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2019 Subaru Forester

Starting Price: $25,270 | Price Yours

Above Average: Standard AWD and EyeSight, huge interior, excellent safety and resale numbers, real off-road ability, superior outward visibility, available driver drowsiness monitor

Below Average: Doesn’t look all that different than the previous model, average acceleration, rear windows don’t roll all the way down

Consensus: A quirky-looking family favorite, providing excellent year-round driving confidence, a roomy interior, and top marks in the areas of safety, resale and fuel economy.

 

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2019 Volkswagen Tiguan

Starting Price: $25,290 | Price Yours

Above Average: Sliding second-row seats, upscale interior, German driving characteristics, available third-row seat, 6-year/72,000 mile warranty, available digital cockpit instrument cluster

Below Average: Fuel economy, turbo lag, price

Consensus: A step up from the previous generation Tiguan, but still short of the segment leaders in the areas of technology, fuel economy and standard driver assists.

 

The Subaru Forester has been remade for 2019. Slightly larger and riding on Subaru’s new Global Platform, it retains many of the previous generation’s attributes with some noticeable improvements in the areas of quietness, comfort, and fuel efficiency. The Forester offers an amazing feature set for the money. Standard equipment includes the EyeSight collision avoidance system, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. A new Sport model adds Si-Drive and paddle shifters, but without the previous generation’s turbocharged engine, it’s little more than window dressing. The Forester’s roomy interior and high roof make it ideal for tall occupants, and its massive glass greenhouse provides excellent 360-degree visibility. A generous 8.7 inches of ground clearance allows the Forester to tackle light off-road situations, as does its X-Mode traction management system. With its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, the Forester isn’t exactly quick, but it can keep up with most other SUVs in this class. Despite its standard all-wheel drive, the Forester earns impressive fuel economy figures of 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. However, while dogs may love Subarus, small- to medium-size pups probably won’t be thrilled with rear windows that don’t roll all the way down.

The Volkswagen Tiguan provides a Germanic take on the compact crossover, with taut steering, a firm ride, and an interior that’s a step above most in this class. The Tiguan’s turbocharged 2.0-liter engine isn’t GTI fast, nor is it very fuel-efficient. Noticeable turbo lag makes darting across traffic a bit unnerving, but once in motion, the Tiguan scoots along just fine. Optional 4Motion all-wheel drive should be of help in snowy climates, but the Tiguan is not designed for off-roading. Inside, you’ll find a sophisticated interior with lots of soft-touch surfaces, a roomy rear seat and an optional, albeit tiny, third-row seat. Visibility is good in all directions, and an available 360-degree camera can further improve the driver’s view. Unlike the Forester, however, advanced driver assists like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control are optional on the less expensive trims and do not include lane keep assist; instead, you receive lane departure warning. Speaking of less expensive, one might not know that the Tiguan costs a fair bit more than a comparably equipped Forester, yet its resale values pale in comparison.

Subaru Forester Advantages

Advantages for the Forester include standard driver assist systems, a lower price, more front- and rear-seat legroom, more headroom, more shoulder room, standard all-wheel drive, more desirable features on lower trims, a tighter turning circle, better ground clearance and real off-road ability.

Volkswagen Tiguan Advantages

To its credit, the VW Tiguan offers a longer standard warranty, an available third-row seat, sliding second-row 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, a larger cargo bay, a smoother ride, better handling, rear seat air vents, and an available digital cockpit.

Similarities

The Forester and Tiguan both offer advanced driver assist systems, both have about the same horsepower, and both offer a number of upscale features.

Final Recommendation

If you’re all about German engineering and fancy digital instrument clusters, the Tiguan offers a bit of upscale chic the Forester can’t match. However, if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, the Tiguan can’t hold a candle to the Forester’s pricing and resale values, nor can it compete in the Forester’s standard feature set, although it does offer a longer standard warranty that might save you money over time. The Forester’s advanced all-wheel-drive system and X-Mode permit you to venture into light off-road situations, and its additional inch of ground clearance over the Tiguan makes it a better vehicle when dealing with deep snow.

  2019 Subaru Forester 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.5-liter flat-4 2.0-liter turbo I4
Horsepower 182 hp @ 5,800 rpm 184 hp @ 4,400 rpm
Torque 176 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm 221 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
Transmission Continuously Variable Automatic, 8-spd
Fuel Economy 29 mpg (26 city/33 hwy) 25 mpg (22 city/29 hwy)
Also Available   AWD
Specs    
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 6 years/72,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating N/A N/A
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 105.1 inches 109.8 inches
Overall Length 182.1 inches 185.1 inches
Width 71.5 inches 72.4 inches
Height 67.5 inches 66.3 inches
Turning Diameter 35.4 feet 37.7 feet
Headroom, Front 41.2 inches 39.6 inches
Headroom, rear 39.6 inches 38.9 inches
Legroom, Front 43.3 inches 40.2 inches
Legroom, Rear 39.4 inches 38.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 58.2 inches 57.0 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 57.2 inches 55.8 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 111.9 cu. ft 101.1 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 33.0 cu. ft. 37.6 cu. ft.
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