Honda CR-V vs. Subaru Outback

wicarbuyer1wicarbuyer1 Member Posts: 1
edited April 2014 in Honda
I've seen some discussion on here between these somewhat similar cars, however I haven't heard much commented on regarding cargo space. I've narrowed my car buying search down to these two vehicles and am having a VERY hard time deciding. Went in very high on the outback, now I'm not so sure. Any comments would help, esp. re: cargo room. Thanks in advance!


  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Out of curiosity, did you look at the 2009 Forester? It's more of a direct competitor for the CR-V.

    Consumer Reports just tested one and it became their highest rated small crossover, though the CR-V and Outback and also recommended.

    The Outback is lower and longer than these, a bit nicer inside. My wife liked the higher seating point of the Forester and it's a little shorter and easier to park, so we got that.
  • kidalikidali Member Posts: 17
    Interesting post, considering I had my choices narrowed down to the very same two. A 97 Outback vs a 97 CRV
    I went with the Subaru. Only reason being, the seller wanted $3,800 vs the $8,000 the crazed woman selling her CRV wanted.

    Having had my outback now for over a month, had the woman gone for $7,000 on the CRV, I think I would have gone for that instead. The Subaru is fine. It justs feels more of a tank (sluggish, heavy) than I prefer in my cars. The CRV seemed to have better pick-up, and somewhat better fuel economy (I'm only getting 18mpg -- 13L/100km) . I Like the Subaru fine, I just think I would have enjoyed the feel and gas savings of the CRV a little better.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    It's cold in many places now - your mileage should improve as the weather warms up.

    My 98 Forester never did that poorly - except when I was towing a heavy load.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 15,855
    Depending on mileage, the fuel economy issue (and power) may have to do with the overall engine/sensor health. The vacuum system may need attention, as well as plugs, wires, oxygen sensors....
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    ...add in the ignition coil while you're at it.

    There's just one and it's $80 or so. I had to replace mine when some chipmunks chewed up my wiring harness! :surprise:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 15,855
    Hehehe... you're never going to forgive them, are you? :P
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Alvin? Alvin?! AAAAALVIIIIIINNN! ;)
  • cuddles1cuddles1 Member Posts: 1
    I am now looking to replace my 2007 Honda CRV which has been an exceptionally flawless car with a new Subaru Forester or Outback. The reason being is that I need to haul stuff and two large dogs in my travels, not people. Every time the CRV has been redesigned it has become more people friendly and less a utility vehicle. I need length, not height, and the fold and then roll-forward seat are nothing but a hinderence in carry dogs and anything with length. The outback was clearly more quiet and comfortable but at the moment, I am leaning toward buying the 2009 Forester with a manual transmission for added gas mileage and fun!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Outback's cargo floor is longer, but the Forester is more square so it may fit a square crate better.

    What I suggest is that you actually take your crates with you for a test fit.
  • radar1radar1 Member Posts: 25
    When I compared the Outback and Forester, I liked the 2008 Outback's luggage capacity better than the 2008 Forester. Most of my trips include lots of stuff on 1 level rather than stacked vertically, and the Outback has more floor space so you can get more suitcases/boxes on 1 level than you can on the Forester. On the other hand, the Forester allows you to stack luggage higher.
    I haven't compared the new 2009 Forester, but I understand there's more usable space in this years Forester so I don't know which one I'd pick if I compared them today. In about 2 years I hope to get a diesel stick-shift Forester and the wife will drive the automatic Outback.
  • denver5357denver5357 Member Posts: 319
    Just noticed this thread and thought I would chime in, as it fits my situation.

    We bought a 2007 Outback "iwagon" two years ago. We have two kids under 9, and we wanted a safe, reliable vehicle with better mileage than an SUV that could go in the snow in the winter.

    The Outback is safe. And it goes in the snow. But we aren't sure about reliability, and it can be as annoying as heck. After two years, our observations:

    - Not enough width in the front seats; we're not huge people, but my knees are cramped on both sides no matter how I adjust the seat and wheel. Thought I could used to it but instead it has become more annoying (maybe I'm getting bigger?!).
    - Not enough room in the back seat for the kids in their car seats ... and even if our oldest goes without a booster, if he is behind me, he is cramped. If Subaru only had taken 5 inches from the cargo area and put them in the back seat ... you rarely use that cargo room, and when you do need it, fold the seats down. But no.
    - It has issues starting, especially at altitude. One time my wife took our son skiing at about 9500 feet and it wouldn't start. She eventually got it going with use of the gas pedal, and when we called the dealer, they said this is common and it is a quirk of a Subaru. My wife has been reluctant to take the car into the mountains ever since. It also turns over very - I mean, very - slowly in weather below 15 degrees F. I have a '93 Corolla that doesn't do that. We thought it was a battery problem and replaced it with a higher end battery. Still does it. I called Subaru of America and they assigned a case number, but no one ever contacted me.
    - We have a 4 cyl AT, and it shifts back and forth almost randomly when we take it up a long incline. Very annoying. Again, my '93 Corolla, with far less horsepower, at least shifts in a logical fashion on inclines.
    - The brakes have begun grinding .. a low, deep sound. Dealer said it was excess brake dust and cleaned them off for free. Grinding continued. It isn't every time. Doesn't seem to correlate to cold. It comes and goes. Never had a car do this.
    - The bizarre tire pressure monitoring system comes on every other time we have a big change in daytime temp one day to daytime temp the next day (which where I live can be as much as 60 degrees). The dealer said the TPMS gives false positives so we ignored it for a few weeks, then had the tires checked during oil change and two were indeed low. That has happened twice in two years (different tires) ... why do these tires seem to lose air so easily? Neither of our other cars have this issue. We don't know whether to trust the TPMS or not, and I'm back to checking manually just like in 1985.

    People where we live who have Subarus seem to love them, but our experienced has been poor. The car is sound. It just seems to have weird issues that are the opposite of what we would like, and some of them get at the very heart of what a car should do - work well. So we've been test driving the CR-V and RAV-4, and we are close to trading in the Outback and buying the Honda (also underpowered, but at least it shifts normally and has a 3rd gear lock for consistent power).

    Our last remaing question: Is a CR-V as good in the snow as an Outback?

    That's our .02's. :)
  • rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    Our last remaing question: Is a CR-V as good in the snow as an Outback?

    No. The CRV has an on-demand AWD, meaning it's only AWD when the front wheels slip, otherwise it's a FWD car. Not so with the Outback, or any Subaru, as they have full-time AWD.

  • krzysskrzyss Member Posts: 849
    "We have a 4 cyl AT"

    this particular Subaru AWD is very similar to Honda's.

    You want to be safe in snow, ice and whatever winter throws at you at elevation of 9500 feet you use winter tires, probably studless ice tires like Blizzak WS-60.
    And do not use them with less than half of the tread left in winter.


    PS TPMS as any device that is supposed to help humans in very uncomplicated endavour causes more problems than it solves. Say thank you to your congressman or representative and do not forget Ford and Firestone/Bridgestone.

    PS2 What oil are you using in winter?
  • denver5357denver5357 Member Posts: 319
    Thanks for the tire tip ... for the Outback, I assume? Or CR-V? Or both?

    Don't use a special oil in winter ... have had the Outback serviced only at the dealer (usually do that until warranty is over), so whatever they put in is what we use. I assume it is the correct oil.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    A lot of people asked for more room so the 2010 model is getting it. I read somewhere that rear legroom would increase by a whopping 4 inches! :surprise:
  • denver5357denver5357 Member Posts: 319
    Four inches doesn't sound like a lot, but in terms of rear leg room it is. It would solve our problem, for instance - at least with the room for the kids. But too late for us to wait, and all the "quirkiness" of the Subaru isn't cute to us.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The 2009 Forester is certainly less quirky, though I still miss our spunky 1998 Forester. It had tons of character, and ours was reliable.
  • denver5357denver5357 Member Posts: 319
    Understood. And I considered the new Foresters, which I like design-wise much better than the older, boxy versions. But at this point my wife is done with Subarus. She lost confidence in the brand, and I have my orders. :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, and I wouldn't push her. You would have nothing to gain. Even if it's the perfect car it's not like she'd give you credit for it. :D

    You'd sure be blamed if it wasn't! :surprise:

    You know what I miss? The unpainted bumper and cladding. The 1998 was bullet proof. You hit something and the bumper would bounce back in to place, magically self-healing. It was incredibly durable and easy to keep clean.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Member Posts: 2,798
    - It has issues starting, especially at altitude. One time my wife took our son skiing at about 9500 feet and it wouldn't start. She eventually got it going with use of the gas pedal, and when we called the dealer, they said this is common and it is a quirk of a Subaru. My wife has been reluctant to take the car into the mountains ever since.

    I would file a complaint with NHTSA for not having this information in the OWNER's MANUAL. The CR-V manual states to have throttle partially open when starting at higher altitudes, or extreme cold.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I think the dealer was full of it. There's no way that's normal.

    Half the vehicles in the ski mountain parking lot are Subarus, are they kidding? There would be hundreds of them stranded if that were normal.
  • radar1radar1 Member Posts: 25
    The IIHS just rated the Forester and CR-V in the new rollover test. Forester scored well (good) and will remain a "top safety pick" but the CR-V did not score as well (marginal) and will be dropped as a "top safety pick" next year.
    I like the cargo space in the Outback, it has a long floor area so I have less need to stack items vertically, and the back seat folds flat, and I like the ability to tow my pop-up camper while carrying 2 kayaks on top. The Outback is rated to pull 2700 lbs.

  • denver5357denver5357 Member Posts: 319
    I think that''s the issue ... if all you need is cargo space, the Outback may work for you. If you want space for rear seat passengers and even the driver and front-seat passenger, the CR-V is far more comfortable and also provides cargo space.
  • nornetnornet Member Posts: 24
    The legroom in the 2010 Subaru is supposed to be 5" more than last years. I bought a 2007 Outback and it's tight back there on anything other than city drives. With the extra room, the Subaru will be the clear winner. There's no comparison between the 2 when it comes to driveability.
  • denver5357denver5357 Member Posts: 319
    Well, I think that's a matter of opinion. We owned a 2007 Outback and traded it in (see earlier post), and driveability (which can mean different things to different people) was IMO a big part of that.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I saw that (in another thread). That's very disappointing given all the hype over Honda's ACE body protection.

    I've noticed a trend with crash tests in the small SUV segment.

    Subaru does well right off the bat. For instance the 99 Forester earned a "Good" in the frontal offset test, the first in class to do so. The new roof crush test appears and again Subaru does well right away, the first time it's tested.

    Honda and Toyota tend to learn their lessons, i.e. they get it right on the 2nd attempt. Note how they tend to have middling scores at first, but then improve with redesigns and catch up to Subaru. I bet the next generations of the CR-V and RAV4 will match the Forester's roof crush resistance, in fact I'd bet on it.

    Finally, the Koreans always seem to be 2 steps behind. Very disappointing that they finally were improving on their frontal scores and then we see dismal scores for the roof structure.

    Kudos to Subaru, though, for getting it right from the get-go.
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