$17,492 - $25,345

2016 Subaru Forester Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Subaru Forester was new.


Performance: 7.9

Auto writers say the 2016 Subaru Forester has good power for everyday driving, especially with the optional turbocharged engine. They say it has controlled handling, well-weighted steering and strong brakes. Reviewers think the Forester has a comfortable ride and can handle some off-roading thanks to its standard all-wheel drive powertrain.

  • "Around town and on the highway, the Forester serves up a comfortable and quiet ride." -- Edmunds
  • "Thanks to a rigid central structure, wide track and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Subaru's 2016 Forester crossover SUV delivers stellar performance on- and off-road." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Bottom line, the on-road performance and off-road durability of the 2.0XT provide an intoxicating drive, and its kick-in-the-pants acceleration seems to belie its commuter-friendly fuel efficiency." -- MSN (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 Forester comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 170 horsepower. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 250 horsepower is optional. A six-speed manual transmission is standard while an automatic (CVT) is available. According to the EPA, the base Forester earns 22/29 mpg city/highway, which is low for the class, but decent for an all-wheel drive SUV. Meanwhile, the base model with the automatic transmission earns a slightly better 24/32 mpg city/highway.

Test drivers say the Forester's base engine provides adequate power, but the turbocharged engine offers good power for passing other vehicles and climbing up an incline. Some critics say the automatic works effectively, while others complain that it can feel choppy, especially in low-speed driving.

  • "The 2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i won't set any speed records with its 170 horses, and while the CVT performs well for the breed, it lacks the responsiveness of a good conventional automatic. Still, the base engine's impressive fuel economy should be enough compensation for most buyers, and it's also the only way to go if you want the manual transmission. As for the 2.0XT's turbocharged engine, it's a strong performer, and ideal if you drive a lot on hilly or high-altitude terrain." -- Edmunds
  • Subaru's continuously variable transmission (CVT) is one of the best in the industry, aiding fuel efficiency and performance. Unfortunately, the CVT also sometimes caused our Forester to lurch from a stop, which can be annoying in stop-and-go traffic." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The real joy when driving the XT is the rush of power from the turbo engine. If you require superior passing power and jackrabbit sprints, this is the engine you'll want in your Forester." -- AutoTrader

Handling and Braking

The 2016 Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive. Reviewers say the Forester has composed, car-like handling and a comfortable ride, although some note it does have some body lean on winding roads. They add that steering is precise and properly weighted, and that the brakes are strong, particularly in the 2.0XT models.

  • "The Forester rides and drives more like a small car than an SUV blessed with 8.7 inches of ground clearance. Subaru's electric assist power steering is a bit numb in the curves, but not annoyingly so, and the nicely weighted steering wheel makes it easy to keep the Forester tracking straight and true." -- AutoTrader
  • "It's really just on curvy roads that its tall height and compliant suspension become liabilities, as it's simply not as capable or nimble as many rivals." -- Edmunds
  • "Subaru has dialed in the right amount of shock stiffness to deliver a comfortable ride with minimal body roll and dive, and the electrically boosted power steering provides positive feedback without feeling over-assisted." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "While braking is good in 2.5i models, it is even better in 2.0XTs, which feature slightly larger ventilated discs all around." -- Consumer Guide (2014)

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