$19,264 - $28,453

2017 Subaru Forester Performance Review

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


Performance: 8.0

The 2017 Subaru Forester has good power for the typical commute, and power delivery is even stronger with the available turbocharged engine. The Subaru Forester has composed handling, precise steering, and strong brakes. Its ride is also comfortable. The Forester's standard all-wheel drive provides good grip in low traction situations. Fuel economy is a bit low for the class overall, but fairly good when compared with other all-wheel drive compact SUVs.

  • "Around town and on the highway, the Forester serves up a comfortable and quiet ride." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • "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 (2016)
  • "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 2017 Forester comes standard with a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that generates 250 horsepower is available. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the base engine, while an automatic (CVT) is optional with the base engine and standard with the turbocharged engine.

The EPA estimates that the base Forester earns 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which are low estimates for the class but good for an SUV equipped with all-wheel drive. With the available automatic transmission, fuel estimates are better, at 26 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway.

With the base engine, the Forester has decent power for most driving situations. Engine power is delivered smoothly, thanks to the standard all-wheel-drive system. For faster highway acceleration or climbing hills, however, the turbocharged engine is the better option. While the automatic transmission helps the Forester when it comes to fuel economy, it also is somewhat sluggish to put down power when pulling away from a stoplight.

  • "The all-wheel-drive system, which now includes torque vectoring on turbo models, makes the most of the engine's torque to help deliver smooth and even power delivery regardless of conditions. Regardless of model, that power is delivered through a continuously variable automatic transmission that helps keep fuel economy near the top of the class, but is unfortunately a little sloppy-feeling from a dead stop. But it's a minor hiccup in an otherwise solid drivetrain." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The 2017 Subaru Forester 2.5i won't set any speed records with its 170 horses, and while the CVT performs well for the breed, it produces a telltale high-rpm drone during hard acceleration and lacks the responsiveness of a good conventional automatic. Still, the 2.5i's remarkable fuel economy should hold appeal 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 an exceptionally strong performer; you'll notice a real difference, especially if you drive a lot on hilly or high-altitude terrain." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2016)

Handling and Braking

The 2017 Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive, which makes it an excellent option for moderate off-roading and driving through inclement weather. The Forester also performs well on paved roads, offering composed, carlike handling and a smooth ride. Still, around corners, it's not quite as agile as rivals like the Mazda CX-5 and Ford Escape.

  • "The suspension blends comfort and control without sacrificing either, with minimal body roll in corners, but with enough suspension travel to absorb big bumps when taking that less beaten path. The electrically assisted power steering feels precise, and if you want extra power, the XT turbo models are downright quick, getting to 60 mph in about six seconds." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • Around town and on the highway, the Forester serves up a comfortable and quiet ride. 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 some rivals." -- Edmunds
  • "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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