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2015 Subaru Forester Review

The 2015 Subaru Forester finishes in the middle of the compact SUV class. Its standard all-wheel-drive system and spacious cabin make it a solid choice, but its cumbersome infotainment system may get on your nerves.

Pros & Cons

  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Generous cabin space
  • Large cargo area
  • Lively optional engine
  • Outdated, fussy infotainment system

Rankings & Research

The 2015 Subaru Forester's #9 ranking is based on its score within the 2015 Affordable Compact SUVs category. Currently the Subaru Forester has a score of 8.0 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 27 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 7.7
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2015 Subaru Forester Overview

Is the 2015 Subaru Forester a Good Used SUV?

Yes, the 2015 Subaru Forester is a good compact SUV. It has a comfortable ride and a solid list of available driver assistance features, but its all-wheel-drive system is its biggest highlight. This not only comes standard, but it also makes the Forester capable in various weather conditions and light off-roading. Most rivals offer AWD, but only as an option. Beyond that, the Forester features plenty of passenger space and one of the largest cargo capacities in the class. However, many of its competitors offer more upscale interiors and more up-to-date infotainment systems.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve analyzed 27 Subaru Forester reviews, as well as performance specs, interior dimensions, fuel economy ratings, and more, to give you all the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision.

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain impartial, we do not accept extravagant gifts from automakers, and an outside source handles our advertising.

How Much Is the 2015 Subaru Forester?

Based on roughly 1,400 listings of the 2015 Subaru Forester on our site, the average list price is roughly $19,400, which is slightly above average for the class. Prices range from about $14,800 to $23,900 and vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2015 Subaru Forester Cost to Own?

Five-year projected costs for fuel, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2015 Forester are about $24,760, or roughly $4,950 per year. That's marginally above average for a compact SUV. 

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Forester?

The fully redesigned 2019 Subaru Forester has a starting price of $24,295. This exceeds the top of the 2015 Forester's price range, but it's worth the higher cost. Some of its improvements include a more refined cabin and additional passenger room. It also comes with more standard features, including smartphone integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as a host of active safety features like lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

Read about the new Subaru Forester »

You mostly likely won’t find any new compact SUVs for around the same price as a used 2015 Subaru Forester.

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Which Model Year of the Subaru Forester Is Best?

The 2015 Forester is part of a generation that debuted for the 2014 model year. Subaru added a standard touch-screen infotainment system, available adaptive headlights, and optional EyeSight driver-assist technology to the 2016 Forester. For 2017, the Forester's optional EyeSight safety suite gained lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring. Adaptive headlights and reverse automatic braking also became available for this model year.

Shoppers interested in additional advanced safety features should consider the 2016 or 2017 Forester. If not, stick with the 2014 Forester. It's nearly identical to the 2015 and costs less money.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Forester »

How Reliable Is the 2015 Subaru Forester?

J.D. Power gives the 2015 Forester a reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about Forester reliability »

2015 Subaru Forester Recalls

There is one recall for the 2015 Forester. It involves a turbocharged intake duct crack that may cause the engine to stall. Make sure a Subaru dealer has addressed this recall before you buy.

See more information on Subaru Forester safety recalls »

Which Used Subaru Forester Is Right for Me?

The Forester comes in six trim levels: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Touring, 2.0XT Premium, and 2.0XT Touring.

The base 2.5i trim comes with a good number of features for most shoppers, including a rearview camera and an infotainment system with a 4.3-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, and a USB port. The 2.5i Premium trim adds features like a power-adjustable driver's seat and a panoramic moonroof, while the 2.5i Limited trim adds leather upholstery and a power liftgate. Shoppers interested in the optional turbocharged four-cylinder engine will have to step up to the high-level 2.0XT Premium and 2.0XT Touring trims. These trims also come with a continuously variable automatic transmission.

See 2015 Subaru Forester trims and specs »

What Does Subaru's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Subaru offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Subaru extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles. Subaru provides no additional coverage for CPO vehicles, so buyers receive the remainder of the original three-year/36,000-mile new-car warranty. However, buyers can purchase additional coverage. Every CPO Subaru must pass a 152-point inspection. Additional benefits like owner loyalty discounts, a one-year Starlink Safety Plus trial subscription, towing, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Subaru warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Subaru’s CPO program isn’t particularly robust. Among affordable automakers, Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and many others have better programs.

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How Safe Is the Forester?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Forester a 2015 Top Safety Pick+, which is the agency's highest designation. The Forester also earned the highest rating of Good in five crash tests. However, it received the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the passenger-side small overlap front test.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2015 Forester an overall rating of five out of five stars, with four stars in frontal crash and rollover tests and five stars in side crash test.

A rearview camera comes standard. The available Subaru EyeSight suite of safety features includes adaptive cruise control, emergency pre-collision braking, and lane departure warning.

See Forester safety scores »

2015 Subaru Forester Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2015 Subaru Forester or 2015 Mazda CX-5?

The 2015 Mazda CX-5 and 2015 Forester are both compact SUVs, but they are different in many ways. The CX-5 delivers a more athletic ride thanks to its sharp steering and agile handling. In addition, the CX-5 features superior fuel efficiency and a more upscale cabin. That said, the Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive, its engines are stronger than the CX-5's, and it has more passenger and cargo space. These two are close in our rankings, so personal preference will be the determining factor of which model you go for. Choose the CX-5 for nimbler handling and a richer cabin, or opt for the Forester for a composed ride and additional cabin space. 

Which Is Better: 2015 Subaru Forester or 2015 Nissan Rogue?

The 2015 Nissan Rogue has just as much cargo space as the Forester, but its available third row allows you to fit more people. The Nissan also has additional features like an optional 360-degree parking camera. That said, the Forester's base engine is more powerful, and unlike the Rogue, it's available with an optional turbocharged engine. Choose the Rogue for an extra row of seats and additional features. If performance is more important to you, the Forester is a better option.

Compare the Forester, CX-5, and Rogue »

2015 Forester Performance

How Does the 2015 Subaru Forester Drive?

The 2015 Forester stands out in the class as one of the few SUVs to offer standard all-wheel drive. With the Subaru's composed handling and limited body roll, it drives like a smaller vehicle. Strong brakes and balanced steering also help the Forester in the performance department.

The standard 170-horsepower four-cylinder engine has enough power for daily driving needs. It comes with either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Reviewers bemoan the CVT transmission's jerkiness when accelerating from a standstill. A potent 250-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine is also available. It comes standard with the CVT.

Does the 2015 Subaru Forester Get Good Gas Mileage?

The 2015 Forester has pretty good fuel efficiency for the class. With the base engine and automatic transmission, it gets 24 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Models with a turbocharged engine get 1 less mpg, both in the city and on the highway.

Read more about Forester performance »

2015 Forester Interior

How Many People Does the 2015 Forester Seat?

The 2015 Forester seats up to five people. Cloth upholstery and manually adjustable front seats are standard, while leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob are available. Seating is spacious throughout the cabin, and the Forester's wide doors make it easy to enter and exit the vehicle.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2015 Subaru Forester?

There are two sets of LATCH child-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2015 Forester's LATCH system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use. The upper tether anchors can be confused with other hardware, and the lower anchors are too deep in the seats and difficult to maneuver around.

2015 Subaru Forester Features

This Subaru comes standard with a rearview camera and an infotainment system with a 4.3-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, a USB port, and four speakers. Some models may feature a 6.1-inch touch screen, navigation, HD Radio, satellite radio, a six- or eight-speaker audio system, push-button start, and a panoramic moonroof. The standard infotainment system is outdated compared to rival SUVs with larger displays and less complicated controls.

See 2015 Subaru Forester specs »

Read more about Forester interior »

2015 Subaru Forester Dimensions

Subaru Forester Cargo Space

The Forester has an above-average cargo capacity compared to other compact SUVs. For base models, there's 34.4 cubic feet of space when the rear seats are up and 74.7 cubic feet when they are folded down. Higher trims get 31.5 cubic feet of space behind the second row of seats and 68.5 cubic feet behind the first row of seats. A power liftgate and one-touch folding back seats are available.

2015 Forester Length and Weight

The 2015 Forester is roughly 15 feet long, and its curb weight ranges from 3,296 to 3,651 pounds.

Where Was the 2015 Subaru Forester Built?

Subaru built the 2015 Forester in Tokyo.

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Forester Shoppers Should Also Consider...

Hyundai Tucson 2015 2015 Hyundai Tucson

#1 in 2015 Affordable Compact SUVs

Ford Escape 2015 2015 Ford Escape

#2 in 2015 Affordable Compact SUVs

Nissan Rogue 2015 2015 Nissan Rogue

#2 in 2015 Affordable Compact SUVs

Volkswagen Tiguan 2015 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan

#4 in 2015 Affordable Compact SUVs

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