2019 Subaru Forester


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2019 Subaru Forester Interior Review


Interior: 8.1

The 2019 Subaru Forester has a nicer cabin than the previous generation Forester, with higher-quality materials. Soft-touch plastics line the base model, while leather accents grace higher trims with an air of luxury. This redesigned SUV also has more rear-seat legroom than before, as well as a solid amount of cargo space and a ton of standard driver assistance features.

  • "Inside the Forester employs higher quality materials and plastics than the outgoing model. There are a more luxurious ambiance, more supportive seats and the DriverFocus feature is a feature that will eventually appear on all models." -- Forbes
  • "Settle into an easy highway cruise, and everything's right. It's quiet, comfortable, and loaded with tech, especially at the higher-end of the range." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Interior materials get a little bit nicer for 2019, with higher-quality plastics on the dash and doors, and softer leather on higher-end Limited and Touring variants." -- CNET


The Subaru Forester seats up to five people on standard cloth upholstery. Leather seats, sport-styled cloth upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated front and rear seats, and a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel are available. The 2019 Forester’s new platform increases room for passengers compared to the previous model. There’s plenty of legroom in both the front and back, though tall adults may wish for more headroom in the rear. The huge door openings allow for easy entry and exit, and a well-positioned driver’s seat provides a commanding view of the road.

For securing child safety seats, the Forester has two full sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats, as well as an additional tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The middle seat has the ability to borrow a lower anchor from an adjoining seat. The system earns the highest rating of Good+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

  • "The interior of the Forester continues to be a roomy, comfortable space with upgraded front seats and more legroom in back thanks to a longer wheelbase. The back doors open wider for easier access." -- Boston Globe
  • "Thanks to the new platform, the Forester is bigger for 2019 when you compare base model to base model. … A roomy interior is one of the Forester's trademarks, so expect more of it here." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Wider and equipped with lots of extra rear seat space, the 2019 Forester easily accommodates a family of four. You could also make this work for a family of five, as long as the kids haven't reached puberty yet. … Getting into and out of a Forester is easy. All seats offer tall hip points, which means you slide laterally into and out of this SUV. Plus, the door openings are massive, especially in back where the rear doors swing out to a near 90-degree angle. If you suffer from joint or back pain, or you simply have squirmy kids or big pets to load and unload, these are small but meaningful considerations." -- New York Daily News

Interior Features

Standard features in the Forester include a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic climate control, and the StarLink infotainment system with two USB ports, Bluetooth, a four-speaker stereo, satellite radio, HD Radio, a 6.5-inch touch screen, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

Available features include a moonroof, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, two rear USB ports, a six-speaker stereo, a nine-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a larger 8-inch touch screen, and a navigation system. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert and Subaru’s DriverFocus driver monitoring system are also offered.

The intuitive StarLink infotainment system has crisp graphics and rapid response times. There are redundant physical controls for some functions, and the whole setup is generally easy to use, but some controls for lesser-used functions are a bit confusing.

See 2019 Subaru Forester specs »

  • "Starlink works well enough, with a menu structure that's relatively easy to navigate and large, colorful icons for its various functions. Hard buttons on the center console provide shortcuts to the home screen and other menus. Overall, the system doesn't try to dazzle you in any way, and I appreciate its simple, straightforward nature." -- CNET
  • "Still, the standard and optional infotainment systems do their job well, and are easy to use. Apple CarPlay boots quickly and operates bug free." -- Autoweek
  • Controls are laid out in a familiar manner, the 2019 Forester receiving new switchgear and the latest in Starlink infotainment systems. Large knobs and big well-marked buttons are the rule for the center control panel, but secondary functions remain a bit confusing. The steering wheel, for example, is a mess of buttons, including two different sets for the car's two different information displays. Want to shut off the irritating beeps from the lane departure warning system? That button is inexplicably located on the roof." -- New York Daily News


The Forester offers 35.4 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. Folding them down opens up 76.1 cubic feet, which is excellent for the class. Furthermore, Subaru makes it easy to use all that space. The trunk’s wide opening makes it simple to load longer items, and a power liftgate is available for added convenience.

  • "When it comes to cargo, the Forester has plenty of room for your stuff. There's 35.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats or 76.1 cubic feet with the 60/40 split-folding rear seats down. If that's not enough room, the Forester can also tow up to 1,500 pounds. There's also an available power rear liftgate with height memory to accommodate shorter drivers or garages with low roofs. It opens and closes quickly and has an available rear lock button that closes the liftgate and locks the doors at the same time, so you don't have to stand around and wait." -- Boston Globe
  • The aforementioned dimensional gains keep the Forester in the larger end of the compact SUV size spectrum. … If you're frequently carrying cargo (or dogs -- it's a Subaru, after all), know that you'll fit more of your possessions in a Forester than you will in a Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue or Volkswagen Tiguan." -- CNET
  • "The Forester's trunk is generous. … And, as mentioned before, the Forester's cargo opening is absolutely massive -- it's wide enough to load a golf bag sideways." -- Left Lane News
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2019 Subaru Forester

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