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  • 3/4 Front Glamour 2017 Subaru Forester
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More than most vehicles, the Forester—like other Subarus—has developed an impressively 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 mildly offbeat, character. Subaru’s Forester tends to attract outside-the-mainstream individualists, qualifying as more of a lifestyle-focused vehicle than merely a strictly practical, all-wheel-drive people carrier. Now in its fourth generation, the Forester also offers an admirable list of available safety features, within its EyeSight option group.

What's New for 2017

Foresters get several updates for the 2017 model year, starting with a revised hexagonal grille, front fascia and bumper, plus sleeker C-style headlights. The steering wheel contains switches for audio, Bluetooth and cruise control, and steering ratio has been revised to improve driver feel. More sound insulation aims to quiet the ride.

The available EyeSight package of safety features adds lane-keeping assist this year, reaching beyond the previous lane-departure warning. Reverse automatic braking also has been added to the EyeSight group. New 17-inch wheels are mounted on 2.5i Premium and Limited models, while the 2.0XT gets new 18-inch wheels.

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) “boxer” four-cylinder, making 170 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. It can mate with either a six-speed manual gearbox or an optional automated CVT that yields substantially better fuel economy. The CVT is mandatory with the more potent 2-liter turbocharged engine in 2.0XT models, which generates 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet.

Fuel economy for the 2.5-liter engine with CVT is estimated at 26 mpg city/32 mpg highway (28 mpg in combined driving). The 2-liter turbo is estimated at only 23 mpg city/27 mpg highway (25 mpg combined).

Newly available reverse automatic braking can stop the car if an object lies in its path while moving backward.

Six trim levels are offered, with two engine possibilities:


Starting at $23,470 (including destination charge), the 2.5i gets the 2.5-liter engine with manual shift and all basic features, led by a rearview camera, cruise control, power windows and door locks, air conditioning, cloth upholstery, Starlink media system with 6.2-inch touchscreen, smartphone integration, driver’s knee airbag, steering-wheel controls, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, and four-speaker audio with HD radio and a 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 $30,070 and offered only with the CVT, the Limited adds perforated leather-trimmed seats, automatic climate control, LCD instrument cluster, 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 $32,170 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; 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 high-torque CVT, the 2.0XT Premium ($30,170) 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 at $35,170, the Touring version is equipped like the 2.5i Touring, but with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.

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

CarsDirect Tip

Where Subaru offers a choice between manual shift and the smoothly efficient CVT, we definitely recommend the latter. Your best bet might be the 2.5i Premium trim, which offers plenty of useful features for a reasonable price. For safety’s sake, the available EyeSight system needs to be given serious consideration.

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