$8,535 - $12,513

2011 Subaru Forester Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2011 Subaru Forester was new.


Interior: 8.0

By and large, reviewers like the interior of the 2011 Subaru Forester. They especially like the roomy and comfortable backseat. However, some still find the materials quality a bit lacking.

  • "Forester's cabin feels decidedly lower quality than the premium atmosphere Subaru wants to portray. The overall ambiance is on par with class rivals. One test vehicle suffered from numerous interior squeaks and rattles."-- Consumer Guide
  • ". . . a pleasantly styled and highly functional cabin design." -- Edmunds
  • "The plastic on the dashboard and doors is hard but has a pleasant-looking texture. Even the matte gray-colored trim accents in the test Forester were plastic, though they didn't look like it." -- Associated Press
  • "Interior quality is good, if occasionally inconsistent. The materials vary: The upper dash panels have an upscale finish, but some of the plastics lining the glove compartment look grainy and cheap." -- Cars.com
  • "The interior design goes right to the top of the charts, a sporty and sophisticated double-scoop dash design centered on an integrated LCD screen. Materials and switch gear are crisp and affirmative." -- Los Angeles Times


The Forester seats five in two rows. Test drivers have few complaints about comfort, noting that even the rear seat is quite spacious even when the front seats is pushed all the way back. The Forester has two LATCH positions, which means you can install two car seats in the rear seat.

  • "Plenty of adult-size headroom and legroom. A high roof and low step-in height make for easier entry and exit than most vehicles in this class. Modest roof pillars make for good visibility to all corners." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Front seats are comfortable, roomy, and inviting. Rear leg and foot room qualify as shockingly spacious, even with front seats pushed fairly far back." -- AutoMedia.com
  • "The Forester's split-folding rear seat with optional reclining seatbacks deserves special mention here. ‘Throne’ would be a better term, as the cushion is so high that rear passengers will feel as though they're looking down on those in front. All but the longest of leg will actually be able to rest their hamstrings flush against the cushion -- a rarity in motorized conveyances without wings or bathrooms.” -- Edmunds
  • "Three adults in the back seat sit close to each other, but they have rear-seat legroom of 38 inches, which is better than what's in the Tucson. It's also enough to allow me to extend my legs comfortably in the back seat, even with front seats pushed back on their tracks." -- Associated Press

Interior Features

The Subaru Forester comes with plenty of standard features. However, some reviewers complain that it doesn't offer as many high-tech gadgets as competitors – and the ones that it does offer, such as a navigation system, don’t measure up.

The base Forester comes standard with a single-disc CD player, auxiliary audio input jack, air conditioning, cruise control, a manual height-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, a tilt-adjustable steering column, rear seat heater ducts, and a rear window wiper/washer.

To get the optional navigation system and premium stereo system, you’ll have to upgrade to the next trim, the 2.5X Limited. For 2011, the navigation system is a new unit, which may help erase reviewer’s complaints about the old system. Bluetooth is newly standard for all trims but the base 2011 model. Also, the new-for-2011 2.5X touring trim has upscale features like dual-zone climate control and a rearview camera.

  • "Clear, legible gauges and simple-to-use controls make easy work of most driving chores. The audio and climate systems are mounted high on the center dashboard stack within easy reach for driver and passenger." -- Consumer Guide
  • "For the uninitiated, the layout might take some getting used to -- the miniscule stereo buttons require 20/20 vision, and Subaru has scrapped the intuitive four o'clock cruise-control stalk for less-convenient cruise buttons on the steering wheel." -- Kicking Tires
  • "If we had one gripe with the Forester, it would be with the continuing poor quality of Subaru sound systems. The FM and the AM on our test car sounded about the same regardless of setting." -- MarketWatch


The Subaru Forester has good cargo space for its class, though a few competitors have more. The Forester provides 33.5 cubic feet with all seats in use (30.8 with the optional moonroof) and 68.3 cubic feet with the rear seats down (or 63 with the moonroof).

Both the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 provide more space, but they’re also more expensive. The RAV4 provides a maximum of 73 cubic feet, and the CR-V provides 72.9 cubic feet.

The Forester comes with plenty of small storage spaces and features for corralling your stuff. These include two cargo-area grocery bag hooks, four tie-downs, underfloor cargo-area storage, a multifunction center console, front and rear cupholders, two front bottle holders, and a lockable glove box.

  • “Cargo space of 30.8 cubic feet is more than the 22.7 cubic feet in the Tucson and the 28.9 cubic feet in the CR-V. And since the cargo floor isn't as high off the ground as it is in some other SUVs, it's relatively comfortable to load items inside." -- Associated Press
  • "The front doors have a nice elbow rest and large pockets each with a recess for 24-ounce bottles. The center console is deep, and slides forward four inches to make an armrest." -- New Car Test Drive

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