Subaru has done it again! The Japanese carmaker has totally revamped its hot-seller Forester for 2025. The exterior and interior of the small SUV get a sleeker design though mechanically, the status quo has been maintained.

Once again, the Forester is equipped with a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed, 4-cylinder engine, albeit revised, putting out 180 horsepower @ 5800 rpm and 178 pounds-feet of torque @ 3300 rpm. The improved continuous variable transmission with 8-speed manual-shift capabilities contributes to compelling performance while ensuring gas savings. Suspension is handled via a MacPherson strut front and a double wishbone rear.  The electronic rack-and-pinion power assist steering has rightly been borrowed from Subaru’s WRX high-performance car.

As is well known, the popular SUV can navigate and dodge even the toughest of terrain, especially off-road, with ground clearance at a commendable 8.7 inches. Modified transmission gear ratios and final drive can only boost the handling, balance and response. Partial credit, of course, goes to the symmetrical all-wheel-drive system and X-Mode with snow/dirt and deep snow/mud options. Additional sound-insulating materials isolate the occupants from road and engine noise. Tow capacity is nonetheless 1,500 pounds while the fixed roof ladder-type rack touts a dynamic load capacity of 220 pounds and parked size at 800 pounds.

Ensconced on the unitized body structure is a redesigned front with gloss black bars that integrate into LED headlights while the bumper and side under guards are also black with dark gray inserts. The rear shows off a “symmetrical AWD” stamped strip, etched FORESTER in all caps and a stainless-steel exhaust tip. Step into cozy and classy perforated leather seats with attractive blue stitches. A twin cockpit with electroluminescent analog gauge displays for speedometer, tachometer, fuel and coolant temperature give the cabin a precious feel. Our Limited trim came with a larger 11.6-inch touch screen and circular knobs to control navigation, audio and phone and a fabulous-sounding 11-speaker, 576-watt Harman Kardon sound system. Cargo capacity is 27.6 with the rear seatback up and 69.1 cubic feet with the bench down. Other goodies are dual auto a/c, 60/40 power fold rear seat, rear-seat a/c outlets, overhead sunglass holder and panoramic power moon roof.

Standard safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, driver knee airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, vehicle dynamic control, stability and traction system, auto emergency steering, rearview camera, blind-spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights. The Eyesight assist monitor, which features lane departure warning and active cruise control, ensures that the driver maintains a straight path while the DriverFocus distraction mitigation system sounds a warning if its camera and facial recognition software finds tiredness signs or driver diversion.

Kudos to Subaru for revamping the Forester into an even finer appearing and performing SUV that owners can confidently take off the beaten path or use as a daily ride. Besides, significant cargo- and passenger-hauling capabilities, it is priced just right!


Tires: 225/55R18 all-terrain

Wheelbase: 105.1 inches

Length: 183.3 inches

Height: 68.1 inches

Width: 72 inches

Fuel capacity: 16.6 gallons

City: 26 mpg

Highway: 33 mpg

Base price: $35,995

Price as tested: $38,990

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