A contemporary touch here, a rugged cue left there--the latest Subaru Forester has taken another careful step out of its decidedly boxy past.
The '15 Forester isn't much larger than the previous-generation wagon, but the details have been reworked for a more handsome look that also keeps outward visibility a priority. Some of the themes and design details are shared with the Subaru Impreza, down to the sculpted side metal and the taillamps. The heavily creased looks have dissipated somewhat, but the fenders still are modestly flared. The grille's wings and headlamps taper further back than before, and stand a little taller.
Whether you choose the Forester 2.5i or the Forester 2.0XT, there's more detail wrought into the lower front end, and it's probably the least successful bit of attention paid to the crossover wagon. The higher hoodline and chiseled front end are subtle in basic form, but turbo models get a more aggressive, technical-looking lower airdam that brackets the front end like dewlaps. Some are going to mourn the loss of the aggressive hood scoop in XT turbo models, but engineers couldn’t ignore the advantages to moving it under the hood; the look is smoother and more sophisticated, too.
Inside, the instrument panel has been completely redesigned and pushed five inches forward and slightly downward—with the low-set dash updated to the same relatively simple layout that's been given to the Legacy, Outback, and Impreza. A center stack of controls flows from a new multi-information screen down to climate and audio controls and a center console with cupholders, storage, and an armrest. And throughout the interior, the materials have been upgraded, with a mix of matte and soft-touch materials accented with matte-finish metallics.