A few weeks ago we threw the redesigned Toyota RAV4 into our compact crossover affordability index, and the popular Toyota ranked right around the group's average. Subaru fans may notice the outgoing 2013 Forester sat near the bottom, largely because the small SUV got mediocre gas mileage and required stepping up a trim level to get a telescoping steering wheel — one of seven features we included in our pricing scheme.
Our affordability index compared 13 models — each was the least expensive trim level that included common equipment like an automatic transmission, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel audio controls, cruise control, remote keyless entry, a USB/audio jack port and tilt/telescoping steering. We also factored in the destination charge and four years of gas.
With its 2014 redesign, the Forester moved up seven spots, thanks to more standard features and better gas mileage. In fact, the new Forester is the third most affordable compact crossover on the market, behind the Mazda CX-5 and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport — and it has standard all-wheel drive.