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$9,864 - $14,078
$20,595 - $29,895

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy, comfortable seats
  • Composed handling
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Unresponsive automatic transmission
  • Mediocre interior build quality




Critics' Rating: 8.6
Performance: 8.3
Interior: 7.9
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
Safety: 9.0
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2012 Subaru Forester Overview

Powering the base 2012 Subaru Forester is a four-cylinder engine that is mated to a five-speed manual transmission, while a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a four-speed automatic transmission are available. With the base engine, the Forester has competent acceleration for cruising around town, reviewers said, though they were more impressed with the turbocharged engine's extra power. Some reviewers were disappointed with the automatic transmission, calling it slow to shift and outdated. The 2012 Subaru Forester gets an estimated 21/27 mpg city/highway with its base engine, which is average for the class. When equipped with the turbocharged engine, the Forester gets 19/24 mpg city/highway. Test drivers praised the Forester's controlled handling, as well as its comfortable ride. They also appreciated its maneuverability and accurate steering, and said that the standard all-wheel drive system performs well when the pavement ends.

The 2012 Forester seats five in two rows. Test drivers noted that the Forester's seats are especially comfortable, with ample head- and legroom in both rows. They also noted that it has good outward visibility and wide door openings, which make entering and exiting the Forester easy. Some reviewers criticized the interior's poor fit and finish and noted that it doesn't have a premium look and feel. The base 2012 Forester comes standard with three 12-volt power points, a CD player, an auxiliary input, a tilt-adjustable steering wheel and a rear window wiper/washer. Available features include Bluetooth, a rearview camera, a panoramic power moonroof and navigation. The Forester has legible gauges, as well as audio and climate controls that are straightforward and easy to reach, test drivers reported. With 68.3 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats down, the Subaru Forester has a great amount of cargo space for the class, though a few competitors have more.

Other SUVs to Consider

The base 2012 Chevrolet Equinox earns better fuel economy estimates than the Forester. It also has an available V6 engine that automotive writers said produces good power for highway passing and merging. Reviewers were also impressed with its spacious rear seat, which can slide to expand legroom or cargo space.

For an upscale interior and lots of standard features, consider the 2012 GMC Terrain. Test drivers said the Terrain's interior is stylish and fitted with high-quality materials. It also comes standard with a rearview camera, a touch-screen audio system and Bluetooth, which were rare for the class. Additionally, the GMC Terrain has great fuel economy for the class.

Compare the Forester, Equinox and Terrain »

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