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Honda Pilot/CRV or Subaru Outback/Forester

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


Handling in snow, rain and ice. Want a hitch for bike rack. Comfortable for four adults and two large dogs. Leather heated seats. Low road noise. Good audio.

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Powertrain performance / Quietness

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 25000
Maximum age: 2 years

Maximum price: US $ 20000

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Response from NormT

9:09 pm April 22, 2018

The Japanese economy cuvs and suvs have not always been known to be quiet as a Buick. Get one with leather and it will be easier to keep clean. We have two dogs and the leather wipes right off.

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Buick Envision

Response from Sea-Dan

2:47 am April 23, 2018

NormT is right about the leather interior!

Any of these would work. The question is exactly how big are your dogs and will you be transporting 4 people plus two large dogs all at the same time. If so, the best bet to avoid getting slobber on the folks in the back seat would be the Pilot! Or a dog barrier.

If dog slobber is OK with the passengers than the Forester will have more cargo space and higher cargo area than the CRV -- also has a lower load height which would be prime consideration for large dogs as they age. The Outback is probably the least desirable due to lower cargo area height.


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Response from Member365

7:36 am April 23, 2018

We have owned 2013 CRV EX-L and 2016 Outback Limited and now a 2018 CRV EX-L. For overall reliability and fuel economy and performance, the CRV would be our choice. The Outback performance is far less than the CRV. The advertised fuel economy of the Outback and the CRV are about the same but in real world experience in our household, we find the CRV to be considerably better. Interior of Outback was somewhat nicer, premium audio is better than the CRV. However, the best audio is available only in the Limited model which is more costly than the CRV. The outside appearance of the Outback was also a bit more stylish, but for overall usage, we much prefer the CRV. We carry one dog on lmany long trips and find virtually no difference with either vehicle for this purpose. With two large dogs, it may be better to choose a larger vehicle, and the pilot would be our choice in that case.


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Honda CR-V
Honda Pilot

Response from AcuraT

10:17 am April 23, 2018

Focusing on the four cars you are considering:

Reliabilty/Durabiilty: Honda Pilot/CRV and Subaru Outback/Forrester are fairly solid cars if you are buying new. Pilots have transimssion issues every time they redeisgn them but they do fix them a couple of years after launch. Subarus burn oil (about 10% of them) but if you maintain your car and check your oil every 1000 miles they are even more durable than Hondas by a small margin.

Powertrain/performance: Optional engines in Subarus give them the advantage when adopting a turbo 4 or H6 engine. Hondas are solid in performance but the larger engine option in Subarus give them faster 0-60 times. If you go with the standard Subaru engine on either model, it is slower than the equivalent Honda.

Quietness: I go by Consumer Reports on this measure. For quietness, both Hondas score a 4 out of 5. Both the 4 and 6 cylinder Outback also score a 4. The Subaru Forrester is the noisest and scores a 3 out of 5. I would have guesed at this but their measures are more accurate.

Note Norm is right, the quietest is Buick. Nearly as reliable as the Honda and Subaru but perhaps not quite as good. I admit I bought the Buick Envision as it is more luxiourous than the cars you chose just recently as it is replacing my 2006 Saab 9-3 that lasted 170,000 miles and 12 years before a tree essentially did it in last week. GM cars can last a long time with few repairs if it is a good design (they are more hit and miss still as Cadillac is a disaster zone especially in electronics while Buick is generally quite good). Note the top of the line Envision has what is called a double clutch transmission. That means that one wheel can be powered in the rear independent of the other, so if you lose traction climbing a snow covered mounatain like I do every day in winter in Connecticut, I won't get stuck. That was important for me.

Also note the 2019 Envision comes out May 2018 so this month they are discounting the Envision by $13,000. That huge discount convinced me to jump in and buy a Buick as it would take a lot of repairs to justify any other car - and I don't expect it to be that bad.


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Response from NormT

11:04 am April 23, 2018

Response from LectroFuel

2:04 am April 24, 2018

If I was in your position and I only had to choose from your 4 cars I'd take the Pilot because it is much larger than the others. The Forester is not good if you want a quiet car. The CR-V is a good choice if you don't want to drive a big Pilot and waste gas.

Despite this I would actually go with a 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4 over the previous generation CR-V because of the more standard features with the RAV4 and it is a more practical SUV. The RAV4 is more reliable and the touch screen is bigger than the super small info screen on the lower trims of the 2012-2016 CR-V which means the standard backup camera and operating the radio will be easier to see and use. My mother in law has a 2014 RAV4 and likes everything except she wishes she had a power liftgate because of her bad back. I think the XLE has this feature. The CR-V doesn't have a good sound system in any trim and the RAV4 has JBL on the higher trims and is quite good. The SofTex synthetic leather actually feels as nice as leather, doesn't crack or wear, and is easy to clean up because it doesn't stain. Perfect for dogs

The Outback is a nice car but I would worry about oil consumption because you will be buying used. Same with the Forester. With the Toyota you won't need to worry. The CR-V had some CVT vibration problems.


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Toyota RAV4

Response from gondulvalk

7:50 am April 24, 2018

Pilot would be the the much larger of the three and really should be compared to similar models such as the Highlander or other full size SUVs.

My wife drove both the CRV and the Forester and was underwhelmed by the engine/drivetrain on the CRV...just not as responsive as the Forester. Also with the horizontally opposed engine on the Forester, the weight sits lower and it drives more 'car-like' with quite a bit less body roll than in other models.

There is not a significant difference in cargo capacity between the CRV (75 cubic feet) and the Forester (72 cubic feet). As far as AWD systems, the Subaru system is generally much better than most of the 'AWD' offerings from other manufactures and they have had them in vehicles since the late 70's. There are plenty of test videos out there showing comparisons between AWD systems.

Best I can offer is to go out and give them a drive and see which one best appeals to you.


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Honda CR-V
Subaru Forester
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