Last year, the Subaru Forester underwent a complete redesign, with a larger body, new and more efficient powertrains, and more substantial standard features and options. Changes are few for 2015: a rearview camera is now standard on all models, and features like a moonroof, navigation, and an all-weather package are more widely available. Subaru's EyeSight safety system has seen its price cut by $500. Prices range from $23,045 for the Forester 2.5i with a manual transmission, to $29,345 for a Forester 2.0XT Premium.
All Foresters come standard with a 4.3-inch color display that serves as the output for the rearview camera, as well as temperature and trip computer functions. The Forester also has standard power features, tilt/telescope steering, AM/FM/CD audio with steering-wheel controls, and Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming.
On Foresters equipped to Premium and Limited spec, there's a more powerful six-speaker audio system with HD radio. Purchase the optional navigation system, and the Forester adopts a 6.1-inch touchscreen, satellite radio with real-time traffic, voice controls, smartphone integration, and Aha app functionality. On Touring models, a 440-watt, eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system is standard.
Premium models come in two flavors. Opt for the manual transmission and you get heated front seats, heated mirrors, and a windshield wiper de-icer, while with the CVT is includes a panoramic power moonroof (with those winter items as an option package). In either case, they include 17-inch alloy wheels and a power driver seat. On the Limited, the CVT is mandatory; it also adds perforated leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, fog lamps, automatic climate control, a power rear liftgate, and an upgraded instrument cluster. The available power hatch can be operated manually with low effort, or be configured to open short of a low garage ceiling.
A word about Subaru's audio interfaces: they're dreadful. The base sound system has a limited number of characters with which to figure out media that's being played, while the touchscreen audio system in higher trims has a confusing menu system. Performing simple tasks such as tuning or seeking for the radio requires a good, long look at the screen to find a small 'button' amid the cluttered display and sometimes, big reflections. Likewise, there's no way to display the list of satellite radio stations. And that SD slot that's front and center? It's not for media files; it instead needs to be filled with a map-data card at all times, otherwise the nav won't work.