In response to COVID-19, many dealers are offering at-home delivery.
and ask for details.

2019 Subaru Forester

What’s new

  • Completely redesigned for 2019
  • More powerful 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Subaru's EyeSight safety system is standard
  • Increased passenger and cargo space
  • 2.0-liter turbocharged engine has been discontinued
  • The first year of the fifth Forester generation introduced for 2019

Pros & Cons

  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • A full complement of driver assist features are standard
  • Enhanced off-road capability, thanks to better-than-average ground clearance
  • Generous cargo capacity
  • Engine is underpowered
  • Modest tow rating limits maximum utility
MSRP Range
$24,295 - $34,295
MSRP Starting at
$24,295
MSRP Range
$24,295 - $34,295
MSRP Range
$24,295 - $34,295

Compare dealer price quotes
Select your model:
Compare dealer price quotes
MSRP Range
$24,295 - $34,295
MSRP Starting at
$24,295
MSRP Range
$24,295 - $34,295
MSRP Range
$24,295 - $34,295

Compare dealer price quotes
Select your model:
Compare dealer price quotes


Which Forester does Edmunds recommend?

While the base Forester is well-equipped and affordably priced, it doesn't have features that Subaru owners might expect from such a capable small crossover. As such, we think the Sport model is the sweet spot in terms of value for the money. It comes standard with the All-Weather package, which will undoubtedly come in handy during the winter, and additional drive modes that slightly enhance the Forester's capabilities. It is also the least expensive trim available with a blind-spot monitor.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

7.8 / 10

Thanks to its high stance, standard all-wheel drive and available turbocharged power, the Forester has long been a hit with buyers who live in snowy climes or drive off the beaten path. Now Subaru fans who enjoyed the previous model, as well as just about any other consumer shopping for a small crossover SUV, will find even more to love with the redesigned 2019 Subaru Forester.

The Forester has grown marginally since last year, giving its already inviting cabin an even greater sense of space. Subaru also reworked the dashboard, giving it a new touchscreen infotainment interface and, for the first time in a Forester, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Mostly, though, owners of the previous model will find this Forester eminently familiar. The interior design is evolutionary, not revolutionary.

Safety has long been a Subaru staple, and that association is further solidified for 2019. The EyeSight suite of driving aids — which includes lane departure warning and forward collision warning — is standard on every trim, and features such as blind-spot monitoring and automatic reverse braking are available on most versions. The DriverFocus system debuts on the Touring trim; it incorporates a head-tracking feature and sounds an alert if it senses the driver isn't paying attention to the road. It also uses facial recognition software to store memory settings for up to five drivers. Simply sit down and the seat and exterior mirrors automatically adjust to your liking.

Of course, there are some other top models to consider as well, including the roomy Honda CR-V, the sporty Mazda CX-5 and the redesigned Toyota RAV4. But considering its expanded availability of advanced safety systems and tech features, along with its roomier interior and improved all-wheel-drive system, the 2019 Subaru Forester should be an ideal choice for anyone looking at small crossover SUVs.

Notably, we picked the 2019 Subaru Forester as one of Edmunds' Best Small SUVs for this year.

2019 Subaru Forester models

The 2019 Subaru Forester is a five-passenger compact crossover sold in five trims: base, Premium, Sport, Limited and Touring. Each trim is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (182 horsepower, 176 pound-feet of torque), paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and all-wheel drive.

Subaru Forester Base

The base Subaru Forester trim kicks things off with 17-inch steel wheels, automatic LED headlights, a rearview camera, automatic brake hold, automatic climate control, a driver information display, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, push-button start, selectable drive modes, a height-adjustable driver seat and 60/40-split rear seats. On the tech front, you get Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, and a four-speaker audio system with satellite radio, a CD player and Subaru's Starlink app suite.

Also standard is the EyeSight bundle of safety systems, composed of adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist and pre-collision warning with automatic braking. The only optional features on the base Forester are alloy wheels, which are bundled with roof rails.

Subaru Forester Premium

Next up is the Premium. It adds the alloy wheels and roof rails, along with a panoramic sunroof, rear spoiler, tinted windows, hill descent control, color driver information display, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power-adjustable driver's seat, rear air vents, cargo cover, Wi-Fi hotspot, six-speaker audio system and selectable traction modes (X-Mode).

Optional for the Premium is the All-Weather package, which brings a windshield wiper de-icer, heated mirrors and heated front seats. You can order it by itself, with keyless entry plus a blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert system, or with those features plus a power liftgate.

Subaru Forester Sport

The new Sport trim includes 18-inch black-painted wheels, automatic high-beam control, LED foglights, keyless entry, orange interior and exterior accents, an upgraded driver information display, steering wheel-mounted shift paddles with seven simulated gears, an additional driving mode, an additional traction setting for the X-Mode system and the All-Weather package.

A package pairs the blind-spot monitor with automatic reverse braking and an 8-inch touchscreen. This package can be ordered by itself or in conjunction with a nine-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system and the power liftgate.

Subaru Forester Limited

The Limited nixes the Sport's orange trim, LED foglights and paddle shifters, but keeps the rest of its goodies. On top of those features, it adds self-leveling and adaptive headlights, foglights, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped shifter, leather upholstery, and the 8-inch touchscreen, blind-spot monitoring and power liftgate. An optional package pairs the Harman Kardon audio system and automatic reverse braking with a navigation system.

Subaru Forester Touring

The top-trim Touring model includes all of the previously mentioned optional features, along with the LED foglights, a heated steering wheel with wheel-mounted shift paddles, driver-seat memory settings, an eight-way power passenger seat, heated rear seats with remote-folding levers, and the DriverFocus system.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our first drive of the 2019 Subaru Forester Touring (2.5L inline-4 | CVT automatic | AWD).

Scorecard

Overall7.8 / 10
Driving7.0
Comfort8.0
Interior8.5
Utility8.0
Technology8.5

Driving

7.0
Because of its gutless engine, it's hard to say the Forester is a top performer in its class. The steering, handling and braking are all top-notch, however. It also scores high for its off-road abilities as well as in-town drivability.

Acceleration

6.0
The Forester's four-cylinder and its associated CVT automatic are underwhelming in almost every scenario. It's merely acceptable around town, and freeway merging and passing maneuvers take a lot of planning. In our testing, 0-60 mph took a slow 9.3 seconds.

Braking

7.0
The brakes are easy to use, but there's a bit of extra travel before you get any real braking action. Under heavy braking, the Forester is relatively stable. At our test track, our test Forester was able to stop from 60 mph in 120 feet — an average distance in the segment.

Steering

7.0
The steering is responsive and accurate with good weight from the steering wheel. But as is the case with the steering in most vehicles in this class, it's a bit vague. As a result, you can't really tell what the tires are doing from behind the wheel. Its straight-ahead sense isn't as strong as we'd like, but it's not a deal-breaker.

Handling

7.5
While the Forester isn't sporty, it does relatively well on curvy roads. There is a fair amount of body roll, but the Forester feels planted and changes direction with speed and confidence.

Drivability

7.5
The Forester excels at in-town driving, but the throttle response at low rpm can be a bit jerky, which makes heavy traffic more annoying than it ought to be. Maneuvering into parking spaces takes very little effort.

Off-road

8.5
The Forester has 8.7 inches of ground clearance, which helps it avoid most dirt-road obstacles. Subaru's drive mode selector (X-Mode) has hill descent control and some trail selection capability. There's much more off-road prowess with the Forester than a standard all-wheel-drive crossover.

Comfort

8.0
Whether you've got a long highway journey on the weekend or a lengthy daily commute, the Forester can keep you comfortable. The ride is smooth, the seats are well-padded, and the standard automatic climate control will keep you cool (or warm) along the way.

Seat comfort

7.5
Both the front and rear seats in the Forester are comfortable for road trips. The front seats have more comfortable padding, but even the relatively stiff rear seats will suffice. The front-seat bolstering is significant enough to hold you in place around corners, and there's a useful amount of lumbar support.

Ride comfort

8.0
Ride comfort on the highway is impressively smooth. Even with the optional 18-inch wheels, most bumps and ruts are muted. The road imperfections that do make their way into the cabin feel minor, whether you're on the highway or on a pothole-ridden city street.

Noise & vibration

8.0
The Forester is relatively hushed on the highway, with no loud noises or significant rattles. There is some wind noise, and the engine buzzes a bit when you bury the throttle for a passing maneuver, but no sound persists enough to be offensive while you're cruising.

Climate control

8.0
A few simple dials control the cabin's temperature. They're easy to locate and use without taking your eyes off the road for very long. Automatic climate control is standard. Our test vehicle, a Touring trim, came with rear seat vents as well as heated front and rear seats.

Interior

8.5
The Forester's interior is very user-friendly. It's easy to get in, and once you're there, you'll find plenty of room to stretch out. The controls are simple, and visibility is expansive thanks to the tall windows and thin roof pillars.

Ease of use

8.0
A big, easy-to-read center screen puts all the basic commands at an arm's reach. Two large knobs and a few well-labeled buttons can also be used. The simple steering wheel controls don't distract from the driving experience either.

Getting in/getting out

8.5
Thanks to an ideal seat height and an elevated ride height, you can slide in and out of the Forester with no issues. The tall doors mean you don't have to duck down either. The cargo area has a low load-in height when you consider the Forester's significant ground clearance.

Driving position

8.0
The driving position is high, but that means a more commanding view of the road, like you'd expect from a traditional SUV. The driver's seat has lots of range adjustment, so that drivers of varying heights can get easily settled. The standard tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel helps, too.

Roominess

8.5
The Forester is spacious in both the front and the back, and there is plenty of space for adults in the front and outward rear positions (and just enough in the middle seat). Headroom and legroom are adequate for all but the tallest of passengers.

Visibility

8.5
It's easy to see out from the driver's seat thanks to the relatively thin roof pillars. The tall side windows enhance visibility as well. The rearview camera display is crisp.

Quality

8.0
The Forester's cabin is top-notch. Combine the crisp center display with soft-touch door panels and tight construction, and you get a very nice place to spend your time.

Utility

8.0
A spacious cargo area and lots of small-item storage help the Forester do well in this category. But rivals have it beat when it comes to towing capability and car-seat accommodation.

Small-item storage

8.0
The front center console has decent storage, with a deep center compartment and average-size cupholders. The front and rear doors both have generous water-bottle storage.

Cargo space

8.0
The Forester is only behind some competitors in cargo space by a few cubic feet. The Forester has 35.4 cubic feet of space behind the second row (the CR-V has 39 cubes) or 76 cubes with the seats folded. The high roof and cargo area layout help fit large items.

Child safety seat accommodation

6.5
The LATCH anchors are easy to spot, but they are harder to connect to because they are set a bit deep in the seat. Rear legroom is only average for the class, so larger rear-facing seats will be a tight fit.

Towing

6.0
Towing isn't the Forester's strong suit — maximum capacity is just 1,500 pounds. The Honda CR-V has the same capacity, but just about every other rival can tow more, with several competitors able to tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Technology

8.5
In-cabin technology is one of the areas where the Forester excels. The list of standard safety features is lengthy, as is the list of optional safety features. Few rivals have such easy-to-use systems or as many available driver aids.

Smartphone integration

9.0
Plugging in a device and indexing songs is quick and easy with the Forester. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. USB ports in the front and back seat help charge multiple devices at once. Apple Maps audio directions can be heard while listening to satellite radio.

Driver aids

9.5
Standard Subaru EyeSight and assorted optional driving aids are excellent. Adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, forward collision mitigation, and the DriverFocus system that watches your eyes to see if you're falling asleep at the wheel all operate very well with no false alerts in our test.

Voice control

8.0
Voice controls are natural, requiring no extra-special language or commands and they understood simple language in our testing. Radio stations, bluetooth, navigation and phone commands are all up for grabs. Apple CarPlay is also accessible through voice controls.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2019 Subaru Forester.

5 star reviews: 50%
4 star reviews: 19%
3 star reviews: 16%
2 star reviews: 8%
1 star reviews: 7%
Average user rating: 4.0 stars based on 134 total reviews

Trending topics in reviews

  • interior
  • technology
  • maintenance & parts
  • doors
  • fuel efficiency
  • appearance
  • comfort
  • value
  • handling & steering
  • reliability & manufacturing quality
  • transmission
  • dashboard
  • engine
  • safety
  • seats
  • sound system
  • visibility
  • infotainment system
  • acceleration
  • lights
  • driving experience
  • spaciousness
  • road noise
  • climate control
  • brakes
  • cup holders
  • wheels & tires
  • off-roading
  • steering wheel
  • ride quality
  • towing
  • electrical system
  • oil
  • emission system

Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars, An outstanding crossover
Stephen E.,
Sport 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I've driven the 2019 Forester for 1500 miles now in a variety of suburban and highway driving and in a variety of weather conditions and I think that I have enough experience with the vehicle to write a review. I find that the Forester has a great number of virtues: 1) the seating position and overall visibility are excellent from the driver's seat. 2) the AWD system greatly helps to maintain control of the vehicle in snowy conditions (I haven’t driven the vehicle yet on any significant stretch of dirt or gravel road.) 3) the vehicle is quiet overall with only some wind noise apparent when traveling at highway speed. 4) the infotainment system is fast and easy to use. 5) the size of the cargo space is excellent; the lift hatch is both large and fast; and the cargo floor is low and easy to access. 6) in 1500 miles I’ve gotten a combined 31mpg. 7) the vehicle is very comfortable to drive on longer trips. 8) the adaptive cruise control works very well. It maintains a lock on the vehicle ahead and controls the Forester’s speed smoothly without jerkiness or surging the engine. It will also bring the Forester to a complete halt if the vehicle ahead of it stops, and it needs only a single flick of a switch on the steering wheel to start moving again. 9) the lane departure warnings and lane keep assist are accurate and do help keep the vehicle in the proper lane while being at the same time easy enough to override to quickly make lane changes if you need to. 10) I’ve only once had the automatic pre-collision brakes activate (a car turning left in front of me did not turn when I expected it to), but once again the system recognized a potential collision and activated to prevent it. 11) the blind spot detection will not only activate when there is another vehicle in the Forester’s blind spots, but will also activate if another vehicle is rapidly approaching the Forester’s blind spots. There several downsides to the Forester: 1) the engine horsepower is adequate, but this vehicle is not a speedster. I don’t find this to be a major downside. Yes, I do find myself wishing for an extra 30 or 40 horsepower at times, but honestly the opportunities to use a more powerful engine are few. Most of my driving is on suburban streets with a speed limit of 35-45 mph, or on the highway traveling at 65-75 mph. There is little use for a bigger engine in suburban or urban conditions. On the highway once the Forester is up to speed it does just fine and will generally get 32-34mpg in highway driving. The engine noise is noticeable during hard acceleration, but is quiet during normal cruising. 2) the vehicle handles well, but is clearly not a sport car. Its true that competitors like the Mazda CX-5 (which I have test driven) handle better. However, the handling is just fine for what the vehicle is and what it is meant to do. A few other notes: 1) the LED low beam headlights have a very sharp upper vertical cutoff. Meaning that the road ahead is either illuminated very well or not at all. This can be disconcerting when driving downhill as the low beams don’t illuminate the next uphill very well. The Forester has automatic high beams that cover the vertical gap in the low beam’s illumination. In my experience, you are either driving in an area at night that is lit well enough by streetlights or other cars’ headlights so that the low beams are all you need; or you are driving in an area that has no other cars present so that the auto high beams activate and provide all the illumination that is needed. 2) I really wish there was some way to edit the screens on the upper information display. There are a number of different screens that are useful, but several of them are borderline useless (I’m especially thinking of the weather screen that only shows picture-graph current, 3 hour, and 6 hour forecast). There is only one button for cycling through all the screens and it gets tiresome pushing the button repeatedly to find the screen that I want.

5 out of 5 stars, Love everything but...auto start/stop feature
Kayak Chic,
Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

This is my second Subaru. My first was the 2012 outback premium. Moving to the 2019 Forester Touring was a huge upgrade. I like the extra headroom, moving headlights, heated steering wheel, heated backseats, and the great gas mileage. I love using the phone app to remote start the car without having to worry about being in range. You can also set the temperature inside the car or turn on the defrost. The face recognition is neat. It scans my face and moves the seat to my settings. Like others have complained, I don’t care for the auto start stop feature needing to be shut off with each start up of the car. But honestly I’m so used to doing it now it’s not that big of a deal to me. I too like someone else on here had trunk issues. It would not open with the buttons or the fob. It had to be reset. Was a quick fix at the dealer. It drives nice and is super comfortable.

5 out of 5 stars, WONDERFUL CAR
Bruce,
Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I researched 15 cars, drove 10, boiled it down to the Q5, the BMW X5, and the Forester, believe it or not. Went back and forth a lot, but I ALWAYS returned to the Subaru. I wanted a quiet and comfortable ride, easy entry, room & visibility. Hands down, the Forester won. Examples: Forester has a spare; X5 doesn't and, instead comes with run flats (I had a set and hated them), Q5 has a spare, but it requires inflation believe it or not, Forester is MUCH easier--I always hit my head on the other two, never on the Forester; driving position is much better in the Forester; visibility is not comparable--poor in the other two, GREAT in the Forester-example: rear view mirror is on the door of the Forester, but on the pillar of the other 2--makes a world of difference, and, in addition, the windows are much larger in the Forester, so much so that many riders actually notice how much better is the visibility than their cars; Forester has a ton of stg under the rear floor above the spare--neither of the others has ANY--huge difference for things like headphones, jumper cables, towels, etc.; Forester is AS quiet as either of the others, believe it or not. Rides as well, too. Forester's multi media is INFINITELY easier to use than the others--try them--will drive you nuts. Mileage is much better. Cost is 20k less. Rear seat leg room is much better in the Forester. I used a long personal checklist of items to examine in every car I drove (which included, in addition to the Q5 and X5, the Tiquan, Mazda X5, RAV 4, Ford Edge, MDX, RDX, Subaru Ascent, Porsche Macon (and I love Porsches), Infinity QX50, Sorento, CR-V, Mazda CX-9, Volvo XC 60 and BMW X3. Drove almost all, but skipped some because of lousy reliability ratings, lack of spare, etc. I did not want a large car, but drove some in case I loved them, so the smaller SUV was my goal. Liked the Tiguan a lot except for the reliability ratings. Also liked the Ascent, but too lge. I'm really comfortable with my choice, especially with all the time I spent. This is an amazing car for the money.

5 out of 5 stars, Superb upgrade of all the subtle probs on the 2017
MountainClimber,
Premium 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

They fixed the little stuff. The stuff your boss won't let you fix at work because there isn't a "value-add" despite the need for better security, comfort, convenience, or just plain fewer button presses! The windows go up after you shut the car off. There is a lock button on the lift gate. The unlocking action is customizable and so is how often the automatic headlights check for darkness. The brightness of the entertainment console can be adjusted automatically with the dash board, auto headlight sensor, and timing. The headlights come on after a few seconds of windshield wipers running. The cup holders hold normal cups. The cruise control drops to residential street norms (20 mph) and will shut off the engine when you (or the car) comes to a stop. This is way better and in a very mature, subtle manner that is pleasing to me in a way I cannot accurately describe. Nope, not a swoopy upgrade, but a very satisfying one!

Write a review

See all 134 reviews



2019 Subaru Forester videos

Honda CR-V vs. Subaru Forester ― Two Very Different Ways to Do a Crossover

Honda CR-V vs. Subaru Forester ― Two Very Different Ways to Do a Crossover

ELANA SCHERR: Ooh, what have we got here? Looks like more small SUVs. Seriously, don't any of you guys want to buy a station wagon? No? You know what? I get it, because SUVs have that up high driving position, and they carry a lot of people and cargo. They're very useful. But with so many of them out there, how are you going to pick one? We recently did a three SUV comparison of the Honda CR-V, the Toyota RAV4, and the Mazda CX-5. In the comments on that video, everybody was like, oh hey, guys, what about the Subaru Forester? Where does it fit in? So we thought we're going to take the winner of that comparison-- oops,spoiler-- and match it up with the Forester. Before we do, though, visit us at Edmunds for all your car shopping needs. The CR-V and the Forester are almost identical if you just go by the numbers-- horsepower, seating, fuel economy, price. It's all almost the same. Those specs are useful, but they don't really tell you about the personality of a car. And that matters. I mean, you're going to be using this thing almost every day for years. Don't think of it like an appliance. Think of it like a partner in crime or like a buddy. So here we are-- Honda CR-V versus Subaru Forester. Who will win? And why? The CR-V is sleeker, with a streamlined front end and a higher door line. It looks sort of like a smaller Honda Pilot. So think minivan adjacent, but not fully committed to the minivan lifestyle. It works as a family car. But it would be just as happy taking a group of adults to a wine tasting. The Subaru Forester has a totally different personality than the Honda. It's nowhere near as ruggedly oddball as it was when it was introduced in the late '90s. But it still has a bit of that raised up station wagon feel, especially from the side with that squared off nose and those big windows. Like the CR-V, it's great for family duties. But in its non-working hours, the Forester would like you to take it camping. The interior of the Forester, like the rest of it, is very user friendly. All of the controls and all the information are neatly divided up and easy to find. So whether you're looking at the steering wheel, at the gauge package in front of you, or at either of these two screens, you always know what you're going to find and where you're going to find it. I particularly like the bright, big screen here in the center stack and this clever third screen which sort of recaps all the information for you but keeps it out of your way so you can focus on driving. I was really surprised by the materials in the Forester. They're all soft touch, and there's a lot of interesting textures and cool stitching. It reflects the fun quality of the car. Honda does a good job on interiors. There's always plenty of clever storage options, a lot of room for the driver and passenger, and nice materials, especially in the CR-V. Look at this wood trim-- classy. One of the ways that the CR-V made so much room for storage is by moving the shifter up to the center stack. That's not actually something that I love. First of all, I think it's ergonomically weird. Especially if you're doing a three-point turn where you're going drive, reverse, drive, it's kind of awkward. But even worse, it takes up a lot of space that could be infotainment screen. So this is already a strange shape. And then the actual usable part is really small. I mean, it's about half of the physical screen. I don't know why they did that. And I don't like it-- B-minus. The CR-V does get some points back, though, because it's so family friendly. Check this out. If you're trying to keep an eye on whoever's in the back, got a wide-angle mirror. I can see you. Another place where the CR-V has a distinct advantage over the Forester is in cargo space. With 39.2 cubic feet compared to the Forester's 33, the CR-V just has more room for everything, which is great if three of your coworkers just had new babies. Congrats, guys. [CHEERING] The only real bummer about the Subaru is the power plant. The naturally aspirated 2.5 liter four cylinder makes 182 horsepower, which is only eight less than the CR-V, but it feels like 80. It's loud, and it's slow. Look. That's floored. Sad, Subaru. Sad. The transmission always feels like you woke it up from a nap if you ask for passing power. Oh, there you are. Did you have a good sleep? That said, if you're not looking for top speed, just cruising around town, the Subaru's quiet and comfortable. This is nice. I like the Forester's big windows. Makes the car feel smaller than it is. And the boxy shape makes it really easy to park, even if you didn't have camera technology to help you. But you do. Subaru has rally in its blood. And while I would not choose the Forester as my race entry, it does have 8.7 inches of ground clearance, hill descent, and a train selector that gives you options for mud and sand. It's not a rock crawler. But it's definitely more off-road savvy than most small SUVs. And it can get you to places like this. The Forester's tech is surprisingly good. I guess I wasn't expecting it to be, because it looked so much more analog than the Honda. But it comes with a long list of standard safety features and optional ones. And everything is easy to use. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. Subaru's EyeSight, which is its driving aid, is really good. I didn't really know what to expect from that, because I hadn't ever been in a car that had it before. But it watches your face. And it can tell if you're not paying attention, looking away. And it reminds you to keep your eyes on the road. Occasionally, I do feel a little bit scolded. But it's not aggressive about it. And you can always turn it off. Adaptive cruise control is awesome in the Forester. It feels very natural. It'll bring you to a complete stop and then all the way back up to freeway speed. It's not herky-jerky. I really like it. They did a good job. Small turbo-charged engines can really struggle in big, heavy vehicles, but not the 1.5 liter turbo-charged four cylinder in the CR-V. It's a real surprise in terms of passing power and off the line performance-- way faster than the Forester. Even with only 190 horsepower, it really delivers. And you're never in a situation where you're shaking the steering wheel and on the gas and going, come on, come on. No, you got it. It's pretty quick. One of the things that makes the CR-V such a pleasant drive experience is that even though it has a CVT transmission, it doesn't do that sad vacuum cleaner thing where it goes, [GROAN], like makes more noise and no more power. Seems like the engineers at Honda have really figured out CVTs. Everything in the CR-V is nicely balanced-- so steering, braking, throttle response, the handling. It's all predictable and enjoyable. The CR-V is not sold specifically as an off-road vehicle. But it is available with all-wheel drive, and it has enough ground clearance that you can go off pavement. There is a physical volume knob in the CR-V. And honestly, that's the best thing about the infotainment system. And really, I mean, you don't know that you would miss one of those until they take them away. So Honda did put it back. But the rest of the infotainment, the screen and everything, is pretty disappointing. It's small, and it's slow. And the native nav isn't great. Luckily Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, both standard in all but the base trim. So just plug your phone in and call it good. Adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking are all standard on everything except for the LX trim. Don't you feel safe? Don't you feel cared for? The CR-V is our top-ranked small SUV on the Edmunds website, because it's just so good at so many things. If you want a car that has safety and convenience totally covered, the CR-V is your pick. The Forester has some flaws-- that loud, slow engine mostly. But it also has a sense of adventure that the CR-V is lacking. If you want a car with a little more personality, take a look at the Forester. Let me put it to you this way-- if I was hiring one of these cars for a job, I would call the CR-V. But if I wanted to invite one over for a barbecue, that would be the Forester. Visit us at Edmunds for all your car shopping needs. If you like this video, please subscribe, and make sure you follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Both the Subaru Forester and the Honda CR-V are competent family haulers with plenty of cargo space, high-tech safety features and available AWD for mild off-road driving. What makes them different, and which is the right one for you?

Ad
Build Your Forester

Features & Specs

Premium 4dr SUV AWD features & specs
Premium 4dr SUV AWD
2.5L 4cyl CVT
MSRP$26,695
MPG 26 city / 33 hwy
SeatingSeats 5
TransmissionContinuously variable-speed automatic
Horsepower182 hp @ 5800 rpm
See all for sale
4dr SUV AWD features & specs
4dr SUV AWD
2.5L 4cyl CVT
MSRP$24,295
MPG 26 city / 33 hwy
SeatingSeats 5
TransmissionContinuously variable-speed automatic
Horsepower182 hp @ 5800 rpm
See all for sale
Touring 4dr SUV AWD features & specs
Touring 4dr SUV AWD
2.5L 4cyl CVT
MSRP$34,295
MPG 26 city / 33 hwy
SeatingSeats 5
TransmissionContinuously variable-speed automatic
Horsepower182 hp @ 5800 rpm
See all for sale
Limited 4dr SUV AWD features & specs
Limited 4dr SUV AWD
2.5L 4cyl CVT
MSRP$30,795
MPG 26 city / 33 hwy
SeatingSeats 5
TransmissionContinuously variable-speed automatic
Horsepower182 hp @ 5800 rpm
See all for sale
See all 2019 Subaru Forester features & specs

Safety

Our experts’ favorite Forester safety features:

EyeSight Driver Assist Technology
Helps prevent accidents, with 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.
DriverFocus
Sounds an alert when the head-tracking system detects that the driver is distracted.
NHTSA Overall Rating 5 out of 5 stars

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.

Frontal Barrier Crash RatingRating
Overall5 / 5
Driver5 / 5
Passenger5 / 5
Side Crash RatingRating
Overall5 / 5
Side Barrier RatingRating
Overall5 / 5
Driver5 / 5
Passenger5 / 5
Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsRating
Front Seat5 / 5
Back Seat5 / 5
RolloverRating
Rollover4 / 5
Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
Risk Of Rollover16.9%

Subaru Forester vs. the competition

Subaru Forester vs. Subaru Outback

The Forester and the Subaru Outback are similar and closely priced, so for many, the decision will come down to styling. The Forester is shaped like a traditional SUV, while the Outback is a lifted station wagon. Trim against trim, the Outback is more expensive than the Forester, but each Outback level is slightly better equipped. If the Forester's sluggish acceleration doesn't impress you, you might be swayed by the Outback's optional V6.

Compare Subaru Forester & Subaru Outback features

Subaru Forester vs. Honda CR-V

The Forester and the Honda CR-V are pretty evenly matched in terms of size and fuel efficiency. The CR-V's cargo area is slightly larger, though the Forester has more maximum cargo room if you don't opt for the sunroof. Though we haven't performance-tested the Forester yet, it probably isn't as quick as the CR-V with the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine. Don't expect the CR-V to match the Forester in terms of off-road ability.

Compare Subaru Forester & Honda CR-V features

Subaru Forester vs. Subaru Crosstrek

Like the Outback, the Subaru Crosstrek is a lifted wagon that has no problem holding its own when venturing off the beaten path. The Crosstrek is much less expensive than the Forester, but it's also much shorter and there's not as much passenger or cargo space.

Compare Subaru Forester & Subaru Crosstrek features

Related Forester Articles

2019 Subaru Forester First Look

A Modern Classic Subaru

Kurt Niebuhr by Kurt Niebuhr , Vehicle Test EditorMarch 28th, 2018

Dedicated Forester owners, of which there are many, would be to happy to see Subaru leave the crossover just as it is. But Subaru has taken steps to push the fifth-generation 2019 Subaru Forester even further into the mainstream.

Let's start with what there's more of, and that's space. Built on the new Subaru Global Platform, the Forester's wheelbase grows 1.2 inches to 105.1 inches overall. Headroom, hiproom and shoulder room have all increased as well, but most notable is the expanded rear passenger legroom, now stretched 1.4 inches compared to the previous model. Cargo gains are evident as well, and with the 60/40-split rear seatbacks lowered, the Forester now offers 76.1 cubic feet of capacity. But perhaps more impressive is the rear gate opening, which has been widened by 5.3 inches to 51.3 inches. Subaru says that's as much as 8 inches wider than some competitors' openings, and golfers won't have to tilt their bags to load in horizontally.

This new-generation Forester also packs more electronic driver's aids. All Foresters will come standard with Subaru's proprietary EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, which includes pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure and sway warning, lane keeping assist, pre-collision management and lead vehicle start alert. And Subaru has introduced DriverFocus, a first-in-class facial recognition system to combat driver fatigue and distraction. Depending on the trim level you choose, there will be either a 6.5-inch multimedia touchscreen or an 8-inch screen with the Multimedia Plus and Multimedia Navigation systems.

Five trim levels are available for the 2019 Forester — Standard, Premium, Limited, Touring and Sport. All Foresters come with all-wheel drive, but the 2019 model also receives Active Torque Vectoring, which Subaru previously introduced on its WRX and WRX STI models. Other changes include standard 17-inch steel wheels, while the Premium level upgrades to 17-inch alloy wheels, and the Sport, Limited and Touring models ride on 18-inch wheels unique to each trim. The Sport gets a black-gloss grille surround, a rear roof spoiler, and orange accents to black lower body cladding. There will also be new colors: Crimson Red Pearl, Horizon Blue Pearl and Jasper Green Metallic.

But while Subaru giveth, it also taketh away. Its venerable 2.5-liter flat-four engine soldiers on with 12 extra ponies and 2 additional pound-feet of torque, now at 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft, but the turbocharged 250-hp 2.0-liter engine found in the now-defunct 2.0XT has been dropped. This engine gave the Forester absolute performance bragging rights in the class, and we're sad to see it go. Of course, all Foresters will still transmit power through a continuously variable automatic transmission.

Subaru has not yet released pricing info, but expect the 2019 Forester to start in the low to mid-$20Ks and top out in the mid-$30Ks when it goes on sale later this year.

2019 Subaru Forester First Drive

Subaru's Redesigned Small Crossover Adds New Safety Features

Cameron Rogers by Cameron Rogers , Reviews EditorSeptember 24th, 2018

Fifty years ago, Subaru entered the American market with the pint-size 360 city car. Subaru's vehicles have grown over the years, culminating in the new Ascent three-row crossover, which is the largest car the manufacturer has ever produced. But judging by the redesigned 2019 Subaru Forester, the sweet spot might be somewhere in the middle. Based on our initial impressions of the new Forester, buyers in search of a smaller SUV that still has plenty of capability are in for a treat.

The latest Forester doesn't look much different from the outgoing model. But behind-the-scenes improvements to the ride, seating position and noise insulation, along with more interior space, should make this Forester even better suited to the demands of the segment. We drove the aptly named Forester in the thickly wooded Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Asheville, North Carolina, to track the changes and judge its on- and off-road performance.

Evolutionary Interior

Like the exterior, the Forester's cabin is evolutionary. The design of the center stack, instrument panel, steering wheel and seats will be immediately familiar to owners of the last-generation model. At first glance, the most significant change is to the central touchscreen — both the 6.5-inch and 8-inch displays are larger than their previous counterparts. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto appear for the first time on the Forester and are standard on every model.

Take a closer look, and you'll find that the numerous small tweaks make the cabin feel a bit more stylish and functional. Textured soft-touch plastics cover the dashboard and feature contrast stitching for a premium effect. Orange air vent and console surrounds and stitching help differentiate the midtier Sport model from others, while additional faux leather trim on the top Touring version makes the cabin look that much more luxurious.

The front seats are shaped well and offer a better range of adjustment than before. The previous Forester had seats that some found uncomfortably high, but drivers of all sizes will have no problem with the revised chairs. A wide pedal box and a vast amount of headroom ensure that even tall passengers have plenty of space to stretch out. The front headrests even feature an adjustable tilt feature for greater comfort.

For rear passengers, it's more of a mixed bag. The rear seat bottoms are fairly flat, and the seatbacks cannot be adjusted from their single upright position. Although there's plenty of legroom in the back, the elevated seating position means that taller rear passengers might brush their hair against the headliner. On the other hand, if you're not that tall, you'll likely enjoy the commanding outward visibility and the ample under-thigh support.

It's not the largest in the segment, but the Forester's cargo area is impressive nevertheless. Behind the rear seat is 35.4 cubic feet of room (33 cubes with the sunroof), more than most competitors but a few cubic feet shy of the Honda CR-V and the outgoing 2018 Toyota RAV4. And the sunroof-less Forester boasts the largest cargo area in the compact crossover category thanks to the 60/40-split rear seats, which fold nearly flat to expand cargo space to 76.1 cubic feet (70.9 cubes with the sunroof).

Smart Safety Tech

The 2019 Forester deepens Subaru's association with safety. Large windows and narrow pillars allow for excellent outward visibility, while migrating to the Subaru Global Platform vehicle architecture enables the new Forester to absorb more energy in the event of a crash.

While it was optional on the majority of last year's models, Subaru's EyeSight suite of active safety features comes standard on all 2019 Foresters. EyeSight driver assist features include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and mitigation, and a precollision warning system with automatic braking. A blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert is standard on Limited and Touring trims and optional on Premium and Sport models. On the Touring trim, the system will automatically apply the brakes if you're about to strike an object while reversing.

In the real world, most of these systems work well. Adaptive cruise control feels totally natural, even when the vehicle following distance is in its maximum setting. It doesn't slam on the brakes too early when the car in front slows, nor does it hammer the throttle when traffic in front begins to clear. One system we didn't love was the lane departure warning. It is very conservative and sounded a few false warnings on our test drive.

Notably, a new safety system called DriverFocus debuts on Touring models. Near-infrared cameras use facial recognition software to track the driver's head position and monitor for signs of distraction or fatigue. Audible beeps and a warning in the information display are triggered if the driver's head dips or eyes close.

On (and Off) the Road

With the exception of wind noise at higher speeds, the Forester does a great job of isolating inhabitants from auditory intrusions. We also like the composed, comfortable ride. Body roll isn't as tightly controlled as in some other crossovers, so a deliberate approach is advised when navigating mountain roads. This Subie would be a great road trip car, though, assuming the rear passengers can find comfortable seating positions.

Under the hood, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (182 horsepower, 176 pound-feet of torque) is a little more powerful than last year, but it doesn't feel much gutsier in the real world. With light to moderate throttle application, the Forester can feel quite sprightly. But the engine runs out of steam when you ask for more. Merging onto the freeway or overtaking at higher speeds will require some planning. Unfortunately, the optional turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that gave last year's model a much-needed jolt of adrenaline is no longer available.

Fuel economy for the new Forester improves slightly to 29 mpg combined (26 city/33 highway), making it one of the most fuel-efficient small crossovers.

Happily, the Forester's ability to traverse muddy terrain has returned unscathed. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive, the Subaru is more capable than other small crossovers if you get the urge to travel off-road. All but the base model come with the driver-selectable X-Mode system, which manages the engine, brakes, stability control, and other parameters to maximize traction on slippery surfaces. X-Mode is bundled with a hill descent feature that allows the Forester to crawl down hills without the driver pressing the brakes. Sport, Limited and Touring models come with an additional X-Mode setting for increased vehicle stability.

Competitive Pricing

The 2019 Subaru Forester starts at $25,270 (including destination and handling charges), or $560 more than last year's base model with the continuously variable automatic transmission. (A manual transmission is not offered on the 2019 version.) For that, you get a basic features list that includes LED headlights, the EyeSight system, a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and, of course, all-wheel drive. Next up is the Premium ($27,670), which counts alloy wheels, a sunroof, roof rails, and X-Mode among its upgrades. The Sport ($29,770) further pads on an additional setting for X-Mode, a sportier driving mode, rear USB ports and unique exterior styling elements.

The luxe Limited ($31,770) has some of the Sport's features but nixes the exterior accents. It also includes a power tailgate, leather upholstery and an 8-inch touchscreen. The range-topping Touring ($35,270) pulls out all the stops with a navigation system, upgraded audio, heated rear seats and the DriverFocus system.

From a pricing perspective, the Forester matches up nicely with other compact crossovers, and its standard all-wheel-drive system means it can be a little less expensive than competitors with optional AWD.

The Bottom Line

The 2019 Subaru Forester is an affordable, well-constructed small crossover that doubles down on safety tech and all-weather capabilities. Make sure to put it on your short list if you're in the market.

FAQ
Is the Subaru Forester a good car?
The Edmunds experts tested the 2019 Forester both on the road and at the track, giving it a 7.8 out of 10. Edmunds’ consumer reviews show that the 2019 Forester gets an average rating of 4 stars out of 5 (based on 134 reviews) You probably care about Subaru Forester fuel economy, so it's important to know that the Forester gets an EPA-estimated 29 mpg. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that carrying capacity for the Forester ranges from 33.0 to 35.4 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Subaru Forester. Learn more
What's new in the 2019 Subaru Forester?

According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2019 Subaru Forester:

  • Completely redesigned for 2019
  • More powerful 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Subaru's EyeSight safety system is standard
  • Increased passenger and cargo space
  • 2.0-liter turbocharged engine has been discontinued
  • The first year of the fifth Forester generation introduced for 2019
Learn more
Is the Subaru Forester reliable?
To determine whether the Subaru Forester is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the Forester. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the Forester's 4-star average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more
Is the 2019 Subaru Forester a good car?
There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2019 Subaru Forester is a good car. Edmunds' expert testing team reviewed the 2019 Forester and gave it a 7.8 out of 10. Our consumer reviews show that the 2019 Forester gets an average rating of 4 stars out of 5 (based on 134 reviews). Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2019 Forester is a good car for you. Learn more
How much should I pay for a 2019 Subaru Forester?

The least-expensive 2019 Subaru Forester is the 2019 Subaru Forester 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $24,295.

Other versions include:

  • Premium 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT) which starts at $26,695
  • 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT) which starts at $24,295
  • Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT) which starts at $34,295
  • Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT) which starts at $30,795
  • Sport 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT) which starts at $28,795
Learn more
What are the different models of Subaru Forester?
If you're interested in the Subaru Forester, the next question is, which Forester model is right for you? Forester variants include Premium 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), and Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT). For a full list of Forester models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

More about the 2019 Subaru Forester

Most crossovers have long since abandoned the rough-and-tumble, go-anywhere spirit that used to sell SUVs in favor of fulfilling basic transportation requirements. The 2019 Subaru Forester does both, appealing to comfort- and safety-minded buyers as well as those who crave old-school, off-road capability. As a result, the Forester truly stands out in a crowd of competent, but ultimately rather bland, compact crossovers.

The Subaru Forester has been redesigned for 2019. Changes from the previous generation are evolutionary, not revolutionary. The exterior design is very similar to last year's model, and the interior isn't vastly different either.

But the Forester's value proposition is stronger than ever. As in many Subarus, all-wheel drive is standard, and multiple available traction modes make the Forester better suited off-road than many of its rivals. The EyeSight suite of advanced safety features (adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and forward collision warning with automatic braking) is also standard across the board. The 2.5-liter engine develops a bit more power and is a touch more fuel-efficient than last year, though we'll miss the available manual transmission and the optional turbocharged four-cylinder. The 2.5-liter is serviceable, but it feels underpowered in passing maneuvers.

The 2019 Subaru Forester is sold in five trims: base, Premium, Sport, Limited and Touring. The base model is well-equipped, with LED headlights, EyeSight, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Premium adds upgraded audio, a power driver seat, a sunroof, alloy wheels, and selectable traction modes for navigating through mud and snow. The Sport adds orange exterior and interior highlights, plus LED foglights, shift paddles and an additional traction setting.

The Limited includes the Sport's non-appearance upgrades, plus leather upholstery, a larger touchscreen, blind-spot monitoring and a power liftgate. At the top of the trim structure is the Touring model, which goes all in with the luxury features. It includes all of the available features packages from lesser trims, plus a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, a power passenger seat and the DriverFocus system. This new system alerts the driver if they aren't paying attention. It also uses facial recognition software to determine who is driving and automatically adjusts the mirrors, seat and temperature controls to their preferred settings.

Subaru has always presented its products as iconoclastic vehicles for buyers who want something extraordinary (or who live where it often snows). If you decide to move forward with the 2019 Forester, Edmunds is here to make sure the buying experience is as extraordinary as your new Subaru.

2019 Subaru Forester Overview

The 2019 Subaru Forester is offered in the following submodels: Forester SUV. Available styles include Premium 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), and Sport 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT).

What do people think of the 2019 Subaru Forester?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2019 Subaru Forester and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2019 Forester 4.0 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 2019 Forester.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2019 Subaru Forester and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2019 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.

What's a good price for a New 2019 Subaru Forester?
Which 2019 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) 2019 Subaru Forester for sale near. There are currently 3 new 2019 Foresters listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $26,260 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 AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2019 Subaru Forester.

Can't find a new 2019 Subaru Foresters you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a new Subaru Forester for sale - 4 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $24,847.

Find a new Subaru for sale - 12 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $11,332.

Why trust Edmunds?

Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

Should I lease or buy a 2019 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.

Check out Subaru lease specials