Plenty of Subaru aficionados love their rugged little Forester crossovers. The vehicles are roomy, safe, enjoy excellent fuel economy, and have a surprising amount of off-road capability. Ride and handling are near top of class. They’re also pretty affordable. Yet, there is always room to improve. What if it had a little more luxury? No problem – check out the new Touring edition.
Sculpted Posh Style
Compared to the previous generation, there’s more body and hood sculpting, but the Forester’s familiar upright command-of-the-trail presence remains. Our Touring model illuminates the road with LED headlamps and extra silverwork around the body to put a shine on it. The overall theme looks like a smaller version of the new full-size Ascent crossover, looking smart on 18 inch wheels and with ample 8.7 inches of ground clearance for real off-roading.
Real luxury reveals itself within. As with the Outback and Ascent Touring editions, Forester gets its own cushy brown leather upholstery and door accents. Discreet application of woodgrain adds class. Outboard front and rear seats are heated, as is the thick leather-wrapped steering wheel. Forester further steps it up with dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air vents, and power panoramic moonroof. Piano black finish on the center stack further distinguishes the cabin.
Anybody who’s spent time in past Foresters will appreciate the upgrade in electronics. The 8-inch infotainment screen, with proper tuning/volume knobs plus intuitive swipe capability, takes Subaru from one of the worst to among the best. Use it to command connected iThings through Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or Wi-Fi hotspot. Harman Kardon’s 576-watt audio system pumps sweet tunes through nine speakers while navigation shows the way.
Safety is a long-time priority for Subaru, and the Forester goes further. The automaker’s twin-camera EyeSight crash avoidance system comes standard, offering forward collision mitigation, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise to the masses. Our vehicle also had blind spot, rear cross traffic alert, and reverse auto braking systems. A camera watches your face to make sure you’re paying attention to the road ahead.
All New Architecture
By far the biggest and most noticeable change to the Forester is its all-new architecture. As with the other compact Subarus, the body structure is tomb solid while suspension is on-par with Audi. It’s able to glide over rough pavement without losing composure on twisty roads, and tuned for comfort, makes for pleasant long-distance touring. Selectable X-Mode configures the powertrain for varying terrain, allowing you to go further into the weeds than imagined. Torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive kicks it sharply around corners.
The new architecture is the perfect place to install a 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine that delivers 182 horsepower and 176 lb.-ft. of torque to the standard all-wheel-drive system. It routes through a continuously variable transmission that is one of the best ones available, able to keep the engine in its ideal rev range without sounding like a scorned Weedeater and enabling frugal fuel economy ratings of 26/33-MPG city/highway.
While most Subarus destined for domestic consumption are built in Indiana, this one is not. It comes from Japan, but we won’t hold that against this comfy luxurious crossover. A base price of $24,295 rises to $35,270 as-tested. Key competitors include the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Jeep Cherokee, GMC Terrain, and Nissan Rogue.
2019 Subaru Forester Touring
- Five-passenger, AWD Crossover
- Powertrain: 2.5-liter H4, CVT auto trans
- Output: 182hp/176 lb.-ft. torque
- Suspension f/r: Ind/Ind
- Wheels f/r: 18”/18” alloy
- Brakes f/r: disc/disc
- Must-have features: Style, Capability
- Fuel economy: 26/33 mpg city/hwy
- Assembly: Gunma, Japan
- Base/As-tested price: $24,295/$35,270