2012 Subaru Forester Review
A low base price and standard all-wheel drive make the 2012 Subaru Forester a good value in its class.
Test drivers agree that the 2012 Subaru Forester is an excellent compact SUV, provided you’re willing to make a few compromises. “Forester is roomy, reasonably priced alternative to the bellwethers of the compact-SUV class,” writes Consumer Guide. “At the same time, it's noisier and less refined with an interior ambiance that trails many of its rivals. Still, Forester offers good fuel economy and lots of features for the money.”
While the Forester may not have the refined interior of competitors like the Volkswagen Tiguan and the all-new Honda CR-V, it makes up for it with an adult-friendly back seat that reviewers praise. Additionally, with its rear seats folded, the Forester can haul more gear than rivals like the Chevrolet Equinox and Hyundai Tucson.
Under the hood, the Forester offers a base engine that provides adequate power or an optional turbocharged engine that reviewers like. The Forester also gets high marks from members of the automotive press for its nimble handling and standard all-wheel drive. However, a few critics say that the optional automatic transmission is outdated, offering fewer gears than most of the rivals.
Although the Subaru Forester isn’t without minor quirks, the 2012 Forester remains a solid choice for SUV shoppers who need comfortable seats, good cargo space and the assurance of standard all-wheel drive. If that’s you, don’t overlook the Subaru Forester.
Other SUVs to Consider
If you’re looking for a stylish compact SUV with a high-quality cabin and an attractive exterior, consider the Chevrolet Equinox. Reviewers generally prefer the Equinox’s interior, which features a sliding rear seat, and the base Equinox also gets better fuel economy. The trade-off is that its cargo hold isn’t as big. And while all-wheel drive is standard on the Forester, you’ll pay extra for it on the Equinox.
The Mazda CX-7 is also a good option if you’re not too concerned with cargo space, and want one of the sportiest SUVs in the class. Test drivers rave about the CX-7’s distinctive exterior styling and sporty handling, but note that its interior isn’t nearly as spacious as the Forester.
Subaru Forester: The Details
The 2012 Subaru Forester comes in several trims: the base 2.5X, 2.5X Premium, 2.5X Limited, 2.5X Touring, 2.5XT Premium and 2.5XT Touring. Small updates like a standard height-adjustable front passenger seat and a new optional navigation system on Limited and Touring trims are new for 2012. All Foresters come standard with all-wheel drive and one of two available engines. The base 2.5X comes with a four-cylinder engine and a manual transmission, while the 2.5XT gets an automatic transmission as standard equipment and a more-powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine. See the full 2012 Subaru Forester specs.
- “The Forester retains the strong taste of vanilla in terms of exterior and interior styling -- far more satisfying than exciting. The same holds true for road performance -- perfectly competent for dry-road highway runs, accelerates well when necessary and handles well in high-speed highway traffic." -- Washington Post
- "As the Legacy and Outback almost match the Forester feature-for-feature at the same price, only the extra storage space in the Forester causes it to stand out. I much prefer the extra sophistication and feeling of quality in the Legacy or Outback." -- MSN