Although today’s small crossover segment is full of great options, the redesigned 2019 Subaru Forester has jumped to the front of the pack. Like the previous generation, it remains a safe and practical commuter vehicle. You can also still take the all-new Forester on an exciting off-road adventure. However, drivers can take full advantage of the latest Forester’s improved handling and ride quality. Meanwhile, families will especially enjoy the Forester’s roomier backseat. Prices start at a competitive $24,295.

Let’s take a closer look at this much-improved SUV.

Performance Specs

All versions of the 2019 Subaru Forester come equipped with a 2.5-liter, flat-four engine. To give the Forester an extra degree of performance, Subaru has updated the engine with direct injection. Output stands a fulfilling 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. A fuel-saving CVT transmission is also found on every new Forester. Although this small crossover doesn’t deliver class-leading performance, it can hustle to 60 mpg in a decent 8.5 seconds. Subaru’s SI-DRIVE engine management system comes equipped on the Sport model. The feature enables you to optimize performance by simply turning a dial.

The Forester’s biggest improvement is its more agile driving dynamics. No longer does the crossover feel uncoordinated on curvy roads. This can be contributed to its stiffer body structure and new suspension components. Ride quality has improved as well. Even when driving on rough pavement, the Forester keeps vibrations to a minimum.

Of course, Subaru’s highly touted Symmetrical AWD system comes standard throughout the lineup. This means you have great traction regardless of the driving conditions. While many owners will stick to driving the Forester on the street, it’s more than capable of taking you on an epic adventure throughout the wilderness. Around 8.7 inches of ground clearance and rugged features like hill descent control helps you to climb over obstacles. Meanwhile, body cladding helps provide just a bit more protection from debris. Even extremely deep snow is no match for the new Forester. Upper trims come equipped with a new dual-function X-MODE system, which helps reduce slippage on slick ground by keeping the transmission in a lower gear. Plus, it provides settings for mud, dirt, and snow.

Fuel Economy

For a vehicle that comes standard with all-wheel-drive, the 2019 Subaru Forester is especially good on gas. Its more advanced engine and continuous variable transmission help minimize fuel consumption. According to the latest EPA estimates, you can anticipate getting 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Subaru also tuned the engine to develop the optimum power using regular unleaded gas.

Safety and Entertainment Features

When it comes to safety, the 2019 Subaru Forester takes a backseat to no other crossover in the class. Not only did the new Forester garner a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, but it was also chosen as a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS. This is a testament to the SUV’s top-notch impact protection. Drivers who have a family will certainly appreciate the extra peace of mind.

Subaru also equips the new Forester with some valuable driver-assist technologies. The automaker’s top-rated EyeSight safety package comes standard. It includes a pre-collision warning with automatic braking, which activates when approaching unexpected vehicles and pedestrians, along with lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. Blind-spot monitoring is also found on most trims.

Other safety innovations can be found on the Forester’s list of upgrades. Nighttime driving is made more secure with the LED Steering Responsive Headlights. Very few vehicles in the segment even offer reverse automatic braking, which can prevent parking lot disasters. Subaru has also introduced an all-new DriverFocus system. This technology helps you to stay alert by monitoring your level of focus. If the system detects a distracted driver behind the wheel, it’ll immediately give a warning.

Although the 2019 Subaru Forester may not be a luxury vehicle, it does come loaded with attractive technologies. The standard Starlink infotainment system includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Automotive journalists rave about the interface’s quick and easy smartphone integration. In fact, popular apps, like iHeartRadio and Yelp, are built into the upgraded version. An available Wi-Fi hot spot enables all of your passengers to link to the Internet. While the standard six-speaker stereo systems get the job done, music lovers will have more fun listening to the available Harman Kardon premium audio system. Voice-activated navigation is also available.

How It Stacks Up against the Competition

2019 Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is among the most popular crossovers on the entire market. However, this fact doesn’t make it better than the new Subaru Forester. Safety technologies, like DriverFocus and reverse automatic braking, are not found on the CR-V. You’ll also find the new Forester to be a more capable off-road machine.

2019 Jeep Cherokee

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee is a solid pick for the drivers who like to travel off the beaten path. However, it consumes more fuel and sacrifices a great deal of cargo space. Families will also appreciate the Forester’s supportive seats, which provide just a bit more comfort on extended highway trips.

2019 Toyota RAV4

Expect the Toyota RAV4 to be a popular choice. While the RAV4 is rated to produce more power, it doesn’t feel as responsive during real-world driving situations. When it comes to taking off-road excursions, the 2019 Subaru Forester takes the lead.


Very Good Family Vehicle

The 2019 Subaru Forester has been transformed into an even better family vehicle than before. Its extra legroom will be much appreciated. Because the seats are so comfy, you won’t mind driving the Forester for a long distance. Heated front and rear seats are available for the folks who live in a cold-weather region. Of course, you can’t forget about the Forester’s excellent safety scores.

Handles Well

Despite having a higher ground clearance than most crossovers in the segment, the 2019 Forester still manages to deliver good handling. Because the Forester is so easy to drive, parents won’t mind allowing their teenagers to get behind the wheel.

Impressive Off-Road Prowess

If you have a passion for being outdoors, the 2019 Subaru Forester will enable you to become one with nature. Although the Forester can’t hang with a Jeep Wrangler, it will have no trouble toppling most trails. This is the reason why the Forester is so well-liked by adventure seekers.


No Manual Gearbox or Turbocharged Engine

Unfortunately for drivers seeking the maximum performance, the new Subaru Outback no longer offers a powerful turbocharged engine. This equates to a less formidable punch under the hood. Subaru also decided to discontinue the crossover’s six-speed manual transmission. Some drivers will certainly miss being able to change their own gears.


This article was worked on by a variety of people from the Autoversed team, including freelancers, editors, and/or other full-time employees.