• Sign in
  • |
  • Sign up

New Car Review

2017 Subaru Forester: New Car Review

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2017 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring
New 2017 Subaru Forester
MSRP $35,947
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2017 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring
New 2017 Subaru Forester
MSRP $36,201
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2017 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring
Certified 2017 Subaru Forester
$29,229
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2017 Subaru Forester 2.5i Touring
Certified 2017 Subaru Forester
$29,793
RELATED READING
See all Subaru Forester articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader November 2016

The 2017 Subaru Forester isn't as flashy as the Hyundai Tucson, nor as technologically advanced as a Ford Escape or Jeep Cherokee. However, as compact SUVs go, the Forester has a lot going for it. The Forester's tall roof and wide side windows create an excellent 360-degree view, while its standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive coupled with 8.7-inches of ground clearance give it real off-road bragging rights.

The 2017 Forester is also strong in the areas of interior comfort and noise levels, available equipment, and overall ride and handling. The turbocharged XT model boasts significantly more power than the base 2.5i trims, plus upgrades to its frame, suspension, brakes and steering make for a more enjoyable driving machine. Finally, Subaru bolsters the Forester's already impressive safety credentials by offering the EyeSight driver-assist system on many trims.

What's New for 2017?

The 2017 Forester receives improvements to its EyeSight driver-assist feature, which now includes lane-keep assist. Limited and Touring trims gain standard blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, while the same trims equipped with EyeSight also get automatic high beams, reverse automatic braking and steering-responsive headlights. Active Torque Vectoring is added to the XT Touring with EyeSight, and a power rear liftgate is now optional on the Premium trim.

What We Like

Excellent fuel economy; child-seat-friendly back seat; true off-road ability; reasonable price; powerful turbo model; high-tech safety options; available manual transmission

What We Don't

No manual transmission on the turbo model; 2.0XT Premium can't be equipped with EyeSight or navigation; pricier trims not as well equipped as similarly priced competitors

How Much?

$23,470-$37,000

Fuel Economy

The standard engine for the 2017 Subaru Forester is a 2.5-liter boxer 4-cylinder that produces 170 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque. With the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), the 2.5 earns an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated 26 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, fuel economy that rivals or bests the figures posted by some of the Forester's front-wheel-drive rivals. A 6-speed manual is standard on base and Premium models and comes with a less sophisticated all-wheel-drive system that offers slightly lower fuel economy figures of 22 mpg city/28 mpg hwy.

The XT brings a direct-injection 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that produces 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The added horsepower doesn't detract from fuel economy either, which comes in at 23 mpg city/27 mpg hwy on regular gas (premium gasoline is recommended but not required).

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Subaru Forester comes in two models and four trims, which include the 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Touring, 2.0XT Premium and 2.0XT Touring.

The 2.5i ($23,470) includes a 6-speed manual transmission, a rearview camera, air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, power windows, power mirrors, power door locks, remote keyless entry, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a rear wiper/washer and a 6.2-in single-touch gesture display audio unit with AM/FM/HD Radio/single CD/satellite/Bluetooth streaming. Options for the base model include a CVT automatic and an alloy-wheel package.

The 2.5i Premium ($26,370) adds a power moonroof, 7-in touchscreen audio with multi-touch gesture control, Siri Eyes Free, Starlink multimedia (including Bluetooth SMS text messaging and dual USB ports), 17-in alloy wheels, automatic climate control, a 10-way power driver's seat with power lumbar support, reclining rear seats, rear privacy glass and an All-Weather package (AWP) that adds heated side mirrors, heated front seats and windshield wiper de-icers. CVT-equipped models gain X-Mode but make the AWP optional. Unlike the manual models, CVT models can be equipped with a power liftgate, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, foglights and EyeSight.

The 2.5i Limited ($30,070) adds the CVT and X-Mode with hill-descent control, a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, leather seating, AWP, fog lights, auto headlights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a power rear tailgate. Options include navigation, Harman Kardon audio and EyeSight with steering-responsive headlights and reverse automatic braking.

The 2.5i Touring ($32,170) adds HID headlights, a heated steering wheel, 2-setting memory for the driver's seat, 440-watt Harman Kardon audio, 1-touch folding rear seats, steering-responsive headlights, keyless access and start, dual-zone automatic climate control, integrated side-mirror turn signals, PIN-code access and polished 18-in wheels. Options include navigation, EyeSight and reverse automatic braking.

The 2.0XT Premium ($30,170) brings a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, a sport suspension, 18-in wheels, a high-torque CVT automatic with SI-DRIVE and dual exhaust pipes. Unlike the 2.5i Premium trim, the XT Premium does not offer the option of EyeSight or navigation.

The 2.0XT Touring ($35,170) adds all the 2.5i Touring's features to the 2.0XT Premium. Navigation, EyeSight and reverse automatic braking are the only optional features.

All models equipped with Starlink can be upgraded with a subscription-based Safety Plus and Security Plus package that includes remote lock/unlock, vehicle locator, stolen-vehicle recovery, SOS emergency assistance, collision notification, roadside assistance, and monthly vehicle health reports and reminders.

At the high end of the tech scale is Subaru's EyeSight driver-assist system. EyeSight can maintain a safe distance between you and the cars ahead when adaptive cruise control is engaged, or it can help avoid accidents by slowing the vehicle in the event of an imminent collision, along with giving audible warnings to alert the driver. At speeds under 19 miles per hour, the system can actually bring the car to a stop before it rear-ends the vehicle ahead.

In addition to the above option packages, Subaru offers a huge number of dealer-installed options.

Safety

The Forester has been given all the safety features mandated by the federal government, plus added protection in the form of a reinforced passenger-compartment frame and a driver-knee airbag. In crash tests, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Forester five stars overall, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the Forester as Superior for its accident-avoidance technology and awarded it a Top Safety Pick+ rating for model year 2016.

Behind the Wheel

Performance with the 2.5-liter engine is surprisingly strong, with good acceleration and passing power and quiet operation. The Forester rides and drives more like a small car than an SUV blessed with 8.7 inches of ground clearance. Subaru's electric-assist power steering is a bit numb in the curves, but not annoyingly so, and the nicely weighted steering wheel makes it easy to keep the Forester tracking straight and true. Most noticeable are the comfortable ride and low interior noise levels.

The XT trim provides a much sportier ride, thanks in part to its stiffer chassis, increased spring rates and bigger brakes. To our delight, we found the XT model's 18-in tires vastly improve handling without diminishing ride comfort or increasing noise levels. The real joy when driving the XT is the rush of power from the turbo engine. If you require superior passing power and jackrabbit sprints, this is the engine you'll want in your Forester. The XT's CVT includes a version of the SI-DRIVE system found on the WRX. SI-DRIVE includes three modes: Intelligent (I), Sport (S) and Sport Shift (S#). In Sport and Sport Shift, the CVT can simulate a 6- or 8-speed gearbox for maximum response to throttle input. Performance figures are not exactly in the WRX's territory, but the XT can still dash from zero to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Honda CR-V -- In front-wheel-drive form, a CR-V with the standard automatic has a lower starting price than the Forester and rivals it for resale value and reliability. The CR-V also offers a higher-quality interior and an upgraded turbocharged engine.

2017 Hyundai Sante Fe Sport -- The Santa Fe Sport has more powerful engine choices and better high-end features, such as ventilated seats. But the Santa Fe Sport's fuel economy, especially on the all-wheel-drive models, falls far short of the Forester's, and its all-wheel-drive system is only part-time. The Forester's base price is also a few thousand dollars less than that of the Santa Fe Sport.

2017 Ford Escape -- The Escape costs more when similarly equipped with all-wheel drive and an automatic transmission, is smaller inside and has a lower fuel economy than the Forester. The Escape does have a more upscale interior, better audio and infotainment features, and a more stylish exterior.

Used Subaru Outback -- A 2015-2016 Subaru Outback gives you the same great all-wheel-drive setup but with more room and a more sophisticated inteiror, plus an available 6-cylinder engine.

Autotrader's Advice

If fuel economy and some modest creature comforts top your shopping list, the 2.5i Premium with CVT, the All-Weather Package and a power rear liftgate would be our pick. On the other hand, if power and performance are paramount, then the turbocharged 2.0XT would be our choice. Inexplicably, Subaru doesn't offer EyeSight or navigation on the 2.0XT Premium trim, which means if you want either you'll have to move up to the 2.0XT Touring. However, once you reach the Touring trim level, be prepared to pay a premium on par with what you'd pay for a similarly equipped Outback.

Find a Subaru Forester for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2017 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring
New 2017 Subaru Forester
MSRP $35,947
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2017 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring
New 2017 Subaru Forester
MSRP $36,201
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2017 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring
Certified 2017 Subaru Forester
$29,229
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2017 Subaru Forester 2.5i Touring
Certified 2017 Subaru Forester
$29,793
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Subaru Forester: New Car Review - Autotrader