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Subaru Forester
Subaru Forester 2017 4-door SUV Trim Shown: 2017 2.5i Premium 4-door SUV AWD CVT

Hitting the sweet spot among small SUVs, the Forester delivers a spacious interior, impressive safety equipment and crashworthiness, and outstanding visibility in a right-sized, affordable package. Fuel economy is excellent at 26 mpg overall, especially given the standard AWD. The ride is supple, and handling is very secure. Engine noise is pronounced at times. Controls are straightforward and easy to use. The infotainment and connectivity systems have finally been updated with an intuitive touch screen. Midtrim Foresters bring a lot of content for the money, but it's easy to crest $30,000 with options packages. A feisty turbo comes with XT trim but compromises the value equation. The optional (and recommended) EyeSight system includes forward-collision warning.

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2014 Redesign Year
Subaru Forester 2016 Trim Shown: 2016 XT Touring

Few cars are as logical as the Subaru Forester, further reinforced by a 2014 redesign. Upright and boxy, big windows and thin pillars supply excellent driver visibility, while large doors deliver easy access. Rear seat room is spacious, and there is plenty of cargo space. Even with the standard all-wheel-drive, fuel economy from the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and continuously-variable transmission (CVT) tops the class at 26 mpg overall; a manual transmission is standard. A turbocharged XT model is available, sacrificing some fuel economy, but delivering more effortless power. Handling is nimble enough and very secure, but the Forester isn't particularly sporty to drive. Ride comfort lost some of the cushiness of earlier Foresters, but it still offers decent isolation from road bumps. Indeed, luxury isn't part of the equation for this no-nonsense car. Interior furnishings are fairly basic and the cabin can be noisy. The standard cloth front seats come up short on support, but the optional leather ones are better. The 2014-2015 Foresters have either a rather rudimentary infotainment system or a particularly confounding optional navigation system. The Starlink touchscreen system introduced for 2016 brought Subaru into modern times, with full-featured connectivity that is much easier to use. Crash-test performance is impressive and the affordable EyeSight suite of safety gear adds forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking; we recommend getting this system.

Average Retail Price Trade-in Price Reliability Verdict Owner Satisfaction View Local Inventory
2016 N/A N/A
2015 $21,050 - $27,575 $18,240 - $24,590
2014 $17,925 - $24,725 $15,215 - $21,815
2009 Redesign Year
Subaru Forester 2013 Trim Shown: 2013 Others

Subaru's popular Forester made considerable gains with its 2009 second-generation redesign. Stability control and curtain airbags finally became standard, and a much roomier rear seat comfortably fits adults. Improvements in ride comfort gave the Forester perhaps the best ride of any small SUV, and handling is nimble and secure. Road noise is quieter than in earlier Foresters, but remains notable. Cabin fittings and controls are spartan but serviceable. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder provides adequate acceleration and 22 mpg overall. Look for effortless acceleration from the turbocharged XT version, but it only gets 20 mpg on required premium fuel. Performance and economy would be better without the antiquated four-speed automatic transmission. The manual transmission returns 24 mpg with the base engine. Comfort improves on higher-end models with their telescoping steering wheel and power-adjustable leather seats.

Average Retail Price Trade-in Price Reliability Verdict Owner Satisfaction View Local Inventory
2013 $16,725 - $22,550 $13,950 - $19,600
2012 $14,300 - $18,200 $11,560 - $15,310
2011 $11,625 - $15,525 $8,970 - $12,620
2010 $9,650 - $13,275 $7,065 - $10,465
2009 $8,700 - $11,850 $6,130 - $9,100
2003 Redesign Year
Subaru Forester 2008 Trim Shown: 2008 Sport Utility

Practicality reigns with the Subaru Forester. Its boxy body supplies plenty of space, big windows for abundant visibility, and easy loading of people and cargo. Standard all-wheel-drive works well on slippery roads. Sharp steering makes the Forester agile to drive, and it rides very comfortably. Road noise grows old on long trips and the interior looks rather basic. Handling can be a bit tricky at its limits and only the turbocharged models offer stability control. Standard is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder providing good acceleration and 21-22 mpg overall. XT versions have a turbocharged four-cylinder that matches the acceleration of many V6s; expect 20 mpg on premium fuel.

Average Retail Price Trade-in Price Reliability Verdict Owner Satisfaction View Local Inventory
2008 $7,000 - $11,100 $4,495 - $8,355
2007 $6,100 - $9,125 $3,610 - $6,460
2006 $5,500 - $7,475 $3,055 - $4,905
2005 $4,875 - $7,625 $2,445 - $5,045
2004 $4,400 - $6,300 $2,045 - $3,795
2003 $4,050 - $5,000 $1,765 - $2,565
Subaru Forester 2002 Trim Shown: 2002 Sport Utility

The Forester, new for 1998, is one of the better small car-based SUVs. It is derived from the good-performing Subaru Impreza, but the Forester touts a taller and roomier cargo compartment and more ground clearance. We find the ride compliant and handling nimble. Matched to a responsive automatic transmission, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine provides good acceleration. Like all newer Subarus, it has an effective AWD system. The rear seat is a bit cramped, but the cabin has lots of storage compartments.

Average Retail Price Trade-in Price Reliability Verdict Owner Satisfaction View Local Inventory
2002 $3,750 - $4,550 $1,485 - $2,135
2001 N/A N/A
2000 N/A N/A