The 2021 Subaru Forester Is the Best SUV Under $30k According to Consumer Reports

We all love getting a good deal. The poorest to the richest among us enjoy the feeling that comes from spending our money on something that has value to us. With vehicles, this feeling is complicated by the stress and anxiety of navigating the car market and feeling like you don’t know enough not to get duped by a salesperson. Well, Consumer Reports made a list of the best SUVs under $30,000, and the 2021 Subaru Forester came in at the no. 1 spot on that list. 

Consumer Reports loves the 2021 Subaru Forester

The 2021 Subaru Forester is like a solid base hit; it isn’t going to wow many people, but it does precisely what it is supposed to. Consumer Reports gave it an overall score of 89/100. If you look at all the individual tests like reliability, customer satisfaction, and fuel efficiency, it all adds up. CR had nearly nothing outright bad to say about it. 

A black 2021 Subaru Forester driving down a country road
The 2021 Subaru Forester in action | Subaru

The Subaru Forester is a compact SUV that has proven to be a favorite for many drivers looking for something safe, reliable, and affordable. It is powered by a 2.5-liter flat-four making a modest 182 horsepower. In fact, one of the worst ratings the Forester got from CR was its acceleration. Considering that this is likely not much of a factor for someone looking at a Forester, the 3 / 5 on acceleration is not a real problem. 

Is the 2021 Subaru Forester a good SUV? 

Even though the 2.5-liter engine isn’t very fast, it is more powerful than the previous model. Although it isn’t quick, it does have enough power to satisfy everyday driving needs. Like many newer model cars that aren’t focused on performance, the Forester has a CVT instead of a normal automatic transmission. This makes for smooth shiftless acceleration that tends to be pleasing for many people. 

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Consumer Reports says that even though the Forester isn’t quick, it still can run through a corner flat and smooth. The benefit of having a slightly smaller SUV like the Forester is that it handles closer to a car than an SUV in many ways. 

Thankfully, the Subaru isn’t too firm. The suspension is supple and able to absorb most normal road conditions with ease. Also, the cabin is fairly well isolated from wind and road noise. However, the flat-four boxer motor can be a bit wheezy and annoying at higher revs. 

Does the Forester have a nice interior? 

The newest Forester has gotten an upgrade in this department over the last model. Subaru saw fit to give the Forester nicer plastics and added soft-touch elements throughout the cabin. It isn’t very pretty or cleverly designed, but overall the quality is there. 

A green 2020 Subaru Forester parked on a patterned concrete slab surrounded by potted trees and shrubbery
2020 Subaru Forester | Subaru of America, Inc.

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Aside from just the interior’s nice materials, the Forester has again received a Top Safety Pick Plus from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Forester is not only safe as far as crash tests go, but it is loaded with safety tech features that help you avoid crashes in the first place. The Subaru EyeSight safety sweet is available in all trim levels of the Forester. EyeSight includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, and adaptive cruise control. 

The best SUV under $30,000

The 2021 Subaru Forester is not the most exciting thing on the road. It’s not even in the top 100 most exciting vehicles on the road, but that is not what makes it great. It is a lesson to all manufacturers that if you make something safe, reliable, and affordable, people will buy it and love it. The 2021 models start at $24,795 and can be optioned up to $34,895. According to Consumer Reports, if this fits into your criteria for what you need out of an SUV, you can’t do any better.