The fifth-gen Subaru Forester made its debut in the 2019 model year, moving to the Subaru Global Platform. Automakers don't tend to mess with their cars very much right after introducing them, and that's definitely the case with the 2020 Subaru Forester.
With only a few adjustments to its equipment and price, the 2020 Subaru Forester stays the course laid out for it just one year ago. Clearly, something is working, because the automaker.
Powertrain and specs
Like its larger SUV sibling, the Ascent, the 2020 Subaru Forester offers just a single powertrain. Under the hood is a 2.5-liter flat-four engine putting out 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable transmission is standard, as is all-wheel drive, which is standard on every Subaru currently produced, save for the joint-venture BRZ sports car.
While higher Ascent trims bring fuel economy penalties with the extra equipment on board, the Forester doesn't have that issue. No matter which of its five trims are chosen, the efficiency is the same, with an EPA-estimated rating of 26 miles per gallon city and 33 mpg highway.
You won't be towing the moon in the Forester, but it will still let you tow something. Its powertrain enables towing up to 1,500 pounds. That's enough for a small utility trailer or a pop-up tent trailer, in addition to personal watercraft and stuff of that ilk. If you need to tow a race car or an honest-to-goodness boat, you might need a bit more pull-power.
The 2020 Subaru Forester has a single interior configuration with seating for up to five. The cargo area holds 35.4 cubic feet of stuff, but if the car comes equipped with a moonroof, that figure drops to 33.0 cubic feet. Fold the second-row seats down, and that capaciousness expands to 76.1 cubic feet (dropping to 70.9 with the moonroof). With the seats folded, the maximum load length is 73.1 inches, so you can fit some decently long stuff in there.
Cloth upholstery is standard on the Base and Premium trims, but the latter gets a little fancier by way of a leather-wrapped steering wheel and improved dash trim material. Move up to the Limited trim, and the cloth seats are swapped out in favor of leather-trimmed upholstery and gloss black trim. Move up to the top-tier Touring trim and the seats get two unique color choices.
The only major update for the interior in the 2020 model year is the addition of LED dome and cargo lights. Every other new perk is lumped into technology, which is covered below.
Like the 2020 Ascent, one of the 2020 Forester's big updates for this year is the inclusion of a rear-seat reminder system. If a rear door was opened before or during a trip, it will remind the driver to check the rear seats at the end of the journey. Individual tire-pressure monitoring is also included in the 2020 Forester.
The other major update comes by way of EyeSight, Subaru's suite of active and passive driver aids. Standard on all trims, EyeSight was beefed up for 2020 with the addition of lane-centering technology, in addition to lane departure prevention, which replaces lane keep assist. It's nice to see this system included even on the base trim.
The 2020 Forester also includes a standard 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio and HD Radio. That system is standard on Base, Premium and Sport trims. Moving to the Limited or Touring trim adds an 8-inch touchscreen with near field communication and optional embedded navigation. A Wi-Fi hotspot is available starting on the Premium trim. The Sport and Limited trims can upgrade to a better Harman Kardon sound system, which is standard on the Forester Touring.
Options and pricing
The 2020 Subaru Forester starts at $25,505 including the mandatory destination charge. There's a solid amount of standard features, including the aforementioned 6-inch infotainment system, two USB ports up front and keyless entry. The only option on this trim is a $600 set of alloy wheels and roof rails.
The $28,405 Forester Premium adds heated front seats, heated side mirrors, alloy wheels, a roof spoiler, Subaru's off-road-friendly X-Mode, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear USB ports and a 10-way power driver's seat. Keyless ignition and blind spot monitoring can be added for $795, and throwing a power liftgate into the equation raises that package's price to $1,345.
Move up to the $30,005 Sport trim and you get gloss-black exterior accents and black wheels alongside orange accents scattered around the body. LED fog lights, automatic high beams, keyless ignition and additional LED lighting also comes along for the ride. Blind spot monitoring, reverse automatic braking and the larger infotainment screen can be added for $795, while a $2,045 package also includes a Harman Kardon sound upgrade and a power rear liftgate.
The $32,105 Forester Limited gets fancier wheels, leather seats, dual-zone climate control and a standard power rear liftgate. The upgraded sound system, reverse automatic braking and a heated steering wheel are available as a $1,695 package. The $35,605 Forester Touring makes everything standard, in addition to offering unique interior motifs.i
The 2020 Subaru Forester is on sale now at dealerships across the country.