hybrid system performs in the long run.
How much should you spend on a good SUV?
Probably the biggest difference between these two models is the price. If you think the Forester still doesn’t seem better than the RAV4 Prime, just look at the price tags. The 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime starts at $41,590 and tops out at $45,460. The 2023 Subaru Forester, on the other hand, starts at almost half that, $26,395, and tops out at $36,395.
Apart from the unknown reliability of the model, Toyota has once again made a dominant SUV. For CR, however, questions of reliability and price landed the top spot Forester in third place.