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The compact SUV segment is blazing hot, and the competition is insane. Automakers seem desperate to one-up each other, and owners are reaping the benefits. The only major downside is figuring out which compact SUV you want since they all have such great features. 

The 2020 Honda CR-V and the Subaru Forester are two such vehicles. Both have great features that are sure to draw consumers in, but according to U.S. News, one definitely manages to stand out from the crowd.

The 2020 Honda CR-V

Honda went all out with the 2020 CR-V. It comes with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that’s standard, and it has 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque.

Add in a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is also standard, and you’ve got a powerful little engine in the CR-V. In fact, U.S. News described it as robust.

The Honda CR-V also has some great gas mileage. It gets an estimated 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg hwy. The ride is comfortable and smooth enough. Critics think the Mazda CX-5 and the Ford Escape have superior handling, however. 

U.S. News reports, “This SUV has an upscale, classy cabin with quality materials, including faux wood accents in higher trims.” For owners who enjoy feeling like they bought a more luxurious vehicle without having to pay the extreme prices, the CR-V is a great pick. It’s also nearly impossible to beat all the space in a Honda CR-V. 

The few points that U.S. News didn’t like about the Honda CR-V revolves around the infotainment system and the lack of standard features. There are no physical buttons on the infotainment system, and the screen can be frustratingly slow to respond.

Starting at $25,050, the Honda CR-V is surprisingly affordable, but it doesn’t come with a lot of standard features. For drivers looking for things like heated front seats, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, two second-row USB ports, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, and a moon roof, you’re going to have to upgrade. 

The 2020 Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester has taken a bit of a beating in the last few years. Once the epitome of reliability, it is no longer on Forbes’ list of cars that will last over 200,000 miles. 

Car and Driver also weren’t impressed with the new 2020 Subaru Forester. In fact, the review site stated, “In its quest for automotive domination, Subaru engineered all the fun out of the Forester.” For an automaker that tries to portray itself as fun, reliable, and long-lasting, that’s not exactly what consumers want to read.

So what does the Subaru Forester have going for it? Well, it has great handling on and off-road, almost as much storage space as the Honda CR-V. 

Like Honda, Subaru also isn’t offering a lot of standard features on the Forester. It does have a few features that drivers will like, such as an adaptive cruise control system that comes with a lane-centering feature, a tire-pressure monitor, and a rear-seat reminder that alerts the driver to check the back seat which will be perfect for parents and pet owners.

The engine isn’t anything to brag about. It’s a 2.5-liter flat-four-cylinder engine that makes 182 hp. It also comes with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), and AWD, of course. The engine is surprisingly lacking in power, and Car and Driver report that it felt uninspired.

The base model starts at $25,505, making it just as affordable as the Honda CR-V. In that regard, both are great picks.

Why the 2020 Honda CR-V came out on top

There’s no doubt that the Subaru Forester has a lot going for it. It’s a Subaru, after all. Still, it’s engine can’t quite keep up with the 2020 Honda CR-V. For drivers who are looking for a little more excitement in their daily lives, the CR-V is the clear choice.