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  • 3/4 Front Glamour 2018 Subaru Forester
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Expert's Rating

3.35Good | Details

MPG

24 City / 29 Highway
Automotive Editor -

It makes sense that the Subaru Forester is the brand's best-selling model. On the surface it's a mainstream crossover SUV, but underneath that conventional exterior the Forester's traditional functionality and meaningful off-road potential (and, with the 2.0XT models, rally-car moves) make it a strong contender against many show-over-substance rivals in a very popular market.

What's New for 2018

The 2018 Forester is all but unchanged from its 2017 predecessor. A few trim lines see minor equipment changes: Subaru gets on the blackout-trim trend with the Black Edition, a dress package available on the 2.5i Premium; the EyeSight active-safety package is now standard on the 2.5i Touring and 2.0XT Touring; and the 2.0XT Touring also picks up an active torque-vectoring system to maximize grip in slippery conditions.

Subaru Forester

Choosing Your Subaru Forester

The Forester shares its basic platform with the previous generation of Subaru's Impreza. Power for the 2.5i models comes from, predictably, Subaru's 2.5-liter flat-four, which makes 170 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the 2.5i and 2.5i Premium and a continuously-variable transmission is optional. More upscale trim lines get the CVT as standard. The 2.0XT Premium and 2.0XT Touring use a 250-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four mated to a CVT, which can emulate upshifts and downshifts with the paddles behind the steering wheel. Regardless of powerplant or transmission, all Foresters use Subaru's signature all-wheel-drive system and are set up to provide almost nine inches of ground clearance.

EPA fuel economy estimates for manual-transmission Foresters are 22 miles per gallon city, 28 highway, and 24 combined. Foresters with the 2.5-liter and CVT see notable increases to 26 city/32 highway/28 combined. Turbocharged Foresters return 23 mpg city/27 highway/25 combined fuel economy estimates.

The Forester is offered in six trim levels:

2.5i

The Forester lineup starts at $23,710 (all prices listed here include the $915 delivery fee). Standard features include a touchscreen-controlled infotainment system, a rearview camera, and a tilt-and-telescope multifunction steering wheel. The CVT is a $1,000 option; once that is selected, shiftless types may also opt for alloy wheels.

2.5i Premium

For an asking price of $26,610 the Premium makes alloy wheels standard, upgrades the infotainment system with a SiriusXM satellite radio receiver, and adds a sunroof. An All-Weather Package (heaters for the seats, outside mirrors and wipers) is standard on six-speed Premiums and optional if the CVT is selected. Other significant options include the Black Edition trim package, Subaru's EyeSight active-safety system (automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control), StarLink telematics system, and navigation.

2.0XT Premium

The 2.0XT Premium essentially starts with the 2.5i Premium, trades the standard driveline for a turbocharged engine and a strengthened CVT, adds upgraded suspension components and brakes and 18-inch wheels, and adjusts the sticker price up to $30,410.

2.5i Limited

The CVT is now standard and Subaru's X-Mode off-road traction management software helps manage loose surfaces and steep hills. The All-Weather Package is standard. The seats, steering wheel, and shifter knob now wear leather. EyeSight and Starlink navigation, now coupled with a 440-watt Harman/Kardon sound system, are still available as options on top of the Limited's $30,310 MSRP.

2.5i Touring

EyeSight and Starlink with navigation and the Harman/Kardon audio system are now standard; EyeSight now includes rear emergency braking. 18-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, and a heated steering wheel are now standard. The only option available on top of the Touring's $34,005 asking price is saddle-brown upholstery.

2.0XT Touring

As the 2.0XT Premium is to the 2.5i Premium, so the 2.0XT Touring is to the 2.5i Touring. An Active Torque Vectoring system is fitted to the all-wheel-drive system for maximum grip management, and MSRP with delivery is $37,005.

CarsDirect Tip

The available heated seats, sunroof, and upgraded infotainment system in the 2.5i Premium make a fair case for moving up from the base 2.5i's comfortable standard specifications. If you're looking more at the top of the order, the Touring with its additional model-specific upgrades is very close to the asking price for a Limited with Starlink and EyeSight. Be advised that the next-generation Forester, based on the same platform as the recently revised Impreza, is due in 2019.

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