Our review score: 8.6 / 10
The 2015 Subaru Forester can be anything you want it to be – it’s spacious, efficient, safe and affordable. It’s also a blast to drive – particularly when equipped with all-wheel drive.
The new Subaru Forester doesn’t offer too many changes this year, but it’s still the spacious, efficient, safe and affordable compact crossover we fell in love with years ago. The changes for this year include the addition of a standard rearview camera across all models and larger 18-inch wheels on the 2.5i Touring trim. Its touchscreen is still a bit finicky and the base engine is somewhat rough around the edges, but none of these can detract from the overall experience, especially when all-wheel drive is in the picture.
Here’s why the Subaru Forester will make you a very happy car buyer:
Enough Room for Everyone
The new Forester isn’t that much bigger than the previous-generation version, but it does compare well to the competition. It’s 180.9 inches long and rides on a 103.9-inch wheelbase. The cargo area is 34.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats (without the sunroof) and 74.7 cubic feet when the second row is folded down.
We especially like the fact that Subaru has repositioned the seats to improve both visibility and support. The dash is now located almost five inches further away from the front seats, which themselves offer a slightly elevated position and more elbow room. They are more adjustable too, so you can make your driving position whatever you want it to be.
Subaru has shifted the second row to add one inch of space between the front and rear seats. Because of this adjustment, it’s now much easier to access the rear seats, which in turn has made them more enjoyable to occupy. Additionally, all models except the base one come with three-position recline for the 60/50-split rear seatbacks.
All-Wheel Drive and More
One of the biggest highlights of this vehicle is the availability of all-wheel drive, which allows you to flawlessly interact with any surface. However, it’s not the only perk that the Forester has on full display.
While the 2.5-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine is a bit of a misfire due to its high noise levels and lack of power, the 2.0-litre turbocharged alternative does make up for it. It produces 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, while being connected to a Lineartronic automatic continuously variable transmission. Aside from boasting more power, the turbocharged model also comes with a stiffer body and redesigned suspension, allowing for extra body control and a more comfortable ride.
The compact’s fuel economy ratings are at 10.2 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 8.5 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway. Considering that these numbers are attached to an all-wheel-drive model, this is actually very impressive. To put things in perspective – the 2015 Ford Escape’s slightly less powerful 2.0-litre four-cylinder, equipped with front-wheel drive, is rated at 10.9 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 8 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway.
Excellent Safety Scores
The Forester also boasts superb safety scores. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded the crossover with a five-star rating for nearly every test – except for front-impact protection, for which it has received four stars. Meanwhile, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) has named the 2015 Forester its Top Safety Pick+ since it managed to grab “good” scores in every testing category. Furthermore, the Forester is the only small crossover (so far) to earn a top score in the IIHS’s small-overlap frontal test.
Quick Comparison: 2014 Subaru Forester vs. 2015 Subaru Forester
Admittedly, there aren’t too many differences between the 2015 Forester and its predecessor. The biggest change to the new Forester is the inclusion of a standard rearview camera in all models. Other changes include the addition and removal of various minor features across different trims. For instance, none of the new models feature front reading lamps. However, otherwise, there are no major differences.
For a more detailed comparison, be sure to check out this page.
While it’s easy to overlook Subaru in favour of brands like Ford or Toyota, doing so in this case would be a tremendous mistake. The Forester is an excellent vehicle in just about every aspect – and for the base price of $25,995, it’s very affordable too. If you want something special, give this one a try.