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John Diether
Automotive Editor - December 2, 2014

Expert Rating

5.0 (Excellent)
23 City / 30 Highway

Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

2015 Subaru Forester OVERVIEW

The Forester has gained a loyal following over the years, folks endeared to its slightly off-beat personality and quality for the price. Whereas most compact crossovers are geared toward families, the Forester is more of a lifestyle vehicle that appeals to the individualists among us.

What's New For 2015

A rearview camera is now standard across the board.

Choosing Your Subaru Forester

Fully redesigned just last year, the Forester remains one of the most competent crossovers of its size. All-wheel drive comes standard, and you get a class-leading 73 cubic feet of cargo space. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces 170 horsepower and can be paired with a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT). The manual might be more in keeping with the Forester's hipster character, but the automated CVT delivers a not-insignificant 3 mpg advantage in combined driving for an average 27 mpg. The CVT is mandatory with the available 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which offers 250 horsepower for dramatically improved performance.

The Forester's trim levels correspond to engine size:


Comes with the 2.5-liter engine and all the basics like cruise control and power windows and locks. You also get Bluetooth phone and audio, a rearview camera, a color display screen and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player. The 2.5i rolls on 17-inch steel wheels.

2.5i Premium

The four-wheel drive system gets hill descent control and a special driving mode for low-traction situations. Other upgrades include a panoramic sunroof, a power driver seat, roof rails, alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, reclining rear seats, two additional speakers and HD radio. Heated seats and mirrors are standard with the manual transmission and optional on models equipped with the CVT.

2.5i Limited

Comes with the CVT and all of the Premium features as standard, plus a leather interior, automatic climate control, upgraded instrumentation, automatic headlights, fog lamps, a power liftgate, a rear spoiler, an upgraded instrument cluster, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a cargo area tray.

2.5i Touring

Tops off the 2.5i with an eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlamps, keyless ignition, dual-zone climate control and a one-touch folding rear seat.

2.0XT Premium

Carries the more powerful 2-liter engine and the CVT, along with dual exhaust, alloy pedals, a leather-wrapped steering wheels, 18-inch wheels, upgraded instruments and a rear spoiler. Other equipment is shared with the 2.5i Premium.

2.0XT Touring

Equipped like the 2.5i Touring, except with the 2-liter engine.

The Premium and above are eligible for a navigation system with voice controls, satellite radio and integrated smartphone apps. These trims can also get a Driver Assist Technology package with adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and collision-mitigation braking.

CarsDirect Tip

We staunchly recommend the smoothly efficient CVT on any Forester (if it's not already standard). The Premium trim level is the best deal overall, offering lots of useful equipment for a reasonable price -- about $2,400 more than the base model.

Choose your Subaru Forester »

Best Subaru Deals & Lease Offers In May

May brings much of the same for Subaru as all offers carry over from last month. The 2020 Impreza remains the only model with a payment under $200. If you're looking for something... View All Subaru Lease Deals

Find Your New Subaru Forester On CarsDirect

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