The 2015 Subaru Forester is one of the best midsize crossovers on the market. In fact, it may very well be the best car to come out this year, since it offers so much for its relatively low price of $25,000 that it seems almost unthinkable. With a slick body, feature-rich cabin and a powerful yet efficient engine, this car is bound to capture the hearts of many families. Anyone looking for a new five-seater should give this one a try.
The 2015 Subaru Forester isn’t too different from the last year’s model, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing since that car was superb in just about every way. It’s one of those vehicles that manages to be “just right” in about every way possible – especially when it comes to size. It’s not as big as an SUV nor is it as cramped as a family wagon. It falls perfectly in-between those two extremes.
The categorization that gets thrown around is “midsize crossover,” which is an apt description in our books. It’s not that much larger than the last-generation offering, but it does come with a whole host of new features, which make its exterior design stand out even more than before. You’ll see plenty of little details, like the stylishly chiselled side metal and lanky taillights that are very similar to what you’d find on a Subaru Impreza. And then there’s the Forester’s grille, which features a set of “wings” as well as a pair of headlights that stretch even further back than before, while being noticeably taller.
If there’s one criticism as far as appearance is concerned, it would be levelled against the crossover’s lower front end since it’s somewhat lacking in details – especially if you compare it to the rest of the car’s body. Overall, the front end is very basic in terms of its form, but if you go for a turbo model, then you’ll find that those are far more aggressive, featuring a futuristic airdam that highlights the front end. The hood is much smoother and more elegant now too, which adds up to a far more sophisticated overall appearance.
On the inside, the 2015 Forester comes with a completely new instrument panel, which now protrudes about five inches further, while facing downward. The overall layout is much simpler now, resembling cars like the Impreza and Outback. There’s also the impressive new stack of controls, which slickly blends with a new multi-display screen, climate and audio controls as well as a centre panel with cup holders.
In terms of features, the standard ones include a 4.3-inch colour screen that displays temperature, feedback from the rearview camera and various other functions. Other standard offerings include an AM/FM/CD audio that steering-wheel controls, Bluetooth connectivity and tilt/telescope steering. The more expensive trims, like Premium or Limited, get 6.1-inch touchscreen, voice controls, satellite radio with real-time traffic, smartphone integration, Aha app functionality and a more sophisticated six-speaker audio system.
We’ve already talked about the Subaru Forester’s size already, but we haven’t yet pinpointed how big or small it really is. To give you some idea – the new model comes with a 103.9-inch wheelbase, while being 180.9 inches long. It can comfortably fit five people and has 40 inches of backseat headroom. The cargo area provides 34.4 cubic feet with the back seats standing upright and 74.7 cubic feet with them being folded flat.
The seats themselves are much more adjustable now, with the car’s sills and shoulder line being much lower than in the older models. There are some issues with the front seats, however, since they lack proper bolstering on the bottom cushion. With a seat like that and the protruding centre stack, “bigger” drivers might feel a little less comfortable than they ought to. That being said, the situation is not that compromising. Plus, the back seats are now an inch farther from the front seat, offering even more legroom. In a nutshell, the Forester is every bit as comfortable and spacious as the previous model – only more so.
Under the hood, things are even more interesting since Subaru offers a selection of two horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engines for this crossover. The standard 2.5-litre engine can produce up to 170 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. It can be combined either with a six-speed manual or the Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission. This is a very decent power output for a car of this size. Its fuel economy is not bad either, especially if you consider the automatic-transmission model. The EPA ratings for that model are 9.8 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 7.3 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway. The manual-transmission variant has the ratings of 10.7 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 8.1 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway, which are a bit worse but still decent.
However, if you’re in need of more power, then consider looking at the Forester 2.0XT, which comes with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. This one can produce 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, while also offering a very decent fuel economy. Its EPA ratings are 10.2 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 8.4 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway. Since its fuel economy is not that much worse than in the 2.5-litre version, but its power output is superior, we earnestly recommend this engine – if you can afford it. The only drawback is that you can choose only one transmission, but it’s a good one since we’re talking about a High-Torque Lineartronic CVT with multi-mode SI-Drive that can imitate six or eight gears. In other words, this engine has no real flaws.
With a price of about $25,000, it’s hard not to look at the 2015 Subaru Forester as a fine purchase. You get much more than this relatively low price can afford, which makes it more or less a bargain. Just be sure not to get blown away when you come in contact with this fine midsize crossover.
2015 Subaru Forester
Reviewed by Unhaggle on .
Rating: 8.6 / 10
|Trim / Style||MSRP||Est. Monthly Payment||Average Price||Invoice Price|
|2.0XT Limited Package CVT||$36,695||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|2.0XT Limited Package w/Tech Pack CVT||$37,895||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|2.0XT Touring Package CVT||$33,495||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|2.5i 6MT||$25,995||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|2.5i Convenience Package CVT||$28,795||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|2.5i Convenience Package with PZEV CVT||$29,495||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|2.5i CVT||$27,295||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|2.5i Limited Package CVT||$34,495||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|2.5i Limited Package w/Tech Pack CVT||$35,695||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|2.5i Touring Package 6MT||$29,995||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|2.5i Touring Package CVT||$31,295||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|2.5i Touring Package w/Tech Pack CVT||$32,495||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|Number of Doors||5|
|Drive Train||4X4 Wheel Drive|
|Power and Performance:|
In its latest incarnation, the Subaru Forester nudges its performance needles gently in the right direction, especially when it's compared to some of its head-to-head competition. It's quicker than a Honda CR-V or a Rogue and better planted, too, though it lacks the athletic ride and steering of a Ford Escape (and the compromises that brings).
The Forester simply blends a pleasing amount of driving fun into its all-weather-wagon recipe, and that's more true of the turbocharged XT than of the base, normally aspirated wagon. That standard powerplant is a 2.5-liter, horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower, coupled to either a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). These 2.5i models aren’t quick, but they’re adequately powerful for a vehicle weighing in at about 3,300 pounds.
In the turbocharged 2.0XT, the power equation's much more favorable. It turns in a stout 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet at 2,000 rpm (on premium gas)--though it comes only with the CVT. Weight on top trims creeps up to about 3,600 pounds, but the Forester 2.0XT can tow up to 1,500 pounds.
The turbocharged models show off the best of the Forester's capable tuning. The body's stiffer than before, and the suspension has been redesigned. As a result, this Forester rides more comfortably, with less of the compact-car abruptness over large bumps. The Forester now has especially good body control, as well as very well-tuned and nicely weighted rack-mounted electric power-steering. Considering its toughness and cargo capacity for weekend outdoor gear, that's a win.
It's not quite as supple as a Rogue or an Equinox, but neither has the flourishes of personality that come from Subaru's reaches into acceleration and off-roading. One of those flourishes is SI-Drive. Essentially the same system that Subaru’s used in some of its sporty models in the past, it offers three modes—Intelligent (I), Sport (S), and Sport Sharp (S#)—that tweak the way the accelerator and powertrain respond. Sport Sharp enables a transformation in the 2.0XT's CVT—essentially making it 'pretend' it's an eight-speed automatic transmission, with relatively snappy shifts and manual control via steering-wheel paddle-shifters (which are omitted on 2.5i models). In Intelligent or Sport, there are instead six simulated 'gears' available by using the paddle-shifters.
Read more on The Car Connection.
|Interiors and Special Features:|
This new-generation Forester has an expanded and well-appointed SUV cabin that is quieter and more comfortable than ever. Soft-touch surfaces lend a premium feel, and the seats offer improved support and have been repositioned to grant better visibility. Larger, wider-opening doors ease entry and exit, and legroom in the 60/40 rear bench is good, even for adults. When cargo takes precedence, the backs fold near-flat to stretch stow space from 34.4 to 74.7 cubic feet. The liftgate, which is power-activated on Limited/Touring models, simplifies loading and unloading.
Originally appeared on Kelley Blue Book.
Every 2015 Subaru Forester includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and a rearview camera. Lane departure warning, frontal collision warning and a frontal collision mitigation system with automatic braking are available via the Driver Assist Technology package.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Forester 2.0XT stopped from 60 mph in 119 feet, a good number for this class. A Forester 2.5i (with the 17-inch wheels) made this same stop in 126 feet, which is a little worse than average.
In government crash tests, the Subaru Forester earned a top five-star rating for overall protection in crash tests, with four stars for total frontal-impact safety and five stars for total side-impact safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Forester a top score of "Good" in the moderate overlap frontal-offset, small-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact, roof strength and head restraint/seat tests. The IIHS also gave the Forester's optional frontal crash mitigation braking system a top score of "Superior."
Originally appeared on Edmunds.