I have owned 3 other new Subaru vehicles including the WRX, Outback, and the Impreza. The 2016 Forester is the only AWD in its class that can be equipped with a tow package and a manual transmission. This is one of the main reasons for purchasing. I am a die hard manual transmission guy and automotive enthusiast. I like the room, fuel economy, and overall versatility of the forester. I do not like the slow throttle response when accelerating and when releasing the accelerator between gear shifts. This is a byproduct of electronic throttle control calibration. I do not like the inability to turn off stability control. There is a mystery button on the gauge cluster left over from another model that does nothing when pressed. My main dislike is that I cant buy a new manual transmission forester with navigation. this makes no sense. I would have purchased the XT if it came with a manual transmission. The climate control in the Premium Forester has very clunky rotary dials that have course graduations making it difficult to find a comfortable setting. The handsfree phone microphone system is very bad. Everyone that I call using either my I phone or Android say that I have an echo.This is a common problem on all three of my late model Subarus. The LCD display between the tachometer and speedometer looks like it is from the 1980s. My other Subarus have color LCD screens with gear indication and cruise set points displayed as information here. Even my 2015 base model WRX has many more tech features than this higher trim level forester. Since the instrument panel for the Forester, WRX and Impreza is basically the same, I do not understand why they don't have the same features. The Dealer Service network is small for Subaru which makes some things aggravating. Also, most labor rates at Subaru shops are 20-30% higher than the GM and Ford shops. This does not make sense to me either.
I absolutely love my new Subaru Forester. I will be driving this car until I just can't drive it anymore. I've been shopping for a crossover SUV for about a month now. I bought my Forester two days ago after much hesitancy. EVERYONE in the state of Oregon drives a Subaru and I didn't want to be just another Subaru driver. Sometimes it's fun to stand out! But now that I've owned one, I totally get the hype. The car handles well, it's fun to drive and so far it has been good on gas. I've done mainly city driving and it's been between 25 - 30 mpg. There are a lot of choices in the world of crossover SUVs, and I feel as though I drove most of them. This one (for me) had the best driving experience and the best value by far. The mid-trim level (Premium) gets you a lot (heated seats, a beautiful moonroof) and I'm happy that I stepped up to it. If you're in the throes of crossover suv car selection like I was for a month, give the Forester a try. Some like it, some don't but the quality, value and driving experience are really top notch. Update: 3/31/17: The air-conditioning system leaves a bit to be desired. Even if you have it going on full blast it's not really that adequate, especially on a very hot day. The same goes for the heat. I often need to turn on my heated seats, and the heat to stay warm when it's cold out.
It would be nice if reviewers stated what kind of driver they are and what expectations they had going into this. For these purposes, I'm a fairly laid back driver. I drive about 5mph over the speed limit, under limit when conditions are poor, and just like to enjoy the ride. I'm short (5'6"). I'm not a road warrior, don't weave in and out and use my directional. In terms of expectations it's how I get from one place to another. No expectations about style or performance. I'm an advocate from a "keep it simple stupid" school. I do expect to be able to drive capably and safely on the highways, about 80% of the time. I need it to be my "go to" car for my passions , hiking and skiing. It must be competent on forest roads, logging roads, unmaintained roads, generally what I call "soft roading". It must be capable of handling deep snow, icy, slushy and cruddy roads in the depths of the winter. It must be capable of hauling all my trail maintenance tools (I volunteer with the US Forest Service). It must be capable of jamming my skis and gear into it. It must be comfortable to drive in the depth of the winter colds. That means heated seats and a good defroster. It must be able to navigate through heavy snow, which means fog lights. It must be able to drive through 8" of mud on dirt roads in the spring. It must have enough driver's visibility to peer over the heights of land on old forest roads. It must be "maximum man, minimum machine". It means being close to nature, with great visibility and terrific sun roof, all year. It means great fuel economy and lower maintenance costs. It means the longevity of 200K miles or 10 years. I came from an Audi Quattro with far too many gadgets and features. Very capable in the winter, with AWD and snow tires. Problem is, something is always breaking and each repair is costly. Problem is too low a ground clearance, too great fuel (and oil) consumption. My first and last Subaru was a 1981 GL with real 4WD, up/low. I've taken the Forester down the forest roads, used the Xmode and been quite pleased with how it handles the steeps. I love being able to put the seat up as high as I can and seeing great distances. This is very helpful not just on dirt roads, but in seeing wildlife and anticipating the terrain ahead. I'm no longer fearful of road construction portrudences. I'm quite fine with CVT. It's worked quite well under all conditions. I can't wait to get it in the snow in three months. It's a car I don't mind getting dirty. I'm an empty nester, usually hauling only myself around with my gear. Sometimes one other person. I would not consider this as a family car. I'd be looking at an Outback or something else. While I love Jeeps, I have no need for a larger engine or towing capacity or lower reliability. Didn't care for the RAV4, CR5 or other competitors for one reason or another. For me, the non negotiables were sun roof, heated seats. I don't understand the whining about the rubber mats is all about. I put dirt-laden picks, axes, saws and other tools in back. I'm always tracking gravel, dirt, mud and snow into the car. They are just fine. If you want a city car with lots of luxury, there are plenty of choices for you. Just go for the LandRover if that's your style. I could care less about passenger seat adjustments or a lighted vanity mirror. What don't Iike? Mostly small things like more storage compartments, a better stereo (I wil change that out some day), more trunk lighting (I can fix that myself) and a full size spare tire.) I'm glad it has the roof racks for hauling things like a canoe. I like the rear spoiler, but it makes putting a bike rack on the back near impossible. I love the ground clearance. I love that it's pretty narrow, which makes city driving and parking a breeze. BTW , I disabled all those beeps and light flashes when the car is locked and unlocked. No need to draw attention to myself. I've noticed that trying to stream music via bluetooth in the car results in poor audio fidelity. Connecting it by wire give much better sound. For the record, I get 34mpg on trips if I keep it at 60mph. At 70mph, the mileage gets down to 28, which is about my city driving average. I've got my snow tires and am ready to rock. Until then, I'll be on forest roads and highways.
I was asked to do an update > 20,374 miles on odometer > My original opinion, below, still stands. My wife bought this in Oct '15. She drives it 95% of the time. I have my own set of wheels. June '16, we drove this Forester on a 4,000 mile road trip, of which I drove 80% of the time. Prior to the trip, the odometer had 2,300 miles on it. Drove from Minnesota - North Dakota - Calgary, SK, CA - Jasper, AB - Lake Louise, AB - Banff, AB - Coeur d'Alene, ID - Jackson Hole, WY - Gillette, WY - Big Horns, WY - Black Hills, SD - across SD to Minnesota. I say all this to let you know I tested this in all types of terrain, from sharp mtn. curves/grades to long drawn out flat lands. My take on this vehicle: > Blue Tooth usage. Recipients of my calls complain of my voice being "tinny" & broken up. > Sky light - wind buffeting when fully opened - 2 rectangular openings in the wind deflector were way to noisy, had to put duct tape over these openings to quiet down the noise. > Looked into deflector mounted to roof. It covers too much of the opening. Sits in such a position so as to accumulate water in the 2 corners. Don?t accelerate too fast after a rain fall, else a shower you?ll get. >Skylight doesn?t shut automatically when turning off vehicle. - In it?s fully opened position, too much air hitting leading window edge, causing loud reverberation. This happened before the duct tape and after I put it on. > Rear passenger windows - no option to adj. all the way down - don't have small kids. > Driver?s window - automatic function cannot be deactivated. > Vehicle profile - can?t take cross winds well, alot of buffeting back-n-forth. Had hard southerly winds constantly as we crossed over ND/SA/AB, Canada. > Passenger air bag light - cannot shut off this indicator when no front passenger in seat. Annoying to have on. > Driver sun visor - should be able to slide on its? shaft, extending out so as to cover driver side window better from sun. My Chevy Silverado does this quite well. > Rear hatch in open position - why is there no light on the hatch door to shine down, rather than the cheap side light mounted 12" off floor on the side panel? Cargo/Luggage covers this light. This IS THE ONLY light in the rear area! This is way too dark, especially in low/unlit areas. > All door jamb faces should have a light reflector when in the open position for safety. Most vehicles don?t have this feature, duh??? > Steering/braking/fast maneuvering in a critical situation was most impressive. At 60 mph, on a 2 lane HWY, no shoulders with deep ditch both sides, all most hit a fast moving bull moose coming outta the ditch. Rear hoofs were 12? from driver's corner of the front bumper. Luckily, no on coming vehicles. > Acceleration, braking, cold winter starts, low gear usage, sound system, use of dash board amenities, engine compartment access & maintenance, etc. were all acceptable. > Steering is very "tight", response is quick. > Braking is very good > Gas cost was $300 @ 30+ mpg. average. I kept sharp records on this road trip expense.This is a 4 banging Boxer engine. > Dash area, where electric port located below center radio, the storage area is too low profiled. It should be higher to give more storage area. > Front driver/passenger windows, in full opened position, allows way too much air into faces of driver/passenger. Suspect outside rear view mirrors to be the cause of. I had to keep the windows 3/4 way up to block this irritating wind. Conclusion: I?ll keep driving my Silverado. Ya know, for the money spent on this vehicle you?d think Subaru would spend a couple extra dimes into design/manufacturing to eliminate these piddly annoyances. They spend way to much advertising money to make you think the Subaru is a feel good car, which it is to a point. Subaru, put the extra moo la boo la into common sense design.
I believe this car is for the person who is focused on having a reliable, functional, simple yet user friendly, safe SUV. If you want a car that will change and powder you, this isn't it. This a car for someone who wants some of the luxuries of what is expected in modern cars but not really super fancy. When I set out to find a new vehicle, I looked for, reliability, power, all terrain capabilities, handling, decent looks, space, economy, and comfort. All of these have been met and surpassed.
The car looks well built and symmetrical. No weird chattering or shaking, no cheap plastics, no seemingly loose parts, and according to my research on engine and trans, they are bullet proof (figuratively speaking). That's to be expected from Subaru though. 5th on the best quality cars in 2015.
I was afraid that the 170hp 2.5 Boxer would not be enough for an suv but I have never been more wrong. It has ample power and moves briskly. Its not the turbo version by any means but definitely gets out of its own way and, not that I recommend it but, it has enough power and torque for spirited driving, off-roading, and hills. I've never liked a car that cant react quickly to the throttle, and the throttle response is great. I believe Having power is just as important as good breaks and handling to get out of dangerous situations and the forester has it all. I'm also a manual transmission kind of guy and I went with the CVT because of my Girlfriend and the economy. I'm blown away by the performance of this thing. Die hard, traditionalist, Manual trans folks, it ok to trust the CVT its nothing like the laggy ATX's of the past.
I have not done much off-road driving but what little I have done, I can hardly tell the difference between tarmac and gravel. This car likes to grip the road and not let go. Im newish to AWD and the level of command this car has on less-that-desirable road conditions is outstanding. Compared to something like the RAV4 this is true AWD and behaves as such.
As stated above the handling is great, you point the steering wheel and there it goes. At first I was a little turned off by the lack of steering feedback but the comfort it provides when driving down bad roads is a blessing. You don't have to fight this car, it is under your command and will do your bidding. The body roll is minimal. It has less body roll than many sports cars I have driven, coupled with the symmetrical AWD, its fun on the twisties, for an SUV that is. The braking is also very responsive and I have already had experiences with people cutting me off and it just digs in to the ground but doesn't take away your control. If you want to test a cars brakes, come to Florida during season. This car is Florida season approved, if there was such a thing.
Looks are great, much preferred over the past models Subaru has put out, but then again that's a matter of opinion. The forester doesn't brandish fake scoops or anything to augment its looks and thats how I like it. I like simple and it looks great while being simple.
The space is ample inside. I traded my crew cab chevy 3500 for this and I am happy with the space. Nowhere near a large SUV but I keep thinking its larger on the inside. Might have to name it Tardis but its not blue.
For the power and space the 2016 Forester offers is really economic. It has enough get-up-and-go but also has superb gas millage and if you find the sweet spot and hit the cruise control you can easily surpass the EPA rating.
The way I define comfort is that the car does what it needs to do when it needs to do it while making the experience a positive one. It doesn't have temperpedic seats with butt warmer and a coffee maker, but as previously stated this is not what Subaru had in mind with this car, or so I think. This does not mean its uncomfortable, I like the seats (great lumbar suport), tilt and telescopic steering wheel is really nice to get that perfect "in control" feel. The leg room is ample and the storage is great. Getting in feels like a large car, and looking out of the windshield feels like an suv. The windows are big and there is virtually no blind spot to speak off. a quick glance to the side, after looking out of the mirrors, is more than suited for merging. Batman could drive this and not worry about raising his insurance premiums due to his limited neck rotation.
Overall, I couldn't be happier with the car, Its what I wanted, something nice, comfortable, reliable, strong, with excellent off-road capability and economy that matches that of cars. Very well rounded vehicle.