Los Angeles, Calif. – When one in four Subarus sold are Foresters, accounting for more than 200,000 units moved in Canada alone over the years (and more than 2.6 million sold in the U.S.), the Fuji-based carmaker can’t afford to mess this one up.
Good news, Forester fans, it hasn’t. Instead, Subaru celebrates the model’s core attributes, setting this new sixth-generation version up for more success.
The Forester has always been the brand’s “traditional SUV” amongst a family of more wagon-like crossovers and sporty machines, and, as such, has never minded being the tall, boxy machine it is. That big greenhouse provides excellent outward visibility, ample headroom, and a generous cargo hold.
For 2025, Subaru sought to fine-tune the Forester’s look, aiming for it to appear both more planted and more premium. The broad grille up front has grown in size, reaching to the new, sharper headlight design laterally, and down to a fresh lower fascia. The hexagonal shape of the grille is mimicked in the corners of the lower fascia, and ringed in a bronze colour on Sport trim versions.
The rear end sees the squat taillights flow into a thin bar that spreads the full width of the liftgate with the Subaru logo punctuating it in the middle. It works to make the Forester appear wider, but it’s a look that may be mistaken by some for a Ford Edge. The Forester name is now stamped into the sheet metal across the liftgate and, again, those hexagonal accents appear on the lower fascia.
With the Forester’s tall greenhouse being one of its key design features, Subaru’s stylists worked extensively to achieve the wider, more planted look they sought by sloping the roofline slightly, but also leaning the rear pillars inward. The shoulder line has been lowered by carving more glass area out of the doors.
Overall, the culmination of small, subtle changes seems to achieve the goal of making the Forester appear more modern, refined, and upscale compared to its predecessor.
To match the exterior, Subaru has given the Forester’s interior a bit of a glow-up too, adding nicer materials throughout. That said, the new cabin is now up to the levels of other contemporary Subarus with components and textures familiar to those who’ve spent time in the new Crosstrek, for instance. The diamond-pattern motif pressed into the dashboard is a nice, modern touch.
Subaru has made moves to make the Forester more peaceful inside, thanks to greater sound insulation, but also a quieter climate control system, and has increased the amount of structural adhesive utilized on seams and joints to stiffen the overall structure and mitigate vibrations, squeaks, and rattles over time.
Comfort and Safety
The somewhat sleeker style impacts the interior dimensions, but while shoulder room and cargo area height are reduced fractionally, hip room and cargo floor length improve, resulting in similar overall space when compared to the outgoing model – up to 2,017 L of cargo space, in fact.
The front seats have been re-shaped with the shoulder height cut down in the interest of allowing an easier reach into the back seat to attend to children or pets.
The Forester's base trim receives dual-stacked 7.0-inch screens to operate the infotainment and climate systems. The rest of the trims incorporate Subaru’s vertically oriented 11.6-inch touch screen that enables wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus the What3Words app to help adventurous Forester drivers pinpoint and communicate their location, even when far off mapped roads.
The new Forester also gets Subaru’s latest EyeSight driver assistance package as standard equipment. The system includes adaptive cruise control with automated collision avoidance braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-change assistance, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Subaru has baked in a new system to help safely stop the car if a driver proves non-responsive. The Forester will first visually try to get a driver’s attention before braking to a stop, and if equipped with Subaru’s Starlink connected services, will automatically call for emergency services.
Under the Hood
All 2025 Subaru Foresters will come with a normally aspirated 2.5L horizontally-opposed four-cylinder that’s largely carried over from the last generation. That said, a series of small tweaks to things like the fuel injection system, piston rings, engine mounts and radiator are all designed to help smooth the engine and increase durability. The horsepower slightly declines to 180 hp from 182, while the torque output rises 2 lb-ft to 178.
The new Forester carries on with a CVT, as before, but Subaru claims smoother operation thanks to upwards of 80 per cent of the transmission’s components being either changed or improved.
Bigger news on the drivetrain front will come next year with the addition of a Forester Hybrid that will borrow from Toyota’s latest-generation hybrid system.
Sportier Ride, but Still Capable
Subaru has taken the dual-pinion steering rack from its WRX sport sedan and fitted it to the Forester. When combined with suspension tweaks, it’s meant to give the SUV more responsive steering and flatter handling on-road. Even still, the Forester’s segment-leading ground clearance and good approach and departure angles mean it should still be one of the most adept compact crossovers when the pavement ends.
The Forester in Sport trim will get a standalone suspension tube that stiffens things up further, which when combined with its 19-inch wheel package, should be best suited for urban adventures.
Subaru isn’t mixing up the trim walk, keeping the five variations used previously.
The entry-level Convenience trim sees the greatest bump in standard equipment with the addition of 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, wiper de-icers, the liftgate spoiler and, of course, the latest EyeSight system.
The Touring trim benefits from the new EyeSight as well as a few minor additions, while the Sport now gets the premium Harman-Kardon sound system, and some snazzy bronze-coloured trim in addition to its bigger wheels.
The Limited trim gets minor updates while the range-topping Premier finally gets a 360-degree camera view system, ventilated seats, and a hands-free power rear liftgate.
The gnarliest Forester in Wilderness trim is expected to be a later addition next year.
This new Forester lineup adds refinement, comfort, style, and technology, without changing the fundamentals of what has made past Foresters so popular. It appears to be a wise evolutionary move without reinventing it.
The 2025 Subaru Forester is set to arrive in dealerships in Spring 2024 with official pricing due closer to that time.