HIGHS Good at most everything that matters to crossover buyers, spacious cabin, relaxed ride and handling.LOWSLethargic acceleration, uninspired design, few luxuries come standard.VERDICTIn its quest for automotive domination, Subaru engineered all the fun out of the Forester.OverviewSubaru’s adventurous brand image and practical nature converge perfectly with the 2020 Forester SUV. It’s similar in size to the Outback station wagon but offers a little extra ground clearance for when hauling your kayak by hand down to the shoreline is too much trouble. Cargo space is excellent and the simplistic interior design will speak to the sensible car buyers looking for something that’s well-made but not particularly flashy. There’s a reason Subaru sells so many of these compact SUVs—they’re easy to love and hard to fault. We’d like a bit more oomph from the powertrain and more engagement behind the wheel, but for the majority of buyers, the Forester’s four-cylinder engine, continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), and standard all-wheel drive will be perfectly adequate.What’s New for 2020?The Forester was all new for 2019, so Subaru hasn’t made many changes for 2020; however, there are a few new features that buyers might find interesting. The standard adaptive cruise control system gains a lane-centering feature, the tire-pressure monitor now displays the pressure in each tire, an LED lamp illuminates the license plate on all models, and a rear-seat reminder alerts the driver to check the back seat upon exiting the vehicle if the rear doors were opened prior to the start of the trip. Premium models now come standard with the contents of last year’s All-Weather package—heated exterior mirrors, heated front seats, and a windshield wiper de-icer—and touring models get LED cargo-area dome lights.Pricing and Which One to Buy- Base: $25,505 – Premium: $28,405 – Sport: $30,005 – Limited: $32,105 – Touring: $35,605While the Limited and Touring trims are much fancier, we think the Premium model offers the best mix of value and features. The exterior upgrades—17-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, and body-color sideview mirrors—make it look less like a rental car and the interior includes luxuries such as a panoramic sunroof, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, reclining rear seatbacks, an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot, and a six-speaker sound system. Subaru hasn’t yet released pricing for the 2020 Forester, so we’ve estimated pricing for now.Engine, Transmission, and PerformanceAll Forester models are powered by the same 2.5-liter flat-four-cylinder engine that makes 182 horsepower and can tow 1500 pounds. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) routes the engine’s power to Subaru’s trademark all-wheel-drive system. At our test track, our 2019 Forester Touring test vehicle required 8.5 seconds to reach 60 mph—not exactly thrilling performance, but it’ll meet the needs of most buyers. Those looking for more oomph should check out the Honda CR-V or the turbocharged versions of the Mazda CX-5 and the Kia Sportage. For an SUV without any sporting intentions, the Forester’s handling is competent. The ride is compliant and refined, the steering is accurate, and the brakes are adequately strong for emergency stops.Fuel Economy and Real-World MPGWith EPA fuel-economy ratings that match much of the compact-crossover segment, the Forester will likely satisfy buyers seeking efficiency. In our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test, our Forester Touring test vehicle missed its highway-fuel-economy rating by 1 mpg, returning 32 mpg. However, that figure matches the result that the CR-V Touring and the Toyota RAV4 Adventure delivered.Interior, Comfort, and CargoThe Forester’s cabin is a straight-forward, frill-free affair with a good driving position and great outward visibility. Our Touring model’s interior was nicely finished with caramel-colored leather on the seats, door panels, and dash; textured plastic trim layered on the rest of the cabin looked and felt of high quality, too, while glossy-black plastic on the center stack and the chromed and matte-metallic plastic trims spruced things up quite well. The back seat is plenty spacious (there is no third-row option), and even adults should find the bench seat a comfortable perch for road trips. We fit 11 of our carry-on suitcases behind the back seat and a whopping 23 with the back seats folded. That’s more than either the CX-5 or the RAV4 could muster, but the CR-V maxed out at 25 carry-ons with its rear seats stowed.Infotainment and ConnectivityAll Forester models come standard with a touchscreen infotainment system using Subaru’s latest Starlink interface. Base, Premium, and Sport models come standard with a 6.5-inch display, but a larger 8.0-inch unit is optional on the Sport and standard on the Limited and Touring models. Two USB ports are provided for front-seat passengers; two more are optional and reside on the back of the center console, giving rear-seat passengers a way to juice their smartphones. Navigation is available only on the Limited and Touring, but for those who decide to stick with a lower model, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability are both standard and can provide turn-by-turn directions broadcast from the user’s device. Onboard Wi-Fi via a 4G LTE data connection is standard on all but the base Forester.Safety and Driver-Assistance FeaturesThe Forester earned a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for 2019. All models come standard with Subaru’s EyeSight suite of camera-based driver-assistance features. Key safety features include: – Standard automated emergency braking – Standard adaptive cruise control – Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assistWarranty and Maintenance CoverageThe Forester’s warranty is basic, and buyers will be paying out of pocket for maintenance visits. Rivals such as the Sportage and the Hyundai Tucson—both of which offer a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty—and the RAV4—which offers two years of complimentary scheduled maintenance—provide more value here than the Subaru. – Limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles – Powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles – No complimentary scheduled maintenanceVehicleEPA ClassificationSmall Sport Utility Vehicles 4WDDrivetrainAll WheelEngineEngine Order CodeNAEngine Type and Required FuelRegular Unleaded H-4Displacement (liters/cubic inches)2.5 L/152Fuel SystemGasoline Direct InjectionMaximum Horsepower @ RPM182 @ 5800Maximum Torque @ RPM176 @ 4400Cooling System Capacity (quarts)NATransmissionTransmission Order CodeNATransmission DescriptionCVT w/ODNumber of Transmission Speeds7First Gear Ratio (:1)3.60 – 0.75Second Gear Ratio (:1)NAThird Gear Ratio (:1)NAFourth Gear Ratio (:1)NAFifth Gear Ratio (:1)NASixth Gear Ratio (:1)NASeventh Gear Ratio (:1)0.56Reverse Ratio (:1)3.69Final Drive Axle Ratio (:1)3.70Transfer Case Gear Ratio, high (:1)NATransfer Case Gear Ratio, low (:1)NAClutch SizeNAFuel Economy and RangeEPA Greenhouse Gas ScoreNACO2 Emissions, 15K mi/year (tons)6.1Range, city/highway (miles)431.60 / 547.80EPA Fuel Economy, combined/city/highway (mpg)29 / 26 / 33EPA Fuel Economy Equivalent (for hybrid and electric vehicles), combined/city/highway (MPGe)N/A / N/A / N/AFuel TankFuel Capacity / Gas Tank Size16.6Aux Fuel Tank Capacity (gallons)NAExterior DimensionsWheelbase (inches)105.1Length (inches)182.1Width, without mirrors (inches)71.5Height (inches)68.1Front Track Width (inches)61.6Rear Track Width (inches)61.8Minimum Ground Clearance (inches)8.7Rear Door Opening Height (inches)NARear Door Opening Width (inches)NALiftover Height (inches)28.4Interior DimensionsPassenger / Seating Capacity5Total Passenger Volume (cubic feet)107.8Front Head Room (inches)40.2Front Leg Room (inches)43.3Front Shoulder Room (inches)58.2Front Hip Room (inches)54.1Second Row Head Room (inches)37.7Second Row Leg Room (inches)39.4Second Row Shoulder Room (inches)57.2Second Row Hip Room (inches)53.6Cargo Area DimensionsCargo Space/Area Length Behind First Row (inches)73.1Cargo Space/Area Length Behind Second Row (inches)35.7Cargo Space/Area Length Behind Third Row (inches)NACargo Space/Area Width at Beltline (inches)51.2Cargo Bed Width Between Wheelhousings (inches)43.3Cargo Bed Height (inches)32.4Cargo Space/Area Behind Front Row (cubic feet)70.9Cargo Space/Area Behind Second Row (cubic feet)28.9Cargo Space/Area Behind Third Row (cubic feet)28.9SteeringSteering TypeRack-PinionSteering Ratio (:1)NATurns, lock to lockNATurning Diameter / Radius, curb to curb (feet)35.4Turning Diameter / Radius, wall to wall (feet)NASuspensionFront Suspension TypeStrutRear Suspension TypeDouble WishboneFront Shock Absorber Diameter (mm)NARear Shock Absorber Diameter (mm)NAFront Anti-Roll Bar Diameter (inches)NARear Anti-Roll Bar Diameter (inches)NABrakesBrake Type4-Wheel DiscAnti-Lock-Braking System4-WheelFront Brake Rotors, diameter x thickness (inches)11.6Rear Brake Rotors, diameter x thickness (inches)11.2Rear Drums, diameter x width (inches)NAWheels and TiresFront Wheel Size (inches)18 X 7Front Wheel MaterialAluminumFront Tire SizeP225/55HR18Rear Wheel Size (inches)18 X 7Rear Wheel MaterialAluminumRear Tire SizeP225/55HR18Spare Wheel Size (inches)CompactSpare Wheel MaterialSteelSpare Tire SizeCompactTowingMaximum Towing Capacity (pounds)1500Maximum Trailer Weight, dead weight hitch (pounds)1500Maximum Tongue Weight, dead weight hitch (pounds)150Maximum Trailer Weight, weight distributing hitch (pounds)1500Maximum Tongue Weight, weight distributing hitch (pounds)150Weight InformationBase Curb Weight (pounds)3531Total Option Weight (pounds)0.00Maximum Payload Capacity (pounds)NACurb WeightNAElectricalCold Cranking Amps @ 0° FNAMaximum Alternator Capacity (amps)NAMechanicalEngine: 2.5L 4 Cyl DOHC 16V w/VVT -inc: Dual Active Valve Control System (DAVCS) variable valve timingTransmission: Lineartronic CVT -inc: 7-speed manual shift mode, hill descent control (HDC) and X-MODE: dual mode system3.70 Axle RatioGVWR: 4,891 lbsEngine Auto Stop-Start FeatureTransmission w/Driver Selectable ModePaddle-Shift Control SwitchesFull-Time All-WheelBattery w/Run Down ProtectionTowing Equipment -inc: Trailer Sway ControlGas-Pressurized Shock AbsorbersFront And Rear Anti-Roll BarsElectric Power-Assist Speed-Sensing Steering16.6 Gal. Fuel TankSingle Stainless Steel Exhaust w/Polished Tailpipe FinisherPermanent Locking HubsStrut Front Suspension w/Coil SpringsDouble Wishbone Rear Suspension w/Coil Springs4-Wheel Disc Brakes w/4-Wheel ABS, Front And Rear Vented Discs, Brake Assist, Hill Hold Control and Electric Parking BrakeBrake Actuated Limited Slip DifferentialExteriorWheels: 18″ x 7.0J Black Finish Aluminum AlloyTires: 225/55R18 98H All-SeasonSteel Spare WheelCompact Spare Tire Mounted Inside Under CargoClearcoat PaintExpress Open/Close Sliding Glass Panoramic 1st And 2nd Row Sunroof w/Power SunshadeBody-Colored Front BumperBody-Colored Rear Bumper w/Black Rub Strip/Fascia AccentBlack Bodyside Cladding and Black Wheel Well TrimBlack Side Windows Trim and Black Front Windshield TrimBody-Colored Door HandlesBody-Colored Power Heated Side Mirrors w/Manual Folding and Turn Signal IndicatorFixed Rear Window w/Variable Intermittent Wiper and DefrosterDeep Tinted GlassVariable Intermittent Wipers w/Heated Wiper ParkGalvanized Steel/Aluminum PanelsLip SpoilerBlack GrilleLiftgate Rear Cargo AccessTailgate/Rear Door Lock Included w/Power Door LocksRoof Rack Rails OnlyPerimeter/Approach LightsLED BrakelightsFully Automatic Projector Beam Led Low/High Beam Daytime Running Auto-Leveling Auto High-Beam HeadlampsFront Fog LampsEntertainmentRadio: Subaru Starlink 6.5″ Multimedia Plus System -inc: AM/FM stereo HD Radio w/single-disc CD player w/MP3/WMA/CRR/RW file capability, multi-touch gesture high resolution display, 6.5″ LCD screen, voice activated controls, Bluetooth audio streaming connectivity, hands-free phone connectivity and hands-free SMS text messaging connectivity, iPod control capability, rear-vision camera display, SiriusXM All Access radio and Travel Link (subscription required), smartphone integration: AHA, Android Auto, CarPlay and Pandora, Starlink cloud applications: refer to subaru.com for app availability, dual USB input ports, 3.5mm auxiliary input jack, 6 speakers and body color roof mounted antennaRadio w/Seek-Scan, Clock, Speed Compensated Volume Control, Steering Wheel Controls and Radio Data System2 LCD Monitors In The FrontInteriorHeated Front Bucket Seats -inc: 10-way power driver’s seat w/2-way power lumbar support and 4-way manual front passenger seat adjuster, height and tilt adjustable front head restraints and driver and passenger front seat back pocket8-Way Driver SeatPassenger Seat60-40 Folding Bench Front Facing Manual Reclining Fold Forward Seatback Rear SeatManual Tilt/Telescoping Steering ColumnGauges -inc: Speedometer, Odometer, Tachometer, Trip Odometer and Trip ComputerPower Rear WindowsMobile Hotspot Internet AccessLeather/Metal-Look Steering WheelFront CupholderRear CupholderValet FunctionRemote Keyless Entry w/Integrated Key Transmitter, 2 Door Curb/Courtesy, Illuminated Entry, Illuminated Ignition Switch and Panic ButtonProximity Key For Doors And Push Button StartRemote Releases -Inc: Power Cargo Access and Mechanical FuelCruise Control w/Steering Wheel ControlsDistance Pacing w/Traffic Stop-GoAutomatic Air ConditioningHVAC -inc: Underseat Ducts and Console DuctsLocking Glove BoxDriver Foot RestFull Cloth HeadlinerCloth Door Trim InsertInterior Trim -inc: Metal-Look Instrument Panel Insert, Metal-Look Console Insert and Chrome/Metal-Look Interior AccentsLeather/Metal-Look Gear Shifter MaterialSport Cloth Upholstery -inc: orange stitchingDay-Night Rearview MirrorDriver And Passenger Visor Vanity Mirrors w/Driver And Passenger Illumination, Driver And Passenger Auxiliary MirrorFull Floor Console w/Covered Storage, Mini Overhead Console w/Storage and 3 12V DC Power OutletsFront Map LightsFade-To-Off Interior LightingFull Carpet Floor Covering -inc: Carpet Front And Rear Floor MatsCarpet Floor Trim and Vinyl/Rubber MatCargo Area Concealed StorageRoll-Up Cargo CoverCargo Features -inc: Cargo Tray/OrganizerCargo Space LightsFOB Controls -inc: Cargo AccessSTARLINK Safety and Security (Subscription Required) Tracker SystemSmart Device Remote Engine StartInstrument Panel Bin, Driver / Passenger And Rear Door BinsPower Door Locks w/Autolock FeaturePower 1st Row Windows w/Driver And Passenger 1-Touch Up/DownSystems MonitorTrip ComputerOutside Temp GaugeDigital/Analog DisplaySeats w/Cloth Back MaterialManual Adjustable Rear Head RestraintsFront Center Armrest and Rear Center ArmrestPerimeter AlarmEngine Immobilizer3 12V DC Power OutletsAir FiltrationSafetyElectronic Stability Control (ESC)ABS And Driveline Traction ControlSide Impact BeamsDual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side AirbagsEyeSight Pre-Collision BrakingEyeSight Lane Keep Assist Lane Keeping AssistEyeSight Lane Keep Assist Lane Departure WarningTire Specific Low Tire Pressure WarningDual Stage Driver And Passenger Front AirbagsCurtain 1st And 2nd Row AirbagsAirbag Occupancy SensorDriver Knee AirbagRear Child Safety LocksOutboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -inc: Rear Center 3 Point, Height Adjusters and PretensionersWarranty3 Basic Years / 36,000 Basic Miles5 Drivetrain Years / 60,000 Drivetrain Miles5 Corrosion Years / Unlimited Corrosion Miles3 Roadside Assistance Years / 36,000 Roadside Assistance MilesCrash Test ResultsOverall Rating5/5Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating5/5Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Driver5/5Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Passenger5/5Overall Side Crash Rating5/5Side Barrier Rating5/5Side Barrier Rating Driver5/5Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat5/5Side Pole Rating Driver Front Seat5/5Combined Side Rating Front Seat5/5Combined Side Rating Rear Seat5/5Rollover Rating4/5