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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
Five stars overall; four stars frontal, five stars side impact
Top Safety Pick+; 'Good,' all tests, including small overlap frontal
Subaru's EyeSight system, which integrates lane departure warning and frontal collision warning/mitigation systems.
Sightlines don’t really suffer from the raised nose because the seats rise by 1.3 inches.
Car and Driver
The Subaru Forester has earned exceptional safety scores for the compact-wagon class, and as a result, we've given it one of our highest safety ratings.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Forester a five-star rating overall--nearly perfect, save for a four-star score in front-impact protection. Likewise, for the 2014 model, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named it a Top Safety Pick+, thanks to "good" scores in every category plus the Forester's available forward-collision protection systems. The Forester is the only small SUV (their description) to merit the agency's top score in its new small-overlap frontal test.
For 2015, Subaru's spread more safety equipment across the lineup. All-wheel drive is of course standard; it's laid out differently depending on the choice of transmission, but in either case distributes its power independently of the stability system. Bluetooth is standard, and this year, a rearview camera is also standard on all Foresters.
Available active-safety features in the Forester will now include adaptive cruise control (ACC), running at speeds from 25 mph up to 90 mph, while the Forester gets the EyeSight system for spotting road hazards with a camera-based system, up to 80 meters ahead, and potentially avoiding an accident by braking at up to 0.4g. Subaru has lopped $500 off the cost of the optional EyeSight system this year.
Furthermore, in X-Mode, Hill Descent Control automatically deploys to keep speeds slow and safe down steep, slippery slopes.
Visibility is also a step ahead of both the previous Forester and most other compact crossovers, because of two changes: Subaru moved the A-pillars forward a bit, then moved the side mirrors back from the pillars and added a small partitioned front windows ahead of the window glass. Bringing the hoodline down in XT Turbo models (where there used to be a big air scoop) also helps. The Forester's simply one of the easiest vehicles to see out of--an often overlooked aspect of safety.
The Forester is one of the top-rated vehicles in crash tests from both major agencies.