Compact SUV Comparison: 2019 Subaru Forester
- Roomier, with more available features
- Updated engine brings more power, improved fuel economy
- Smarter interior, cargo area design
- Pricing starts at $25,270 (including $975 destination charge) | Price yours
The Practical Choice for an Outdoor Lifestyle
Subaru has found a happy niche in the compact SUV segment. The only company where all of its SUVs come standard with all-wheel drive, and the only company that offers a flat-4 in a compact SUV, Subaru has long taken the road less traveled, and designs its SUVs to encourage you to do the same. It’s this individuality of spirit and rugged outdoor lifestyle appeal that draw people to the Subaru brand, so when the company brought out the all-new Forester for 2019, it didn’t mess much with success.
Bigger Inside, Better Packaging
The new Forester grew a touch on the outside, but the interior redesign made the cabin roomier all around. This was most apparent in the second row. And while this compact SUV is somewhat narrower than the competition, it is wider than the previous Forester, which gives the cabin an airier feel. Our tester had brown leather seats and black accents, with a design that felt upscale yet outdoorsy. The Starlink infotainment setup is easy to use, and the main screen is easy to read with a quick glance. The Forester’s cargo area is larger than in the previous model, but most notably the cargo area is extremely wide, 5.3 inches wider than in the prior Forester, making cargo storage and access very easy.
The 2019 Subaru Forester offers cool features that the Kelley Blue Book team appreciated, such as EyeSight, which controls lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and pre-collision throttle management. Another available feature, DriverFocus, can politely alert a distracted driver when the vehicle ahead has moved. It can also slow the car to a full stop if it senses that the driver has not looked ahead for three seconds. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and leather seating, heated front seats, blind-spot alert, and a power tailgate are available options.
Driving the Forester
The Subaru Forester rides on a new platform, which increased rigidity and improved handling. The engine puts out enough power, and while it’s no barn-burner, did a fine job on grades and accelerating on freeways. However, the start/stop system could use another dose of refinement. The ride proved comfortable, the Forester’s attitude easygoing. With the larger interior comes better visibility, thanks in no small part to the wider tailgate and its larger glass. And if you want to go further than the standard AWD can take you, available Dual X-Mode can get the Forester there.
Get more driving impressions in our 2019 Subaru Forester First Review
For the Value Shopper and the Outdoor Enthusiast
The 2019 Subaru Forester’s changes may be somewhat subtle, but the end result is a vehicle that offers a compelling value for those who need the confidence of standard all-wheel drive and want the ability to experience the great outdoors on a whim. As is the case with the Honda and Toyota, Subaru is also known for its reliability and strong 5-Year Cost to Own data.