Subaru Forester was one of the trailblazers in the SUV market when it was launched here
in 1997. Starting as a relatively conservative station wagon, it evolved over the years into a
stylish mid-sized vehicle.
Through the generations Forester has been a consistently high seller despite the growing
number of competitors in what is now Australia’s most competitive market segment.
The latest MY2022 Forester arrived here in August 2021 with a moderate facelift, some
chassis tweaks and a tech upgrade.
Seven variants are available including two with mild hybrid power.
The styling of Forester over the years has been relatively conservative and that hasn’t
changed with the current (fifth generation) model which arrived here in 2018. The MY2200
update added a larger version of the classic Subaru hexagonal front grille, bolder
bumpers, reworked headlight cluster and foglight design and more muscular guards but
the vehicle is clearly identifiable as a Forester.
Three new colours take the palette up to nine choices. All come standard rather than as
As is the norm, Forester has grown in size over the years, from 4.45 metres long in 1997
to 4.64 metres in 2022 and from 1.59 to 1.75 metres in height. This converts into excellent
space in all directions with plenty of rear leg, foot and headroom thanks to a longer
Rear-seat occupants are well catered for with two air vents, two USB ports and a drop-
down armrest with two drink holders
At the rear there’s 498 litres of cargo capacity in the boot with the rear seatbacks in place
and some extra pockets for hidden items the floor alongside a full-size spare wheel,
another bonus for potential off-road driving.
The rear seatbacks can be folded by electric release levers at the sides of the boot to
expand space to 1740 litres. There are also hooks for shopping bags on the sides of the
boot and one the inside of the tailgate.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The 2.5-litre direct injection four-cylinder horizontally opposed engine has power and
torque peak at 136 kW and 239 Nm, respectively.
Forester Hybrid uses a combination of a four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine producing 110 kW of
power at 6000 rpm and 196 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm linked via Lithium-Ion battery that p
produces 12.3 kW of power and 66 Nm of torque. The system automatically changes
between three modes: Motor Assist EV driving, Motor Assist electric plus petrol engine
driving, and petrol engine driving.
Subaru’s Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission is used in both powertrains.
Forester gets a five-star ANCAP rating, and has had that maximum score for the past 18
years due to continually building on its safety features.
Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist system is standard across the Forester range. It uses a
combination of cameras and radars to provide features that include Adaptive Cruise
Control; Autonomous Emergency Steering; Emergency Lane Keep Assist; Lane Departure
Prevention; Lane Departure Warning; Lane Sway Warning; Lead Vehicle Start Alert; Pre-
Collision Brake Assist; Pre-Collision Braking and Throttle Management; and Speed
The Driver Monitoring System – Driver Focus is standard from all models above the entry-
level 2.5i. It uses an infrared LED and a camera to monitor the driver for signs of
inattention or drowsiness warnings as well as other convenience features.
Subaru’s Vision Assist adds Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross
Traffic Alert in all models. Variants above the 2.5i also get Reverse Automatic Braking,
Adaptive Driving Beam together with front and side cameras.
There are Isofix child seat restraint points in the outer rear seats.
All Subaru Foresters have an 8-inch touchscreen; Bluetooth with phone and audio
streaming; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity (both wired); four USB sockets
(two in the front centre console and two in the rear); DAB+ digital radio; and voice
A smaller screen located at the top of the dashboard shows a variety of drive settings that
can be scrolled through via steering wheel controls. It also acts as the display for the
reversing and side-view cameras.
There’s a six-speaker sound system in all models below the two S models which get an
eight-speaker Harman Kardon unit.
Premium, Sport and S all get satellite navigation.
The older and less supple we get the more importance we place on the ability to enter and
exit a vehicle with a minimum of bending and head scraping. In this regard we found
Forester to be just about the best in its class.
Good interior room is a real advantage of Forester’s squared-off styling. The front seats
have plenty of legroom, width and headroom. The rear seat can take three people without
too much of a hassle, though it’s better if they are children, rather than adults.
Driving visibility around town is excellent in all directions including the large rear window, a
feature that is frequently compromised in its competitors. The housing for the Eyesight
equipment at the top of the windscreen can be a bit distracting at first but certainly doesn’t
affect forward visibility.
Ride comfort is nicely balanced between comfort and grip. Noise and vibration levels are
kept to the sort of levels that normally are found only in large sedans.
Handling is pretty good thanks to the all-wheel-drive system but keep in mind the Forester
is a crossover SUV, not a low-slung car, so don’t push it too hard through corners.
While most of its rivals come with the option of two-wheel drive every Forester has always
been exclusively all-wheel drive. This, together with ground clearance of 220 mm, 18.7-
degree approach angle and departure angle of 24.6 degrees, means it can tackle tougher
than average conditions in the bush and on the beach.
Fuel consumption is listed at 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres. We averaged 8.5 L/100 km
during our week-long test.
The Subaru brand commands a long history of customer satisfaction and loyalty which
partly explains the Forester’s prime position in the mid-sized SUV class over nearly 25
Despite an ageing engine the latest design refresh and technology enhancements,
together with competitive pricing, it seems likely that its success will continue.
AT A GLANCE
Forester 2.5i: $35,990
Forester 2.5i-L: $38,390
Forester 2.5i Premium: $41,140
Forester 2.5i Sport: $42,690
Forester 2.5i-S: $44,190
Forester 2.0 Hybrid L: $41,390
Forester 2.0 Hybrid S: $47,190
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Subaru dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Subaru Forester 2.5i Sport 2.5-litre CVT five-door wagon)
Capacity: 2.498 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders horizontally opposed
Maximum Power: 136 kW @ 5800 rpm
Maximum Torque: 239 Nm @ 4400 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.4 L/100km
CO2 emissions: 168 g per kilometre
DRIVELINE: Lineartronic continuously variable automatic, AWD
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4640 mm
Wheelbase: 2670 mm
Width: 1815 mm
Height: 1730 mm
Turning Circle: 10.8 metres
Kerb Mass: 1553 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 63 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Five years / unlimited kilometres