By KBB.com Editors
With volatile gas prices compelling many large SUV owners to abandon their fuel-hungry rides, small crossovers like the third-generation 2010 Subaru Forester have never looked better. An agile vehicle built to handle practically anything man or nature can put before its tires, the latest iteration has a much more contemporary-looking exterior complemented by a more spacious interior and a smoother, quieter ride. And with a respectable four-cylinder Boxer engine under the hood and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard, the Forester offers the capability of an SUV with fuel economy that won't break the bank. This segment has seen a lot of growth in the last few years, but the Forester can go places the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue can't.
If you like your SUVs to be true to the "Utility" in "Sport Utility Vehicle," while still being small enough to comfortably maneuver in a city, the Forester may be the vehicle for you. With a low starting price, standard AWD, proven reliability, more towing power than many others in its class and great visibility all around, there's certainly a lot to love.
If you want a V6 engine, room for seven or rear-seat entertainment, the 2010 Subaru Forester may not be for you. And although a manual transmission is offered on some trims, a SportShift four-speed automatic is the only transmission available with the turbocharged engine.
A simplified model range now includes Standard, Premium and Limited for the 2.5X, and Premium and Limited for the turbocharged 2.5XT. All models receive a new instrument cluster while the Limited trim's optional navigation now features Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
Driving Impressions Off-roading in the 2010 Subaru Forester showcased the vehicle's stiffer suspension, direct steering and notable ground clearance, all of which came into play when traversing rocks and ditches. Also helpful...was the Forester's standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system, capable of transferring up to 100 percent of the available power to the wheels with the best traction. Back on the pavement, we liked the added get-up-and-go provided by turbocharged models (who wouldn't?), but those with a more practical and budget-minded outlook will be just as happy buzzing around town with the normally-aspirated engine. Getting in and out of both rows of seats was a breeze thanks to wide-opening doors, and we found the all-around visibility from the driver's seat to be excellent; a boon when changing lanes, reversing, and exploring dirt roads.
Being able to see what's behind a vehicle when backing up, changing lanes, or even venturing off-road can make a big difference in how someone behaves while driving. The Forester's large back window allows the driver to see an object only 39 inches tall within 39 inches of the vehicle.
Although not as large as others we've seen, this moonroof provides pleasant light to both the front and rear passengers, bringing a bit of the outdoors inside.
The 2010 Subaru Forester features gauges that are colorful and easy to read, plus audio and climate controls configured in a logical, clear manner. A single cup holder is located next to the driver, while an additional bottle holder is situated in each door. Back in the second row, leg room is plentiful and the seats are wide and comfortable. In all trims except the 2.5X, the second-row seats recline. Cargo room in the back is a respectable 33.5 cubic feet, made all the more accessible thanks to a wide-opening rear gate door.Exterior
The latest version of the Subaru Forester is a little less wagon and a little more modern crossover. Overall, the vehicle is taller and longer than previous generations, with up to 8.9 inches of ground clearance that comes in handy when the road gets rough. Up front, a large grille and "hawk eye" headlight treatment impart a more aggressive appearance, especially when paired with the available turbocharged engine's air scoop and fog lights. The optional chrome door handles and tailpipe add a bit of fresh bling to the Forester's exterior, while the wheelwells are filled with 16-inch steel or available 17-inch alloy wheels.
The base 2010 Subaru Forester 2.5X comes equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Hill Start Assist, 16-inch steel wheels and 8.7-inches of ground clearance. Notable interior touches include a height-adjustable driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support and auto-off headlights. Opting for the XT trim will add the turbocharged engine, SportShift four-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control, 17-inch wheels (helping to bump ground clearance to 8.9 inches), premium sound, fog lights and a telescoping steering column. To help keep occupants safe and sound, both trims feature six airbags, Vehicle Dynamics Control and anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist.
Some of the 2010 Subaru Forester's most attractive options include a navigation system (Limited trims only), leather seating, power driver's seat, panoramic moonroof, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, premium sound, automatic climate control, satellite radio (choice of XM or SIRIUS), and cold-climate desirables like heated seats, heated side mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer.
Powering the base Forester X is a 170-horsepower four-cylinder Boxer engine (a "flat" engine in which the pistons lie horizontally, an advantage of which is a lower center of gravity) with a five-speed manual transmission, available only in this trim. Moving up to the Limited adds a four-speed automatic transmission, while the XT trims come with a 224-horsepower turbocharged Boxer engine. Although the base engine is practical for around town driving, those looking for a little more power without a significant drop in fuel economy will likely appreciate all that the turbocharged version has to offer – if they don't mind paying for premium gas.
170 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA Estimated City/Highway Mileage: 20/27 (manual), 20/26 (automatic)
2.5-liter Boxer-4 Turbocharged
224 horsepower@ 5200 rpm
226 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800 rpm
EPA Estimated City/Highway Mileage: 19/24
By Kidd on Sunday, September 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Premium features, very low mileage."
Cons: "Minor scratches on passenger side door."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Disabled veteran. Vehicle rarely driven. Like new. Downsizing to something smaller. Premium features - navigation system, Sirius radio, LoJack. Extended warranty."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Beanstring on Thursday, August 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 114,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great in all kinds of weather, visibility great"
Cons: "Check engine light!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"I got this car when it was 1 year old with 85,000 miles. My local dealer said it was a good buy. It had been owned by a corp., probably driven by sales personnel. Upkeep and maintenance was recorded and done on time. I like the car. But... I have 114000 miles on it now, the check engine light is on. The computer says its the catalytic converter. I've done a cleaning treatment three times and the light continues to come back on. I just replaced all 4 brakes for $684 which kills me since I want to sell it real soon. I doubt I'll get my money back. Strange that I took it to a Subaru dealer Wednesday to have the brake lines checked (on a recall) and when I got it back they told me about the brakes. I declined to have them do them and had my own guy work on them. I never had a problem till Subaru had the car. Coincidence? Probably."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Piggy on Monday, August 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Is fit most 08 wrx part"
Cons: "Too bad No Manuel transmission"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought brand new 2011 forester xt touring.i never have a single problem,only downside is the mpg.because is 4 sp.but depend how u drive.i got 300+mile full tank of gas.if u can keep up 40-50 mph u can get ave out 24-26 mpg.love to drive every time."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Bill on Wednesday, August 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Minor scrapes & nicks. Interior needs cleaning. CD player not working but radio works fine. Tires low tread but still roadworthy."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Becca on Thursday, August 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 125,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "easy to drive in country, city and all weather"
Cons: "too little leg room in back seat"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Would keep this suv forever if I hadn't had more kids and need the room. Didn't need any major maintenance for 100k miles! Awesome in the snow! Just a bit cramped in the back seat - had trouble getting a car seat to fit."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By TOP DOG on Friday, July 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "awd works great"
Cons: "oil consumption rate is excessive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I have a 2012 Forester and in a 5000 mile oil change interval there is a 4 quart oil consumption. I use a Subaru oil filter and Mobile 1 0w-20 synthetic oil that is recommended. Is this normal or did I get a lemon ?"
8 people out of 14 found this review helpful