The redesigned 2019 Subaru Forester marks the fifth generation of Subaru’s compact crossover. When it debuted 22 years ago, the original Forester was something of a novelty. But nowadays, compact crossovers are surpassing sedans in popularity, and Subaru faces a much wider array of competitors. To keep up with the competition, Subaru gave the Forester a major overhaul for the 2019 model year, but the automaker claims the new model is only $500 more expensive than the previous model year.
The 2019 Subaru Forester starts at $25,270, including a $975 destination charge. That price buys a base model, which includes standard features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane-keep assist. However, the base Forester rides on 17-inch steel wheels; aluminum wheels in the same size are a $600 option.
The Premium is a step up from the base model. Starting at $26,695, it adds standard features such as a Wi-Fi hot spot (separate data plan required) and a 10-way power driver’s seat. While the Forester isn’t a true off-roader, the Premium also gets hill descent control and an X-Mode for the all-wheel drive system that’s designed to make off-pavement excursions easier.
Starting at $28,795, the Forester Sport gets dressed up with 18-inch wheels and orange accents for a more aggressive look. It also gets LED fog lights, automatic high beams, keyless access, and the All-Weather Package (heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors, windshield de-icer) that is optional on the Premium.
The penultimate Forester trim level is the Limited, which starts at $30,795. It adds Subaru’s Steering Responsive LED headlights, which turn with the steering wheel, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, voice controls, and a power tailgate.
Finally, the Forester Touring ($34,295) gets standard reverse autonomous braking, an 8-inch infotainment system with navigation, nine-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, power front passenger seat, and heated rear seats. The Touring also debuts Subaru’s DriverFocus system, which uses facialrecognition software to identify driver fatigue, and can rouse the driver with audio and visual cues. It can also recognize up to five drivers and automatically change the seat and mirror positions and climate control to each driver’s preferred settings.
The 2019 Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive, and all trim levels use the same powertrain. A 2.5-liter boxer-four engine makes 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque, and is harnessed to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Higher trim levels get a manual mode with seven fake gears and paddle shifters. The Forester is based on the same Subaru Global Platform used by the Ascent and Impreza.
The 2019 Subaru Forester hits showrooms this fall.