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- Fun to drive, good ride
- Excellent safety ratings and systems
- Good outward visibility
- Standard all-wheel drive
- Peppy Turbo option, CVT among the best
- Front seats small for some
- Priciest trims still not that premium
- No manual gearbox for turbo engine
- Paddle shifters only on turbo
The 2018 Subaru Forester continues to offer top safety scores, remarkable space inside, and all-round versatility; it’s still one of the best small SUVs, and a good value for money.
The 2018 Subaru Forester blends crossover capability, the handling and ride of a car, and the year-round security of standard all-wheel drive. The compact utility wagon is practical, offers more off-road capability than you’d expect, and remains an excellent choice in a very competitive category.
It won our Best Car To Buy 2014 award the year it launched, and it’s Subaru’s best-selling line. The four trim levels are base, Premium, Limited, and Touring.
We think the Forester is one of the segment’s best all-round cars, with our assessment confirmed most recently by spending a few months with a turbocharged Forester 2.0XT across a variety of terrains and driving cycles. Even in its fifth model year, it easily earns its rating of 6.8 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Forester has a traditional, upright shape without the flourishes found in some crossovers. Inside, it’s functional, and easy to understand. Subaru’s improved the noise suppression in recent years, so it’s quieter than before, and it’s surprisingly spacious inside for its length—especially for rear-seat passengers.
Two engines are available, a 2.5-liter flat-4 and a more powerful 2.0-liter turbo-4. Most will be fitted with Subaru’s very good continuously variable transmission, although a manual gearbox can be ordered on base models. Handling is good for a crossover, and standard all-wheel drive makes driving even in bad weather confident and sure-footed.
The 2018 Forester gets excellent ratings and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. Its forward-collision warning system in particular works well, and it has acquired more capabilities in the last couple of model years.