The compact crossover segment is rapidly getting more fuel efficient, and while the 2012 Subaru Forester is within 1 or 2 mpg of its rivals' all-wheel drive models, that may not last too much longer. At 21 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, its EPA gas mileage ratings for the 5-speed manual model aren't bad, but most buyers are likely to buy the automatic.
That powertrain is rated at 19 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, which is lower than ratings for the AWD models of the Chevrolet Equinox and Hyundai Tucson, though on a par with those of the outgoing Ford Escape. The new 2013 Escape is likely to do far better, however, putting Subaru at risk of below-par gas mileage.
We averaged about 23 mpg overall in a recent Forester road test, including a mix of cold-weather conditions, so you'll likely meet or beat that gas mileage number. Note that the faster turbocharged 2.5XT Forester models, however, get much lower gas mileage.