2015 Subaru Forester Review

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy interior
  • admirable fuel economy
  • availability of a stout turbocharged engine
  • standard all-wheel drive
  • great safety scores and available advanced safety features.
  • Finicky touchscreen interface
  • base engine is raucous at higher rpm.
List Price Range
$9,211 - $21,998

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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

Vehicle overview

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.

2015 Subaru Forester models

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.

2015 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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."

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2015 Subaru Forester.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Exactly what I need
bbq4,06/24/2014
2.5i Touring PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
I keep seeing reviews of this car, saying that it is too spartan. To be honest, I only need that and nothing more. There are things that regardless of money, you simply can't find anywhere else aside from the Forester and those things are: easily the best visibility of any vehicule I've ever driven; best AWD system, best fuel economy for an AWD compact SUV, best safety rating in its class, among the most spacious compact SUV, having among the biggest panoramic sunroof. For those reasons alone, I'm extremely happy with my purchase! Honestly, I don't want to pay more for a name or for gadgets that would not make a difference if there's a snowstorm outside and that I needed to go somwhere.
Our second XT , just as good as the first! UPDATE
subewannabe,06/18/2014
2.0XT Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo CVT)
We've had this car for 8 weeks, bought to replace our 2004 XT. It's astounding how far technology and design has improved. The car is so much more comfortable than the 2004 , especially for 4 passengers. The Forester greenhouse has been preserved, which makes it one of the easiest cars to drive. The Eyesight system , with adaptive cruise control, object detection and automatic speed reduction works extremely well and very smoothly. The ride is a bit hard, not unexpected in a AWD small SUV with lots of ground clearance and sport rims and tires. The touchscreen MMI is simply awful...I cant believe Subaru fell short on this while doing so well on everything else. UPDATE: After 2 years plus of ownership, we are still very happy with this car. Great for city, road trips, hauling dogs and kayaks, kids to college. So far no mechanical or electric issues or repairs. MMI is still frustrating. UPDATE II: After 4+ years, still going strong, only one major repair issue. The passenger side front axle started making a clicking noise when turning, diagnostic of a common problem in this model but they said it was only that side and replaced it under warranty. The same problem has returned after less than 5K miles. Back to the shop. Otherwise, Eyesight system is industry's best for a reason, MMI is still awful. Passenger side electric seat would be a nice improvement. Our 2 yellow labs agree: DOG -APPROVED! Update III - 6 years and 90K miles later, still going strong ! The clicking front transaxle issue persisted, and it turned out the local dealership changed out the wrong side! They corrected this at no charge, Otherwise, no repairs, no issues. We moved into a new home in a mountain community with some steep roads and drives and our gravel driveway is 300 ' of slope. The Forester never spins a tire.
Best New Car Purchase Decision I've Ever Made
jjmdr,10/14/2014
2.5i Premium PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6M)
This is the fifth new car I have bought for my family or myself, and I am very happy with my decision. I am consistently getter better than predicted gas mileage for my daily commute. My kids love the back seat room (I have 3 so all the seats are full when the family travels). They always want to take "Daddy's Car" instead of the minivan! The features for the money paid are an excellent value (I have the 2.5i Premium with MT, which comes standard with the All Weather Package). Although I am currently leasing the car, I am very seriously considering converting to a purchase, since I don't think I'll want to give the car up when my lease is over.
2015 Subaru Forester Overview
tjpillar,02/05/2016
2.5i Premium PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
My wife and I test drove the; Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, Toyota Rav4, Nissan Rogue, and Ford Escape. In honesty the smoothness of the ride is probably tied for second with the Rogue losing to the Rav4. Does that mean its a bad ride? No! The Forester has a stiffer "sporty" suspension system but it was much better than the Escape and CR-V. The interior of the Forester is really great with materials and comfort of the seats front and rear. The outside noise isn't too bad to be honest, but I would say it could be a little quieter. There is plenty of space for all individuals. The sound system really is pretty nice especially since it wasn't upgraded or anything. The Forester has a lot of pep for a four cylinder engine with decent power to accelerate when you need and takes hills really well. When it comes to space within the Forester there is plenty for cargo and seems like tons with the back seats folded down. Whats super great is the minimal blind spots! You have such a wide back window and side windows with almost no obstruction to your vision and the side mirrors are located on the door to enhance viability of your surrounding. Subaru did a really good job on the Forester with safety (Look up the crash tests on YouTube if you don't believe me) compared to all other CUV's. Standard AWD is a great feature especially for those with crazy winters. My biggest "gripe" If we want to even call it that is the infotainment system. Talk about a pain having to put each contact from your phone in one at a time, yeesh. Most cars sync with your phone once your in the vehicle. Overall, the Subaru Forester is comfortable especially on long drives. Has great get up when its needed. Gas mileage is good! HWY from Southern California to Phoenix got me 32.9 mpg and back was 33.4 mpg (don't hear me complaining about that. Also we love how in the Forester there isn't an "ECO" button that chokes and compromises the car like the Nissan Rogue, Subaru just made a fuel efficient vehicle with decent power. If you haven't at least test drivin' it to expand your options, you should as my recommendation. Yes we're at 22k mileage with a ways to go, but hey reliability right? EVERY company has a lemon once in a while, but I have talked to a LOT of longtime Subaru owners and they have all stayed Loyal and loved their cars, so far we do too.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover16.9%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2015 Subaru Forester

Used 2015 Subaru Forester Overview

The Used 2015 Subaru Forester is offered in the following submodels: Forester SUV. Available styles include 2.5i Premium PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5i Limited PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5i PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5i Touring PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.0XT Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo CVT), 2.5i PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6M), 2.5i Premium PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6M), and 2.0XT Premium 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo CVT).

What's a good price on a Used 2015 Subaru Forester?

Price comparisons for Used 2015 Subaru Forester trim styles:

  • The Used 2015 Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium PZEV is priced between $11,995 and$19,998 with odometer readings between 41110 and138411 miles.
  • The Used 2015 Subaru Forester 2.5i PZEV is priced between $9,211 and$20,000 with odometer readings between 40815 and158373 miles.
  • The Used 2015 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited PZEV is priced between $10,800 and$21,998 with odometer readings between 37228 and155976 miles.
  • The Used 2015 Subaru Forester 2.5i Touring PZEV is priced between $11,499 and$17,645 with odometer readings between 72825 and126002 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2015 Subaru Foresters are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2015 Subaru Forester for sale near. There are currently 38 used and CPO 2015 Foresters listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $9,211 and mileage as low as 37228 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2015 Subaru Forester.

Can't find a used 2015 Subaru Foresters you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Subaru Forester for sale - 1 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $13,048.

Find a used Subaru for sale - 8 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $17,394.

Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru Forester for sale - 7 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $9,455.

Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru for sale - 10 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $8,878.

Should I lease or buy a 2015 Subaru Forester?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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