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2019 Subaru Forester Review

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The Subaru Forester is a compact SUV with great driver visibility and the extremely high safety ratings that most people expect when they hear the name Subaru. Despite decent ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive, however, critics say the Forester does not have the best acceleration and handling. But you might prefer the Forester’s SUV outline compared with Subaru siblings like the Outback and Crosstrek which resemble wagons. subaru forester

2019 Subaru Forester pricing

The least expensive Forester has a manufacturer’s recommended price (MSRP) of $24,295. For the highest trim, add $10,000. Depending on where and when you shop, you may be able to pay less than MSRP. Check out an industry guide such as an industry guide Kelley Blue Book or NADAguides to find what the fair market price is in your area at the time. The MSRP’s listed below are accurate as of the date of publishing.

Trim Forester Forester Premium Forester Sport Forester Limited Forester Touring
MSRP $24,295 $26,695 $28,795 $30,795 $34,295


What’s next? Once you pick out the car you want, a car loan is usually next. Potential lenders could include Subaru financing, your bank, credit union or online lender. Car dealers can raise your APR, so be sure to apply for a loan outside of the dealership. You could also fill out an online form at LendingTree where you may be matched with up to five different loan offers from lenders based on your creditworthiness. It doesn’t hurt your credit to apply to multiple lenders any more than it does to apply to one if you do all your applications within the rate shopping period of generally 14 days — and some credit scoring methods may even allow you up to 45 days.

2019 Subaru Forester safety

The crossover earned a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and is a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The EyeSight driver assist suite, which is standard on all Foresters, includes:

  • Pre-Collision Braking. The car alerts the driver of a likely front-end collision and applies full braking force.
  • Pre-Collision Throttle Management. If the car detects an imminent collision, it will cut the throttle to reduce speed.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control. The car can adjust its speed to pace with a vehicle in front of it at your selected distance.
  • Lane Sway & Departure Warning. The car can alert you if it strays out of the lane.

Other safety technology is available or included on different trim levels.

  • Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The car can alert the driver of another vehicle in its blind spot when the turn signal is on and of oncoming or passing rear traffic when the car is in reverse.
  • Subaru Starlink ™ Safety and Security. If in an accident, the car will alert a customer care advisor who can contact the driver/passengers and call 911 if appropriate. The service can immobilize the vehicle if it is stolen, respond to an SOS alert given by the driver, help with vehicle diagnostics, provide maintenance alerts and more.
  • High Beam Assist. The car can toggle between high and low beams automatically.
  • DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System. Available and included on only the Touring trim, the car can use facial recognition technology in two ways. The first is that it can recognize signs of fatigue and driver distraction. If the driver looks away from the road for more than three seconds, the car can alert the driver and stop the car if the driver is not responsive. The second is that it can remember up to five faces and know each person’s seating, climate and infotainment preferences.

2019 Subaru Forester trim comparison

For Subaru, most trims build upon the trim level(s) before it. For example, the Forester Premium will have or improve upon all the features of the base Forester. The exception in this lineup is the Forester Sport. In order for it to be sporty, it steals some features from the highest trim level, such as paddle shifters and design accents.

Trim Forester Forester Premium Forester Sport Forester Limited Forester Touring
MSRP $24,295 $26,695 $28,795 $30,795 $34,295
Standard Features All Wheel Drive, Eyesight, Trailer Stability Control, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 6.5″ Touch Screen, Brake Assist Subaru Starlink (TM) Safety and Security, Wi-Fi Capability, Panoramic Power Slide and Tilt Moonroof Keyless Entry/Ignition, Heated Front Seats, Interior/Exterior Accents, Off Roading X-Mode, Paddle Shifters Leather-Trimmed Seats, 18″ Wheels, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, 8″ Touch Screen Leather Seating, Navigation, Design Accents, DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System, Paddle Shifters

2019 Subaru Forester competitor comparison

Subaru is not the only automaker that offers a compact SUV crossover. Here are some other highly-rated competitors.

Subaru Forester Honda CR-V Mazda CX-5 Chevrolet Equinox Volkswagen Tiguan
Base MSRP $24,295 $24,350 $24,350 $23,800 $24,295
Expert Scores 3.9 4.4 4.4 4.1 4
Standard Technology All Wheel Drive, Eyesight, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Bluetooth, 5″ Screen, Rearview Camera Blind Spot Monitoring, 7″ Touch Screen, Keyless Entry/Ignition Teen Driver System, 7″ Touch Screen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 3rd Row Seating, 6.5″ Touch Screen
Fuel Economy 29 MPG 28 MPG 28 MPG 28 MPG 25 MPG

*Chart data is for base 2019 models. Expert score averages Kelley Blue Book (KBB) and Edmunds expert ratings. Standard technology refers to features included in the lowest trim level for each model at no extra cost (not an exhaustive list). Fuel economy is combined city / highway mileage as defined by the EPA.

Subaru model comparison

If you love the Subaru brand, but you’re thinking a compact SUV may be too big or too small, check out the other models Subaru has to offer.

Model Forester Outback Ascent Impreza Crosstrek
MSRP $24,295 $26,345 $31,995 $18,595 $21,895
Expert Scores 3.9 4.1 4.1 4 3.8
Body Types Available Compact SUV Mid-Size Crossover Mid-Size Crossover Sedan and Hatchback Subcompact Crossover and Hybrid
Standard Transmission Automatic Automatic Automatic Manual Manual
Combined Fuel Economy MPG 29 MPG 28 MPG 23 MPG 27 MPG 25 MPG
Standard Features AWD, Eyesight, Trailer Stability Control, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 6.5″ Touch Screen AWD, EyeSight, 6.5″ Touch Screen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto AWD, Eyesight, Trailer Stability Control, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 6.5″ Touch Screen AWD, 6.5″ Touch Screen. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Cruise Control AWD, Bluetooth, 6.5″ Touch Screen. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto,

The bottom line on the 2019 Subaru Forester

You might like the Forester if you are looking for a compact SUV crossover with some of the best safety ratings and with AWD and active safety technology included in even the base model. You might not like it if you’re looking for standard sporty acceleration and handling.


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