Subaru introduced the Forester in the late 1990s as its first entry in the then-nascent compact crossover SUV category, where it competed initially against the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. In 2019, the Forester entered its fifth generation.
What’s New/Key Changes From Last Year
For its 2021 update, all Forester trims get steering-responsive headlights with automatic high beams and a rear seatbelt reminder as standard equipment.
Subaru has also made a heated steering wheel standard starting with Touring trim; previously it could only be had in the Forester’s top Limited and Premier trim levels.
Forester Touring also adds an 8.0-inch infotainment display previously limited to Sport trim and higher.
Finally, the Limited configuration gains the DriverFocus distraction mitigation system and an eight-way power front passenger seat, both of which were exclusive to the Premier trim in the 2020 model.
The Forester is offered in base, Convenience, Touring, Sport, Limited, and Premier trim levels. All use a 2.5L four-cylinder engine that comes matched with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and all-wheel drive.
Base-model Foresters come with a 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen, Bluetooth, a four-speaker stereo with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, dual front USB ports, automatic single-zone air conditioning, power windows, heated/electric adjustable side mirrors, automatic on/off LED headlights, 17-inch steel wheels with covers, cloth upholstery, an electric parking brake, and heated front seats.
Also standard is Subaru’s EyeSight suite of driver assists, which comprises forward collision detection and automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, lane centering assist, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist.
Convenience trim adds a six-speaker stereo, dual rear USB ports, a cargo cover, dual-zone climate control, welcome lighting, passive keyless entry, push-button engine start, fog lights, alloy wheels, a windshield wiper de-icer, reverse automatic braking, chrome interior door handles, upgraded cloth upholstery, a 10-way power driver’s seat, leather-trimmed steering wheel, and a transmission manual shift mode with paddle shifters.
Touring trim brings an 8.0-inch infotainment display, larger front brakes, heated steering wheel, rear console vents, a power tailgate, sunroof, blind spot monitoring, and reclining rear seats.
Forester Sport gains LED cargo area lighting, orange exterior trim, LED fog lights and daytime running lights, 18-inch wheels, leather-trimmed shifter, and orange interior stitching.
Limited models add navigation, a nine-speaker stereo, auto-dimming rearview and side mirrors, chrome grille surround, DriverFocus, leather seating with silver stitching, driver’s seat memory, power front passenger seat, and heated/one-touch folding rear seats.
Finally, Forester Premier brings silver painted bumper underguards, brown leather seating, a rear stainless-steel step pad, and chrome exterior door handles.
Subaru’s fuel consumption estimates for the Forester are 9.0/7.2 L/100 km (city/highway).
The Forester is Subaru’s entry in the busy compact crossover class. Its key competitors are the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5, and Volkswagen Tiguan.
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