What is the Forester?
The Subaru Forester has been around for more than a quarter century now, riding the SUV wave early on and becoming one of the Japanese automaker's most successful models. Over five generations, the Forester has helped shape Subaru's image as much as rally-bred performance models like the original Impreza WRX STI. The Forester — especially in the new Wilderness trim introduced for 2022 — has a simple, go-anywhere personality no other small crossover SUV can truly match. It's what makes it appealing for snowy weather or unpaved roads that might challenge other crossovers. It's not the sportiest or most premium vehicle in this class, but it doesn't need to be.
Standard all-wheel drive and better-than-average ground clearance give the Forester more off-road prowess than the standard crossover. The new Wilderness trim improves off-road capabilities further with goodies like all-terrain tires and a slightly higher ground clearance, but don't expect Jeep Wrangler or Ford Bronco levels of performance. Other changes introduced for 2022 include a restyled front grille, upgraded roof rails with improved load capacity, and a bump in its tow rating to 3,000 pounds. The upgrades enhance the Forester's do-it-all nature, making it easier to install a rooftop tent or tow a larger camper. The Forester also features a comfortable, spacious cabin with loads of in-car tech and a suite of standard driver aids. But though the infotainment and navigation look impressive, they can be cumbersome to use compared to some rival systems. With the recent refresh, we don't expect any significant changes for 2023.
The Forester has plenty of rivals, with every mainstream automaker offering a small crossover SUV at this price point. While we do rate the Forester highly, some of Edmunds' other favorites include the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Rogue.