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2015 Subaru Forester

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2015 Subaru Forester Expert Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 9.2

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

  • 9.2
  • 7.4
  • 7.2
  • 7.7
  • 9.2
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#23

out of 30

Fuel Economy

#15

out of 29

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.0 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

Several years ago the Forester made the leap from a quasi- wagon to a larger, more traditional SUV. In its latest generation the Forester keeps its tall and robust looks but adds contemporary flair. All models except the very base 2.5i have roof racks that add functional and visual appeal, and all boast an impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance that makes the Forester a favorite in snowy locales. Turbocharged XT models feature a bolder front fascia treatment and subtle rear roof spoiler, and wrap 225/55 all-season tires around 18-inch alloy wheels where the 2.5i version is shod with 225/60 rubber on either 17-inch styled-steel or alloy rims. Ample and well-laid-out windows create good outward visibility.

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
8.0
Out of 10

Based on 152 Ratings for the 2014 - 2017 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.0/10
  • Comfort
    7.8/10
    Styling
    8.0/10

One year in my 2015 Forester Touring I

By on Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great driver view, interior layout"

Cons: "AC slower to cool, radio shuts off with engine, BT"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Up Front: My first car review. Previous cars I have owned include, Jeep Wrangler (02&05), Toyota Matrix (09), Toyota Tacoma (05), I bought it new for Thirty K. The vehicle offers the best view for a driver of any car I have driven. Very, very few blind spots. Seats (leather) are comfortable and accommodate my 6'5" frame well. Seat heaters take a little bit to warm up, but are very effective in the "hi" setting. Console display is better than average and easy to quickly read. Turning and handling are much better than my old Matrix. Cabin noise is low, but noticeable at low speeds. Braking is moderately sensitive, but doesn't really start slowing down the vehicle until the pedal is over 70% depressed. It took me a little bit to get accustomed to starting my braking earlier. Acceleration is a bit slow in the 30-50mph range, but outside that range, it is not an issue. With AC running and driving 70-80mph, I averaged about 26-27mpg. City driving nets around 24-25mpg. Dual climate controls are a nice feature although the AC takes several, several minutes to reach maximum output. This wouldn't be much of an issue if I didn't live in the deep south. The Bluetooth audio system will only remember one device at a time. If you want to use another device, you must first delete the profile of the first device. Also, the radio shuts off as soon as the engine is turned off. Not a big deal, but for a top end model, it seems like it was overlooked. Sunroof is long and does not interfere with my driving when shut. The rear door automatic feature is a little tricky to operate. If you don't hold the button down for just the right amount of time, the door will not open. Its frustrating and seldom saves time. Using the FOB button is easier. I have had no mechanical issues to date. I have had 5 windshield chips from rocks which is very bad luck, an indictment of the road conditions in the Gulf-coast, or maybe a design issue. I never had this many in such a short time when I drove my Jeeps and those windshields are near vertical. Exterior (minus the windshield) has held up well. Minor scratches in the front and a few small door-dings are not noticeable from 5 feet away. Ground illumination from the side-view mirrors is a very nice feature and gives me ample lighting to see the ground around the car. Overall this is a solid vehicle for my daily commute and the occasional 6 hour trip to see the family. It is my first Subaru and I am pleased. If it holds up, I plan to keep this car for many, many years to come."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

great car with a few annoyances

By on Monday, July 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I bought this car back in August of 2015 even though it is a 2016 model. The car is great except for a few annoyances. Cons: -No automatic lift trunk button on fob or on car. Mildly annoying when loading groceries -Clock does not keep time. Always seems to lose a minute or so per few months. I have reset it 3 times within a year. -The transmission is my biggest pet peeve. There is a noticeable lag of about a second between when you shift from park into drive or from drive into reverse, ect. It does not sound like much but it is definitely an issue. I pulled into a driveway to turn around. I check to see if anyone was coming, all clear, I shift into reverse and back into the street. A car comes up behind me fast as I shift from reverse to drive and that small amount of lag before I was able to move forward made for an unsettling feeling of an impending collision. -not having automatic windows on the passenger side. It’s automatic up and down on drivers side but not passenger side. -touch screen is nice but a pain because you don’t have an actual button to press. Makes it distraction to change radio stations while driving. Really have to look at what button you are pushing rather than being able to rely on feel. - Not the greatest gas mileage. My average is btw 25-27. Not the 28-30 as advertised. -alloy rims hold in the brake dust and the rims look really dirty and won’t come clean easily. -my model doesn’t have it but the eyesight is super annoying, so glad I did not upgrade and get that feature. Pros: -AWD -very roomy, and comfortable to ride in on long trips. -HUGE sunroof. Best feature. -fold almost flat rear seats -large trunk/hatch area -looks interior and exterior -high ground clearance and large tires -nice steering wheel control buttons -Ride quality and grip in in climate weather is great due to all wheel drive"

Extended Test Drive Only

By on Sunday, June 19, 2016

I don't own this car

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
5/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I own an '07 Forester with 150K on it. Drove a '16 loaner while mine was in for headgasket repairs, two day project. A lot to like about the new one; more technology but not bewildering. Same Great sightlines. Same outstanding safety reputation. Security of all wheel drive. Sun visors now have extensions, a nice convenience. Not to like are the seats. They have shortened the thigh support making the driving position uncomfortable, and I am an average size guy..5'11" 185lbs. Road and engine noise continue to be noticeable, as in my '07. Other demerits are the same tinny radio, and less cubbies than in my '07. Neutral is the handling and acceleration. I didn't find the CVT to be obnoxious, although I do like the automatic with gears. When/if I do buy a new Subaru, I'd probably upgrade to the Outback for a little more comfort."

10 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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