May
08
2019 Subaru Forester Touring

2019 Subaru Forester Touring in Horizon Blue Pearl

2015 Audi Q52019 Subaru Forester Touring

Class: Compact Crossover

Miles Driven: 357

Fuel Used: 12.6 gallons

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortA
Power and PerformanceB-
Fit and FinishA
Fuel EconomyB+
ValueB+
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyA
Tall GuyA
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs182-hp 2.5L
Engine TypeFlat four
Transmission CVT automatic
Drive WheelsAll-wheel drive

Real-world fuel economy: 28.3 mpg

Driving mix: 30% city, 70% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 26/33/29 (city/highway/combined)

Fuel type: Regular gasoline

Base price: $34,295 (not including $975 destination charge)

Options on test car: None

Price as tested: $35,270

 

Quick Hits

The great: Outward visibility, generous passenger and cargo space

The good: Nice mix of passenger-car and SUV elements, plenty of standard safety features

The not so good: Somewhat intrusive engine stop/start system

More Forester price and availability information

 

Rick Cotta

In the large and popular sphere of compact crossovers, Subaru’s Forester stands out for its visibility, passenger and cargo space, and available safety features. As we’ve covered the Forester broadly in our First Spin of the redesigned 2019 model and focused in on the penultimate Limited trim level in a previous Test Drive report, we’ll look here at some highlights and additional details noted during our evaluation of a top-line Touring.

2019 Subaru Forester Touring

The Forester’s tall build allows for lots of glass area that aids visibility and contributes to an airy interior feel. All-wheel drive is standard, as are a CVT automatic transmission and Subaru’s EyeSight suite of high-tech safety features.

Although this $35,270 Touring listed for nearly $2000 more than the previously tested Limited – which included a $1695 option package – it adds quite a bit for that extra money. Standard on the Touring are not only the navigation system, Harman Kardon audio system, heated steering wheel, and reverse automatic braking contained in the aforementioned $1695 option package for the Limited, but also a memory driver seat, 8-way power passenger seat, and heated rear seats. The Touring is also the only model to offer Subaru’s DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System, which uses a dashboard camera to “see” if the driver’s face is pointed somewhere other than straight ahead and sounds a warning. We found this system to be – for better or worse — quite sensitive, but it certainly worked, sounding a chime if you looked away for just a couple of seconds.

2019 Subaru Forester Touring

Touring trimmings are very upscale, and the rearview camera displayed an impressively bright image at night. We also liked the Brake Hold function (activated by the “AVH” console button), which holds the brakes on for you at stops.

Part of the Forester’s “passenger space” appeal has to do with its relatively tall body build. There’s a lot of glass area above the beltline, allowing for an “airier” cabin feel than in most vehicles, and the door openings are tall, which eases the chore of getting in and out. Also (and new with the redesign), the door openings are undercut at the bottom to help avoid dirt transferring onto pant legs – a really nice touch.

2019 Subaru Forester Touring

The large, tall, cubic cargo area is accessible through an unusually wide opening, and a good amount of underfloor storage is highlighted by a horizontal channel that can hold the cargo cover.

Tops among its “cargo space” attributes are not just its sheer capacity, but also that the area is quite tall, the cargo-door opening is very wide (Subaru says you can slide a golf bag in sideways without having to tilt it), there’s quite a bit of underfloor storage space (including a slot that will hold the cargo cover – a great convenience), and the rear seat backs can be released from either inside the cabin or from the cargo compartment.

2019 Subaru Forester Touring

A nearly flat rear floor aids three-across seating, and our Touring included heated rear seats and dual USB plugs. The seat backs can be lowered either with a seat-back-mounted button or from the cargo compartment by flipping a lever.

2019 Subaru Forester Touring

Thankfully, it’s handy, because you may frequently be hitting the “off” button for the stop/start system, as restarts are kind of rough.

Another of the Forester’s strengths is its carlike driving feel. The ride was nicely absorbent over our rough Chicagoland streets and it feels nimble enough in city commuting. Although flooring the gas from a stop doesn’t result in the kind of “jump” some might like, our Forester averaged a respectable 8.44 seconds in the 0-60 dash, and the CVT transmission kicked down quickly for decent passing response. We also appreciated the Brake Hold function (activated by the AVH — for Auto Vehicle Hold — button on the console). Our only real complaint in this regard has to do with the engine stop/start system. Its restarts tended to be rather rough, and though you can deactivate the system with a press of a dashboard button, you have to do it every time you restart the vehicle.

One oddity cropped up – which is not so much a complaint as an observation.

2019 Subaru Forester Touring

Well, it looked like a good spot. But after placing my tollway transponder on the windshield, I got a warning that the EyeSight safety system was deactivated and noticed the high beams wouldn’t work. Seems I’d accidentally put the transponder in front of one of the stereo cameras. Moving it farther left fixed the problem.

Here in Illinois we have toll roads, which aren’t all that common throughout the country (though may get more so as infrastructure-improvement costs come into play). Taking some of the sting out of paying tolls is that we have a little transponder you stick on your windshield that allows you to drive under a sensor without stopping – bypassing a “booth” — and it bills you automatically.

It looked from the inside as though there was this perfect little indent in the windshield screening where the transponder could be placed. But after I put it there and drove for a while, I noticed a message come up on the instrument panel that the EyeSight safety system was deactivated, and also noticed the high beams didn’t work. Well ….

Turns out I had placed the transponder in front of the left-side camera (next to the inside rearview mirror), which effectively “blinded” the dual-camera system. I didn’t notice this until I looked at it from the outside, and moving it a bit to the left solved the problem. And no, I’m not going to tell you how long it took me to figure that out ….

Compared to the three most popular compact crossovers – the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Toyota RAV4 – the Forester is an “also ran” in terms of sales, which are only about half those of the top three. But the Forester compares very favorably to those rivals, making it a strong addition to any segment short list.

2019 Subaru Forester Touring

Forester is one of the larger compact crossovers, and it puts its size to good use by offering impressive passenger and cargo space. It also offers some very high-end features — including a comprehensive suite of safety items — along with fine driving dynamics and a convenient control layout, all of which makes it deserving of a spot on your shopping list.

Check out our Compact Crossover Best Buys

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2019 Subaru Forester Touring