Subaru’s boxy midsize SUV continues as the square peg in the round hole in this segment, as the competition adopts more stylish lines. However, the Forester’s upright architecture pays dividends in headroom, cargo space and it bestows excellent sightlines. And of course, Subaru’s excellent Symmetrical full-time all-wheel-drive gives the Forester impressive foul weather capability and security.
Starting at $25,995, the base 2016 Forester 2.5i comes with a six-speed manual transmission, back up camera, heated cloth front seats and a new 6.2-inch touchscreen Infotainment System with smartphone integration & Starlink apps & services. Power comes from a 2.5L flat-four making an adequate 170 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. The optional CVT transmission runs $1300.
The $28,795 2.5i Convenience Package will be the more realistic entry point as it includes voice activated Bluetooth, 17-inch alloys, auto headlights, fog lights and 10-way power driver’s seat.
At $33,495 the 2.0XT Touring spices things up with a strong 250 hp turbocharged 2.0L flat-four, 18-inch alloys, standard CVT with paddle shifters, more aggressive front fascia, power liftgate and dual-zone climate control.
Both 2.5i and 2.0XT models are available with Subaru’s clever EyeSight Driving Assist - a stereo-camera based system that bundles lane departure warning, pre-collision braking, rear cross traffic alert and a well calibrated adaptive cruise control – all stuff we are conditioned to find on premium cars for premium prices. No blind spot warning, however.
The Limited Package for both 2.5i ($34,595) and 2.0XT ($36,795) adds sunroof, 7-inch touchscreen with navigation, leather, 8-speaker Harman Kardon audio and HID headlights.
The Subaru Forester is a quirky thing. What it lacks in interior quality and sound isolation, it makes up for with utility, charm, above-average off-road ability and, in the case of the 2.0XT, surprising pace.