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.
- 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