The Forester, Subaru’s venerable compact SUV, was introduced at the Tokyo Motor show in the fall of 1995 as a concept vehicle, and introduced as a production crossover in the U.S. in 1998. It’s now in its fourth generation configuration; one such car was the subject of my most recent review, it being a 2015 Forester 2.5i Premium. It was painted Satin White Pearl, one of the eight colors that can be specified on the Forester. Inside was Platinum cloth (basically, off-white) upholstery with bucket seats up front and a three-person reclining 60/40 bench in the back that folded flat.
The Subaru Forester was recently selected by Consumer Reports as a 2015 “Top Ten Pick” – gleaning the compact crossover crown. It was part of the Subaru hat trick, as two other models were selected to be included in the list, as well. Motor Trend has in the past (2009 and 2014) also thrown roses at the Forester, naming it the SUV of the Year twice.
My test car was, as I mentioned, the Premium 2.5i, which is next to the most standardized model offered – there are a total of six, four of them being fancier. But as the name would indicate, it came with some premium features such as a panoramic moon roof and 17″, five-spoke alloy wheels fitted with Yokohama Geolandar G91, 225/60R17 all-season radials. Options on the 2.5i included EyeSight driver assist system and an all-weather package, which consisted of windshield wiper de-icer, heated side mirrors, and heated bucket seats up front. Base M.S.R.P. was $25,095.00 with the Lineartronic CVT transmission and the total with all options and freight was $28,441.00. Power windows and locks were on hand as well as rear privacy glass, backup camera, 6-speaker CD/audio system with HD radio and tilt/telescope steering column.
The Eyesight, which was included on my Forester loaner, is driver assist technology that acts as an extra set of eyes on the road and an extra foot on the brake. Because of EyeSight, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awards Subaru its highest (Superior) rating for frontal crash prevention. The system includes adaptive cruise control for maintaining a safe distance behind vehicles in front (four settings), lane departure/sway warning, and pre-collision braking/throttle management. EyeSight utilizes dual stereo color cameras mounted inside the car so that dirt and front-end damage cannot inhibit the system’s performance. The color-sensing capability allows EyeSight to detect brake lights for a quicker response time.
Power in the Forester was a 2.5 liter “boxer”, horizontally-opposed four cylinder engine with 170 horsepower at 5,800 rpm. Torque was 174 lb. ft. at 4,100 rpm. Smoothness, a hallmark of Subaru boxers, was evident during my test and the transmission did its job without fuss or fanfare. CVT’s effect increased fuel economy, and the ratings for my 2.5i were 24 mpg in town, 32 mpg on the highway, and 27 mpg combined. Zero to 60 mph acceleration is reportedly 9 seconds when operating the Forester.
Weight of the Forester equipped as such is 3,391 lbs., wheelbase is 103.9″, overall length is 180.9″, cargo capacity behind the back seat is 35 cubic ft (74 cubic feet with seating folded flat), and ground clearance is a nice 8.7″. It’s kind of a do-everything vehicle with good gas mileage, excellent resale, good looks, and satisfying performance.