For more than two decades, the Forester has been the keystone of Subaru’s model line. This year, it receives important updates, notably a new, stronger platform shared with the Crosstrek, Ascent, and Impreza. Despite revised sheet metal, it retains tall, square-rig styling, much like before. The Forester is bigger on the inside than its footprint suggests, with room enough for 6-footers front and rear—and lots of cargo space to boot.
As expected from a Subaru, AWD is standard. Though not quite Rubicon ready, the Forester has nearly 9 inches of ground clearance and underbody shields to protect against off-road hazards. The only drivetrain available is Subaru’s signature boxer 4-cylinder engine and a CVT. A new Sport edition—mostly cosmetic trim items—has paddle shifters to simulate gear shifts.
Pushed hard, the engine produces gruff noises but just modest acceleration, and the auto start-stop feature is jarring. But once up to cruising speed, the Forester has a relaxed, quiet ride.
All Foresters have a passel of standard goodies, such as Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, trailer-sway control (tow rating: 1,500 pounds), and Subaru’s EyeSight crash-avoidance system, which includes forward automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. And like its predecessors, the latest Forester is quite the fuel miser, with an EPA highway rating of 33 mpg.
With AAA's free Car Buying Service, members can enjoy a no-hassle experience when purchasing a new or used vehicle. Get estimated pricing and access to online inventory before visiting a AAA-recommended dealer near you. For details, go to AAA.com/auto or call 800-709-7222.
Vehicle layout: 2.5-liter flat 4 (182 hp), CVT, AWD
MSRP, base model: $25,270; (as tested: $31,815)
MPG, city/hwy/combined: 26/33/29
Safety ratings: NHTSA: 5 stars overall; IIHS: good (all crash-related ratings); Top Safety Pick Plus
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Final assembly: Japan
Spare tire: Compact temporary