Subaru Forester

The 2018 Subaru Forester comes in a variety of different trims powered by one of two engines. The base engine is a 2.5L 4-cylinder making 170 horsepower. This engine is offered with a choice two transmissions -- a 6-speed manual or a continuously variable unit. The optional, turbocharged engine displaces 2.0L and makes a very healthy 250 horsepower. The turbocharged engine is only available with a continuously variable transmission, though the CVT does have a mode where it imitates a traditional manual, allowing upshifts and downshifts via paddles on the steering column.

2.5i Foresters come in four trims: Base, Premium, Limited and Touring. Base trims still feature a tilting and telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, a 4-speaker stereo with MP3 capabilities, a 4.3-inch color multi-function display and a rear backup camera. Premium models get a body-colored spoiler, panoramic sunroof, roof rails, 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat, reclining rear seats and a 6-speaker stereo. Limited models come standard with the CVT transmission and with leather seating. Heated front seats, a power liftgate, fog lights, a rear spoiler and heated mirrors are also standard equipment on Limited Foresters. Top-of-the-line Touring models feature everything from the Limited trim plus a navigation system, a dual-zone automatic climate control system, a heated steering wheel, push-button start and 18-inch wheels.

Forester 2.0 XT models come in both Premium and Touring form. Both get the powerful 250-horsepower engine, better brakes and more aggressive styling than 2.5i models, as well as a front fascia and 18-inch wheels. The Touring and Premium models are otherwise similarly equipped to their 2.5i namesakes. Torque vectoring, first introduced on the high-performance Subaru WRX, is standard on 2.0XT Touring models with EyeSight and provides improved handling in tricky conditions.

Accident avoidance and mitigation is covered by several safety systems. Symmetrical all-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes, several airbags, traction control and stability control are standard. All Foresters other than the Base model also benefit from EyeSight, a safety suite offered in a few variations. It includes devices like lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and forward collision warning with automatic braking.

Editors' Review

Even though Subarus have a certain wholegrain appeal, plenty of average folks drive them, too. You don't have to go hiking every weekend, sell healing crystals at the local farmers market or manage a vintage resale shop to park one in your garage. In fact, last year more than 180,000 people took home a new Forester, enough to make this small crossover the automaker's second best-selling model in America, just behind the Outback. There's nothing earth-shattering about this vehicle's overall package, but it works well and is mostly likable. 

What's new?

The 2020 Subaru Forester has been mildly updated for 2020, ensuring it remains competitive with newer rivals like the Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4. The tire-pressure monitoring system now recognizes individual wheels, and a rear-seat reminder function will alert you with both an audible chime and a message in the instrument cluster to check the back seats at the end of a journey.  

Subaru's EyeSight suite of driver aids is standard in the Forester. It includes features like lane-keeping assist, precollision braking and adaptive cruise control. That last item has been improved for the latest model year, gaining lane-centering capability. Lane-departure prevention also joins the roster and it works well, gently directing the vehicle toward the center of its lane if you happen to drift.

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The Good ~ Nicely finished, spacious interior ~ Standard all-wheel drive ~ Capacious cargo hold

The Bad ~ More giddy-up would be nice ~ Juddering stop-start ~ Feels top-heavy

The Bottom Line The Forester is one of Subaru's best sellers and for good reason, well, many good reasons, actually.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 7
  • Features 8.5
  • Design 7.5
  • Media 7

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