- Compact crossover with standard all-wheel drive
- Large, comfortable backseat for its segment
- Added standard features, including a rear view camera and a color display
The 2015 Subaru Forester competes in a crowded compact crossover segment, offering a unique blend of features and comfort for its price.
Fresh off of a full redesign in 2014, the Forester mostly stands pat for the new model year, sans a few additions to the standard equipment list including a rear view camera and a new multi-function color display that shows fuel economy, temperature, journey time, and other important information.
The Forester got a brand new look thanks to the redesign which remains fairly conservative by modern standards. It’s closer to the Honda CR-V than the more forward looking designs found on the Ford Escape and Mazda CX-5, but works well for the Forester we think, highlighting its ruggedness and function over form philosophy. 2.0XT models add a little visual flair, with a mesh grille and unique 18-inch alloy wheels. It is also worth mentioning the Forester’s low beltline, which gives it excellent visibility from all five seats, an underrated attribute.
There are two available engines on the Forester, both horizontally opposed (boxer) four-cylinders. The base engine, found in 2.5 models, is a 170-hp, 2.5-liter H-4 that makes 174 pounds-feet of torque and comes with either a six-speed manual or a CVT. 2.0XT variants get a more powerful engine, a 250-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter H-4 which pumps out 258 pounds-feet of torque and is only available with the CVT. All-wheel drive is standard (this is a Subaru after all). Underneath the Forester is 8.7 inches of ground clearance, which gives it more off-road capability than other compact crossovers.
The Forester performs well when it comes to fuel efficiency, with very good EPA estimates for an AWD crossover. 2.5 models come in at 24/32 mpg city/highway with the CVT (22/29 mpg with the manual). The XT falls slightly behind those marks, 23/28 mpg city/highway.
Inside, the 2015 Forester packs in both comfort and value with a long features list, even on base models. Think about it, for around $22,000, you not only get all-wheel drive, but Bluetooth connectivity, USB/auxiliary audio inputs, automatic headlights, air conditioning, a rear view camera, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat. Speaking of the rear seat, it is very roomy with lots of leg room/head room and great visibility, which is augmented even further if the optional panoramic moonroof is present. Leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a navigation system are also available.
The 2015 Forester pulls off an impressive double, earning a full five-star overall crash test rating from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS, the highest designation each organization offers. Besides the federally mandated safety features, the 2014 Forester adds anti-whiplash front seats and a driver’s knee airbag. Precollision braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control are also available.