2021 Subaru Forester: The Pragmatic Choice

The 2021 Subaru Forester is the brand’s best-selling model in the U.S. Its sales are climbing faster than any other vehicle in the segment thanks to its ruggedly handsome looks, strong value, and standard AWD. For 2021, every Forester now gets adaptive LED headlights.

Unlike most compact crossovers, the 2021 Subaru Forester is one of the boxier ones. That means the greenhouse is upright and its front fascia looks squared off. Certain trims like the Sport model we tested get lots of black and orange accents throughout the exterior and vertical LED fog lights to distinguish it from the rest of the lineup. The Forester’s low front end is the result of the car’s horizontally opposed or boxer engine, which gives it a low center of gravity. In some ways, the Forester has a wagon-like vibe, similar to what you get from its larger sibling, the Outback. In the compact crossover class, the Subaru lands smack dab in the middle when it comes to size just.

That boxy profile pays dividends when it comes to interior space. The 2021 Subaru Forester has excellent visibility out and generous cargo space. Even with the optional moonroof, the Forester easily accommodates five people thanks again to its upright cabin. In the Sport trim, you get orange contrast stitching, two-tone black, and gray upholstery, and orange trim around the air vents and center console.

Subaru’s latest Starlink interface is standard on the 2021 Forester and features either a 6.5-inch or 8.0-inch touchscreen. All Foresters also get a secondary LDC display just above the main one that shows everything from the clock and temperature to media and driver assistance technology status. The user interface is one of the easiest to use thanks to snappy responses and physical shortcut buttons.

As of this writing, the 2021 Subaru Forester is only available with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder rated at 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. The sole transmission option is a CVT. There’s no hiding the fact that the Forester is on the leisurely end of the spectrum when it comes to acceleration. This won’t set your hair on fire until Subaru decides to put the Ascent’s turbocharged engine in it.

The Forester takes a middle-of-the-road approach, giving it a softer feel. As a result, it’s comfortable and compliant. This pays dividends on rough roads and on the dirt because this allows the Forester to absorb bumps and imperfections better, isolating you and your passengers. The tradeoff to that is handling because the Forester has a little more body roll and isn’t as tight on the pavement as a Mazda CX-5 or Honda CR-V.

All Foresters get Subaru’s EyeSight driver assistance suite standard. However, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear automatic emergency braking, and the Driver Focus driver monitoring camera are only available on specific trims.

For most consumers, the 2021 Subaru Forester is a great choice because it’s practical, easy to drive, and has a lot of space. This makes it a great all-around vehicle, one you can drive over long distances or commute in comfortably on a daily basis.

0 to 60 mph: 9.9 seconds
60 to 0: 127 feet
Handling: B
Ride: A+
Cabin Noise: A-; 71 dB
Fuel Economy: A

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