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2017 Subaru Forester Review

The 2017 Subaru Forester's attributes include a sizable cabin, a generous amount of available safety tech, and standard all-wheel drive. However, its below-average predicted reliability rating and drab interior place it near the middle of our compact SUV rankings. 

Pros & Cons

  • Large cargo capacity
  • Roomy back seats
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Lots of available safety features
  • Bland interior styling
  • Below-average fuel economy

New for 2017

  • Lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring added to EyeSight safety suite
  • Adaptive headlights and reverse automatic braking made available

Rankings & Research

The 2017 Subaru Forester's #10 ranking is based on its score within the 2017 Affordable Compact SUVs category. Currently the Subaru Forester has a score of 7.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 30 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 8.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2017 Subaru Forester Overview

Is the 2017 Subaru Forester a Good Used SUV?

The 2017 Subaru Forester is a solid compact SUV. It has a spacious interior, a carlike drive, and a ton of available active safety features. This Subaru is also one of the only compact crossovers that comes standard with all-wheel drive. On the downside, class rivals have better fuel economy and nicer interiors.

Why You Can Trust Us

To give you a complete overview of the 2017 Forester – and make your car-shopping experience easier – we analyzed 30 Subaru Forester reviews alongside reliability ratings, safety scores, and more.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our crew has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we do not accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an external company manages the ads on our site.

How Much Is the 2017 Subaru Forester?

Based on 841 listings for the 2017 Subaru Forester on our site, prices range from $20,800 to $31,000. The average list price is $25,100. How much you pay depends on the specific vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2017 Subaru Forester Cost to Own?

The 2017 Subaru Forester's estimated five-year costs for fuel, insurance, maintenance, and repairs are projected to add up to about $23,550 – or $4,710 per year. By comparison, the 2017 Honda CR-V’s and 2017 Subaru Outback's expenses are expected to be about $20,940 and $22,360, respectively.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Forester?

For 2018, Subaru added reverse automatic braking to the Forester’s list of available safety features. If this change isn't important to you, you may prefer the 2017 Forester. It’s almost identical to the 2018 model, but it will most likely cost you less.  

Read about the new Subaru Forester »

You may also want to consider a 2018 Ford Escape, which starts at about the same price as an average 2017 Forester – and has a similar ranking. The Subaru has a bit more passenger and cargo space, but the Ford has more athletic handling and peppier engines.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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Which Model Year of the Subaru Forester Is Best?

The 2017 Subaru Forester is part of a generation that debuted for the 2014 model year. The 2016 Forester added a new standard touch-screen infotainment system and safety packages. Adaptive headlights and reverse automatic braking were made available for the 2017 model year. Subaru also added lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring to the available EyeSight safety system, and it made some minor exterior styling updates. Aside from these additions, models prior to 2016 are relatively similar. If price is your main concern, you'll likely be happier with one of the older models.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Forester »

How Reliable Is the 2017 Subaru Forester?

The 2017 Subaru Forester has a predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power. This is below average among all vehicles (a score of three is average).

Read more about Forester reliability »

2017 Subaru Forester Recalls

As of this writing, the 2017 Subaru Forester has no safety recalls.

See more information on Subaru Forester safety recalls »

Which Used Subaru Forester Model Is Right for Me?

The 2017 Subaru Forester has 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 should be fine for most drivers. It comes standard with all-wheel drive, a 6.2-inch touch-screen infotainment system, a four-speaker audio system, HD Radio, a USB port, Bluetooth, and a rearview camera. If you're looking for more power, you'll have to step up to either the 2.0XT Premium or the top-of-the-line 2.0XT Touring trims. 

See 2017 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.

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

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Forester?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2017 Subaru Forester the highest rating of Good in five crash tests and the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the passenger side small overlap front test. The Forester also earned a 2017 Top Safety Pick+ designation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2017 Forester five out of five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal and rollover crash tests, making for a five-star overall rating.

A rearview camera is the only advanced safety feature that comes standard in the 2017 Forester. However, this SUV has one of the longest lists of available advanced safety technology in the class. This includes an EyeSight suite comprised of pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assist. Blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, reverse automatic braking, high-beam assist, and adaptive headlights are also available.

See Forester safety scores »

2017 Subaru Forester Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2017 Subaru Forester or 2017 Honda CR-V?

The 2017 Honda CR-V has a lot going for it. Like the Forester, the CR-V has plenty of space for adults in both rows, and its cargo area is roomy. The CR-V has minimal body lean in corners and a comfortable and composed ride. It also has higher predicted reliability and crash test scores than the Forester. While the CR-V doesn't have the Forester's standard all-wheel drive, it does deliver better gas mileage estimates. The CR-V's average list price is $1,300 more than the Forester’s, but it's worth the extra money. 

Which Is Better: 2017 Subaru Forester or 2017 Subaru Outback?

The 2017 Subaru Outback wagon is pretty similar to its smaller sibling, the 2017 Forester. Both vehicles have similar passenger and cargo space, as well as standard all-wheel drive and many of the same standard and available features. However, you'll get a bit more passenger space in the longer Outback, while the taller Forester offers greater cargo capacity. The Outback also has a smoother ride, more towing capacity (2,700 pounds versus 1,500 pounds), and better fuel economy estimates than the Forester. You'll have to decide if these advantages are worth the extra $2,700 for the Outback, though.

Compare the Forester, CR-V, and Outback »

2017 Forester Performance

How Does the 2017 Subaru Forester Drive?

A 170-horsepower four-cylinder engine comes standard in the 2017 Forester. This base engine has an adequate amount of power for daily driving, but an available turbocharged, 250-horsepower four-cylinder engine does a better job of climbing up steep hills and passing vehicles on the highway.

In the base model, a six-speed manual transmission is standard and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is available. The CVT drones during quick acceleration, and it comes standard with the upgraded turbo engine.  

The Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive – a rarity in the class. This makes it a great compact SUV to hit the trails with or travel in during inclement weather. Despite its larger height and SUV suspension, the Forester delivers a fairly smooth ride.

Does the 2017 Subaru Forester Get Good Gas Mileage?

The 2017 Subaru Forester delivers 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which is low in the class but good for an all-wheel-drive vehicle. Models with the available CVT automatic transmission get 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The 2017 Honda CR-V and 2017 Subaru Outback deliver 26/32 mpg city/highway and 25/32 mpg city/highway, respectively.

2017 Subaru Forester Towing Capacity

The 2017 Forester can tow up to 1,500 pounds, which is enough capacity for a small trailer. If you're looking for more hauling capability, the 2018 Outback can tow up to 2,700 pounds, which is enough to lug a small pop-up camper.

Read more about Forester performance »

2017 Forester Interior

How Many People Does the 2017 Forester Seat?

There's enough space for five people across the 2017 Forester's two rows. The interior is comprised of soft-touch materials and spacious, comfortable seats, but the styling is drab. Cloth upholstery is standard, and some models come with leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, and a power-adjustable driver's seat.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2017 Subaru Forester?

The 2017 Subaru Forester has two sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in its rear outboard seats, and an upper tether on the middle seat. The middle seat has the ability to borrow lower anchors from the adjoining seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Forester’s LATCH setup the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use. Some lower anchors are buried a bit deep in the seats.

2017 Subaru Forester Features

Standard features for the 2017 Forester include a 6.2-inch touch-screen infotainment system, a four-speaker audio system, HD Radio, a USB port, and Bluetooth. Some models include a 7-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic moonroof, push-button start, an extra USB port, and/or satellite radio.

See 2017 Subaru Forester specs »

Read more about Forester interior »

2017 Subaru Forester Dimensions

Subaru Forester Cargo Space

The 2017 Forester has 34.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the back seats in use and 74.7 cubic feet when the seats are folded. That's one of the most expansive cargo areas in the class. Models with a moonroof have slightly less cargo space (31.5 cubic feet with the seats in use; 68.5 cubic feet with the seats folded). Upper trims offer a power liftgate.

2017 Forester Length and Weight

The 2017 Forester is over 15 feet long, and its curb weight ranges from 3,300 to 3,700 pounds.

Where Was the 2017 Subaru Forester Built?

The 2017 Subaru Forester was built in Gunma, Japan.

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