$19,264 - $28,453

2017 Subaru Forester Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2017 Subaru Forester was new.


Interior: 8.1

On the inside, the 2017 Subaru Forester has a mix of hard and soft materials that are of good quality. Still, its interior styling is fairly bland. The cabin is quiet, the front seats are comfortable, and the back seats are exceptionally roomy. The 2017 Forester also has one of the highest overall cargo capacities in the class. The Forester comes with a good amount of connectivity options, including its Starlink infotainment system. The standard touch screen is a bit small, so it's recommended to opt for the larger 7-inch screen, which you can operate with gestures like you would with a smartphone.

  • "The 2017 Subaru Forester's cabin provides enough visual appeal to keep pace with other affordable crossovers, though the overall look follows Subaru's simple-is-better design philosophy." -- Edmunds
  • "Soft-touch surfaces already helped make the Forester feel upscale, and the newly upgraded interior on the Forester Touring models ups that ante considerably. They add some refinement to an interior design that was already excellent thanks to its generous visibility and sensible design." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The interior bucks the predominant trend of materials that look premium but feel cheap, with surfaces that are soft to the touch, but blandly styled." -- Motor Trend (2014)


The 2017 Forester has seating for five on cloth upholstery. Available features include heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and leather upholstery.

The Forester has comfortable front seats, and those in the back have it good as well. The rear seats' high positioning provides a pleasant view, good thigh support, and plenty of legroom. The rear doors open wide for easy entry and exit, and the interior also keeps out wind and road noise.

The Forester has a full set of LATCH connectors in its rear outboard seats, and one upper tether anchor in its rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has yet to rate the 2017 Forester's LATCH system. However, the 2016 Forester, largely the same as the 2017 model, received the second-lowest rating of Marginal. IIHS said that for both outboard rear seats, the upper tether anchors could be confused for other hardware, and the lower anchors are mounted too deep in the seat and can be challenging to maneuver around.

  • "The Forester continues to shine when it comes to functionality. Elevated stadium-type rear seating enhances thigh support and legroom and affords a better view. This sense of space is reinforced by large windows all around." -- Edmunds
  • "The doors open wide, there's good rear-seat legroom even for adults, and there's a ton of cargo space behind the rear seats." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Most noticeable is the comfortable ride and low interior noise levels." -- Autotrader (2016)

Interior Features

The Subaru Forester comes standard with Bluetooth, a rearview camera, a 6.2-inch Starlink touch-screen infotainment system, a four-speaker sound system, and a USB port. Available features include a 7-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, and adaptive headlights. For 2017, the Forester is available with automatic reverse braking – a feature few cars on the market have. It's similar to forward pre-collision braking – which is a common option in the class – but its sensors are in the rear bumper, helping you avoid accidents when reversing by automatically braking if the system detects that you're about to hit something.

Subaru's available EyeSight safety system includes lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and pre-collision braking. New for 2017, models with EyeSight now have blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert and lane departure warning as well. High-beam assist is also available for the first time this year, which automatically turns the high beams on and off as road conditions dictate.

Automotive journalists are impressed with the Forester's interior technology, which includes a standard Starlink system with which you can connect a smartphone. However, the standard touch screen has some small buttons that make them difficult to operate. Luckily, there is a 7-inch touch screen available that allows you to use smartphonelike gestures, such as pinching to zoom in or out. Climate and audio controls are straightforward. The Subaru Forester's EyeSight safety suite has been updated with a pair of color cameras used for features like adaptive cruise control and pre-collision braking.

See 2017 Subaru Forester specs »

  • "Improved this year, the available EyeSight system uses two color cameras to view the world ahead, allowing advanced safety features such as pre-collision braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and more." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "… even the base 2.5i comes with a touchscreen that includes smartphone app integration, while the larger 7-inch screen gets upgraded graphics and allows you to use intuitive pinch-and-expand finger movements to zoom in or out." -- Edmunds
  • "Climate and entertainment controls remain well-placed and user-friendly." -- Left Lane News


With its back seats in use, the base 2017 Forester has 34.4 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold those seats and cargo space expands to 74.7 cubic feet. That's one of the highest overall capacities in the class. Models equipped with a panoramic moonroof lose about 3 cubic feet behind the back seats and a little more than 6 cubic feet with them folded. That's still more space than most competing SUVs have. Interior storage compartments include a good-sized glove box and door pockets.

A power liftgate is available in upper trims. It allows you to open, close, and stop the liftgate at the proper height with the key fob or a button on the liftgate.

  • "This sense of space is reinforced by large windows all around and a huge cargo hold that yields 34.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 74.7 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded. The latter is nearly 4 more cubic feet than the Honda CR-V, which has traditionally been at the head of this class. The caveat is that you'll need to stick to the base model if you want the big numbers, as models with the panoramic sunroof drop to 31.5/68.5 cubic feet due to a lower roof height." -- Edmunds
  • "… there's a ton of cargo space behind the rear seats." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Interior storage is good, with useful door pockets and a generous glove box." -- Consumer Guide (2014)

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