Available in six models, the 2017 Subaru Forester retains its design as a compact crossover SUV that’s optimized for both off-road adventures and normal driving. The two BOXER engines, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and Lineartronic CVT work in sync to deliver superb performance.
The Forester is now available with the all-new High Beam Assist and LED Steering Responsive Headlights. As expected, the EyeSight Driver Assist technology adds other active safety features to this family-friendly Subaru. Additionally, the STARLINK system offers access to emergency services after an accident. In fact, the Forester claimed the “Top Safety Pick+” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The Subaru Forester 2.5i has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just above $22,000. This base trim includes the 6.2-inch STARLINK infotainment system. An upgrade to the 2.5i Premium edition will cost you over $24,000. The EyeSight Driver Assist and power lift gate are some of the premium features in this model. Priced at just over $29,000, the 2.5i Limited comes with luxurious interior amenities like leather upholstery and heated front seats.
Equipped with a turbo engine, the 2.0XT Premium is similarly priced to the 2.5i Limited. To get your hands on the 2.0XT Touring that also has a turbo engine, you’ll need to pay more than $34,000. Interestingly, the 2.5i Touring also exceeds the $30,000 price point even though it’s powered by the 2.5 L BOXER engine.
The 2.5 L BOXER engine is standard in the Subaru Forester trims that carry the 2.5i label. This four-cylinder engine produces a maximum of 170 horsepower at 5,800 RPM and 174 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 RPM. Under the hood of the 2.0XT models is the 2.0 L BOXER engine that generates up to 250 horsepower at 5,600 RPM and 258 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 RPM. This turbocharged engine uses direct injection to initiate combustion.
Having a fully-synchronized design, a six-speed manual transmission system is standard in the Forester base trim. All of the other models are equipped with the Lineartronic CVT (Continually Variable Transmission) that virtually offers an infinite number of gear sequences. Additionally, the Manual Mode is exclusively available in the 2.0XT editions.
Both transmission systems are synced with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) that grips the road very well. By adjusting multiple parameters, the X-MODE further increases traction on rough or slippery surfaces. The Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) keeps the wheels rolling smoothly in hazardous situations. With additional input from the Traction Control System, you can confidently take on any terrain.
Available only in the Forester 2.0XT Touring, the Active Torque Steering boosts cornering abilities even on wet pavement. This sophisticated steering system precisely applies the front brakes in order to prevent departure from a curved path. Standard in all models, the Brake Override System and Brake Assist provide extra stability in situations that require a quick stop. As a rugged crossover SUV that’s designed for off-road journeys, the Forester is equipped with the Hill Descent Control and Incline Start Assist. Both of these advanced features stabilize the vehicle on steep landscapes.
When equipped with the 2.5 L BOXER engine and Lineartronic CVT, the Subaru Forester gets a fuel economy of 32 MPG on the highway and 26 MPG in the city. This engine is designed to run on regular unleaded gasoline. Pairing the 2.5 L engine with the manual transmission system brings the fuel efficiency down to 29 MPG on the highway and 22 MPG in the city. The Active Valve Control System is an innovative technology that precisely manages the timing for the intake of air. Without this signature installation, the 2.5 L BOXER engine would be a lot less efficient.
The turbocharged 2.0 L BOXER engine is rated at 27 MPG on the highway and 23 MPG in urban settings. The Dual Active Valve Control System optimizes the flow of air into the valvetrain. However, keep in mind that this powerful turbo engine is engineered to run on premium unleaded gasoline.
The Forester’s fuel tank has a capacity of only 15.9 gallons, so you’ll roughly get a nonstop driving range of 500 miles on the highway. Most compact crossover SUVs don’t have much larger fuel tanks, but it’s not as big as it could be.
Entertainment and Safety Features
Featuring a 7-inch touch screen, the Forester’s STARLINK multimedia system is your source for entertainment and guidance. Besides getting directions via a GPS navigation system, you may browse an array of other applications such as SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link. Siri Eyes Free technology also lets you sync Apple Maps from a compatible iPhone.
The STARLINK portal offers access to premium music channels including SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Pandora, Stitcher, Aha and iHeartRadio. If these services don’t provide enough entertainment options, then you can plug an MP3 player into the auxiliary jack or the USB port. The eight Harman Kardon speakers blast up to 440 watts of acoustic power for your favorite songs.
When equipped with the EyeSight Driver Assist package, the Subaru Forester is at a very low risk of getting into a crash. This signature safety suite includes the Pre-Collision Braking System, which can mitigate the magnitude of a crash or prevent one. The Adaptive Cruise Control also slows down and accelerates the vehicle in order to avoid a front collision. The Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist are part of the EyeSight Driver Assist technology.
When it detects another car approaching from the side, the Forester’s Blind Spot Detection System issues a visible warning in one of the side mirrors. The Rear Cross Traffic Alert will turn on if another vehicle approaches too quickly from behind. Another accident-avoidance technology in the Forester is the Reverse Automatic Braking, which works in conjunction with the rear-view camera. Driving on dark roads comes with little worries when you have the optional High Beam Assist, which responds to any light from oncoming cars.
If the Subaru Forester gets into an accident, the Automatic Collision Notification and SOS Emergency Assistance will be activated. These features are part of the STARLINK Safety and Security package. Dual-stage front air bags and side-curtain air bags provide excellent protection during a crash. A rollover sensor controls the inflation of these air bags. Designed to deploy during a front crash, a driver’s knee air bag is standard in all trims.
How it Stacks up against the Competition
As a compact crossover SUV that’s made by a Japanese brand, the Honda HR-V is similar in design to the Subaru Forester. This versatile Honda is available with the CVT and Real-Time AWD for good off-road performance. Since the HR-V only has a lineup of three models, it simply doesn’t offer as many options as the Forester.
As a small crossover SUV that’s available with a turbocharged engine and AWD, the Hyundai Tucson can also be fairly compared with the Forester. The Tucson has an impressive lineup of six stylish models that are all priced below $30,000. However, this family-friendly Hyundai doesn’t offer as many active safety features as the Forester.
- Class-leading safety features including the EyeSight Driver Assist
- Excellent off-road performance
- Premium digital technology powered by STARLINK
- Manual transmission system is difficult to handle
- Navigation system not available in the 2.0XT trim
- Small fuel tank for a crossover SUV