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2013 Subaru Forester Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2013 Subaru Forester was new.


Interior: 7.9

The 2013 Subaru Forester’s interior is a bit of a trade-off when compared with the interiors of higher-ranking affordable compact SUVs. A few reviewers note that the Forester’s cheap interior plastics don’t quite measure up to those of rivals like the GMC Terrain and Honda CR-V. Still, if you’re willing to look beyond these inconsistencies, test drivers say you should like the Forester’s useful cargo hold and functional, user-friendly controls, as well as its spacious front and rear seats.

  • "The cabin is down-market compared to competitors like the Ford Escape, GMC Terrain and Honda CR-V, with cheaper plastics and some questionable fit and finish." -- Edmunds
  • "The Subaru Forester's colorful gauges are set into a sweeping dashboard with a logical layout. A multifunction display with fuel-economy and outside-temperature readouts is standard, as is a versatile center console with numerous cubbies and two 12-volt sockets." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2012)


The Forester seats five in two rows and test drivers say that passenger space is exceptional, even in the back seat. Cloth upholstery and a manually adjustable driver’s seat come standard on the base Forester. Leather seats, reclining rear seats and heated front seats are available on higher trims.

  • "The Forester's split-folding rear seat with optional reclining seatbacks deserves special mention here. The term ‘throne’ appropriately describes this seat, as the cushion is so high that rear passengers will feel as though they're looking down on those in front." -- Edmunds 
  • "Getting in and out of both rows of seats was a breeze thanks to wide-opening doors, and we found the all-around views from the driver's seat to be excellent - a boon when changing lanes, reversing, and exploring dirt roads." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The door openings are large, and the rear window is larger than on the previous-generation Forester." -- Cars.com
  • "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 (2012) 

Interior Features

The Subaru Forester comes standard with a four-speaker stereo that features USB and auxiliary inputs, as well as Bluetooth phone and audio streaming. Options and features available on higher trims include single- or dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, an upgraded stereo, navigation, a backup camera and a panoramic moonroof.

Reviewers are generally pleased with the Forester’s straightforward, functional dash, noting its clear gauges and user-friendly controls. However, more than one test driver says that rivals like the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V have nicer cabin materials.

See 2013 Subaru Forester specs »

  • "Controls are at least straightforward for the most part, and easy to access." -- Edmunds
  • "Although not as large as others we've seen, this oversized glass roof provides pleasant light to both the front and rear passengers, bringing a bit of the outdoors inside." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "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 (2012)   


The Subaru Forester has 33.5 cubic feet of cargo space 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). The Forester also has plenty of small storage spaces for corralling your stuff. These include two cargo-area grocery bag hooks, four tie-downs, a center console, front and rear cupholders, two front bottle holders and a lockable glove box. While competitors like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 have a little more cargo room, reviewers like the Forester’s spacious cargo bay and large hatchback, which make it easy to load large items.

  • "The Forester's boxy shape also makes it well suited for hauling large bulky objects." -- Edmunds
  • "The wide liftgate opens to 33.5 cubic feet of cargo space, plus such niceties as hooks for grocery bags and other items, plus tie-downs in the floor and a storage well underneath it." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "A low load floor and large hatch opening make for good cargo handling." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

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