IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:
The Forester stands out as one of the most practical, spacious, versatile, off-road-capable, and easy-to-see-out-of vehicles in its class.
Acceleration is mediocre, and the engine’s fuel-saving auto stop/start system (which can be switched off) is a bit clunky and slow to engage.
The specially trimmed Sport model gets sporty touches such as orange accent trim inside and out, black-finished 18-inch wheels, and steering-wheel paddle shifters.
WHAT IS IT?
The Forester is one of two compact crossovers that Subaru offers; the other is the Crosstrek, which is based on Subaru’s Impreza compact car. The Forester’s sole powertrain is a horizontally opposed 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that makes 182 horsepower and is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and standard all-wheel drive. The model lineup ascends through base, Premium, Sport, Limited, and Touring models. All come standard with Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, a suite of features that includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and lane-keep assist. Other available safety features include reverse automatic braking and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist. Tourings come standard with Subaru’s DriverFocus driver monitor system, which is aimed at curbing distracted driving. Available features include a panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, and a number of SUBARU STARLINK Connected Services (including remote engine start) via the MySubaru smartphone app.
The Forester was redesigned for 2019. For 2020, The EyeSight Driver Assist suite of standard safety features adds lane-centering and lane-departure-prevention functions. A Rear Seat Reminder system, which alerts the driver to check the rear seat for children or pets before exiting the vehicle, is another new standard feature.
The EPA rates the Forester at 26 mpg city/33 mpg highway. In Consumer Guide® testing, a Limited model averaged 24.2 mpg in an even split of city and highway driving, and a Touring averaged 28.3 mpg in 70-percent highway driving.
VALUE IN CLASS
There are other compact SUVs that are more dynamically engaging, but the Subaru Forester offers a broad model lineup that spans from basic to posh, and it boasts an especially impressive roster of available safety and technology features. The airy, spacious cabin and extra-wide rear cargo opening are key advantages as well.