Subaru has taken the wraps off the all-new 2025 Forester, and while the new car is not a whole lot different from the old car, the adage of “why mess with success?” definitely applies.
The Subaru Forester is among the bestselling Subarus because of its right-size, utility, reliability, and value. The formula has worked to Subaru’s advantage for 25 years, as the company has put 2.6 million Foresters on the roads.
Thankfully, Subaru hasn’t super-sized the new Forester, but the exterior is updated with the brand’s latest design cues, bringing the Forester in line with the recently updated Crosstrek compact crossover. The body protective cladding around the sills and a prominent grille emphasize Subaru’s off-road chops.
Subaru also declined to give the Forester the kind of fastback profile that is popular with many brands in this era, keeping the two-box utility and 74.4 cubic feet of cargo space that Subaru buyers prefer.
Inside, the Forester combines utility and durability with upgraded luxury and tech. Most trims include a large tablet-style 11.6-inch touchscreen multimedia infotainment system with integrated center information display. The dash elements and interior trim pieces are designed to avoid visible damage from daily use. A dark headliner also hides scuffs from loading/unloading passengers and cargo. Rear dark-tint privacy glass is standard.
Of special note are Subaru’s front seats, which offer excellent support and overall comfort, reducing driver fatigue. The front seats also feature slimmed-down shoulder areas for better visibility and access to the rear seats.
Movin’ on up
Additionally, Subaru has brought the Forester up to luxury brand standard with many standard and trim-based additional features. All trim levels feature a comprehensive list of standard features including Remote Keyless Access; Tire Pressure Monitoring System with Individual Wheel Display; Steering Responsive LED Headlights with Automatic High Beam; Welcome Lighting; and power door locks, windows and side mirrors.
Available for the first time on a Subaru model, a new kick sensor-activated Hands-Free Power Rear Gate enables owners to open and close the rear gate automatically simply by placing their foot under the rear bumper cover. Once you’ve got the rear hatch open, standard heavy-duty utility hooks in the rear cargo area offer a wider range of solutions for hanging points, lifestyle accessories and more. There are a total of eight locations, three on each side of the cargo space and two on the rear gate.
Additional trim-dependent features include a wireless phone charger in the center console and an all-weather package with heated seats, mirrors and wipers. The Touring trim now comes equipped with ventilated front seats.
Under the hood
All Forester models announced this week at the LA Auto Show feature the brand’s workhorse 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine, rated at 180 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. Power is passed through a continuously variable transmission to all four wheels using Subaru’s trademark symmetrical all-wheel drive system.
Forester includes X-Mode for off-road use, which implements traction enhancement and hill descent control that allows Subaru products to traverse all but the most demanding trails.
While all Subarus announced today will use the standard engine, the rumor on the LA Auto Show floor was that a hybrid drivetrain is in the works. Also, Subaru has not announced an update to the existing Forester Wilderness trim, but if past history is an indication, that off-road trim will follow the general release in a matter of months.
Safety and pricing
Forester has a long record of safety. The outgoing Forester received the 2023 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award. This marks the 17th consecutive year Forester has earned that rating, more than any other small SUV. In addition, the outgoing Forester received the highest possible rating for front crash prevention from IIHS.
The prior Forester also earned top marks with a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA). Subaru anticipates the all-new 2025 Forester will continue to deliver exemplary safety performance.
Pricing for the 2025 Forester was not announced in Los Angeles but will be available in the spring of 2024 when the new Forester goes on sale.