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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
‘Good,’ frontal offset; ‘good,’ side impact, ‘good,’ rear impact; 'good,' roof strength; Top Safety Pick
Four stars overall, four stars frontal, three stars side
Standard on our Touring model was a rearview camera with a 4.3-inch display screen, a wonderful addition that isn't part of an additional navigation package.
While the Subaru Forester did well in safety ratings when it was launched in 2009, revised and much tougher Federal crash tests have taken a toll on its ratings. First, the good news: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the 2012 Forester its highest rating of "Good" for frontal, side, and rear impact tests. The Forester also scores a "Good" on the new IIHS roof strength test.
On the other hand, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Forester only three stars out of five for its side impact crash performance--and a low two stars on its side pole test, although that brand-new test isn't factored into the overall score. The 2012 Forester did rate four stars overall, and four stars on front crash performance as well.
The Forester is fitted with standard safety features that include stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, a tire-pressure monitoring system, and six airbags. And the Subaru Forester's outward visibility is simply excellent, with the low beltline and large glass area giving superb rear and rear three-quarter vision. That's a quality that's quietly vanishing from many crossovers with rising window lines and enormously thick roof pillars--largely for styling reasons--so we complement Subaru on getting the basics of driving safety right.
The 2012 Subaru Forester scores well on most safety ratings, though new Federal side-impact tests did not produce good results; its outward visibility is second to none, however, which we laud.