New for 2017

The 2017 Subaru Forester adds new driver assist features, a torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system for turbocharged models, and more comfort and convenience features. It also boasts slightly increased fuel economy.

One of the Original Crossovers

Crossovers are all the rage now, but some companies have more experience with them than others. Subaru started out selling all-wheel drive sedans and wagons as alternatives to gas-guzzling SUVs, and introduced the original Forester in 1998 as its first dedicated utility vehicle. While other carmakers are just now entering the segment, Subaru has almost two decades of experience to pour into the 2017 Forester.

Performance

The 2017 Forester sticks to the same reliable Subaru formula of standard all-wheel drive and boxed-four engines, but with some tweaks to further improve efficiency and performance.

Base models still come equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which produces 170 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. With the optional CVT automatic transmission, this powertrain is now rated at 28 mpg combined (26 mpg city, 32 mpg highway)* by the EPA. That’s an increase of 2 mpg city and 1 mpg combined over the 2016 model, while highway mileage is unchanged. Subaru also offers a six-speed manual transmission with this engine, but fuel-economy ratings aren’t available yet.

Channeling the spirit of Subaru’s sporty WRX, the Forester also has an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Available only with the CVT, this engine produces 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The EPA rates it at 25 mpg combined (23 mpg city, 27 mpg highway).* That’s the same rating as the 2016 Forester.

The turbocharged engine may not get any efficiency improvements, but it is paired with a more sophisticated all-wheel drive system for 2017. Based on technology developed for the WRX, the optional system uses torque vectoring to improve handling. Torque vectoring shunts power side to side to help turn a car into corners. Other hardware changes include quicker steering and an available X-Mode traction assist system on certain models.

Features

The 2017 Subaru Forester is a five-door, five-seat compact crossover utility vehicle. It’s available in four trim levels, priced starting from $22,595.**

Standard equipment on the base Forester 2.5i includes all-wheel drive, power mirrors and door locks, cruise control, remote keyless entry, 6.2-inch STARLINK™ multimedia system, and other features. The Premium builds on the base model, incorporating its standard equipment and adding 17-inch alloy wheels, power driver’s seat, automatic climate control, rear spoiler, 7.0-inch STARLINK™ multimedia system, and illuminated dual vanity mirrors. A power tailgate with auto close and height memory is available as an option.

The Limited adds even more standard equipment, including heated front seats, one-touch folding rear seatback, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, leather seating, and other features.

The top Forester model is the Touring, which includes standard and much of the optional equipment from the other models, as well as 18-inch alloy wheels, LED steering-responsive headlights, keyless access with push-button start, two-position driver’s seat memory, and an eight-speaker Harman/Kardon® audio system. A navigation system is optional.

Design

While there are significant changes under the skin, the 2017 Subaru Forester is largely unchanged in terms of exterior styling. Subaru refined the design with a new front bumper on non-turbocharged models, an available rear spoiler, new alloy wheel designs, and new headlights.

In addition to giving the Forester a different look, the headlights incorporate some new features. They get optional high-beam assist—which automatically switches between high and low beam—and a system that turns the headlight beams in sync with the steering wheel.

Like the exterior, the interior retains its clean and straightforward design. For 2017, the Forester gains added convenience features including a new multifunction steering wheel with audio, Bluetooth®, and cruise control switches, along with an available memory system for the driver’s seat. These join useful standard features like a standard Starlink® multimedia system with 6.2-inch touchscreen display (a 7.0-inch display is optional).

Of course, the main reason for buying an SUV is utility, and the Forester doesn’t disappoint there. It boasts 108.3 cubic feet of total passenger volume, 34.4 cubic feet of cargo volume with all seats in place, and 74.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

Safety

Standard safety equipment on the 2017 Subaru Forester includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction controls, rearview camera, and a full array of airbags. Optional features include adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, and reverse automatic braking.

Verdict

The 2017 Subaru Forester is a great small crossover. What else would you expect from the company that knows all-wheel drive better than just about anyone else?

Be sure to contact us online or visit Herb Gordon Subaru at 3161 Automobile Blvd, Silver Spring, MD 20904 to schedule a test drive.

*EPA-estimated fuel economy. Actual mileage may vary.

**Manufacturer's suggested retail price does not include destination and delivery charges, tax, title and registration fees. Destination and delivery includes handling and inland freight fees and may vary in some states. Prices, specifications, options, features and models subject to change without notice.

Image Credit: Subaru