2015 Subaru Forester SUV Review & Ratings | Edmunds

2015 Subaru Forester SUV Review

2015 Subaru Forester SUV
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Edmunds Summary Review of the 2015 Subaru Forester SUV

  • Competitive fuel economy, a spacious cabin and available turbocharged power make the 2015 Subaru Forester a solid pick for a small crossover SUV.

  • Pros

    Roomy interior; admirable fuel economy; availability of a stout turbocharged engine; standard all-wheel drive; great safety scores and available advanced safety features.

  • Cons

    Finicky touchscreen interface; base engine is raucous at higher rpm.

  • What's New for 2015

    The 2015 Subaru Forester receives minor feature changes, including a standard rearview camera on all models and larger 18-inch wheels for the 2.5i Touring trim.

    2015 Subaru Forester Video Review

Reviews from owners of the 2015 Subaru Forester SUV

Average Consumer Rating (See all 82 reviews) Write a Review

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Need leg warmers =)

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Vehicle: 2015 Subaru Forester

our first subaru was a 2010 forester and we were quite happy with it so we bought a new 2015 forester and almost every thing is fine except 2problems.. 1. kinda minor,, the clock, blue tooth for phone and other tech stuff is complicated for non-tech person of age =( 2. when riding in the ohio winter weather and the heater is on , from the knees down to my feet,, both sides passenger and drivers side it feels like there are holes in the "fire wall" as our legs are COLD..... I am very disappointed with our dealer service department because they tell us there is nothing wrong.. well I assume they have it in a service garage and not out on the road moving,, so of course the mechanic (in the heated garage) can not feel a problem.. I will call and have to drop it off again for them to look at,, very inconvenient for us as we both work,, this is our 2nd forester and our son is on his 3rd subaru sedan in 5 years... I just wish there service department and the subaru company them selves would take these things serious before we get our next one.... Any one else having these problems ??????? our first

Five months of ownership

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Vehicle: 2015 Subaru Forester

In five months I have put over 11,000 miles. It is a limited demo model had 5000 mile when bought. The main reason I bought the forester and not the rav 4 or the crv was the seats, especially the driver's seat. It is very comfortable yet firm. I hope I am not jinxing my car but so far the vehicle runs great.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

Japanese volvo

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Vehicle: 2015 Subaru Forester

This car is well thought out size & space wise. The ride& handling is quite good. Interior is well thought out both size & layout of controls. I drove this car for several hundred miles & the seats are very good. The engine had enough power for the flat terrain I live in, the test will be in the very hilly & snowy area my son lives in.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

Perfect combination between performance and price

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Vehicle: 2015 Subaru Forester

I have been leasing 8 cars in the last 11 years. I like sportiness and performance. Since my doctor and my business pushed me to have an SUV, I could not find any great balance among performance, price and utility until I found the 2015 Subaru XT touring. I do not like turbo lag. I had a 2013 BMW X1, an 2015 Acura RDX and a 2012 Sorento EX V6. All three are very good vehicles but in terms of design and utility. But, on performance they have their cons. BMWs suffer from turbo lag, engine thinks 2 seconds before the turbo kicks in, cargo space is minimal. The RDX engine is great but the transmission is hesitant when you need to pass a car. Sorento V6 is good but power decreases on high RPMS and is consumes more gas among all (17mpg) . I was hesitant on the CVT when I tried the XT. Previoulsly I had an 2008 Impreza WRX and a 2011 Legacy GT Turbo that were great on power but both had manual trasnmissions. Acceleration on XT is excellent specially on S1 and Sport Sharp mode. There is no turbo lag. I've got 6.4 seconds from 0 to 60. Same as the X1!! 0-60 Times were 7.3 for the RDX and 7.1 for the Sorento. Forester XT acceleration is linear and no hesitation at all. I am very happy, visibility is excellent, have double cargo space than the X1 and same as the RDX. Premium sound is great ( Harman and Kardon 400 watts), Power tailgate and navigation are efficient. Nothing is perfect: Seats are hard and not supportive enough. Bluetooth sync with phone is delayed sometimes. Backup camera screen is too small and no blind spot system. In summary if you need great performance on an SUV and good space you do not need to spend 40k or more on a small BMW such as X1 o X3, Audi Q5, RDX or Sorento V6 (smaller, pricier and less powerful). I wish in the future we can have more colors available such as ferrari red or neon blue for the XT.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

2014 subaru forester - failed transmission

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Vehicle: 2015 Subaru Forester

My problem started in May 2015 with approximately 30000 on the car. The car didn't want to accelerate when first starting. When stepping on the gas the vehicle lurched forward. I took it in to Subaru three times and they told me this was normal with their CVT transmissions. Finally at about 40000 I took it in a fourth time and I'm told I have a failed transmission. this was based on anise they heard coming from the engine. Subarus exact words and what is written on my diagnosis. I'm no mechanic but that makes no sense to me. They gave me an estimate of approximately $9,000 to repair. The vehicle has a 60k power train warranty. You would think Subaru would replace it under warranty. Nope. They are trying to not honor my warranty and stick me with the bill. I have had nothing but problems with this vehicle and with Subaru customer service. I told Subaru I didn't feel safe driving this vehicle with my three year old child. Subaru offered to reimburse my $30 per day for 5 days of s rental vehicle. My five days are up and I have yet to receive any response from Subaru Corp. Unacceptable Subaru!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

Poor heating

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Vehicle: 2015 Subaru Forester

This car reminds me of cars I owned in the 50's when I had to put cardboard in front of the radiator to get heat in the winter. When it is cold out,10 degrees or cooler never can get warm, and never have to turn down the heat in the car. Wish I could turn it up. Lots of good features, but if you are not warm in the car, the other features aren't worth it.


Full 2015 Subaru Forester Review

What's New for 2015

The 2015 Subaru Forester receives minor feature changes, including a standard rearview camera on all models and larger 18-inch wheels for the 2.5i Touring trim.


A year ago, Subaru redesigned its Forester crossover SUV, adding sharper styling, a roomier and nicer-looking interior and enhanced fuel economy. The 2015 Subaru Forester is essentially unchanged, but that's not an issue as this is still one of the better choices for a small crossover this year.

Part of the Forester's fuel economy secret is its continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), replacing the conventional automatic in the previous model. But the standard manual transmission is more efficient, too, boasting six speeds instead of five for improved cruising efficiency. As usual, the Forester also comes in turbocharged XT trim, which offers impressively quick acceleration along with a still respectable EPA fuel economy rating.

The Forester's interior design is nothing special, but it does provide ample room for bikes, tents, canines and other tools of the trade among Subaru's loyal fans. Safety is another draw with the Forester; it boasts near-perfect crash test scores as well as an available low-speed frontal crash mitigation system, which is a feature more commonly found on luxury cars than affordable family crossovers such as this.

Understandably, though, Subaru isn't the only automaker offering a quality crossover at this price. The Ford Escape and 2015 Mazda CX-5 handle better on-road and have nicer interiors, while it's tough to beat the all-around appeal of the nicely packaged Honda CR-V. If it's off-road credentials you're after, the Jeep Cherokee is certainly worth a look. Given the high quality of the competition, we certainly recommend shopping around. But if you're looking for serious space and standard all-wheel-drive traction, the 2015 Forester is an excellent all-around solution.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2015 Subaru Forester is a compact crossover available in six trim levels. The 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited and 2.5i Touring all come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, while the 2.0XT Premium and 2.0XT Touring come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

Standard equipment on the 2.5i includes 17-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a color multifunction display, a rearview camera and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and iPod/USB connectivity.

The 2.5i Premium adds 17-inch alloy wheels and roof rails (optional on the base 2.5i with CVT), rear privacy glass, a panoramic sunroof, a 10-way power driver seat (with power lumbar adjustment), a rear armrest with cupholders, reclining rear seatbacks and a six-speaker stereo system with HD radio. An All-Weather package (heated side mirrors and heated front seats) is standard if the manual transmission is specified, but it's an extra-cost option with the CVT.

The 2.5i Limited makes the All-Weather package standard and adds automatic headlights, foglights, an adjustable-height power rear liftgate, a rear roof spoiler, automatic climate control, an upgraded instrument cluster, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a cargo area tray.

The 2.5i Touring throws in a premium eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlamps, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control and a one-touch folding rear seatback.

Moving to the 2.0XT Premium brings all the equipment of the 2.5i Premium, plus the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and CVT, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust outlets, the All-Weather package, a rear roof spoiler, alloy pedals, an upgraded instrument cluster and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The 2.0XT Touring offers the same upgrades as the 2.5i Touring.

Optional on the Premium (except with the manual transmission), Limited and Touring trims is a 6.1-inch touchscreen navigation system with voice controls, satellite radio and Aha smartphone app integration. The Limited trim's navigation system includes the Harman Kardon audio setup. All of these trims are also eligible for the Driver Assist Technology package, which integrates adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and pre-collision braking functions.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2015 Subaru Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive. The 2.5i Touring, 2.5i Limited and all 2.0XT models have an additional driver-selectable mode that optimizes various functions to improve traction on slippery surfaces. These models also include hill descent control.

The 2015 Subaru Forester 2.5i features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard for the 2.5i and 2.5i Premium trims, with a CVT optional. The higher trims are CVT-only.

The EPA rates CVT-equipped 2.5i models at 27 mpg combined (24 city/32 highway), a laudable achievement for an all-wheel-drive crossover. If you get the manual transmission, the numbers drop to 25 combined (22 city/29 highway). In Edmunds testing, a CVT-equipped Forester 2.5i Limited accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 9.0 seconds, which is about average for a base-engine AWD crossover in this segment.

More performance is available if you choose the 2.0XT. Its standard turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder churns out 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and comes only with the CVT. In Edmunds testing, a Forester 2.0XT Touring accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, a quick time even for a crossover in this class with an upgraded engine. The 2.0XT could also impress on the fuel economy front; the EPA estimates 25 mpg combined (23 city/28 highway), though our test vehicle struggled to match these numbers in real-world driving. The other downside is that the 2.0XT can tow just 1,500 pounds -- same as the base Forester.


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."

Interior Design and Special Features

The various textures and accents dispersed throughout the 2015 Subaru Forester's interior deliver enough visual appeal to keep pace with other affordable crossovers. But make no mistake: The Forester maintains the simplicity of Subaru's design philosophy. Aside from three large climate control dials and steering-wheel-mounted multimedia controls, there's not a lot going on here unless you add the optional navigation system. Unfortunately, that system's touchscreen interface comes up short in terms of both graphics and functionality when compared to today's best.

Where the Forester shines is in its refreshing focus on functionality. Elevated stadium-type rear seating enhances thigh support and affords a better view, while the Forester's rear legroom is only about an inch shy of what you'll find in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan. This sense of space is reinforced by a huge cargo hold that yields 74.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. That's nearly 4 more cubic feet than the Honda CR-V, which has traditionally been at the head of this class. The caveat is that you'll need to stick to the base model if you want the big number, as models with the panoramic sunroof drop to 68.5 cubic feet due to a lower roof height.

Driving Impressions

The 2015 Subaru Forester 2.5i won't set any speed records with its 170 horses, and although the CVT performs well for the breed, it still lacks the responsiveness of a good conventional automatic. Still, this powertrain's impressive fuel economy gives it an edge over most rivals. If you've got the need for speed, the 2.0XT's turbocharged engine delivers some of the quickest acceleration times found in this class.

In normal use, the Forester serves up a comfortable ride with either the 17-inch or 18-inch wheels. Subaru loyalists will be pleased by the noticeable reduction in road and wind noise for this generation. However, while the 2015 Forester's handling is stable and composed, there are no sporting pretensions here. Rather, this crossover trades on its extra dollop of off-road capability, which comes via generous ground clearance and a driver-selectable "X Mode" that maximizes traction in the dirt.

Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2015 Subaru Forester Suv in VA is:

$93.42 per month*

Talk About The 2015 Forester

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2015 Subaru Forester 2.5i Touring (CVT) 4dr All-wheel Drive...

Welcome to Edmunds discussion dedicated to 2015 Subaru Forester leasing questions....

I'm planning for a Forester 2015 and I got an offer for it with the cost of $ 26,500 with all weather package, all weather floor mats, cargo try and rear bumper cover....


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