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Subaru Forester

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The Subaru Forester sits somewhere between compact and mid-size on the crossover size spectrum and is perhaps the most SUV-like offering from Subaru currently. Within the corporate lineup, it's larger than the Impreza-based XV Crosstrek yet smaller than the Outback wagon. It offers plenty fo space within its tallish confines for passengers and cargo. There are few changes for the current 2015... Read More Below »
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Subaru Forester
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New & Used Subaru Forester: In Depth

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The Subaru Forester sits somewhere between compact and mid-size on the crossover size spectrum and is perhaps the most SUV-like offering from Subaru currently. Within the corporate lineup, it's larger than the Impreza-based XV Crosstrek yet smaller than the Outback wagon. It offers plenty fo space within its tallish confines for passengers and cargo.

There are few changes for the current 2015 model year, but the Forester was extensively redesigned for the 2014 model year, and the latest model has sold in the model's highest-ever volumes. With its reputation for having good ground clearance and functionality, it competes with the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4. Subaru owners are often fiercely loyal, however, and today's Forester buyers may find themselves in Outbacks in just a few years.

For more on the Forester, including pricing with options, see our full review of the 2015 Subaru Forester range. You can also see the Forester vs. its competitors.

Subaru has 'mainstreamed' the current Forester to some degree, though it's not growing the overall package. The Forester is now about the same size as the outgoing 2013 model, but it manages to offer more rear-seat and cargo space, improved infotainment, and a sportier exterior. Its EPA gas-mileage ratings are as high as 32 mpg on the highway, which is a respectable number for any tall crossover vehicle with all-wheel drive (standard on Subarus, but optional on its all of its competition).

There are two powertrains: a 170-hp, 2.5-liter flat four for the 2.5i, and a 2.0-liter direct-injection turbo four in the 2.0XT. Subaru's continuously variable-transmission (CVT) offers a special Sport manual mode on the XT model that simulates eight distinct 'gears'.

In a First Drive of the 2014 Subaru Forester, and in subsequent drives -- including a Six-Month Road Test of the 2014 Forester -- we've found it to be roomier and more refined than ever--yet still surprisingly rugged.

The new Forester has also made news on the safety front -- as the only 'small SUV' model to get a 'Good' rating in the new IIHS small overlap frontal crash test. It's only one of two models in that category to earn the new Top Safety Pick+ stamp of approval.

Earlier Foresters

Since its launch in 1998, all Forester models have been essentially taller wagons built on the underpinnings of the compact Impreza sedan and hatchback. As the Forester gained in volume and reputation over its first decade, it entirely replaced the five-door Impreza wagon once that compact-car line was redesigned for 2008.

The first-generation Forester ran from 1998 through 2003, followed by a second generation that spannedmodel years 2004 to 2008. That second Forester was significantly restyled halfway through its life, with a new front end, tailgate, and rear lights added in the 2006 model year. The prior model was launched in 2009, and ran through 2013.

Although it launched just as the recession arrived, the 2009 Forester shattered sales records by hitting just the right spot in the highly competitive compact crossover market. New buyers were lured to the brand by a sticker price that started just around $20,000, along with high perceived value, and of course Subaru's standard all-wheel drive--which won't be found on any competitors.

For the outgoing generation, the Forester 2.5X model produced 170 horsepower from its 2.5-liter engine, with either a five-speed manual gearbox or an old four-speed automatic transmission.  The 2.5XT turbo version, a significant upgrade, boosted power output to 224 hp.

While base Forester models have been practical but spartan, they've had a lengthy list of trim levels and options that easily pushed the top-level turbo model to the $30,000 mark. Those features have included a navigation system, along with a leather 10-way powered and heated driver's seat, and a moonroof, among other luxury options.

At long last, for the 2013 model year, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming became standard, along with a USB port and iPod capability. Steering-wheel audio controls were made standard as well, and a new Value Package bundled the popular All-Weather Package (heated seats and mirrors, plus wiper de-icer) with a display audio system and fog lights.

Used Subaru Forester Models

Since its 1998 launch, the Subaru Forester compact crossover has offered practical, no-nonsense utility for families, outdoor sports fans, and even practically-minded single owners. A notably restyled model in 2004, and then an all-new Forester in 2009 (just replaced for 2014), made the Subaru Outback’s little brother steadily more popular. Every one has a flat-four engine, manual or automatic transmission, and standard all-wheel drive. Newer Foresters offer more upscale trim levels; earlier ones were pretty basic.
Subaru Forester Related News
 
2012 Subaru Forester

Massive Subaru Recall For Corroded Brake Lines In Salt Belt States

Subaru is recalling a long list of its recent models, ranging from the 2005 through 2014 model years, for an issue with corrosion-prone brake-line hardware. If the brake... read more July 20, 2014 by 


 
2015 Subaru Forester 2.5i

Subaru Forester Vs. Honda CR-V: Compare Cars

Compact crossovers are popular with car shoppers for a reason: they're do-it-alls that can tuck away up to five passengers and some big-box bargains, all with the promise of... read more July 6, 2014 by 


 
2014 Subaru Forester: Volvo 240 Wagon, reincarnated?

Reincarnation: Is The Subaru Forester The Modern-Day Volvo 240 Wagon?

Subaru and Volvo have, for decades, been on parallel paths, in some unlikely ways. Both industry outliers that found major success with safety, sensibility, and a somewhat... read more June 16, 2014 by 


 
2014 Subaru Forester XT Six-Month Road Test, Catskill Mountains, New York

2014 Subaru Forester: Five Things We Liked, Five We Didn't

Our 2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT long-term test car is now back in Atlanta, and we've had a chance to sort through our notes and think about the experience of living with it in... read more June 3, 2014 by 


 
2014 Subaru Forester XT Six-Month Road Test, Catskill Mountains, New York

2014 Subaru Forester: SUV, Crossover, Or Wagon? We Try To Define

Language matters, as you'll hear from everyone from scholars to activists. And the way we describe cars matters too--but that's where it can get complicated. We... read more May 28, 2014 by 


 

Specs: Select a Trim

Style MSRP Invoice MPG City MPG Hwy
4-Door Automatic 2.0XT (2)
Premium Specs $28,495 $26,690 23 28
Touring Specs $33,095 $30,927 23 28
4-Door Automatic PZEV 2.5i (4)
4-Door Automatic PZEV 2.5i Specs $23,195 $21,904 24 32
Limited Specs $28,095 $26,313 24 32
Premium Specs $25,095 $23,639 24 32
Touring Specs $30,095 $28,144 24 32
4-Door Manual PZEV 2.5i (2)
4-Door Manual PZEV 2.5i Specs $22,195 $20,995 22 29
Premium Specs $24,595 $23,203 22 29
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