Considering a new Honda CR-V or Subaru Forester or Outback

My brother in Charlottesville VA is considering a new CR-V or a Subaru Forester or Outback.
Any comments pro or con, on these 3 vehicles?
I have a friend with a 2001 Forester with 117k who has already
replaced the head gasket, front engine seal, replaced wheel bearings. Are the newer Subies more reliable than this one? Or was this one just a lemon?
Thanks for any input~!
Wade
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Why not consider the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rouge, and Ford Escape also?
When my Mother was shopping for a new car, we looked at the CR-V. It looked nice, but seemed over priced, particualrly if you didn't want all the features included with some models. A good friend has a 2 year old model. I rode with him on one 70 mile trip. It rode OK but seemed to suffer from more wind noise than I am used to. I thought it was more comfortable than the RAV4 (at least as a passenger) but not as comfortbale as an Escape (and definitely not as comfortable as the Highlander my Mother purchased). My freind claims good gas mileage and the CR-V has been very reliable. However, he said he would not purchase another. Not sure exactly why.
I like the Subaru commercials, and would condier a Forester if I was looking for something in that class. For what it is worth, Consumer Reports gives the Forester an "excellent" rating for predicted reliability. The CR-V also has an excellent rating for predicted reliability, overall, it was not rated as well as the Forester (the best Forester model, 2.5XT Limited, had an overall rating of 87, CR-V 74). The Outback also had an excelleent predicted reliability rating. Look at the CR data for older Subarus, it appears they have gotten much better in recent years.
Ed
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A friend of mine uses a Forester for commuting in the Baltimore area. He liked his first one so much after 150K miles he bought a new one to replace it. There was nothing wrong with the older Forester, he just wanted a newer, quieter car. The Outback is bigger but also reliable. A co-worker bought a CRV for commuting, found it uncomfortable on the highway and now drives a Toyota Highlander which he really likes. He considered a RAV4 but went for the Highlander due to a deal he could get (RAV4s were in high demand). Nissan Rogue is worth a test drive.
Car & Driver mag did a cute ute comparison test a little while ago. Toyota RAV4 was the easy winner. If fuel economy isn't a major factor and off road capability is desired, I'd consider the Toyota FJ, too.
Happy Motoring
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