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  • 3/4 Front Glamour 2016 Subaru Forester
  • Rear Profile  2016 Subaru Forester
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  • 90 Degree Profile 2016 Subaru Forester
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Expert's Rating

4.9Excellent | Details

MPG

23 City / 30 Highway
Contributing Editor -

More than most vehicles, the Forester, like other Subarus, has developed quite a loyal following over the years. Compact crossover fans often favor the Forester not just for its quality and sensible price, but for its endearing, even slightly off-kilter, character. Rather than a wagon aimed at families, the Forester tends to attract outside-the-mainstream individualists, qualifying as more of a lifestyle-focused vehicle than a strictly practical, all-wheel drive people carrier.

What's New for 2016

Not much has changed. Premium, Limited and Touring trim levels now have new Subaru Starlink Safety and Security features, including automatic collision notification, maintenance notifications, SOS emergency assistance, and a monthly vehicle health report. All 2016 Foresters get new Starlink audio systems. Models with Subaru’s optional EyeSight driver assist system now include steering-responsive foglamps.

Choosing Your Subaru Forester

Fully redesigned for 2014, the Forester ranks among the most capable crossovers in its class. As with all Subarus, all-wheel drive is standard. Owners also benefit from a class-leading 73 cubic feet of cargo space.

The standard engine is a flat (horizontally-opposed) four-cylinder, making 170 horsepower and mating with a six-speed manual gearbox; or with an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT), which yields substantially better fuel economy. The CVT is mandatory with the more potent 250-horsepower, 2-liter turbocharged engine in 2.0XT models.

Fuel economy for the 2.5-liter engine is estimated at 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway with manual shift, or 24/32 mpg with automatic. The 2-liter turbo is estimated at 23 mpg city/28 mpg highway.

Six trim levels are offered, with two engine possibilities:

2.5i

Starting at $22,395 (plus destination charge), the 2.5i gets the 2.5-liter engine and all basic features, led by a rearview camera, cruise control, power windows and door locks, Starlink media system with 6.2-inch touchscreen, Starlink smartphone integration, driver’s knee airbag, steering-wheel controls, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, HD radio, and CD player. Also standard are Incline Start Assist, carpeted floor mats, a security system, and 17-inch steel wheels. The CVT adds $1,000.

2.5i Premium

Adding $2,900 to the MSRP of the base 2.5i, the Premium edition has a panoramic sunroof, roof rails, 17-inch alloy wheels, 10-way power driver’s seat, reclining rear seats, rear privacy glass, and six-speaker audio. An All-Weather package with heated front seats and mirrors is standard with manual shift, and optional with CVT. The CVT adds $500 to the price.

2.5i Limited

Sticker-priced at $3,500 above Premium trim, the Limited adds perforated leather-trimmed seats, automatic climate control, upgraded instrumentation, automatic headlights, foglamps, “welcome” lighting, power liftgate, rear spoiler, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a cargo area tray.

2.5i Touring

Only a CVT is offered with the $30,795 Touring edition, which adds an eight-speaker, 440-watt Harman Kardon sound system; high-intensity-discharge headlights; electro-luminescent instruments; keyless access with pushbutton start; power liftgate; dual-zone automatic climate control; and one-touch folding rear seatback.

2.0XT Premium

In addition to the more powerful 2-liter turbo engine and CVT, the 2.0XT Premium ($29,195) includes a sport-tuned suspension, dual exhaust tips, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 18-inch alloy wheels, upgraded instruments, and rear roof spoiler. Otherwise, equipment is similar to the 2.5i Premium. A manual-shift mode for the CVT is included.

2.0XT Touring

Priced $4,600 above the 2.0XT Premium, the Touring version is equipped like the 2.5i Touring, but with the smaller turbocharged engine.

Premium trim level and above can have an optional EyeSight driver assist system, including adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, sway warning, pre-collision braking, and steering-responsive foglamps.

CarsDirect Tip

If there’s a choice between manual shift and the smoothly efficient CVT, we definitely recommend the latter. Your best bet may be the 2.5i Premium trim, which offers plenty of useful features for a reasonable price. For safety’s sake, the available EyeSight system is worth considering.

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