- The Subaru Forester is redesigned, but it feels like an enhancement of the previous model.
- Restyled exterior and cabin constitute the bulk of the changes.
- The powertrain remains the same, but a hybrid is coming in the near future.
2025 Subaru Forester Is Redesigned but Very Familiar; Hybrid Is Due in the Future
Redesigned but familiar
The Forester is one of Subaru's most popular models, accounting for nearly a quarter of the automaker's sales in 2023 so far. Subaru had two options for the redesign: Go bold and try to attract new buyers, or play to the Forester's strengths and give existing fans and customers more of what they want. With a lot of the nameplate's bottom line on the Forester's shoulders, Subaru decided to go the latter route; the 2025 Subaru Forester is indeed new, but it's pretty similar to the old one.
The most obvious alterations are to the 2025 Forester's exterior and interior design. The overall shape hasn't changed much (the wheelbase stays the same and the overall length grows by just 0.6 inch), but the front and rear are bold and help the Forester look less anonymous. The large trapezoidal grille that melts into the headlights evokes — to my eyes, at least — the handsome face of the Ford Explorer. At the rear, there's a new small trim piece that visually separates the roof from the fender trim and a new full-width bar connects the redesigned taillights. Blocky plastic fender flares are now standard on all Forester trims, not just the Wilderness (which isn't a part of the 2025 lineup but should return in the near future).
What's under the Forester's hood?
Subaru fans will note a familiar motor underhood: The horizontally opposed 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine that powers the current Forester returns for 2025. It makes 180 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque — a curious decrease of 2 hp and increase of 2 lb-ft compared to the 2024. All-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission (or CVT) are standard, and every trim except the entry-level base comes with paddle "shifters" with eight preset ratios to simulate the feel of a traditional automatic. Since the powertrain is essentially the same as last year, we expect the new Forester to match the outgoing model's zero-to-60 mph time of 9.3 seconds.
However, there are some upgrades that could improve the driving experience. A change in the way the body is constructed means there are additional welds to the frame. This, combined with greater use of additional structural adhesive, is said to give the 2025 Forester 10% stiffer torsional rigidity, which should translate to better handling and steering feel. Steering response is further enhanced by the Forester's new dual-pinion steering rack — a retuned version of the system in the Subaru WRX sport sedan.
So for the redesigned Forester's first year, changes are a bit mild in the powertrain department. But Subaru also says there's a hybrid in the works, and while the automaker declined to give an estimated time frame, we think the Forester hybrid will appear within the next one or two years.
How's the Forester's interior?
If you're familiar with the recently redesigned Subaru Crosstrek and Impreza, you'll get a striking sense of déjà vu here. The overall aesthetic is carried over, though everything is scaled up to fit the larger Forester. Most trims will feature an 11.6-inch touchscreen front and center with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. (Base Foresters come with dual 7-inch displays with wired Android Auto/Apple CarPlay.) Features have also been added throughout the lineup: The Forester now comes standard with dual-zone climate control, for instance, and the top-spec Touring comes with ventilated front seats. A hands-free tailgate is also available for the first time. Just like the previous Forester, the new model has plenty of room in all outboard seats for all but the tallest passengers.
The 2025 Subaru Forester isn't a significant departure from the current model, but we can't blame Subaru for playing it safe with one of its most popular models. The new upgrades are more than welcome, but it's the upcoming hybrid that has us most intrigued.