The 2021 Subaru Forester Just Killed the 2021 Porsche Cayenne on Consumer Reports

Comparing two SUVs is a tricky thing. At first glance, the two can appear very different, but the closer you get, the closer the two vehicles also get. It is kind of hard to argue that a Porsche and a Subaru are very similar. Even though the 2021 Subaru Forester beat the 2021 Porsche Cayenne handedly on Consumer Reports, the comparison isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem. 

Why did Consumer Reports score the 2021 Subaru Forester higher than the 2021 Porsche Cayenne? 

First thing’s first, Consumer Reports has been continuously impressed with what Subaru has been doing in the newest SUVs. The 2021 Forester and Crosstrek both scored well on CR. Subaru has been putting out comfortable, reliable SUVs with enough flair and personality to appeal to critics and consumers alike resulting in the 89/100 for the 2021 Subaru Forester.

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

Similarly, Porsche has been on a tear with its SUVs for a while now. The Cayenne has been a pillar for the brand since its release in 2003. The smaller, cheaper Macan also has made a quick name for itself. Both blending the sporty, crisp nature of Porsche with the more practical side of owning an SUV. Even though the Cayenne is great, it still couldn’t beat the Forester with its 81/100 Consumer Reports rating. 

Is the 2021 Subaru Forester a good SUV? 

By every metric, the 2021 Subaru forester is a solid choice for anyone looking to buy a compact SUV. Consumer Reports found the Forester to be a solid SUV with minimal issues. The Subaru’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder isn’t going to blow anyone off the road with its 184 hp, but it has all the power it needs to be comfortable and practical.

A green 2020 Subaru Forester compact crossover SUV parked on a sunny, tree-lined road
2020 Subaru Forester | Subaru of America, Inc.

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Like many newer model vehicles not 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. The Subaru’s fuel consumption is fantastic at an overall rating of 28 mpg. It may be slow, but it’s nice on the ol’ wallet.

Overall, CR says the Subaru Forester is a comfortable, practical, and reliable SUV that does what Subie SUVs do best, having standard AWD and killer safety ratings. 

Is the 2021 Porsche Cayenne a good SUV? 

As always with these comparisons, it must be pointed out that the Porsche Cayenne is a far more exciting car every day of the week. It has more power, better brakes, better looking, and superior handling. As far as fun goes, it wins, but that isn’t what the Consumer Reports rating is all about. It focuses on value and living with a car every day, and it is here where the Cayenne can’t quite keep up. 

white 2021 Porsche Cayenne GTS in a fancy garage
2021 Porsche Cayenne GTS | Porsche

The 2021 Porsche Cayenne has an insane amount of engine options, six to be precise. The range covers a 335-hp turbocharged 3-liter V6 and various turbocharged V8s topping out at the 670-hp 4.0-liter V8 Hybrid. Even though many engine options are available, CR recommends the “S” model, which has the 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 making 434 hp. 

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The Porsche really comes into its own on the curvy bits. It can take a corner as well as many sports sedans but boasts twice the space and the taller driving position, which has come to be preferred by many drivers. To achieve such crisp cornering, the Porsche has to have a stiffer suspension but never fully crosses into rigid or uncomfortable. CR says sharp potholes and major road issues can be felt and even jarringly at times. Along those same lines, the luxury SUV stays true to the name and keeps road and wind noise to a minimum. 

For the segment, the Cayenne scored surprisingly well on reliability with a 3 / 5 overall. Although this is good for luxury and sports car brands, this pales compared to the Forester’s 4 / 5 predicted reliability score. This is likely what dropped the Cayenne down a few notches from the Forester. 

The Subaru takes the crown

It is important to note that the Porsche Cayenne really loses this fight, death-by-a-thousand-cuts style. There aren’t really any glaring issues. Yeah, the Porsche is very expensive, with its starting price of $67,500 compared to the Subaru’s starting price of $24,795. The Porsche is more exciting and nicer in almost every way. Unfortunately, it simply isn’t as reliable and is way more money than the Subaru Forester, which ultimately results in a lower score.