2019 Subaru Forester

Performance


MSRP
$24,295
U.S. News Best Price Program

2019 Subaru Forester Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.3

The 2019 Subaru Forester has only one available engine, and while it provides enough power for around-town and highway cruising, it has a harder time accelerating the Forester quickly past cars on the highway. Handling, however, is much improved for 2019. Responsive steering, firm brakes, and reduced body roll all help this Subaru feel composed on the road. Standard all-wheel drive is a major plus.

  • Under the hood, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine … is a little more powerful than last year, but it doesn't feel much gutsier in the real world. With light to moderate throttle application, the Forester can feel quite sprightly. But the engine runs out of steam when you ask for more. Merging onto the freeway or overtaking at higher speeds will require some planning." -- Edmunds
  • The Forester's CVT isn't as droning as the worst examples of its kind, and it often emulates a seven-speed automatic with stepped gear ratios. The transmission effectively keeps the Forester in its torque band, and good initial throttle response means that you might be all the way to the end of the highway onramp before you realize the Forester doesn't have much in the way of raw power." -- Car and Driver
  • "The suspension setup for all trim levels is remarkable—pliant over uneven farmland pavement, and confident on the slithering Blue Ridge Parkway. It feels distinctly upmarket, riding nicer than crossovers with heftier price tags and more premium badges. As added bonuses, changes to the steering and brakes are equally spot-on. Steering is more than quick and balanced enough for the chassis and tires, providing adequate feedback." -- Automobile Magazine

Acceleration and Power

Every Subaru Forester features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. A CVT (a type of automatic) is the only transmission available. Performance is adequate, and this SUV will propel you around town just fine. However, the absence of a turbocharged engine option (available in previous models) is noticeable. The Forester is zippy enough, but it struggles to pass with authority on the highway. The CVT receives mixed reviews: Some critics complain of its sluggish responsiveness, while others say it responds well.

The 2019 Forester earns an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Those are impressive numbers for the class, made even more impressive by the fact that it's an all-wheel-drive SUV. AWD vehicles are usually less fuel-efficient.

  • "From the top to the bottom of the range, a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated flat-four provides the motivation. … Bad news—gone are the potent 2.0-liter turbo-four and the manual transmission, both distinctive options that set the Forester apart from the rest of the crossover crowd." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The Forester is now powered by a single drivetrain that provides adequate performance. A little more low-end grunt would be welcomed for peppier around town driving, but acceleration in the 2019 Foresters feel about on par with almost everything else in the segment. The Forester's CVT has been revised for the 2019 model and it does behave a bit better than before. Off the line there is less of a rubber band feeling, and the CVT seems more responsive when asked for more power at cruising speeds." -- Left Lane News
  • "Winding mountain roads, for example, demonstrated that ditching the turbocharged engine option was ill advised. … Around town and on freeways, the 3,588-pound Forester Touring was just zippy enough to feel safe. Passing power, however, is unimpressive. … Frequently, I noted a momentary delay in transmission response when pressing the acceleration pedal, like the CVT was trying to decide which ratio would be best for responding to my request for more oomph. Once the software had sorted things out, the Forester occasionally surged forward with less smoothness than expected." -- New York Daily News

Handling and Braking

The fully redesigned Subaru Forester has outstanding ride quality. It handles well for an SUV, offering light steering and good agility around turns. The suspension is smooth over dips and bumps in the road, and this Subaru feels solid on most surfaces. All-wheel drive is standard, which is a rarity in the class.

  • "The ride quality is excellent on the revised suspension. A more rigid body and heavy use of structural adhesive ensure the ride is comfortable and free of excessive noise, harshness or annoying vibrations. Body roll is almost nonexistent. Steering is effortless but you still feel like you are the one driving; it's not a numbed-out experience. Subaru redesigned the steering to reduce the delay between input and response and added torque vectoring for better cornering. Brakes are smooth and controlled." -- Motor Trend
  • "We also like the composed, comfortable ride. Body roll isn't as tightly controlled as in some other crossovers, so a deliberate approach is advised when navigating mountain roads. This Subie would be a great road trip car, though, assuming the rear passengers can find comfortable seating positions." -- Edmunds
  • "… the Forester resists body roll more than ever in the corners staying flat throughout, turns in with greater accuracy and perfect weight, and just feels lighter and more agile on its feet than its predecessor. Brakes have also been enhanced and deliver grippier bite earlier on in addition to greater stopping power." -- Forbes
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2019 Subaru Forester

MSRP: $24,295 - $34,295

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