Redesigned Forester Remains Subaru’s Capable, Practical Tool

Forester, Subaru’s third-best seller, gets a total makeover for the 2025 model year. It goes on sale in late May/early June, priced from $29,695 to $39,995.

Bob Gritzinger, Editor-in-Chief

May 6, 2024

4 Min Read
2025_Subaru_Forester frt3.4 action
Forester handles smooth roads with ease, but capable of tackling tougher terrain than most CUVs its size.

MISSOULA, MT – Climbing a steep, snow-covered grade pocked with deep, icy ruts might appear daunting to many CUV drivers, but not those behind the wheel of the 2025 Subaru Forester. Engaging the Snow & Mud setting in the high-riding Forester’s X-Mode traction-control system takes nearly all the drama out of the endeavor as we scoot up the incline.

Forester owners over the years have come to take this kind of capability for granted, but it often remains a revelation for the rest of the driving community, most of whom own competitors such as the mid-CUV segment sales leader Toyota RAV4 and another half-dozen including the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5 and the Forester’s larger sibling Outback.

Not to take too much away from the non-Subaru competition, but the Japanese automaker has built its franchise on fulltime all-wheel drive, dubbed Symmetrical AWD for its ability to shift power where it is most needed or most effective.

That latter part is key in the all-new 2025 Forester, which now offers the capability to anticipate cornering (via steering angle) and shift power on the fly to corner where it can be of the most benefit in making a turn. The AWD remains as capable as ever: as mentioned, the Forester readily clambered up a rutted (and closed to the public until spring) route.

Meanwhile, power remains the same from the 2.5L flat-four at 180 hp, and torque increases just 2 lb.-ft. (2.7 Nm) to 178 lb.-ft. (241 Nm). Responsiveness is hardly a forte at highway speeds, where even a floored accelerator doesn’t provoke a lot of giddyup. But the significantly lower sweet spot for maximum torque, now just 3,700 rpm vs. 5,700 rpm on the previous model, makes a huge difference in how the Forester responds to throttle inputs at low and medium speeds.2025_Subaru_Forester 2.5L H-4.jpg

In quick cornering, the Forester now employing the same dual-pinion steering rack as the WRX, pushes the edge of that sporty sedan’s world, handling with aplomb on pavement and allowing a bit of tail-out feel on dirt and gravel. Even chatter bumps don’t upset the chassis. The 8-speed manual mode allows the continuously variable transmission to hold ratios as needed, greatly enhancing the driver’s ability to control speed and chassis weight shifts, all making for some truly enjoyable driving at the limit.

This is all the more intriguing given that this is occurring in what many view as a relatively frumpy model compared with the smaller, sportier Crosstrek and the larger, sleeker Outback. While the Forester retains much of the utility, such as the tall and wide cargo opening and large glasshouse for easy visibility, the latest edition eschews some of the previous models’ chunky appearance for more stylish lines shared with its siblings.

But it’s what’s below the surface as part of the updates that matters more: new inner frame with more high-strength steel and triple the amount of structural adhesive making it 10% stiffer, along with added insulation throughout. The effect is deafening, as in deafening quiet compared with previous models that often seemed a bit on the tinny side. We drove for hours over rough gravel logging trails without noticing any squeaks, rattles or even much engine or road noise.

Another significant improvement lies in the Forester’s new bucket seats that are designed to hold the pelvis more securely with the aim of reducing head toss. After spending a day in the saddle, we can attest that the seats are surprisingly comfortable and supportive, and perform as advertised.2025_Subaru_Forester seats.jpg

Safety is always a priority at Subaru, and the Forester sports upgrades in its EyeSight automated driver assistance system, crash protection and in the addition of an available emergency stop assist function that will react and eventually slow the car to a safe stop if the driver becomes unresponsive.

An available 11.6-in. (29.5-cm) vertically oriented touchscreen smartly docks HVAC and key vehicle functions to the bottom of the screen for easy access. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Qi wireless charging and four USB ports complete the package. Subaru says the features are standard on Premium trim models and above, which represent some 90% of Foresters purchased.2025_Subaru_Forester interior dashboard view2.jpg

Subaru has sold 2.7 million Foresters since the vehicle was launched in 1997. Wards Intelligence data shows the automaker has delivered 827,000 copies since the model’s last full redesign in 2018. It paced neck-and-neck with Crosstrek and Outback for the sales lead in 2023 and outsold both models through the first quarter of this year.

With an all-new model in the wings, a devoted following and plenty of potential buyers looking for the brand’s surefooted AWD, solid safety credentials and high level of practicality, the Forester looks to make even more gains.

The 2025 Forester goes on sale in late May/early June, priced from $29,695 for the base model to $39,995 for the top trim Touring (plus $1,395 for destination and delivery).2025_Subaru_Forester rear 3.4.jpg




About the Author(s)

Bob Gritzinger

Editor-in-Chief, WardsAuto

Bob Gritzinger is Editor-in-Chief of WardsAuto and also covers Advanced Propulsion & Technology for Wards Intelligence.

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