Upon your search for the perfect compact crossover SUV, you will likely come across the 2015 Subaru Forester.
Its not as flashy as other competitors, and its interior environment remains simplistic, but its comfortable cabin and spacious interior are perfect for families, and its standard all-wheel drive system will pull you through winter without so much as breaking a sweat.
From then to now
Introduced in the 1990s as a small crossover wagon with AWD, the Subaru Forester combined some of that traditional SUV ruggedness with certain driving characteristics of a smaller car, hence the automaker’s old advertising slogan “SUV Tough, Car Easy.” The Forester shared the same platform as its Impreza sibling, which allowed the vehicle to be more agile than a typical utility vehicle, and therefore easier to manoeuvre in the city.
Up against rivals like the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Rogue, Subaru’s compact SUV continues to offer a comfortable ride and spacious interior, and due to last year’s redesign, it is more fuel efficient, more stylish, and its technology and features feel more up-to-date with the rest of its class.
The 2015 Subaru Forester is divided into two model groups: the 2.5i and the 2.0XT. All 2.5i models are equipped with a 2.5-litre, horizontally opposed, four-cylinder Subaru Boxer engine, producing a total 170 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. Although initial acceleration is a bit sluggish for highway merging and passes, it is the more fuel-efficient option, and should prove satisfactory for your daily travels. The engine can be paired to a standard six-speed manual transmission with hill holder, or an optional Continuously Variable Transmission with available paddle shifters, and X-Mode, the latter of which provides added traction for the worst conditions. Hill descent control is optional on the base 2.5i model with the CVT.
If you dig the new 2015 Forester but prefer a little more oomph under the hood, 2.0XT models are powered by a 2.0-litre, horizontally opposed, turbocharged four-cylinder Subaru Boxer engine that offers lively acceleration. Paired to a standard CVT transmission with paddle shifters, Si-Drive and X-Mode, the engine pushes a total 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
Style, interior & features
More modern than the previous generation, the 2015 Forester is not sleek-looking like the Mazda CX-5 or Nissan Rogue, but it does look good, and appears sportier and more aggressive than before. Integrated side mirror LED turn signals, fog lights, a chrome grille, silver finish roof rails, and a power sunroof are available, and should add a little more polish to your vehicle.
When stepping into the SUV, you will notice that it is rather tame in terms of style. We do enjoy a nice, clean and simple cabin layout, with easy-to-find and -use controls, and an overall feeling of comfort and spaciousness. Excellent outward visibility also gives this SUV an open-air feel.
The base 2.5i model is equipped with standard features like voice-activated Bluetooth, USB audio integration, heated front seats, and for 2015 a rearview camera is now offered on all models.
Available features to consider include HD radio, a multimedia system featuring a voice-activated GPS navigation system, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, SMS text messaging, and satellite radio, among others. A power driver’s seat, leather seating surfaces, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an 8-speaker Harman Kardon system are also among the features you can opt for.
In terms of safety, we would suggest taking a look at Subaru’s EyeSight technology that utilizes a pair of stereoscopic cameras mounted on the windshield to keep tabs on the road ahead. It includes pre-collision braking, pre-collision brake assist, pre-collision throttle management, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane sway warning, and lead vehicle start alert. It comes standard on trims that include the Technology Option.
To buy or not to buy?
The fact that Subaru’s fourth-generation Forester was fully redesigned for 2014 has made it a more appealing choice for modern car buyers, and it is the only vehicle in its class to offer standard AWD, which is a must-have for Canadian car buyers. The extra traction going to all four wheels and the Forester’s composed handling means that winter driving can be done in a safer and more enjoyable manner. And for the every city, highway and rural drive, the Forester’s comfortable and stable ride should keep you happy all year-round.
As for fuel efficiency, after one week of test-driving the 2015 Forester 2.5i with the CVT, our observed, combined city/highway fuel consumption rating is 9.2 L/100km, over 529 km, which is actually quite good for an AWD compact SUV. Estimated fuel economy ratings via the manufacturer are 9.6/ 7.5 litres per 100 kilometres (city/highway).
When it comes to interior space, families in particular will appreciate the 2015 Forester five-passenger SUV for its spacious cabin and rear seats that offer ample legroom, headroom and shoulder room, and with an equally roomy cargo area, one cannot but consider this vehicle.
Overall, the 2015 Subaru may not be the flashiest option in its category, but its handsome exterior, comfortable, spacious and simple interior, good fuel economy ratings, and overall practicality, as well as standard AWD make this model a solid choice among compact SUVs.
2015 Subaru Forester gallery