The Subaru Forester was one of the first crossovers in America, giving us an off-road ability that you’d normally associate with a truck-based vehicle with the practicalities and handling ability that you’d associate with more of a traditional vehicle. That original Forester also looked like a blend of station wagon meets SUV, and that look has continued with this generation of the Forester. We have this Longmore sedan, like hood up front versus what we see in some of the other crossovers, and definitely a tall greenhouse in the back and overall squarer proportions than we see in many crossovers. Up front this generation of the Forester definitely looks like one of the Family. We have the same basic grille design that we see on the rest of the Subaru lineup and a very upright and handsome attractive look. LED headlamps are standard in all models, but for the top and touring trim you get headlamps that steer in the corners as well as LED fog lamps.
Behind the windscreen we find a standard twin camera system and that’s because Subaru’s iSight system is now standard on all models of the Forester. Subaru uses the twin camera system to give us many of the same active safety features that we see in the Toyota safety sense package or Honda Sensing. It comes in all versions of the Forester, even the base model that includes adaptive cruise control functionality, autonomous braking, and lane keeping assistance. Subaru tells us that the dual camera system is a little bit less expensive to repair in the event of an accident because obviously nothing is right up there on the front bumper that you’d have to replace. It also is a little bit less expensive, logically than some of those radar systems.
In terms of overall length, this generation, the Forester, has grown just a tiny bit versus the last generation. This is now one 182.1 inches long, but it retains a lot of the things that Subaru owners have loved about the Forester. We still have 8.7 inches of ground clearance, which is class-leading, especially for base models.
It has a very vertical rear hatch, which helps improve cargo practicality. A lot of glass on the side, giving excellent vision not only for the driver but also for people that are a little shorter or kids that may be sitting in the back and extra windows to make the cabin feel a little bit bigger and a little bit airier. This is also still very square overall, as you’ll notice in the profile and that helps improve practicality on the inside. The fact that the roofline and the bottom of the vehicle are very close one to another, it doesn’t round in a lot of space, as some of the other crossovers. That helps improve interior practicality, especially headroom, and shoulder room.
2019 Subaru Forester Sport Trim
All-new for 2019 is a Sport trim of Forester has some exterior differences, such as the orange stripe on the front and on the side and blacked-out wheels.
Sport for Subaru means something different than other manufacturers, so you don’t find any extra power under the hood. Instead, this actually seems to be more focused on off-road ability. The Sport is the first model in the lineup to get their new X mode system. This is what Subaru calls their all-wheel-drive off-road mode and, in the past, that mode was designed mainly for loose or slippery surfaces, but not surfaces where you really needed a lot of wheelspin in order to actually help get you out of a sticky situation.
so we now have that in these two drive modes that you’ll see on the inside, we also get slightly different roof rails right here you can see that they’re, orange, trimmed and Subaru tells us that, because the Forester is one of The entries in this segment that is more designed for off-roading sort of like the Jeep Cherokee.
This is the first vehicle in the segment that was actually designed from the very beginning to accommodate roof tents. So, if you’re planning on putting one on your compact crossover know that this is the only one where there’s actually section in the owners manual that tells you how to do that. It’s the only one rated for that load.
The Forester just wouldn’t be a Subaru without a box or engine.
Under the hood you’ll find Subaru’s latest four-cylinder engine producing 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. This is an almost entirely new engine, designed to give us better fuel economy and a little bit better performance than the last model. Thanks to the new engine design and an almost entirely new continuously variable transmission, fuel economy is absolutely excellent. It comes in at 33 mpg highway 29 mpg combined.
At this point of time, we don’t have a turbocharged Forester. So if you were hoping to get one of those, you may have to wait and see if Subaru releases, one later.
Towing capacity comes in at 1500 pounds for all versions when properly equipped, thanks to the very square side profile,
The Forester has always done well when it comes to headroom, but that’s especially true for 2019, when a lot of the competitive models have gone for sleeker side profiles and really cut down on headroom, both front and rear sitting right here at front very comfortably for myself, I have about three inches of headroom Left and we are in the model with the panoramic sunroof – this is definitely more room than you’ll find in a Tiguan or a Tucson which have less Headroom.
You also have:
- tilt-telescopic steering column
- power driver seat with two-way adjustable lumbar support
- two position, seat memory right over there on the doors and
- front passenger seat is powered as well
This generation in the Forester also has another trick up its sleeve.
It actually has a face monitoring camera right here in the center cluster, very similar to what we see in new iPhone models. It actually recognizes up to five drivers and will automatically adjust the seat and mirrors and other vehicle settings to my preferences. When I get in this is really handy, if you have multiple different people driving the vehicle, because it’ll recognize more people than there would be room to put buttons on the door, it’s a really handy feature. The way that it works is pretty simple.
I just hop in the car and immediately the system recognizes my face and adjust things. The display on the car says “Hello Evan” because I’ve programmed my name into the vehicle. This is a feature that you will only find in the top-end Touring model and it is coupled with a facial recognition algorithm that can sense whether you’re, distracted or you’re, getting sleepy, and it will tell you to keep your eyes on the road. So if you’re worried about distracted driving, this definitely is going to be an interesting feature for you now.
One thing I wish the Forester had was a four-way adjustable lumbar support. I wish the lumbar was a little bit higher on the seat, but overall the seat design is definitely more comfortable than the last model. Thanks to the square profile rear seat. Legroom is also very, very generous.
I have about six inches of legroom left it’s important when looking at vehicles like this to look at combined legroom, not just rear legroom figures, because if you look at the rear, legroom figures, this vehicle would appear to be below some of the competition. But when you look at front row plus second row, then you’ll actually see that this is incredibly good for this segment. I also have a lot of headroom back here again, we are in the model with the panoramic moonroof and that does cut Headroom down, but I still have about an inch and a half of headroom left. If I move over to the middle seat because of the overall shape of the roof, I still have plenty of room.
My hair is not touching. The ceiling still have about an inch left all the way over to the right, where the front seat is all the way back in its tracks, and I still have about three or four inches of room left. These seats do recline, there’s a little bit of webbing right here on the side, so I can actually choose a slightly more reclined position right like that, or I can lift these up to be a little bit square, to give us more cargo room in the back. In addition to reclining the rear seats also fold in a 60/40 fashion and they fold completely flat with that cargo area in the rear, rear passengers also have a center armrest with two cupholders right there, and then we have a headrest, that’s adjustable for that Center seat.
I wish the cover for these USB charge. Ports was done in a slightly more elegant manner, but we do have two high power USB charge for its back here, as well as heated seats in the model that we’re driving behind the rear hatch. We find a large and practical cargo area, one of the larger ones available in this segment. At thirty five point seven cubic feet, but Subaru is telling us that they’re also proud of the overall width in this cargo area.
It is notably wider between these two outer edges than most of the competition, also a little bit wider between the wheel wells, even though overall, the Forester is actually on the narrow side. Subaru tells us that this is not only advantageous for luggage, like this 22 inch. Roller bag here that you can see it’s very easily under that roller cover right like that, but also for items like golf clubs, which don’t have to be put in an angle that can just be slid right in there across the back since we’re driving the touring Model, we also have some electric releases for those second row seats to help you fold them down a little bit more easily and again, that is flat with this cargo area. The backs like easily roll luggage right in there onto the backs of the seats.
If we lift up the load floor, we find additional storage right there, quite a lot of it actually and then beneath that. We find, of course, a spare tire as you’d expect from vehicle with some offroading in mind. This is a compact spare. It’s not a full size spare, but you may actually be able to fit a full-size spare back there if you wanted to buy one aftermarket.
Subaru also gives us enough room under here to store the roller cover. That is another handy feature because vehicles that have a hard cover or vehicles that don’t have a place. To put this, it’s a little bit more difficult to put large items in the back when you want to, because you’d have to put the roller cover somewhere. This is a really handy spot to keep it as we look around the interior, keep in mind that we are in the top-end Touring trim.
So we do have this large panoramic moonroof, which you will find on lower trims as well. It’s worth noting that this is not as large as some of the competitions. So if we look right back there towards the rear passengers, you’ll notice that doesn’t go over the rear passengers heads he really just more goes just about over. There knees.
It’s also worth noting that the cover is a manual cover. It’s not powered like we find in some of the competition. The driver and front-passenger have height adjustable shoulder belts and two-way adjustable headrests, because we’re in the top-end touring trim. We have this very attractive, nut-brown leather.
The leather is perforated in the center. All of these seats are not ventilated, they are just heated. Subaru tells us that one of the things they really wanted to change with this generation of the Forester was to make the overall interior appearance more premium, and that’s definitely something they’ve done. We now have more stitched materials on the dashboard and on the front doors.
Like you can see right there, all of that brown section is made of stitched leather. We then have a soft touch, injection molded upper section right here on the front of the doors, then we find hard plastics lower on the doors just like the competition. That generally helps improve plastic longevity you’ll see down there. We have a pretty generously sized bottle holder down there at the bottom and you can’t see, but we also have a Harman Kardon speaker down there in the corner.
The dashboard uses a combination of different materials. We have a soft touch injection molded upper section right there. It is then, after stitched to give it the impression of being multiple pieces of material, but it’s not actually multiple pieces, as you can see right there and then below that we have a soft touch section with sort of a golf-ball-like finish on it. I find that quite attractive.
It’s basically the same pattern that we see over there on the door is helping tie everything together, and then we have a stiched insert right down there, a little bit of trim to snazz things up a little bit just above this bin style glove compartment, the glove Compartment is moderately sized. I was just barely able to fit a 10.5 inch. Ipad inside larger ones might have trouble fitting, but smaller ones shouldn’t have a problem as we see in other Subaru models. We have a driver display right here in the center of the dash.
This display gives us things like the status of the vehicles active safety systems, the climate control settings clock outside temperature. You can see right there status of the all-wheel drive system with an inclination sensor. We also get the status of the vehicles active safety systems in a different display, weather turn-by-turn navigation directions, Apple car player, Android, auto readouts trip fuel economy at center up. Interestingly enough, this is also where you would adjust certain vehicle settings rather than these settings being in the center console.
So if you want to adjust the driver monitoring system and have it recognize a new driver, that’s where you would do that. If you want to adjust the settings on the climate control system, then this is where you would adjust them as well. So if you want the climate control to be a little bit less blowy or eco, or if you want it to blow a little bit more powerfully on you, this is where you would make those adjustments below that. The model that we’re driving has an 8 inch color touchscreen infotainment system with apple carplay and android auto.
If you get the base model, then we get a 6.5 inch color touchscreen. That runs basically the same software. The only real difference between this system and that system is that this system also has factory navigation built into it. This is Subarus latest infotainment software, and I really love the fact that apple, carplay and android auto are standard features with the system, because they’re still optional.
On a lot of competitive vehicles, keyless go is an option, but our model has that, so we have a start/stop button right there. Dual zone climate control is also optional, although all models do come standard with at least a single zone, automatic climate control system, below that we have a storage cubby, where you can keep your smart phone. Two USB inputs auxilary input right down there, as well as a 12-volt power port. I do wish that the USB was hidden away, but I’m glad that there are two of them right there.
Behind that we have a pretty traditional console. Shifter drive us all the way back like that manual mode is over to the left once the shifter is in manual, you’d actually use the paddle shifters on the back of the steering wheel in order to change gears back in the center console. We have an electric parking brake button, auto brake hold in all models. That’s another nice feature standard.
He get seats over here on the right side, high and low for both seating positions. Then we find the new ex mode dial right here in the middle. This is a little bit different than other Subarus with ex mode, because previous generations of ex mode were just on or off an X mode, wasn’t as handy in situations where a little bit of wheel slip would actually be better for you to help get you out Of sticky situations, so that’s what we have now. So we have deep snow and mud right over there and then on this side we have regular snow and dirt, and then we press down for normal.
That gives us a little bit more capability than we saw in the last Forester. If we zoom out from there, we find two fairly large cup holders right there behind that area and then a softly padded center armrest. That opens to reveal a moderately sized storage cubby because of the overall vehicle design. We don’t find quite as much room in the storage compartment as we do in some of the competition and then there’s a small storage area right there in front where you can put things like the key for the car.
The estimate cluster is somewhat similar to what we see in other Subaru models. We have a tachometer and a speedometer, and in the middle we have a color multifunction display. This color display gives us readouts that are somewhat similar to what we saw in the center console, but then also different displays as well. So you can see we have our average fuel economy here and then an mpg bar along the top.
Tell you whether your average is increasing or decreasing moving out from there. We find basically the same steer wheel as other Subaru models. Again, those paddle shifters on the back of the steering wheel down on the left and up over there on the right. The buttons on the steering will take a little bit of explanation so over here.
On this side, we have source volume, up/down track forward backward, and then this info button actually cycles through options right there on that display in the center of the entire dashboard. Let you can see right there. We then have some dedicated phone buttons and then down here. We have toggles that switch through options in that display right there between the speedometer and the tachometer.
Now these systems work a little bit, interestingly with one another. So if I scroll through the info setting right there in that center screen – and then I press it that gets us actually into the menu system that you see in the center console. And then we would use these toggles down here on the steering wheel to actually switch through options and then click this middle button to actually set that particular option and then again, when you’re, not in that menu of these buttons control that particular display. On this side.
We have the controls for the adaptive cruise system, s and I are the two different modes for the drivetrain, so we have sport and then we have more of an intelligent or advanced mode right there. We then have a button right here for the heated steering wheel, functionality, the interior and the Sport trim is a little bit different. We have a small sport tag right there. It looks kind of like a clothing tag, fabric trim on the doors, basically, the same kind of soft touch, materials on the doors and dashboard panels that we see in the other trim.
We just looked at and then we get some contrasting stitching on the doors and on the dashboard. Orange is apparently the new sporty. So we see a lot of orange trim going on in this cabin around the air vents right there and in the center console around the shifter and the new dual mode X Drive button and knob arrangement. That’s right there behind the shifter when it comes to our performance scores.
It’s important to remember that we are driving this out here in North Carolina, we’re at about 2,200 feet above sea level, and most of our testing is done right at sea level. So keep that in mind. It also is nearly 80 degrees out here and I have another journalist in the vehicle in our preliminary 0 to 60 time. This ran from 0 to 60.
In nine point nine seconds. I suspect that, with all of those factors put together, this should be running about nine point, five to nine point four seconds. Once we get this back home and are able to zero to sixty test it, there that’s going to put this right around the same 0 to 60 time as the Chevy Equinox, and definitely a little bit slower than the Nissan Rogue or honda crv. Honda crv with the 1.5 liter turbo is pretty quick in this segment and it will go zero to 60 in seven point three seconds.
Of course, if you want the fastest entry in this segment, then you will have to pay notably more for that than this forester. Here but you could get something like a v6 Jeep Cherokee and it would run 0 to 60 down in the six-second range. We haven’t had the chance to sixty to zero test this vehicle. Yet but in our preliminary numbers, I’m gon na say this is probably gon na be right around 124 to 125 feet, which should be substantially similar to the Honda CRV of the total rav4 etc.
We have 225 with tires on all versions of the Forester, and the kerb weight is overall, fairly light for an all-wheel drive vehicle. If you were to get one of the options in this segment that had more of a sporty Drive nature in mind, something like the Kia Sportage, it’s likely going to stop shorter at 60 miles an hour back to zero. But it will also have wider tires. Not be quite as efficient and not be as high off the ground, either that high ground clearance is important to remember, because this is almost 9 inches off the ground.
This is significantly higher off the ground than base versions of even jeeps Cherokee. That’s because the Jeep Cherokee has multiple different ride heights. The Cherokee has a very, very capable all-wheel-drive system. I would actually say more capable than what we find in the Subaru Forester.
If you get the right version, because it’s the only entry in this segment that has a two-speed transfer case and a locking rear differential, that model has ground clearance. That is very similar to what we’re driving right here. But that’s not all Jeep Cherokees the base models and actually the beginning level. All-Wheel drive systems are actually not as high off the ground as the model that we’re driving here and the average Jeep Cherokee it’s all-wheel drive system is just about as capable as what we find in the Subaru Forester.
So this is definitely a solid comparison to those vehicles in those main line and base trims. This will actually be much better off road, especially if you’re looking for those ground clearance statistics than that base cherokee model. Unfortunately, there is a penalty to be paid for that. High ground clearance, and that is overall, vehicle handling and overall vehicle dynamics, even though this does feel a little bit tighter a little bit sharper than the previous generation of the Forester.
This is not going to be quite as engaging on your favorite winding Mountain Road as something like a Hyundai Tucson or the Kia Sportage, or actually even certain versions of the Chevy Equinox either. But those vehicles have a very different mission in mind: they’re much closer to the ground. They start as front-wheel drive vehicles. Those vehicles are really targeted at someone that wants the practicality of the hatchback in the rear and the large cargo area, the upright seating position etc.
But they don’t necessarily need the off-road ability that we find in the Forester or in the Jeep Cherokee. It’s important to remember that there are always trade-offs with any new car design so because Subaru is really targeting that off-road ability in this vehicle. We do see a slight reduction in the overall on-road handling ability. You’ll, also see that when it comes to the tire size that we have in this vehicle again, we have 225 with tires all the way around.
We don’t have wider tires, which could help improve on-road handling ability on the flip side, however, offered handling ability and a nice supple ride often go hand-in-hand together, and that is exactly what we see in this vehicle. The is definitely more softly sprung than something like the Tucson or even actually the toda rav4 as well. I would actually say that, in terms of overall suspension tuning dynamics and the quietness and comfortableness of the ride, if that could be a word rivals. The Honda CRV, the CRV, is a very comfortable entry in this segment and we also have a very comfortable ride in this model as well.
And yes, you heard me right, I did say quiet, because Subaru has done an awful lot of work to make the Forester quieter than before. The last generation. Forester was honestly pretty loud out on the road, both in terms of wind, noise and in terms of road noise. Both of those metrics have been improved for this generation of the forest or whether we’re driving along broken pavement like on this road right here or you’re.
Driving at higher speeds it’s much better controlled than in the past, although I have noticed that there is a little bit more wind noise than I expected right around the windows at higher speeds. It’s kept fairly well in check and I’m going to say that this is probably going to get a very similar score in our cabin noise test. As the Honda CRV once we can get this back at home and do our official testing fuel economy is unquestionably high. In this model, 33 miles per gallon is what this is rated down.
The highway 29 combined and over a day of mix driving out here in North Carolina with the air conditioning on the whole time, zero to 60 testing it and a decent amount of idling. We’ve still been averaging about 33 miles per gallon, and most people out here that have been driving. These cars have been averaging very high fuel economy numbers as well. The continuously variable transmission helps keep the engine at the optimum rpm for efficiency or for performance, depending on exactly what you’re asking of it.
And the all-wheel-drive system that we find in modern Subarus has the ability to disconnect the rear axle and send most of the power up front at higher speeds that helps improve highway fuel efficiency. Overall, the combination is exactly what you’d expect out of a Subaru crossover. This is a definite refinement over previous generations of the Forester, but they really haven’t reinvented the wheel here. This is still the same sort of form factor the same sort of thing going on that Subaru shoppers are after.
So if you like, the previous generation, forester you’re gon na, like this one even more, if the Subaru Forester wasn’t exactly your cup of tea, then this version might not be either. If you’re looking for something that has better on-road dynamics, you will find that in this segment, but you’ll have to give up some of the off-road ability and you’ll. Also, interestingly, enough have to give some of the fuel economy the high fuel economy that we see in this model really is one of the big selling points for the Forester, because this allows you to have all-wheel-drive without that fuel economy. Compromise that we see in most of the competition, so in some ways this really is a no compromises.
Crossover in this segment, the average Subaru owner isn’t likely to take their forester rock crawling or serious operating like you’d expect a Jeep Wrangler to be able to do, but they do expect their Subaru to be able to accomplish mud, roads, gravel roads, anything that a national Park in the winter could throw at them. This is the kind of vehicle that’s designed to be taken camping, it’s also obviously designed for New England, winters or Pacific Northwest winters etc, and that’s because the all-wheel-drive system that Subaru uses is always sending at least some power to the rear axle that helps make. This feel a little bit more sure-footed than some other all-wheel drive designs, but, as I always remind folks, if you’re in a snowy area, remember that tires are very, very important and they’re, arguably more important than an all-wheel drive system and how it’s designed in a vehicle, Because a front-wheel drive crossover like a Honda, CRV front-wheel drive, is going to accelerate better stop better and handle better than this vehicle. If it were to have summer tires on the more.
Even all season tires, depending on exactly how cold it is. So always always remember that the right tires are gon na make a big difference, and if you put snow tires on this vehicle, then you’re really going to have good traction in winter weather. As always, you’ll have to wait until we can get one of these back at home, so we can run it through our usual battery of tests, but I can safely say that, if you’re shopping in this segment right now, you should definitely put the 2019 forester on Your shopping list, so how much will a forester set you back? Well, this will start at twenty four thousand two hundred ninety five dollars, and you should be able to buy starting from September.
They should definitely have more on the Lots in October, as we’ve seen with other Subaru models like the all-new Subaru ascent. The base model is a very, very good value in this segment. It’s really easy to say that right off the bat at 24,000 295 we have that standard eyesight safety system, standard apple, CarPlay and Android, auto and most importantly, standard all-wheel drive. Subaru is so dedicated to all-wheel drive that every vehicle that they sell in America, except for the BRZ, has all-wheel drive standard and that really helps improve the overall value proposition versus the competition, because a similarly priced Honda cr-v this would be the base.
Front-Wheel drive model and the all-wheel drive is going to cost you definitely more than what we’re looking at right here. It’s actually not going to save you anything when it comes to fuel economy. A lot of people in this segment will say that they buy the two-wheel drive model because it gets better fuel economy than the all-wheel-drive version, but for the Subaru, there really is no compromise because we get fuel economy that bests most of the front-wheel drive models. In this segment and again, we have that standard, all-wheel-drive system, the next step up from there would be the twenty six thousand six hundred ninety five dollar premium package.
That gets you the panoramic moonroof that we saw in this vehicle the base X mode system and an upgraded interior from there. We move on up to the new twenty eight thousand seven hundred ninety five dollars sport trim that gives us the new dual X mode system. The sport model also gives you a tweaked exterior appearance, tweaked interior parents. We have some orange accents on the outside and keyless go the next step.
Up from. There is the thirty thousand seven hundred ninety five dollar limited package that gets you upgraded, LED headlamps to zone automatic climate control instead of singles on automatic climate control and the power liftgate. If you’d, like your forester, fully loaded, which is what we’ve been driving today, that’ll set you back thirty four thousand two hundred ninety five dollars for the touring trim, which gets you the premium upgraded sound system in this cabin. The eight-inch infotainment screen LED fog, lamps, some unique trim pieces on the inside and the reverse auto brake system.
The 2019 forester is pretty much exactly what you’d expect out of a modern, subaru crossover. We have excellent value in the base model and especially mid line trims as well even still decent value in this top and touring trim. Although some of the competitor models do come close to this, when it comes to overall value and overall features for the dollar, Subaru is also really dedicated to safety. We have their latest active safety systems standard in all trims standard, LED headlamps.
You can get your way on up to these steering LED headlamps, which are some of the best that you can find in the industry, and the Touring trim gives us some of the interior trappings that Subaru shoppers have been asking for for a while. Now we still don’t see things like ventilated seats on the inside that we will find in some of the competitive models, but we also have features that we don’t find in two competitors models, especially the base trim like apple carplay and android. Auto. That’s something that a lot of other car companies make you step on up to a different model in order to get.
We also have standard automatic climate control in the base model, which is another feature that I like, even though it is only a single zone. Until you work your way on up to the trim ladder to get the dual zone like this particular model has on it, you will of course, have to wait until we can get our hands on one for complete week, so we can run through our usual battery Of comparisons and tests, but I can easily say that if you’re shopping in this segment for any of the mainstream entries – and you want something – that’s a little bit more off-road capable a little bit more rugged or just simply a better value. Definitely put this on your shopping list.