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#7

in Affordable Compact SUVs

MSRP: $22,195 - $33,095
Invoice: $20,995 - $30,927
MPG: 22 City / 29 Hwy
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Subaru Forester Performance

The 2015 Subaru Forester receives generally positive reviews for its comfortable ride quality and composed handling. Test drivers say its base engine has sufficient power, and with its available turbocharged engine, the Forester feels strong and peppy. The Forester has standard all-wheel drive and gets good fuel economy compared to its all-wheel drive rivals.

  • "With its rigid central structure, wide track, lengthened wheelbase, and Subaru's signature Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, the new Forester SUV is a good performer on road or off." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Bottom line, the on-road performance and off-road durability of the 2.0XT provide an intoxicating drive, and its kick-in-the-pants acceleration seems to belie its commuter-friendly fuel efficiency." -- MSN (2014)
  • "The Forester has always had a reputation for being fun to drive, and the new model, especially in XT form, carries forth the tradition. But the fact remains it's a tallish SUV with a high ground clearance. As long as you're not expecting STI levels of at-the-limit handling, you'll probably find the performance plenty rewarding, but the Forester definitely is not a sports car." -- Motor Trend (2014)

Acceleration and Power

Subaru Forester 2.5i models have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower. Forester 2.0XT models have a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 250 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the 2.5i and 2.5i Premium trims, while a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is optional on those trims and standard on all others. The 2015 Forester earns an EPA fuel economy estimate of 24/32 mpg city/highway with the base engine and CVT, which is good among its all-wheel drive peers.

Some test drivers say that Foresters with the base engine feel sprightly, while others say acceleration isn’t that impressive. Some find that the CVT is a hindrance, as it produces a jerky sensation in the Forester when starting up from a stop. Reviewers write that models equipped with the turbocharged engine are smoother from a stop and feel quite powerful.

  • "Performance with the 2.5-liter engine is surprisingly strong, with good acceleration and passing power and quiet operation." -- AutoTrader
  • "The 2015 Subaru Forester 2.5i won't set any speed records with its 170 horses, and although the CVT performs well for the breed, it still lacks the responsiveness of a good conventional automatic. Still, this powertrain's impressive fuel economy gives it an edge over most rivals. If you've got the need for speed, the 2.0XT's turbocharged engine delivers some of the quickest acceleration times found in this class." -- Edmunds
  • "The continuously variable transmission (CVT) on automatic models aids fuel efficiency but may take some getting used to. It also tends to make the Forester lurch from a stop, which is irritating in stop-and-go traffic." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Throttle response on the XT is more subdued and linear, without the jumpiness of the 2.5i model. But the linearity continues all the way into the upper reaches of the tach and speedometer, with the rich reserves of midrange torque from the turbocharged boxer whisking you effortlessly to triple digits." -- Motor Trend (2014)

Handling and Braking

The 2015 Forester has standard all-wheel drive. Auto journalists report that the Forester has a compliant, car-like ride. Most say that it has controlled handling and composed body motions, but doesn’t feel especially sporty. Others add that the Forester has well-weighted steering and its brakes have ample stopping power.

  • “The Forester rides and drives more like a small car than an SUV blessed with 8.7 in of ground clearance. Subaru's electric assist power steering is a bit numb in the curves, but not annoyingly so, and the nicely weighted steering wheel makes it easy to keep the Forester tracking straight and true." -- AutoTrader
  • "In normal use, the Forester serves up a comfortable ride with either the 17-inch or 18-inch wheels. Subaru loyalists will be pleased by the noticeable reduction in road and wind noise for this generation. However, while the 2015 Forester's handling is stable and composed, there are no sporting pretensions here." -- Edmunds
  • "This new generation's more efficient electrically-boosted power steering provides more positive feedback, while the revamped chassis does an admirable job of keeping body roll in check under hard cornering." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The electric-boosted steering, while not hugely communicative, nevertheless was reasonably weighted, quick enough for Pier 1 runs, and linear in its response." -- Car and Driver (2014)
  • "While braking is good in 2.5i models, it is even better in 2.0XTs, which feature slightly larger ventilated discs all around." -- Consumer Guide (2014)
Review Last Updated: 5/30/14

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