2017 Subaru Forester
- Airy interior with plenty of room for adults in both seating rows
- Impressive fuel economy for an all-wheel-drive crossover
- Optional turbocharged engine provides spirited acceleration
- Above-average off-road ability
- CVT may seem less responsive and refined than a traditional automatic
- Doesn't feel as sporty around turns as some rivals
- Cabin design and materials aren't especially noteworthy
- Maximum tow rating isn't particularly robust
2017 Subaru Forester pricingin Ashburn, VA
Which Forester does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating3.5 / 5
Like many crossovers, the 2017 Subaru Forester offers a roomy cabin and good fuel economy. But it's also an adventurer, with a powerful optional turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive, and plenty of ground clearance for off-road excursions.
Though crossovers are all the rage now, the segment was a blip on the radar until about 20 years ago when vehicles such as the Subaru Forester came onto the scene to split the difference between family sedans and high-riding SUVs. Today's Forester has ridden that wave of popularity to become one of the best-selling vehicles in Subaru's lineup, and the changes to the 2017 model illustrate why. The upgrades range from mild but noticeable exterior styling revisions to newly available safety features such as blind-spot monitoring and reverse automatic braking. Extra sound-deadening measures have been added for more refined cruising, and the new Saddle Brown leather interior on the Touring trim adds a touch of luxury in this traditionally pragmatic segment.
At heart, however, this remains the same Forester that's been with us since 2014, which is generally a good thing. Most Foresters will be equipped with Subaru's continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which improves fuel economy significantly but might take some getting used to if you're used to a traditional automatic. Of course, every Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive — a Subaru hallmark — and if the base four-cylinder engine doesn't get your heart pumping, there's an optional turbocharged engine that produces the quickest acceleration in this class. We're also fans of the airy cabin and excellent visibility afforded by the Forester's large windows, and there's plenty of space for both people and cargo. Even though the crossover segment is thick with compelling choices, the 2017 Subaru Forester can stake a legitimate claim to leadership.
2017 Subaru Forester configurations
The all-wheel-drive 2017 Subaru Forester is a five-seat small crossover SUV that offers a bit more off-road prowess than others in its class. Six trim levels are available: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Touring, 2.0XT Premium and 2.0XT Touring. The 2.5i models come with a 2.5-liter engine, while the more expensive 2.0XT models use a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine. All-wheel drive is standard on every Forester. Subaru also offers a few option packages that help bridge the gaps between certain trim levels.
Like its name implies, the base 2.5i is powered by a 2.5-liter engine (170 horsepower, 174 pound-feet) matched to your choice of a six-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Standard equipment highlights include 17-inch steel wheels, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding rear seatback, Bluetooth, a driver information display, a rearview camera, a 6.2-inch touchscreen with Subaru's Starlink technology interface, smartphone app integration and a four-speaker sound system.
Optional for the base 2.5i (with the CVT) is an Alloy Wheel package that includes 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails and automatic up/down front windows.
Those items come standard on the 2.5i Premium, which further adds rear privacy glass, a panoramic sunroof, a power driver seat, a rear armrest with cupholders, reclining rear seatbacks, automatic climate control, a larger 7-inch touchscreen, voice commands, Starlink Safety Plus telematics (emergency assistance, automatic collision notification and various remote services), and an upgraded six-speaker sound system with satellite 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 All-Weather package opens the door to the EyeSight safety package, which adds adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and intervention, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. A version of this package is available with foglights and an adjustable-height power liftgate.
The 2.5i Limited comes with the All-Weather package, the CVT, foglights and a power liftgate. It further adds automatic headlights, an upgraded driver information display and leather upholstery.
Optional for the Limited is a package that bundles navigation with an eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. The Limited's EyeSight package includes the upgraded sound system, navigation, all features from the Premium's EyeSight package, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high-beam control and reverse automatic braking (to prevent collisions while backing up).
At the top of the 2.5i line is the 2.5i Touring with 18-inch alloy wheels, the adaptive LED headlights, upgraded side mirrors with integrated turn signals, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel, driver-seat memory settings, the upgraded sound system and one-touch folding rear seatbacks. EyeSight is again optional on the Touring.
If you want more power, there's the Forester 2.0XT Premium. It has all the equipment of the 2.5i Premium plus a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (250 hp, 258 lb-ft) paired with a CVT. Other XT-specific features include 18-inch alloy wheels, larger brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, additional selectable driving modes, shift paddles, the All-Weather package and the leather-wrapped steering wheel. Note that the EyeSight package is not available on this model.
The 2.0XT Touring offers the same upgrades as the 2.5i Touring, and its EyeSight package includes the same features as with its non-turbocharged counterpart.
Auto-dimming mirrors are optional for all Foresters. All CVT-equipped Foresters can be ordered with a remote engine start feature.
The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the (turbo 2.0L flat-4 | CVT automatic | AWD).
Noise & vibration3.5
Ease of use2.0
Getting in/getting out4.0
Child safety seat accommodation2.0
Audio & navigation3.0
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
Our experts’ favorite Forester safety features:
- Incline Start Assist
- Prevents the vehicle from rolling backward on a hill for several seconds after the brake pedal is released.
- EyeSight Driver Assist Technology
- Helps prevent accidents by adding features such as lane departure warning, lane keeping assist and automatic emergency braking.
- Reverse Automatic Braking
- Helps reduce collisions by applying the brakes if a vehicle is detected crossing the Forester's path while in reverse.
Sponsored cars related to the Forester
Although the 2017 Subaru Forester doesn't represent a full redesign, Subaru has introduced a number of changes aimed at keeping this crossover fresh. For one thing, we're down a "Con" from last year thanks to the newly available blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, while the optional EyeSight safety package adds upgraded cameras for improved accuracy as well as — except on the Premium trim — reverse automatic braking and adaptive LED headlights with auto high beams. For another, all Foresters are treated to mild but noticeable exterior styling revisions, along with extra sound-deadening measures for more refined cruising. You can even specify a "Saddle Brown" leather interior on the Touring trim, a nod to the growing demand for luxury in this traditionally pragmatic segment.
At heart, however, this remains the same Forester that's been with us since 2014, which is generally a good thing. Most Foresters will be equipped with Subaru's CVT, which improves fuel economy significantly but might take some getting used to if you're coming from a traditional automatic. Of course, every Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive — a Subaru hallmark — and if the base four-cylinder engine doesn't get your heart pumping, there's an optional turbocharged engine that produces the quickest acceleration in this class. We're also fans of the airy cabin and excellent visibility afforded by the Forester's large windows, and there's plenty of space for both people and cargo.
If you're shopping for a small crossover SUV, the question isn't what's wrong with the 2017 Forester, because the answer is "not much." Rather, it's a question of priorities. The Honda CR-V is exceptionally well-rounded and always a perennial favorite with consumers. It's a similar story with the Toyota RAV4, though its fuel economy isn't quite as good. If you want a sportier driving experience, the Mazda CX-5 remains our top pick, while the new 2017 Kia Sportage delivers distinctive style, good value and a comparable two-engine lineup. But with its various upgrades this year, the 2017 Subaru Forester can stake a legitimate claim to leadership, even with such distinguished rivals to consider.
Performance and MPG
All 2017 Subaru Foresters come standard with all-wheel drive. The 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Touring 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 2017 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 28 mpg combined (26 city/32 highway), slightly improved for 2017 and laudable numbers indeed for an all-wheel-drive crossover. The manual transmission is a bit less fuel-efficient. 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.
Stronger 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, which is exceptionally quick for this type of vehicle. The 2.0XT also looks good on the fuel economy front at an EPA-estimated 25 mpg combined (23 city/27 highway), but 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.
Antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and a rearview camera are standard on all 2017 Subaru Foresters. An upgraded traction control system (X-Mode) with hill descent control is standard on all CVT-equipped models for 2017. Additionally, the 2017 2.0XT Touring with EyeSight inherits an advanced active torque-vectoring system from the high-performance Subaru WRX and WRX STI, promising more neutral and accurate handling in corners.
The Starlink Safety and Security telematics system, which is standard for most Foresters, includes emergency assistance, automatic collision notification and various remote services (door unlocking, vehicle location services, stolen vehicle recovery and alarm notification).
The EyeSight safety package is offered on all but the base Forester, but it comes in a couple different permutations. When added to the 2.5i Premium model, its safety items include a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning and intervention, forward collision warning and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking. When added to the 2.5i Limited or 2.0XT Touring, it also includes reverse automatic braking (to prevent collisions while backing up).
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 made this same stop in 126 feet, which is a little longer than average.
The 2017 Subaru Forester isn't all-new, but it is freshly tweaked to remain attractive in an increasingly crowded marketplace for compact crossover SUVs. And a few of those changes may just be significant to sway your purchase choice.
First among the tweaks is the newly available blind-spot monitoring system that was notably absent from the option sheet last year. Beyond looking out at the blind spots, the system also includes rear cross-traffic alert. The optional EyeSight safety package fortifies all that with an improved camera and adds reverse automatic braking and adaptive LED headlights (with automatic high beams). Of course, all this can vary by trim level, so use Edmunds.com's purchasing tools to optimize the Forester for your needs.
Although this is fundamentally the same Forester that was introduced for 2014, the styling has been refined for 2017. The nose has been redesigned with a new bumper cover framing a new hexagonal grille, and the headlights now feature a black inner bezel and distinctive C-shaped illuminated element. And the wheels are new too.
The interior itself is now muffled by additional sound-deadening material, and there's a Saddle Brown leather interior option on the Touring model. Even in this most utilitarian of market segments, buyers demand the option of some indulgent luxury. Your dogs will love Saddle Brown leather, right?
Always a solid performer supported by Subaru's reputation for long-lasting quality, the Forester can be tailored to practically any taste. As is true with most of Subaru's lineup (the BRZ sports coupe is the only exception), it's available only with all-wheel drive, but there are two engine choices. The base engine is a 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter flat-four with horizontally opposed cylinders — just like in an old VW Bug or new Porsche Boxster. Amazingly Subaru still offers this engine with a six-speed manual transmission, but most Foresters will be equipped continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
2017 Subaru Forester Overview
The 2017 Subaru Forester is offered in the following submodels: Forester SUV. Available styles include 2.5i PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5i Limited PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5i Premium PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5i Touring PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5i PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6M), 2.5i Premium PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6M), 2.0XT Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo CVT), and 2.0XT Premium 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo CVT).
What do people think of the 2017 Subaru Forester?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2017 Subaru Forester and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2017 Forester 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2017 Forester.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 Subaru Forester and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 Forester featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
Which 2017 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) 2017 Subaru Forester for sale near. There are currently 1 new 2017 Foresters listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $33,873 and mileage as low as 0 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2017 Subaru Forester. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to $500 on a used or CPO 2017 Forester available from a dealership near you.
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Should I lease or buy a 2017 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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