2018 Subaru Forester

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2018 Subaru Forester Review

The Forester has always been a kind of dark horse in Subaru's stable, fusing the characteristics of a family station wagon, off road capable SUV and in some cases, an all-out sports car. This combination may sound nuts, but it has translated into an accomplished and much-loved car that is a jewel in Subaru's crown. With two available engine offerings, including a 250 hp 2.0T four-cylinder, and Subaru's signature all-wheel-drive system, there's versatility not seen in some of their other offerings, or those of rivals, either. Nearly a quarter of a century worth of development has transformed the Forester into a car that has a number of personalities, but whichever one you happen to meet will impress you with its sheer capability.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 6 /10
  • Performance 6 /10
  • Fuel Economy 7 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 10 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 7 /10
  • Reliability 10 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
7.9
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2018 Subaru Forester Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2017 Forester?

2018 sees the introduction of the Black Edition, which is basically a trim package that adds some menacing black-finished wheels as well as touch-ups to the grille and body trim. The theme continues on the inside where the Black Edition is wrapped in, you guessed it, black cloth upholstery and a black gloss dashboard. Limited spec Foresters get a new cargo area cover and the top of the range Limited steps up its game with Subaru's first-rate EyeSight safety systems as standard. For 2018, the 2.0XT Touring now benefits from Active Torque Vectoring.

Pros and Cons

  • The 2.0XT is a WRX wrapped in hiking boots
  • Superior cargo and interior space
  • Great visibility
  • Safety, safety, safety
  • Twitchy throttle response
  • Trails competitors in terms of features
  • Aging interior

Best Deals on 2018 Subaru Forester

2018 Subaru Forester Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.5i
2.5L Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$22,795
2.5i Premium
2.5L Flat 4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$25,695
2.5i Premium Black Edition
2.5L Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$27,345
2.5i Limited
2.5L Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$29,395
2.0XT Premium
2.0L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$29,495
See All 2018 Subaru Forester Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

The 2018 Forester strikes a good compromise between car-like handling and comfort, and SUV off-road capability. Electronically assisted steering makes the steering feel overly light sometimes but in general, delivers enough feel and accuracy to keep the driver engaged.

When pushing the Forester through a set of bends, the SUV-biased suspension and chassis setup comes to the fore. The standard tires offer a good amount of grip but expose the Forester's body roll. Don't let this deter you though; the Forester is quite capable of dealing with the bends. When taking the Forester off road, the elements that detract from its on-road handling abilities become its greatest benefits. A generous amount of ground clearance (8.7 inches to be exact) and appropriately sprung suspension allows the Forester to handle mild off-roading. Driver selectable X-Mode activates hill descent control and allows the power to be shifted to the corners with the most grip.

Verdict: Is the 2018 Subaru Forester A Good SUV?

The Subaru Forester has enjoyed over 20 years of success and has become a household name for people who need a practical and spacious family car that drives well, returns decent gas mileage but can still excite and deliver off-road thrills. The fact that the Forester can do all of these things should drive home the point as to why it's so good and so popular. The 2018 Forester keeps the torch burning bright, and is now safer and more capable than ever. Don't expect limo-like luxury, but the interior, though slightly dated, offers its occupants a comfortable and hard-wearing environment, perfect for families or hardcore adventure junkies. Performance and gas mileage is relatively good in comparison to its compact crossover rivals. The 2018 Forester has been awarded the ALG Residual Value Award for retaining its value better than any other vehicle in its class, and according to an IHS study, 97% of Subaru Forester vehicles sold in the last 10 years are still on the road today. The final feather in the Forester's cap is the fact that it's one of the safest cars in its class.

2018 Subaru Forester Comparisons

Honda CR-V Honda
Subaru Outback Subaru

2018 Subaru Forester vs Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is comparable to the Forester in a number of ways but does some things better, and of course, some things worse. For starters, the CR-V has more rear legroom and cargo space. The CR-V drives smoother and has less road noise as well. The CR-V has a better track record when it comes to reliability. The two cars are comparable in terms of engine performance and gas mileage; the CR-V comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-pot and you have the option of upgrading to a more powerful 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that pushes out 190 hp. The CR-V can boast that it won KBB.com's small SUV Best Buy of 2018 Award. The Subaru offers better visibility and headroom, and it's standard all-wheel drive and higher ground clearance gives it an edge over the Honda's front-wheel drive base model. The Honda CR-V starts off at $24,250 and both models hold their value really well.

See Honda CR-V Review

2018 Subaru Forester vs Subaru Outback

Subaru's lineup of crossover compacts/SUVs can seem to overlap, but Subaru has been clever in the way that it distinguishes its range. The Outback and Forester might seem like the same cars in a lot of ways, but the Forester is visibly more related to the compact SUV category, while the Outback can be seen as more of a family station wagon that's been lifted for the occasional dirt trail. The Outback is a longer car, suited to larger families, whereas the Forester is a taller and shorter car that's perfect for smaller and more adventurous families. Did we mention that the Forester and Outback don't share their top of the line engines? The Outback gets the naturally aspirated 3.6-liter flat-six producing 256 hp, while the Forester gets the WRX derived turbocharged flat-four that produces an equally respectable 250hp. The current Outback is coming to the end of its lifespan, while the Forester is fresh for 2019. The 2018 Outback is priced from $25,895.

See Subaru Outback Review

2018 Subaru Forester Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2018 Subaru Forester:

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