2019 Subaru Forester Limited new car reviews

Attention good people of Vermont: There’s an all-new Subaru Forester.

What’s new? It’s a tad bigger, a tad quicker and—to be honest—a tad nicer. It’s an evolution of a model that’s now been with us for 22 years.

Yes, the standard Forester stuff remains. It’s still all-wheel drive. It has a boxer engine. It looks like a Forester.

Something else that we learned from the press materials: “The compact SUV is renowned for its reliability with 97% of vehicles sold in the last ten years still on the road today.”

We test drove the Limited. It’s not the most loaded Forester available, but it comes nicely equipped: 18-inch alloy wheels, push-button start, leather-trimmed upholstery and all of today’s high-tech driver aids. The Limited starts at $30,795.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

I’m going to be brief on this one, and it’s not because I’m lazy: Before you drive any other CUV or whatever they call today’s smaller SUVs, go drive the Forester. It’s the original and it still does the job so perfectly.

It’s the right size. It’s the right shape. Most people won’t notice that it has a CVT transmission. If I could give this one three thumbs up, I would.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more articles.
View comments on the GRM forums
irish44j MegaDork
12/6/18 8:11 p.m.

I mean, the Forester hasn't really looked like the Forester since about 2007.......it was a boxy, crunchy, outdoorsy thing. Then in 2008 it turned into a crossover-that-looks-like-everything else and hasn't turned back. Not to say that the newer ones aren't actually better vehicles overall - just saying the whole "Crunchy Vermont" Forester has been gone for a decade. Well, Im' sure they still buy them in Vermont because snow, but whatever ;)

oldopelguy UberDork
12/6/18 10:43 p.m.

Problem with that Forester is that by the time you equip it the way you want it's more expensive than the Accent that comes with all the same stuff standard. 

skierd SuperDork
12/6/18 11:55 p.m.

I like the looks of the new Forester Sport, though I wish Sport meant “turbo” instead of “orange rocker trim”. 

Dootz New Reader
12/7/18 5:33 a.m.

I see no good argument for the Forester over the CX-5

Patented symmetrical AWD is overrated when snow tires exist

gunner HalfDork
12/7/18 7:18 a.m.

We bought a 2016 cpo Forester XT earlier this year for Mrs. Gunner and she absolutely loves it. That said she drove a crosstrek(what she came in to look at and wanted originally) and even with a stick shift couldn't get over its lack of power. We drove a 2017 outback also which she was fine with the power it had but that particular car was optioned out and more than we wanted to spend. She did want a stick but was not adverse to the cvt, and the car we got has the cvt. I wanted to hate it but it's probably the gold standard for cvt feel in my opinion. The thing I don't like is probably what the majority of appliance drivers do like is that it feels like a normal transmission. I think I'd like it to never feel like its shifting, but to just give maximum power or maximum economy based on where I plant my foot. Eh, thats debatable. I will say the turbo has gotten me to like the car more than anything, without that its a really good crossover but there is better competition. I don't know if this is anyone elses experience, but having sold cars almost 20 years ago I will say that the dealership experience has not changed one iota, despite Subaru marketing about love and all that jazz. I can see why millenials and everyone else are looking for alternatives.

No Time
No Time Dork
12/7/18 7:27 a.m.
oldopelguy said:

Problem with that Forester is that by the time you equip it the way you want it's more expensive than the Accent that comes with all the same stuff standard. 

When they first came out with the new Ascent model my wife was really excited about it so I played around with the configuration. 

At that time it seemed like it was about $10k-$15k more for the Ascent with similar options. The limited in the forester put you In the same ballpark as the lower ascent. 

I’d like to hear more about what David thought when driving the  new forester.  We liked the 2003 we had, but I’m sure 15 years have led to some notable changes in the model 

We’re probably going to be looking to go new or very lightly used in about 2 years when my oldest son gets his license and takes over the Elantra, so I’m starting to watch what’s in the small to midsized SUV class that will fit a hockey bag or two in the cargo area. 

Our Preferred Partners