2019 Subaru Forester Reviews

2019 Forester New Car Test Drive


The 2019 Subaru Forester gets a complete makeover this year, but the change is evolutionary. The compact crossover SUV retains its strong points, while it gets better interior trim and more standard safety technology. 

The fifth-generation Forester rides on a stiffer platform and boasts a spacious cabin, that grants it admirable utility. Head, hip, leg, and shoulder room have each grown a bit. Wider rear door openings ease entry/exit.

Safety and driving ease got plenty of attention. Subaru's EyeSight driver-assist technology is standard on every Forester, encompassing adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and automatic emergency braking.

New DriverFocus safety technology, standard in the Touring edition, uses a camera and facial recognition software to detect driver fatigue or distraction. Look down at a text, for instance, and the system will beep its displeasure.

Manual shifting and turbo power are no longer offered, but a Sport model with distinctive interior and exterior details has been added. The Forester's platform is shared with the Impreza sedan, Crosstrek crossover, and new Ascent three-row crossover SUV.

The 2019 lineup comes in five trim levels: base, Premium, Sport, Limited, and Touring. Each Forester holds a new version of Subaru's 2.5-liter flat (horizontally-opposed) 4-cylinder engine, developing 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) and all-wheel drive are standard. Subaru claims quicker acceleration than before.

Two driving modes are offered, to alter throttle response; “Intelligent” and “Sport.” The Sport model includes “Sport Sharp.”

Ground clearance totals 8.7 inches, for effective operation under mild off-road conditions. Upper trim levels include two-position X-Mode selection: Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud.

Subaru has a strong record for safety and early tests on the new Forester have been promising.

Blind-spot monitors with lane-change assist and rear cross-traffic alert are optional on Premium and Sport versions, but standard with Limited and Touring trim. Limited and Touring versions feature steering-responsive headlights that move in accord with the steering wheel.


Prices do not include $975 destination charge.

2.5i ($24,295), the base model, comes with all-wheel drive, automatic climate control, a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and 17-inch wheels. Alloy wheels and a roof rack can be added for $600.

2.5i Premium ($26,695) adds such comforts as a 10-way power driver's seat, privacy glass, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and panoramic moonroof, along with black alloy 17-inch wheels. A $1,295 option group includes heated seats and blind-spot monitors.

2.5i Sport ($28,795) includes rugged appearance add-ons, as well as 18-inch wheels, a Sport Sharp drive mode, automatic high-beam headlights, keyless access with push-button start, heated front seats, and steering-wheel paddles to select seven ratios on the CVT.

2.5i Limited ($30,795) adds leather upholstery, steering-responsive LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, power tailgate, automatic high-beam headlights, blind-spot monitors, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen. Reverse automatic braking, a heated steering wheel, navigation, and Harman Kardon speakers are optional.

2.5i Touring ($34,295) comes with a memory driver's seat, power front passenger's seat, navigation, Harman Kardon speakers, heated rear seats, reverse automatic braking, and the DriverFocus system.

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