The redesigned 2014 Subaru Forester captured the top spot in Consumer Reports' reviews of small SUVs.
It bested similar crossovers that were recently redesigned, including the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5, in what has become a competitive segment of the auto industry.
Consumer Reports noted that Subaru resisted a trend in which other automakers have made their small SUVs sportier. Instead, Subaru focused on utilitarian basics, such as a space-efficient design, large windows, and big square doors. That has given the Forester a spacious cabin with good visibility.
“Overall, if you’re looking for a small SUV that’s very functional and fuel-efficient, the Forester is hard to beat,” said Jake Fisher, director, Consumer Reports Auto Test Center.
The Forester also gets a segment-leading 26 miles per gallon overall and 35 mpg on the highway, Consumer Reports found.
Still there are some glitches. Consumer Reports dinged the Forester for a jittery ride, calling its handling responsive but not as agile as the Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5 or Toyota RAV4.
This was the second big endorsement for the Forester in recent weeks. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said it earned the best rating on a test that measures damage from front-end collisions with fixed objects such as a tree or pole.
Most compact sport-utility vehicles scored poorly on the test. Of the 13 models tested, only the Forester earned an overall rating of “good.” The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport was the second-highest-scoring model, receiving an “acceptable” rating. The rest were rated “marginal” or “poor.”