Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester is the carmaker’s answer to a growing need for compact SUVs. This particular SUV is known for its smaller-than-average body and interior space, including cargo space.

More on the Subaru Forester
Subaru Forester Origins

Most people in the U.S. think of Ford or Chevrolet when they think of the automotive industry. The history of automakers is more diverse than that, however. Not all of the popular ones have been here since the beginning. For example, Subaru, a Japanese carmaker, has been offering vehicles in America since 1968. Although it debuted in Japan several years earlier, the Subaru 360 made quite an impact when it met the American public. With its unique body style and inexpensive price, as well as reliability, the 360 may have been called "ugly and cheap," but it remains popular with budget car buyers.

It’s no secret the American car public adores muscles cars. The Subaru 360 couldn’t stand up to those expectations, so Subaru designed and manufactured the Brat in 1977. This car offers more style, a two-seat cabin, and two additional seats in the open-air cargo space in back.

Since its introduction in the U.S., Subaru has continued to offer the public more and more exciting lines of vehicles. These cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) consistently rank high in performance tests, safety ratings, and most industry experts and Subaru fans enjoy the engineering and body design of the different lines. The Forester provides just one example of the company’s latest offerings.

About the Subaru Forester

The first generation Forester boasted a car-like driving performance and a smoother ride than most SUVs of its size or larger. Like many of Subaru’s other vehicles, this one came equipped with the brand’s famous all-wheel-drive system. The combination of these traits helped make the Forester a serious contender in its class.

Even after Subaru introduced the Forester second generation, car buyers and the automotive industry quickly came to appreciate the various benefits of the Forester design. While these SUVs are not known as the best option for off-road driving, they handle all other types of driving remarkably well. The Forester performs well in inclement weather, such as heavy rain and snow. The later generation measures a bit larger than the first and offers a more luxurious interior. Both generations offer unique styling from the rest of their class and provide comfortable, safe driving in any condition.

Subaru Forester Features

Subaru has once again chosen to offer the Forester for the 2012 model year. This year’s model offers an impressive six trim levels to choose from, and all come equipped with plenty of performance mechanics and feature options.

It’s impossible to discuss the Forester without considering what’s going on under the hood. These SUVs have Subaru’s famous all-wheel drive system, regardless of the trim level. The 2.5x trim level offers a 2.5-liter, flat-four engine capable of 170 hp. The upgraded XT trim option offers a turbocharged version of the same engine capable of 224 hp for amped-up performance. The various transmission options for the Forester usually don’t receive rave reviews, but the 2012 models come with either a five-speed manual (standard) or a four-speed automatic (available on select models).

The interior of the Subaru Forester has improved over the years of its production, and the 2012 model year offers no exception. While some of the design is a bit sloppy, overall the control panel remains easy to see and operate. The seats of the Forester are comfortable and simple to adjust for optimum comfort.

Subaru Forester Evolution

Past versions of the Subaru Forester have been offered in three distinct generations. The first one quickly became popular thanks to its unique body style, all-wheel drive, and reliable handling. This model contains a 2.5-liter, flat-four engine capable of producing 165 hp, more than respectable for this type of vehicle. The original Forester also earns praise for its comfortable seating and adequate cargo space.

In the second generation, the Forester introduced a few changes to the original design. This generation lasted from 2003 to 2008. During this time, the Forester offered the same 2.5-liter, flat-four engine as before, however the 2004 and 2005 model year Forester offers the option of a turbocharged version that provides 210 hp. This generation also marks more stability in the body structure, an improved chassis, and more standard features than before.

The third generation of the Subaru Forester has been in production since 2009. This generation is known for being larger and much roomier than the previous two generations. The Forester was first known as a tall wagon, while the current models classify as crossover SUVs. The third generation offers more in terms of features in the various trim levels, but retains the same performance and power expected from this series under the hood.

Select a Subaru Forester Year

2019 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2018 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2017 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2016 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2015 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2014 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2013 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

As a small SUV, the Subaru Forester fares well on the road and off, unlike many of the competing vehicles.

2012 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

Few changes are in order for 2012, but the 2.5X Limited and Touring, and 2.5XT Touring models get upgraded audio with touch-screen navigation.

2011 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

For the 2011 Subaru Forester, the biggest news is addition of the slightly updated 2.5-liter H-4 to all 2.5X models, which has been massaged in order to slightly improve fuel efficiency. The engine’s torque has increased slightly to 174 pound-feet, although horsepower remains the same at 170. The 2011 models also get a new audio system and backup camera setup depending on trim level, in addition to an optional, removable, 4.3-inch Tom Tom navigation system.

2010 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2009 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2008 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The Subaru Forester is starting to show a bit of age at this point, but it is still a practical vehicle for the cost savvy consumer.

2007 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2007 Subaru Forester is easily one of the top choices in the compact SUV class.

2006 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The Subaru Forester is a true trend-setter in the world of crossover sport utility vehicles (SUVs), bursting onto the road years before other manufacturers started turning out its own versions.

2005 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

Subaru introduced the Forester in 1998 as a compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) with all-wheel drive (AWD).

2004 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

First released in 1997, the Subaru Forester marks one of the safest sport utility vehicles available.

2003 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

Built in Japan, the 2003 Subaru Forester is updated and improved with a larger, more pronounced grill, contoured multi-reflector halogen headlights, and a contoured bumper cover with integral multi-reflector fog lights.

2002 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2002 Subaru Forester offers consumers a down-to-earth mini-SUV for those who need the flexibility of a small wagon along with the grip of all-wheel drive.

2001 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2001 Subaru Forester classifies as a compact SUV that sits on a car-based chassis.

2000 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

1999 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

1998 Subaru Forester

SUV, Utility/Offroad

First introduced in 1997, the Subaru Forester is a min-SUV that rides like a car.

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