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  1. #1
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    CRV vs. Outback Vs. Crosstrek

    Been looking at these three vehicles as a new 2013 purchase for the wife. They all get similar MPGs, similar clearance, and AWD. She currently has an 03 Accord EX v6 w/leather, loaded. etc. Nice roomy car, but we want something w/AWD and her Accord is upward of 115,000 miles.

    I have narrowed it down to these and would like input/opionions from those that drive them, have ridden in them etc.

    Please don't turn this into a bash thread of Honda vs. Subaru or vice versa. The wife and I have limited down to one of these three and no others will be considered, just because.

    What say MTBR

  2. #2
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    I have a 2010 Honda Crosstour EX-L (w/18" wheels). The 4wd has been awesome. The CR-V has Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System as opposed to "real time 4WD" in the CT. Dunno how they differ in the real world though (sounds like marketingspeak) : /

  3. #3
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    I'd lean towards the CRV so I'd have the option to fork mount the bikes inside.

  4. #4
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    Not to be nitpicky but those are 3 different size classes of car- if you've ruled out the Forester for MPG reasons, the new 2014 will be out in early spring and get kickass fuel economy. But I say that cuz the CR-V is the comparable vehicle to the Forester. Size wise it's XV is smallest, as it's just a compact car, then CR-V, then Outback is biggest.

    The most glaring difference aside from size is the Honda AWD is garbage in terms of it's operation compared to the Subaru systems. I sell Subarus and own an 06 CR-V so I speak from experience. The Honda system will deactivate above a certain speed (in my CR-V it's something like 38 mph) and it doesn't shift nearly as much power around as the Subaru does. The Subarus, even though there are like 4 different AWD systems depending on transmission and engine, will always have power going to all four wheels.

    All of your choices are good though, in terms of reliability, resale value, safety, so I'd say just pick whichever one she is most comfy in. Depending on where you live in the country, don't expect more than a few hundred bucks off MSRP on the Crosstrek, but the Outback can be had for under invoice fairly easily.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    Not to be nitpicky but those are 3 different size classes of car- if you've ruled out the Forester for MPG reasons, the new 2014 will be out in early spring and get kickass fuel economy. But I say that cuz the CR-V is the comparable vehicle to the Forester. Size wise it's XV is smallest, as it's just a compact car, then CR-V, then Outback is biggest.

    The most glaring difference aside from size is the Honda AWD is garbage in terms of it's operation compared to the Subaru systems. I sell Subarus and own an 06 CR-V so I speak from experience. The Honda system will deactivate above a certain speed (in my CR-V it's something like 38 mph) and it doesn't shift nearly as much power around as the Subaru does. The Subarus, even though there are like 4 different AWD systems depending on transmission and engine, will always have power going to all four wheels.

    All of your choices are good though, in terms of reliability, resale value, safety, so I'd say just pick whichever one she is most comfy in. Depending on where you live in the country, don't expect more than a few hundred bucks off MSRP on the Crosstrek, but the Outback can be had for under invoice fairly easily.
    Thats good info. I know the xv is smaller, but feel the crv and outback are similar in size. We live in Asheville, NC so no major snows, mostly grvel roads for that car. The reason fir adding the xv is for mpg. Your comments on the Honda AWD seem to concern me and need some research on my part. But it seems all three are decent. I have a 4wd drive vehicle w/ low range if we get a good snow which is every other year.

  6. #6
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    CR-V and Outback similar in size? I don't think so. One's a compact, one's a midsize.

    The CR-V's AWD system isn't all that great, but if you already have a proper 4WD vehicle, is a very good choice.

    The Outback I personally would not recommend considering that it is a larger vehicle.

    The XV is a smaller compact vehicle, and is a bit smaller than the CR-V, but it is most likely to be the most fuel-efficient of the three.

    As Jared recommended, I too would recommend the brand-new, 4th generation 2014 Subaru Forester as it is comparable to the CR-V and is likely to be better than the older Forester in every single way.


    In my opinion, it's between the new Forester and the CR-V.

    If you need the ground clearance for light off-roading, the Forester is your choice.

    If you simply need AWD just to get around light gravel roads and light snow as you said, and have no need for the unnecessary ground clearance of the Subarus, the CR-V is likely your best choice.

  7. #7
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    The CRV's AWD will definitely be more than adequate for you. Like I said, I own one, it gets the job done, but if I lived somewhere that snowed a lot more, it would be Subaru, hands down.

    I would say that you should have her drive all three- based on what you've said, I think the most major difference will be ride quality. If she is accustomed to the ride quality of the Accord, she may prefer the Outback.

    Again though, all good choices.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanchez View Post
    and her Accord is upward of 115,000 miles.
    :
    I would say the Accord isn't even broken in yet! My old accord had over 300K before I traded it in, and I still would drive it across the country if I had to.

    That said, a co-worker just got a Crosstrek and he's claiming over 37-38 mpg's on his highway commute. Not sure what CRV is, but I can't see outback being more than 28-29 being as big/heavy as they are. But I'm sure I'm wrong. Those Crosstrek's sure look like tough little cars.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AWDfreak View Post
    CR-V and Outback similar in size? I don't think so. One's a compact, one's a midsize.

    The CR-V's AWD system isn't all that great, but if you already have a proper 4WD vehicle, is a very good choice.

    The Outback I personally would not recommend considering that it is a larger vehicle.

    The XV is a smaller compact vehicle, and is a bit smaller than the CR-V, but it is most likely to be the most fuel-efficient of the three.

    As Jared recommended, I too would recommend the brand-new, 4thF generation 2014 Subaru Forester as it is comparable to the CR-V and is likely to be better than the older Forester in every single way.



    In my opinion, it's between the new Forester and the CR-V.

    If you need the ground clearance for light off-roading, the Forester is your choice.

    If you simply need AWD just to get around light gravel roads and light snow as you said, and have no need for the unnecessary ground clearance of the Subarus, the CR-V is likely your best choice.
    Compare Vehicles - Official Honda Web Site

    Seem fairly similar in roominess to me.

  10. #10
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    They are close, but not. Similar to the Forester vs Outback. People always think the Forester is bigger, but it's the smaller. CR-V and Forester are built on compact platforms, the Outback on midsize platform. Main difference is you may have a smidgen more elbow room in the Outback, and a tad more legroom, and the cargo space will be longer, albeit not as tall.

    But like I said, the largest difference between the platforms is handling- the Outback being a midsize platform will have more sound deadening, a smoother suspension than the CRV and Forester. Plus the longer wheelbase will smooth out the ride a lot, especially on the highway.

    With that said- I prefer the driving dynamics of the CRV and Forester over the Outback.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GSJ1973 View Post
    I would say the Accord isn't even broken in yet! My old accord had over 300K before I traded it in, and I still would drive it across the country if I had to.

    That said, a co-worker just got a Crosstrek and he's claiming over 37-38 mpg's on his highway commute. Not sure what CRV is, but I can't see outback being more than 28-29 being as big/heavy as they are. But I'm sure I'm wrong. Those Crosstrek's sure look like tough little cars.
    +1 on that Honda not being worn in. You just can't kill them.

    I recently switched to the new XV Crosstrek and am VERY pleased. 37-38 highway with the CVT sounds plausible as I was able to achieve near 31 with snowboards on the roof(kills 2-3 mpg's) with my 5 speed(about 3 mpg less than the CVT). It is a highly capable car that laughs at crappy road conditions. Size wise I have had 5 people in the car with 2 people 6ft tall in the back and everyone had plenty of room.

    Any questions on the car feel free to ask. A month of ownership 2 days from now and I have loved every second of it. Good luck with your decision all 3 are great vehicles.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    They are close, but not. Similar to the Forester vs Outback. People always think the Forester is bigger, but it's the smaller. CR-V and Forester are built on compact platforms, the Outback on midsize platform. Main difference is you may have a smidgen more elbow room in the Outback, and a tad more legroom, and the cargo space will be longer, albeit not as tall.

    But like I said, the largest difference between the platforms is handling- the Outback being a midsize platform will have more sound deadening, a smoother suspension than the CRV and Forester. Plus the longer wheelbase will smooth out the ride a lot, especially on the highway.

    With that said- I prefer the driving dynamics of the CRV and Forester over the Outback.
    Couldn't have said it any better. I completely agree with you, Jared.

    And Tech, I see you're posting pr0n again

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by AWDfreak View Post
    Couldn't have said it any better. I completely agree with you, Jared.

    And Tech, I see you're posting pr0n again
    I need more pictures. I'm going to try and take some good snow photos next time we get a dump. Go off the beaten path somewhere where this vehicle belongs

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tech420 View Post
    I need more pictures. I'm going to try and take some good snow photos next time we get a dump. Go off the beaten path somewhere where this vehicle belongs
    Spoken like a true Subaru enthusiast

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by AWDfreak View Post
    Spoken like a true Subaru enthusiast
    The XV is actually my first. I've always had a thing for them, but they never seemed to fit my lifestyle. Now living in New England it seems to be the perfect fit for me and all the outdoor activities I enjoy doing. I would like to grab a BRZ sometime in the next few years(hopefully with an STI package) for a weekend toy. I really hope they bring the STI over to the BRZ. What a fun car that would be to drive.

  16. #16
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    I believe I saw that Outside rated the Crosstrek with extremely good offroad handling/ snappy enough for most on the road, looks like a sweet little car to me, I've always found older outbacks to be kinda slow and heavy feeling, kinda like a loaded diaper, that said, Subaru has really changed things up in the last few years so this may no longer be true... anyway just my 2 cents, I'm a toyota fan myself
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  17. #17
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    The crosstrek will have the most fun handling ride of them all, and has fantastic ground clearance
    (8.7in). It and the outback have the best awd system too (close to the best on the entire market actually). The outback is great and very convenient, but god is it boring to drive. The driver feel is just...so dampened. I would get the crosstrek, it has the best looks, handling and is the most well rounded. You can't really go wrong with any of them though.

  18. #18
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    I like smaller vehicles, so the Crosstrek is perfect for my needs. it's a pretty fun car to drive. the dealer kept pressing me to throw the car around on the test drive and I was very impressed with the suspension and handling.

    my wife and I ended up ordering one, so I'm pretty excited for the arrival. unfortunately, it isn't likely to arrive before the end of winter so I won't be testing it out in the snow this year.

    I have a couple friends who drive the previous iteration of the crv and it's a nice car, but it's in a totally different league. it's more "refined" than the Crosstrek, which is also where the Outback has done, for that matter.

  19. #19
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    I'm a big fan of Subaru, i had '96 impreza from 2002 to 2011 and loved it until the last day.

    When i saw the Crosstek XV for the first time i wich it was available when i did bought a new car. However a friend of mine told Subaru made some change to their motor recently to achieve better gas mileage and some of their product now feel a bit under powered. Maybe Tech420 can comment on that.

    The Outback is a very nice car, but i'm not sure about the CVT transmission. I guess it's something you have to get used to. Or you can go with the 6 speed manual.

    Forester, i friend of mine have one and if you ask me, it's a bit disappointing. The interior is a dull and feel a bit cheap. Elbow room is very limited and the trunk is very small. Especially if you compare to a CR-V or a Outback.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc25 View Post
    I'm a big fan of Subaru, i had '96 impreza from 2002 to 2011 and loved it until the last day.

    When i saw the Crosstek XV for the first time i wich it was available when i did bought a new car. However a friend of mine told Subaru made some change to their motor recently to achieve better gas mileage and some of their product now feel a bit under powered. Maybe Tech420 can comment on that.

    The Outback is a very nice car, but i'm not sure about the CVT transmission. I guess it's something you have to get used to. Or you can go with the 6 speed manual.

    Forester, i friend of mine have one and if you ask me, it's a bit disappointing. The interior is a dull and feel a bit cheap. Elbow room is very limited and the trunk is very small. Especially if you compare to a CR-V or a Outback.
    The new 2.0 in the Impreza/XV did actually lose a bit of power, but most people agree it doesn't feel any different power wise compared to past models. My past 2 vehicles have been a 350Z and Acura MDX. One fast sports car and one sluggish SUV. Power wise I am not disappointed or surprised. It has plenty of pep(more than my Acura) and I have no issues with highway passing/hills. The car is extremely fun to drive, especially in the snow. The people that write reviews step out of a 400hp sports car and into a 150hp economy car......can't compare those two power wise, but they do.

  21. #21
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    I think the CRV and XV are going to be very similar. The outback is obviously the larger car of the three, however most of that extra size will be cargo volume. That will be the major difference out of your list. Personally, I would take the XV out of the equation. You can get an Impreza for cheaper, gain a bit of fuel efficiency. For reference, I get 30mpg or more on the highway in my '12 impreza. The new motor doesn't feel that underpowered unless you've got a lot of cargo or a few passengers - then it does feel sluggish. But none of these are performance cars, so - meh.

    The fact that you're looking at the CRV and the Outback, makes me think that you're looking for something with a little more room. The forester, CRV and Outback are pretty comparable with regard to passenger space. The XV will be comparatively small. Of the bunch, only the outback will have significantly more cargo space.

    They're all pretty close, so if I were in your position, I would drive all three. Unless you have an aversion to the forester, I'd take that out as well because there's no arguing that it falls right in your mix. See which car you like best and get them to crunch numbers on all of them. From there you can make a pretty informed decision on what car to buy.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tech420 View Post
    The XV is actually my first. I've always had a thing for them, but they never seemed to fit my lifestyle. Now living in New England it seems to be the perfect fit for me and all the outdoor activities I enjoy doing. I would like to grab a BRZ sometime in the next few years(hopefully with an STI package) for a weekend toy. I really hope they bring the STI over to the BRZ. What a fun car that would be to drive.
    I hate that the BRZ is RWD - but I do like the looks of it. Subaru won't do any significant changes to the BRZ's performance because it would encroach on the wrx and wrx/sti. I'm betting that any Sti package (if they would even do such a thing) would be purely cosmetic.

    If you're in new england and are looking for a toy, you owe it to yourself to test drive an STi when you're in the market. You'll have yourself a toy that you can use - year round - rather than a toy that's only good 2-3 seasons.

    My WRX was a beast in the snow, even with Y rated all seasons. I've driven a number of 4wd trucks and my WRX was better in the snow than all but my Xterra with A/T's

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BShow View Post
    I hate that the BRZ is RWD - but I do like the looks of it. Subaru won't do any significant changes to the BRZ's performance because it would encroach on the wrx and wrx/sti. I'm betting that any Sti package (if they would even do such a thing) would be purely cosmetic.

    If you're in new england and are looking for a toy, you owe it to yourself to test drive an STi when you're in the market. You'll have yourself a toy that you can use - year round - rather than a toy that's only good 2-3 seasons.

    My WRX was a beast in the snow, even with Y rated all seasons. I've driven a number of 4wd trucks and my WRX was better in the snow than all but my Xterra with A/T's
    Would WRX/STI have similar cargo/passenger room to the XV? Is XV essentially an Impreza with more ground clearance?

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by BShow View Post
    I think the CRV and XV are going to be very similar. The outback is obviously the larger car of the three, however most of that extra size will be cargo volume. That will be the major difference out of your list. Personally, I would take the XV out of the equation. You can get an Impreza for cheaper, gain a bit of fuel efficiency. For reference, I get 30mpg or more on the highway in my '12 impreza. The new motor doesn't feel that underpowered unless you've got a lot of cargo or a few passengers - then it does feel sluggish. But none of these are performance cars, so - meh.
    You're actually getting worse gas mileage than my XV with snowboards on the roof and a 5 speed(CVT gets an additional 3mpg). The Impreza should get better gas mileage though.

    Quote Originally Posted by DLd View Post
    Would WRX/STI have similar cargo/passenger room to the XV? Is XV essentially an Impreza with more ground clearance?

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    It's essentially a lifted Impreza hatch. The suspension is entirely different offering more ground clearance and the ability for some light off-roading. I keep hearing (haven't found any factual info to confirm) that the frame is stiffer to allow for towing. There are other small things like the bumpers and body cladding.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLd View Post
    Would WRX/STI have similar cargo/passenger room to the XV? Is XV essentially an Impreza with more ground clearance?

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    The STI/WRX is different inside than the crosstrek because they are based on the previous generation impreza that has a little bit less room inside. The crosstrek is based on the 2012+ Impreza hatch. The main difference is in the suspension of the car. Subaru says the frame has been stiffened for towing...after some research I'm pretty sure this isn't true because hitches are offered in other markets. The real reason is that the subaru hitch replaces the rear bumper strengthening bar, which requires a new slew of crash testing (in the USA), which costs money. Since subaru doesn't think that people who buy the impreza will want to put a hitch on it in the USA, they didn't bother. That doesn't mean it can't take it though. The reality is, if you want performance, go for the WRX, if you want fun to drive, a bit of performance, and economy, go for the impreza, if you want decent offroad abilities with a stable and decently performing car (fantastic actually by crossover standards), get the crosstrek.

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