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2015 Subaru Forester Review

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2015 Subaru Forester Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.4

Fully redesigned last year, the 2015 Subaru Forester boasts good fuel economy, advanced safety features, and numerous structural and chassis enhancements that help this 4th-generation model stand out. Where the Subaru Forester continues to one up rivals such as the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape in the competitive compact SUV segment is with its standard all-wheel drive, a trait that helps the Forester remain sure-footed no matter the terrain or weather. Available nicely equipped even in lower trims or in higher-end form with a turbocharged engine and leather interior, the 2015 Forester is a smart choice for a range of buyers and a winner among our 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000.

You'll Like This Car If...

For those who require all-wheel drive for slick, low-traction environments, the 2015 Subaru Forester is almost the default choice in the compact-SUV segment. It's also a good choice for those seeking an extra measure of safety, reliability and resale value in their 5-passenger SUV.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If your priorities include expressive styling, a pillow-soft ride, the most sophisticated telematics/infotainment system – or you simply need a 3-row SUV with greater towing capacity – you'll have to look beyond the Forester to one of its rivals or something larger like a Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Highlander or Honda Pilot.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 7.4
  • 7.4
  • 6.9
  • 7.4
  • 7.9
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#2

out of 6

Fuel Economy

#4

out of 6

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.1 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2015 Subaru Forester Low/wide front photo What's New for 2015

A rearview camera now comes on base 2015 Forester models, making it standard across the board. Turbocharged XT models now include the All-Weather Package, and 2.5i Premium models equipped with a manual transmission receive a standard moonroof. Navigation becomes optional instead of standard in higher trims.

Driving the Forester
2015 Subaru Forester Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions With its rigid central structure, wide track, lengthened wheelbase, and Subaru's signature Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, the new Forester SUV is a good performer on road or off. This new generation's...

... more efficient electrically-boosted power steering provides more positive feedback, while the revamped chassis does an admirable job of keeping body roll in check under hard cornering. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) on automatic models aids fuel efficiency but may take some getting used to. It also tends to make the Forester lurch from a stop, which is irritating in stop-and-go traffic. Tauter underpinnings on 2.0XT turbo models add sportiness with minimal impact on ride compliance, while the tri-mode SI-Drive feature allows one to better exploit the 80-horsepower advantage this engine has over the one in its naturally aspirated 2.5i sibling – an edge that helps trim the 2.0XT's 0-60 mph times from 9.3 to 6.3 seconds.

X-MODE WITH HILL DESCENT CONTROL
Standard on 2.5i Limited and all higher-level Forester models, Subaru's new driver-selectable X-Mode integrates and optimizes operation of the throttle, transmission, AWD, Vehicle Dynamic Control, and Hill Descent Control systems to enhance the Forester's low-speed operational capabilities on inclines and when negotiating various low-friction surfaces.

EYESIGHT DRIVER ASSIST SYSTEM
This optional system bundles advanced features such as adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and lane-departure warning (but not blind-spot monitoring, a safety feature that isn't available – at least for now – in the Forester).

2015 Subaru Forester Details
2015 Subaru Forester Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

This new-generation Forester has an expanded and well-appointed SUV cabin that is quieter and more comfortable than ever. Soft-touch surfaces lend a premium feel, and the seats offer improved support and have been repositioned to grant better visibility. Larger, wider-opening doors ease entry and exit, and legroom in the 60/40 rear bench is good, even for adults. When cargo takes precedence, the backs fold near-flat to stretch stow space from 34.4 to 74.7 cubic feet. The liftgate, which is power-activated on Limited/Touring models, simplifies loading and unloading.

Exterior
2015 Subaru Forester photo

This optional system bundles advanced features such as adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and lane-departure warning (but not blind-spot monitoring, a safety feature that isn't available – at least for now – in the Forester).

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Progressing through its model hierarchy richens the Forester's equipment mix, but even the 2.5i features a full array of power assists, air conditioning, cruise control, a multifunction steering wheel, Bluetooth, and variable wipers. New this year, the 2.5i also gets a backup camera and color multi-function display. The 2.5i Premium gains a moonroof and enhanced 6-speaker audio with HD Radio. Key gains on the 2.5i Limited include the CVT, leather, reclining rear seatbacks, automatic climate control, and a power liftgate. Moving up to the Touring trim brings electroluminescent gauges, keyless access and start, harman/kardon premium audio with satellite radio, and dual-zone climate control.

Optional Equipment

Most extras on the 2015 Forester come by climbing trims. Major options for the 2.5i and 2.5i Premium models include a CVT automatic transmission in place of the 6-speed manual, while the 2.5i Premium, like Forester models above it, can be had with voice-activated navigation and the EyeSight Driver Assist System. Also available on that tier (and standard with those above it) is an All-Weather Package with heated seats and side mirrors. Those seeking the more powerful turbocharged engine can have it in XT trims of the 2015 Forester, while accessories across the range include a trailer hitch, remote engine starter, and heavy-duty roof cargo basket.

Under the Hood
2015 Subaru Forester Engine photo

The 2015 Forester offers two 4-cylinder "boxer" engines. The majority of models use a naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) 2.5-liter that makes 170 horsepower and can be backed by a 6-speed manual transmission or the Lineartronic CVT automatic. Forester 2.0XT SUVs offer more power thanks to a turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-liter engine. Though smaller, the turbocharged 4-cylinder develops 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The sole transmission for the turbocharged engine is a High-Torque Lineartronic CVT with multi-mode SI-Drive that can emulate six or eight virtual gear ratios. Towing capacity for both models is limited to a rather light 1,500 pound. Models with the 2.5-liter engine can run on regular, 87 octane gasoline, while turbocharged Foresters require 91 octane (with 93 octane recommended).

2.5-liter horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder
170 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
174 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 mpg (manual), 24/32 mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter horizontally-opposed turbocharged 4-cylinder
250 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/28 mpg

The 2015 Subaru Forester has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at just over $23,000 for a base 2.5i model with manual transmission. Most buyers will opt for an automatic transmission, which lifts that base price to $24,000. A top-line 2.5i model arrives with a roughly $31,000 price tag, while the turbocharged 2.0XT model begins around $29,000. A top-line 2.0XT Touring model with navigation and the EyeSight system can reach about $36,000. At these prices, the Subaru Forester is comparable to compact-SUV rivals such as the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, and Chevrolet Equinox. Less-expensive alternatives include the Nissan Rogue Select – a carryover version of the former model – and the smaller Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. Starting at just over $22,000, the Mazda CX-5 is also a value player. Resale value is a strong point for Subarus in general, and the Forester in particular is predicted to hold its value better than most rivals.

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2015 Subaru Forester Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 78 Ratings for the 2014 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.1/10
  • Comfort
    7.7/10
    Styling
    8.2/10

Very Happy with My First Subaru: 2014 Forester XT

By on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Smooth, fun, fast, quiet, and capable."

Cons: "No manual offered in turbo models. No hood scoop!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Overall, the 2014 Forester XT is a great car. I've always liked Subaru's cars, and decided to take a closer look at owning one when a major automotive magazine recently named the Forester the SUV of the Year. My previous car was an awesome 4WD Xterra Off Road, but it wasn't good on gas, and had well over 100k miles. The XT doesn't have a lot of torque at the low end like I was used to, but the mid-range power is really impressive. Another reviewer said it perfectly: "it feels like you're getting sucked into a vacuum" when accelerating. Opening the engine up on a straightaway is the point when you realize what you paid for when you opted for the XT's 250 horsepower, 2.0 liter, turbocharged engine. The base engine is adequate, but takes a lot of the fun out of driving. I simply couldn't accept the base engine after driving the turbo version, but others may find it suitable enough. My last car was a torquey 6-speed manual, so I was worried about the CVT, but it's actually really nice. The paddle shifters and different driving modes also let you customize your driving experience, but I honestly don't use them nearly as much as I thought I would. The default "intelligent" driving mode helps you sip gas a little better, and if you step on it, it'll launch you ahead no matter which mode you're in. It is by far the best CVT I've ever driven after being let down by several rental cars' sluggish and loud attempts. Handling is awesome for a small SUV; it corners really well and traction starts to slip in a very predictable manner. The only mild off-road test so far was passed with no problem. The mpg ratings are fair. I've gotten 26+ mpg's on multiple tanks with mostly mixed driving back and forth to work and the grocery store, and as little as 18 when I stayed on the turbo a lot. If I don't do 90 mph, I can get 30+ on highway for sustained periods. The inside is very quiet. Like, it makes me feel a lil' sleepy sometimes when I'm driving. The interior is nice, but not extravagant. Seats are ok overall; the rear seats recline, and the driver's seat is power-adjustable, but they lack sufficient lateral support when you take a corner at high speed. There's a small screen in the dash for conveying various forms of info, and when in reverse, it displays the backup cam's signal. For me, it's the right balance of features and simplicity. I added the factory-supplied Kicker speaker upgrades all around, then installed a Kicker under-seat powered subwoofer and small amplifier for the other speakers, but kept the factory radio. Everything is hidden away so it has the same stock look, so there are no wires, boxes, etc., but it sounds amazing, even at 70 mph with the windows and sunroof down. I also added some accessories: Aero bars, trailer hitch (for bike rack), cargo nets in the side/rear, moof roof wind reflector, tinted front windows to match the rear, fog lights, pet partition (expensive but solid design), and all-weather mats. Although I sometimes wish I still had a stick-shift, I'm very satisfied with the purchase. It has turned out to be the perfect car for me/us so far. My biggest complaint is that they got rid of the hood scoop, so it's safe to say there's not much to complain about."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Very good ride!, excellent handling,

By on Sunday, July 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great price, fun to drive, easy to get in and out,"

Cons: "Cheap radio, No satelite radio option in mine"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have traded my 2012 Tdi jetta due to a glow plug issues, dealer was not able to find, even that his car was real good on gas, about 42 MPG city/Highway. I was not happy with reliability. I purchased a 2014 Outback for my wife and loved it, this was the main reason to look for a Forester. Test drove it and I was impressed how easy is to get in and out. I have a herniated disc and had surgery. So, it sits high, to my hip level. Also, you can see everything outside, very large cargo space and it is extremely easy to get things in and out. Gas wise, good for an SUV, good power, I have not test it yet in snow, but I am looking forward this winter when I go to Ontario. I do not have a lot of experience with SUVS but I really love the vehicle"

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Great car except for complex (NAV) setup.

By on Monday, July 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 370

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Ease of entry/exit, roomy, fun to drive."

Cons: "Poor visibility on rear camera screen, complex Nav"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I got the Limited because I wanted leather seats, eyesite, and the auto rear door. I wish I had got the Premium model with the eyesite (no Navigation) and bought the leather seats post market. You cannot see the tiny rear camera screen far up on the dash in the daytime because of the glare and size. I often use the rear camera screen on my Leaf which is much larger and closer. The seats could be softer, I added a cushion on trips. But other than that, it handles like a sport car. The 2.5L engine accelerates nicely and uses reg gas. This quiet car produces quality CD/Radio sound after you figure out how to set the stations. The main reason I bought this SUV instead of a sedan is the ease of entry/exit. I have trouble bending into low cars."

19 people out of 26 found this review helpful

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