The SUV market is pretty saturated these days, but there are a few brands that manage to stand out. Honda is responsible for producing the critically-acclaimed CR-V, while Toyota’s RAV4 is also going strong. However, when it comes to subcompact SUVs, neither Toyota nor Honda produce the best option.
The Subaru Crosstrek beats out the subcompact Honda HR-V with an overall score of 85 out of 100, according to Consumer Reports. Toyota’s subcompact entry, the C-HR, didn’t even rank alongside the other top SUVs. What does the Subaru Crosstrek have to offer that makes it so much better than the competition?
Why Consumer Reports loves the Subaru Crosstrek
The Subaru Crosstrek received a great score on Consumer Reports’ road test. The SUV is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that can make 152 hp. It’s paired with either a six-speed manual or the optional CVT and has standard all-wheel drive. While its handling isn’t particularly exciting, the steering feels balanced and there’s hardly any body lean.
The Crosstrek’s all-wheel drive functions well and, combined with high ground clearance, it’s a good SUV for some light off-roading. Consumer Reports was also impressed with the SUV’s braking performance and excellent fuel economy numbers. With all-wheel-drive equipped, testers were able to score 29 mpg combined city/highway.
The Subaru Crosstrek’s interior is a bit of a mixed bag. There are plenty of hard plastic bits, like the inside of the center console and the sun visors. However, Consumer Reports did appreciate the unique orange stitching on the seats and the dashboard’s soft carbon-fiber trim.
Some control knobs on the center stack also feel a bit cheap, but the infotainment system functions well. There’s no steep learning curve and the graphics are vibrant despite the touchscreen being smaller than average. The system also comes equipped with standard Bluetooth, smartphone integration, and one USB port.
What about the Honda HR-V?
The Honda HR-V received a much lower score on its road test and its owner satisfaction score. Only 52% of drivers said they would buy this car again, whereas 77% of Crosstrek owners were satisfied with their vehicle. The Honda HR-V does have some good things going for it, like a good reliability score and a spacious cargo hold.
However, its engine is woefully underpowered, resulting in a lot of noise when it’s under stress. Consumer Reports also complained that the ride is stiff and the seats aren’t supportive enough for long drives. The suspension fails to absorb any bump in the road, even on the highway.
The lackluster Toyota C-HR
The C-HR is relatively new to Toyota’s lineup, but so far it has failed to make a positive impact on critics. Although the interior feels nice, the small rear windows in the second row can invoke feelings of claustrophobia in backseat riders. It also has a smaller cargo hold than both the Honda HR-V and the Subaru Crosstrek.
The Toyota C-HR’s engine struggles to accelerate, and Consumer Reports also noted that there’s too much wind noise inside the cabin. Its tiny windows greatly limit visibility and all-wheel drive is not available at all for the Toyota C-HR.
Other great Subaru SUVs
In the midsize SUV category, the Subaru Ascent also has a near-perfect road test score. It features a quiet, smooth ride and plenty of functional standard technology. It’s also quite fast for a vehicle its size, averaging 0-60 mph in 8 seconds flat.
The Subaru Forester is also a popular contender in the compact SUV segment. It boasts impressive gas mileage, roomy interior dimensions, and standard all-wheel-drive. While Honda and Toyota SUVs may be more popular, Subaru’s entries definitely shouldn’t be ignored.