Subaru forester reviews by year

Subaru forester reviews by year DEFAULT

Subaru is consistently ranked as one of the most-loved car brands because of its versatile vehicle options and because it gives owners a unique sense of community. One of the most popular vehicles in the Subaru lineup is the Forester, one of the best SUVs you can buy in 2020 according to respected critics like Consumer Reports and U.S. News. If you want to keep your costs low, purchasing a used Forester makes the most sense. Here are some of the best Forester model years to buy used. 

The 2019 Forester is an obvious choice

2019 Subaru Forester Sport parked in front of mountains

Subaru completely redesigned the Forester for 2019, so it’s an attractive choice because of its exterior styling upgrades and tech features. This model year also marks the introduction of the new Forester Sport trim. But as U.S. News reports, 2019 Foresters are harder to find because they are the first of the new model generation. 

RELATED: More 2019 Subaru Forester Owners Are Having a Windshield Problem

The 2018 Forester is well-equipped 

Consumer Reports praised the 2018 Forester for its classic style and space-efficient design. CR also loves the 2018 Forester because of its expansive windows, which provide the best views for drivers and passengers alike. This Forester also offers ample head- and legroom, even in the rear seat. 

Standard 2018 Foresters come with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 170-horsepower. The standard engine is available with a manual transmission. For more power, you will want to look for the XT variant that features a 2.0-liter, 250-hp turbocharged four-cylinder. The 2018 Forester is also relatively fuel-efficient and gets a combined 26 mpg. The Forester’s fuel economy ratings are pretty unimpressive for a model that comes standard with all-wheel-drive.

The 2018 Forester also features a modern infotainment system with a 6.2-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth, connectivity, and HD Radio. If you go up from the base level to the Forester 2.5i Premium trim, you get more infotainment features such as a 7-inch touchscreen and voice recognition. Subaru’s EyeSight advanced safety equipment was also made available on this model, including adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist. 

RELATED: How Reliable Is the Subaru Forester?

2016 Forester is a bargain buy 

A new Subaru Forester on display at an auto show

For many modern features at a bargain price, you will want to go with the 2016 Forester. The 2016 Forester offers a high-quality cabin and many other features that the 2018 Forester does. Like the 2018 Forester, the 2016 model year also has the same potent engine options and has AWD. The 2016 Forester first introduced the standard touchscreen infotainment system along with the new safety equipment options. 

Forester recalls 

Overall, the Forester is a generally reliable vehicle based on reviews from CR and J.D. Power. The 2018 and 2016 models are exceptionally dependable. You should know that the 2018 Forester was recalled twice for potential issues related to its tires and airbags. The 2016 model was recalled for a potential problem with its airbags and concerns with its engine cooling and exterior lights. Before you buy a used Forester, make sure to address the recall issues with your auto dealer. 



Combining Subaru's outdoorsy image with the practicality of a compact crossover has made the Forester SUV a success, but its middling flat-four engine delivers tepid acceleration that tempers its desirability. The 2022 Forester benefits from a styling makeover that gives it a more trucklike appearance, but the cabin remains as comfortable and practical as ever—exceptionally airy and rife with convenient storage cubbies. Like most other Subarus, the Forester is fitted with all-wheel drive as standard. Key rivals such as the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4 offer similar traits, but both are offered with more powerful gasoline and hybrid powertrains that leave the Forester feeling underpowered by comparison. Still, for buyers who find Subaru's adventurous aura appealing, the Forester will be a satisfactory choice.

What's New for 2022?

Subaru has refreshed the Forester SUV for 2022 with blockier-looking front headlamps, a reworked grille, and new wheel designs. A Wilderness trim joins the lineup and, like the Outback Wilderness, it adds additional ground clearance and a rugged appearance package. Inside, the Forester benefits from new optional gesture controls for the climate control system and a panoramic sunroof as standard equipment on all but the base trim. The EyeSight suite of driver-assistance features gets upgraded camera sensors, which Subaru says broadens the system's field of view, expands its operating range, and introduces a new Automatic Emergency Steering system to the mix. All models now come with a torque-vectoring system, Subaru's SI-Drive driving mode selector, an electronic parking brake with auto-hold, and an auto start-stop feature for the four-cylinder engine.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

While the Limited and Touring trims are much fancier, we think the Premium model offers the best mix of value and features. The exterior upgrades—17-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, and body-color sideview mirrors—make it look less like a rental car and the interior includes luxuries such as a panoramic sunroof, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, reclining rear seatbacks, an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot, and a six-speaker sound system.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

All Forester models are powered by the same 2.5-liter flat-four-cylinder engine that makes 182 horsepower and can tow 1500 pounds. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) routes the engine's power to Subaru's trademark all-wheel-drive system. At our test track, our 2019 Forester Touring test vehicle required 8.5 seconds to reach 60 mph—not exactly thrilling performance, but it'll meet the needs of most buyers. Those looking for more oomph should check out the Honda CR-V or the turbocharged versions of the Mazda CX-5 and the Kia Sportage. For an SUV without any sporting intentions, the Forester's handling is competent. The ride is compliant and refined, the steering is accurate, and the brakes are adequately strong for emergency stops.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

With EPA fuel-economy ratings that match much of the compact-crossover segment (26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway), the Forester will likely satisfy buyers seeking efficiency. In our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, our Forester Touring test vehicle missed its highway-fuel-economy rating by 1 mpg, returning 32 mpg. However, that figure matches the result that the CR-V Touring and the Toyota RAV4 Adventure delivered. For more information about the Forester's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

The Forester's cabin is a straight-forward, frill-free affair with a good driving position and great outward visibility. Our Touring model's interior was nicely finished with caramel-colored leather on the seats, door panels, and dash; textured plastic trim layered on the rest of the cabin looked and felt of high quality, too, while glossy-black plastic on the center stack and the chromed and matte-metallic plastic trims spruced things up quite well. The back seat is plenty spacious (there is no third-row option), and even adults should find the bench seat a comfortable perch for road trips. We fit 11 of our carry-on suitcases behind the back seat and a whopping 23 with the back seats folded. That's more than either the CX-5 or the RAV4 could muster, but the CR-V maxed out at 25 carry-ons with its rear seats stowed.

Infotainment and Connectivity

All Forester models come standard with a touchscreen infotainment system using Subaru's latest Starlink interface. Base, Premium, and Sport models come standard with a 6.5-inch display, but a larger 8.0-inch unit is optional on the Sport and standard on the Limited and Touring models. Two USB ports are provided for front-seat passengers; two more are optional and reside on the back of the center console, giving rear-seat passengers a way to juice their smartphones. Navigation is optional, but for those who decide to stick with a lower model, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability are both standard and can provide turn-by-turn directions broadcast from the user's device. Onboard Wi-Fi via a 4G LTE data connection is standard on all but the base Forester.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

All models come standard with Subaru's EyeSight suite of camera-based driver-assistance features. For more information about the Forester's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard automated emergency braking
  • Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  • Standard adaptive cruise control

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

The Forester's warranty is basic, and buyers will be paying out of pocket for maintenance visits. Rivals such as the Sportage and the Hyundai Tucson—both of which offer a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty—and the RAV4—which offers two years of complimentary scheduled maintenance—provide more value here than the Subaru.

  • Limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • No complimentary scheduled maintenance



2019 Subaru Forester Touring

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback

PRICE AS TESTED: $35,270 (base price: $35,270)

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 16-valve flat-4, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 152 cu in, 2498 cc
Power: 182 hp @ 5800 rpm
Torque: 176 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

TRANSMISSION: continuously variable automatic with manual shifting mode

Suspension (F/R): 12.4-in vented disc/11.2-in vented disc
Brakes (F/R): struts/control arms
Tires: Falken Ziex ZE001 A/S, 225/55R-18 98H M+S

Wheelbase: 105.1 in
Length: 182.1 in
Width: 71.5 in
Height: 68.1 in
Passenger volume: 108 cu ft
Cargo volume: 33 cu ft
Curb weight: 3601 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 8.5 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 23.7 sec
Zero to 110 mph: 31.8 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 9.0 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 4.3 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.9 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 16.6 sec @ 86 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 127 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 168 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.83 g

Observed: 23 mpg

Combined/city/highway: 29/26/33 mpg



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Subaru Forester

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.

Should I buy a 2019 Subaru Forester? - Auto Expert John Cadogan

The Subaru Forester is a five-door subcompact hatchback known for its reliability and versatility. Whether you’re looking to navigate city streets or load up for a camping trip, the Forester is a great car for both day-to-day life and adventure.

The best news? You don’t need a brand new model in order to get a reliable Subaru Forester with the latest features – there are several “like new” used options available which boast low miles and many of the same features as the 2020 Forester for up to 36% less than original MSRP listing price.

If you’re looking to purchase a used model Subaru Forester, here are some things to know about how recent editions stack up against each other.

How much are you saving buying a used Subaru Forester vs. new?

You’ve probably heard that cars lose about 10-15% of their value the minute you drive them off the lot, but how much total value have they lost since they were new? We make it easy to compare the current listing values of Subaru Foresters vs. what they cost when new, so you’ll know how much the price has dropped from their original listing prices over the years.

Subaru Foresters: What they cost now vs. what they cost when new

A 2020 Subaru Forester has an average MSRP of $31,939. When it comes to features of the 2020, Apple CarPlay enables you to safely and effectively use your iPhone while you drive, and the auxiliary audio input makes it easy to jam tunes from your phone or another device. And no matter what you’re playing in your Forester, its steering wheel audio controls enables you to manage the sound system straight from your steering wheel. Speaking of the sound system: it’s a premium model, so whether you’re listening to songs or a podcast, the audio will come through crystal clear. Finally, the Forester has a useful back-up camera, so you can get out of parking spots with ease. For the easiest way to compare the 2020 against other models, check out CoPilot.


Factory recalls are issued when a vehicle fails to meet safety or quality standards. If you’re shopping for a used car, see if any factory recalls have been issued before buying.

2015 Subaru Forester: Used vs. New

Photo of 2015 Subaru Forester

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2015 Subaru Forester: Average Used Listing Price and Mileage

The 2015 Forester has an average price of $14,892 and an average MSRP of $26,547. And you’ll still have auxiliary audio, steering wheel audio controls, a premium sound system, and a back-up camera, just like in the 2020 model. But gone is Apple CarPlay; instead, the 2015 has a remote engine start, so you can get it revved up from a distance. The 2015 also has certified pre-owned availability.

Is buying a used 2015 Subaru Forester a good deal?

Yes: Buying a 2015 will save you about $17,000 off the 2020 MSRP. That’s a 53% discount, with decent mileage: 2015 models have an average of 77,610 on the speedometer. If you want to save money and don’t mind a little extra mileage, the 2015 Subaru Forester is the way to go. Click here to search all the used 2015 Subaru Foresters in your area.

Newer Features the 2015 Subaru Forester lacks

If you don’t mind missing out on Apple CarPlay (and want to save thousands), the Forester is right for you.

2015 vs. 2016 Models - Which is the better value?

You’ll save about $3,000 if you buy a used model, though that does come with a mileage difference of about 16,00. But if you want to save money, the 2015 is definitely worth it. If reliability is a concern, look for a certified preowned model.

2016 Subaru Forester: Used vs. New

Photo of 2016 Subaru Forester

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2016 Subaru Forester: Average Used Listing Price and Mileage

The 2016 Subaru Forester has an average price of $17,065 and an average MSRP of $27,612. The average mileage on 2016 models is about 61,858, and they have all of the same features as the 2020, aside from Apple CarPlay – though the 2016 does have a remote engine start. You’ll also find certified pre-owned availability with the 2016.

Is buying a used 2016 Subaru Forester a good deal?

The 2016 model is $14,874 (47%) off the 2020 version, which does make it a great deal overall. However, if you’re buying new, we recommend you save some money and go with the 2015, or if you’re concerned with mileage, spend just $3k more and get the 2017.

Newer features the 2016 Subaru Forester lacks:

2016 vs. 2017 Models: Which is the better value?

The 2017 is only $3,000 more, saves you about 27,000 miles, and comes with all of the features as the 2020. We would recommend the 2020, though both are a great deal.


Every vehicle has a “sweet spot” where it’s cost-to-reliability ratio is best. See how much you can save buying nearly new vs. new with CoPilot Compare, the easiest way to compare different year models of the same vehicle.

2017 Subaru Forester: Used vs. New

Photo of 2017 Subaru Forester

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2017 Subaru Forester: Average Used Listing Price and Mileage

The 2017 Forester has an average price of $27,094 and an average MSRP of $21,116. The 2017 has all the same features as the 2020, along with certified pre-owned availability.

Is buying a used 2017 Subaru Forester a good deal?

With an average of 34,338 miles, it’s a pretty good deal when you realize you’re saving $4,854 – or 15% – off the 2020. It also has the same features as the 2020 but with a lower price tag than newer models, making it a great deal.

Newer features the 2017 Subaru Forester lacks:

None: It has the same features as the 2020.

2017 vs. 2018 Models: Which is the better value?

The price difference between the two is only around $2,000, and the 2018 has about 5,000 fewer models. While they’re both a great deal, we would recommend the 2018.


Chat with our team of experts to get help during your car search process. We’ll even answer the hard questions like “What’s a good price for this car?” or “How much can I negotiate with the dealership?”

2018 Subaru Forester Used vs. New: Price and Feature Comparison

Photo of 2018 Subaru Forester

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2018 Subaru Forester: Average Used Listing Price and Mileage

The 2018 has an average price of $23,440 and an average MSRP of $27,978. 2018 models also have an average of 29,262, along with all of the features you’ll find on the new version. Additionally, 2018 Foresters have the option of certified pre-owned availability.

Is buying a used 2018 Subaru Forester a good deal?

Yes: the 2018 is about $8,500 – or 26% – more affordable than the 2020. It also has all of the same features, and is only slightly more expensive than the 2017.

Newer features the 2018 Subaru Forester lacks:

None - all of the optional features available on the 2018 model are available on the 2020 model.

2018 vs. 2019 Models: Which is the better value?

If you buy a 2019 Forester, you’re essentially buying a like-new car. If that matters to you, it’s not a bad deal to go with the 2019, but overall the 2018 is a better deal.

2019 Subaru Forester Used vs. New: Price and Feature Comparison

Photo of 2019 Subaru Forester

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Subaru Forester: Average Used Listing Price and Mileage

The 2019 Forester has an average price of $26,889 and an average MSRP of $29,767. It also has the exact same features as the 2020. 2019 models have an average of 17,480 miles and have certified pre-owned availability.

2019 vs. buying new: Which is the better value?

Buying a 2019 means that you save about $5,000, or 15%, for all of the same features as a 2020. If you’re deciding between the two, the 2019 is your best bet.

Newer features the Subaru Forester lacks:

None. All of the features available on 2020 Subaru Forester models are also available on 2019 models.

Is buying a used 2019 Subaru Forester a good deal?

While we recommend getting a 2018 at a larger discount, you can definitely find good deals on the 2019. To search all of the dealerships and listings in your area for used Subaru Foresters, try the CoPilot app.


The CoPilot app is the smartest way to buy a car. Search all listings in your area, get notified about deals, new listings, and price drops, or chat with one of our copilots for some hands-on advice.

Which year model of Subaru Forester is best to buy used vs. new?

“Should I buy a new or used car?” is an age-old question. When it comes to the Subaru Forester, buying a used 2017 model might be your best bet: You’ll get all the features of the 2020, with a 15% savings to boot. If you’re still not sure if you want to buy a new or used Subaru Forester, check out CoPilot Compare, where you can see a direct side-by-side comparison of all models.


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