Excellent fuel economy; child-seat-friendly back seat; true off-road ability; reasonable price; powerful turbo model; high-tech safety options
No manual transmission on the turbo model; XM Satellite radio only available with poorly designed navigation radio; uninspiring interior and exterior design
Premium models with the manual transmission now come equipped with a power moonroof, while Subaru's EyeSight driver-assist system with adaptive cruise control and collision avoidance is made available on the Premium trim. The base 2.5i gains a rearview camera as standard equipment, and the Harmon Kardon audio system can now be added to Limited models. The Touring trim is outfitted with new high-luster, 18-inch alloy wheels, but navigation is removed from the standard equipment list.
The 2015 Subaru Forester comes in two models and four trims, which include 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Touring, 2.0XT Premium and 2.0XT Touring.
The 2.5i ($23,045) includes a 6-speed manual transmission, a rearview camera, air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth, a tilt-telescoping 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 4.3-in color multi-information display. Options for the base include a CVT automatic transmission and an alloy-wheel package.
The 2.5i Premium ($25,445) adds a power moonroof, 6-speaker audio, 17-in alloy wheels, HD radio, a 10-way power driver's seat with power lumbar support, reclining rear seats, rear privacy glass and the All-Weather Package (AWP) that adds heated side mirrors, heated front seats and windshield wiper de-icers. CVT-equipped models make the AWP optional but unlike the manual models can be equipped with a navigation radio and EyeSight.
The 2.5i Limited ($28,945) adds X-Mode with hill-descent control, leather seating, automatic climate control, the All-Weather Package, fog lights, auto headlights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a power rear tailgate. Options include navigation, a Harmon Kardon 440-watt audio upgrade and EyeSight.
The 2.5i Touring ($30,945) adds HID headlights, Harmon Kardon audio, 1-touch folding rear seats, keyless access and start, dual-zone automatic climate control, integrated side-mirror turn signals and polished 18-in wheels. Options include navigation and EyeSight.
The 2.0XT Premium ($29,345) brings a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, sport suspension, 18-in wheels, a high-torque CVT automatic with SI-DRIVE and dual exhaust pipes.
The 2.0XT Touring ($33,945) adds all the 2.5i Touring features to the 2.0XT Premium. Navigation and EyeSight are the only optional features.
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 to 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 rear-ending the car ahead; at greater speeds, EyeSight will slow the vehicle (if the driver fails to act) to lessen the force of impact. EyeSight also includes a lane-departure warning system and pedestrian detection.
In addition to the above option packages, Subaru offers a huge number of dealer-installed options including fog lights, remote start, a 115-volt outlet, upgraded speaker kits, rear cargo cover, crossbars for the roof rack and a number of roof-rack accessories for holding skis, bikes, kayaks and cargo-carriers.
|Basic||3 Years/36,000 Miles|
|Drivetrain||5 Years/60,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||5 Years/Unlimited Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||3 Years/36,000 Miles|
Honda CR-V -- In front-wheel-drive form, the CR-V with its standard automatic has a lower starting price than the Forester and rivals it for resale value and reliability. But the Forester gets better fuel economy even with its standard all-wheel-drive system, which is much better suited to off-roading.
Hyundai Santa Fe -- The Santa Fe has more powerful engine choices and much better audio, infotainment and navigation systems. But the Santa Fe'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 the Santa Fe.
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's. The Escape does have a more upscale interior, better audio and infotainment features and a more stylish exterior.
If fuel economy and some modest creature comforts top your shopping list, the 2.5i Premium with CVT, the All-Weather Package and a touchscreen navigation radio would be our pick. However, if power and performance are paramount, then the 2.0XT Premium would be our choice. The Limited is nice if you like leather seating, heated seats and automatic climate controls, and those who must have all the bells and whistles will find them on the Touring trims. Be prepared, though, to pay a premium for the top models, on par with what you'd pay for a similarly equipped Outback. Find a Subaru Forester for sale