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 sees only slight alterations for 2021. Adaptive LED headlamps with automatic high beams are now standard on all models, as is a rear seatbelt reminder. All but the line-topping Touring model get minor upgrades in standard equipment as well.
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.