Combining Subaru's outdoorsy image with the practicality of a compact crossover has made the Forester SUV a success, but it's middling flat-four engine delivers tepid acceleration that tempers its desirability. The 2022 Forester benefits from a styling makeover that gives it a more truck-like 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