2015 Subaru Forester

The Forester has truly come into its own in the last two years, receiving plenty of accolades and praise for its utilitarian personality and car-like refinement in this latest generation. Completely revised in 2014 , the Forester gets a few minor updates for 2015 that make it even more a bargain to brag about. While the quirky little crossover isn’t fast, sporty, or particularly good-looking like most of TopSpeed’s covered content, it is outstandingly practical.

A small $225 price hike over the 2014 model covers a multitude of added features. For one, the backup camera now comes standard — a handy feature when the cargo area is chock-full with stuff. The center stack now gets a color multi-function display, replacing the outdated black and white unit. And Subaru’s EyeSight system drops a large $500 off its sticker price, costing $1,295 paired with the All Weather Package on 2.5i Premium models.

Everything else that make the 2014 Forester a success is carried over, including an unchanged pair of engines and transmissions. Base models get the 2.5-liter flat-four mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The combo is good for 170 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. The CVT remains an option, though at an extra $1,000. The more powerful option is the 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four making 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. Unfortunately, upgrading to the turbo relegates the transmission choice to the CVT.

Trim levels for the 2.5-liter still include 2.5i, Premium, Limited, and Touring, while the more-upscale 2.0-liter turbo is only adorned with the Premium and Touring trims.

In all, the Forester is an honest crossover that works well. It just takes getting past what looks to be a bland cover to find a multifaceted vehicle well positioned to tackle nearly any task the average American brood can throw at it.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Subaru Forester.

Exterior

Subaru Forester
Subaru Forester
Subaru Forester

Things have remained unchanged in this department for the Forester. The two body styles return for 2015, the less aggressive, more rounded front fascia of the 2.5-liter and the more sinister, angular look of the 2.0-liter turbo. The two styles seem to speak for Subaru designers knowing the types of customers who buy what models. More power equals more sporty looks. It’s a simple recipe, but one Subaru could use more of.

Three choices of alloy wheels return, one measuring 17 inches, the other two in 18. We’re particularly fond of the 18-inch dark grey wheels with the machined face. Combined with the more aggressive front fascia, along with the optional HID headlights on the 2.0XT Touring package, the trio of options adds some much needed character.

2015 Subaru Forester - Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase103.9 / 2,640
Length180.9 / 4,595
Width70.7 / 1,795
HeightWith roof rail: 68.2 / 1,735 without roof rail: 66.4 / 1,687
Track60.9 / 1,547
61.1 / 1,552
Ground clearance8.7 / 220
Angle of approach23.0 deg.
Angle of departure25.0 deg.
Ramp breakover angle21.0 deg.

Interior

Subaru Forester
Subaru Forester
Subaru Forester

Like the outside, things are basically the same for 2015. The only major difference centers around the center stack and its 4.3-inch multi-function screen perched up top. It’s now a standard feature in the base 2.5i, along with the backup camera. The multi-function screen is controlled with steering-wheel-mounted buttons, as is the smaller information screen within the gauge cluster. Both the tach and speedometer are clear and easy to read with their white on black color scheme.

A standard radio head unit or the infotainment screen inhabits the dash – based on trim level. The standard unit is simple and easy to use, and has plenty of buttons for quick changes in stations, volume, and media inputs. The navigation includes voice control and comes with either a six-speaker sound system or the optional eight-speaker Harmon Kardon system.

The Forester’s rear cargo area is about as functional as it gets. Fold the 60/40 rear seats down for an enormous 74.7 cubic feet of space. Even with the seats upright, the rear area still offers 34.4 cubic feet or storage. Both cloth and leather seats are available on their respective trim levels. Since the Forester is so tall, the seating is upright with occupants’ knees nowhere near their chests.

Drivetrain

Subaru Forester
Subaru Forester
Subaru Forester

The Forester lineup gets its power from two horizontally opposed four cylinders. The standard flat-four mill is a 2.5-liter, naturally aspirated unit making 170 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. It comes with two transmission options: a fun six-speed honest-to-goodness manual or the not-so-fun CVT. If choosing the 2.5-liter, we’d save the money and skip the CVT every time. However, the manual is only available with the 2.5i and 2.5i Premium trim levels.

Filling the more premium roll is a turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four making 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Though the engine would assuredly be a blast with the manual tranny, it’s not offered. Both Boxer engines come with variable valve timing to more precisely control the 16 valves.

As will all Subarus except the rear-wheel-drive BRZ , the Forester comes with Symmetrical all-wheel-drive. New for 2014 and continued over is X-MODE – an electronic traction assist system with Hill Decent Control. It’s kind of like engaging ‘go-anywhere mode’.

Fuel economy ratings for the 2.5-liter are 24 mpg city, 27 mpg combined and 32 mpg highway, while the 2.0-liter Turbo gets 23 mpg city, 25 mpg combined and 28 mpg highway.

2015 Subaru Forester - Drivetrain Specifications

Model2.5i2.0XT
Configuration2.5L 4-cylinder, horizontally opposed (Boxer); aluminum cylinder block and heads2.0L 4-cylinder, horizontally opposed (Boxer), turbocharged/intercooled, aluminum cylinder block and heads
Displacement2,498 cc1,998 cc
Bore x Stroke94.0 mm x 90.0 mm86 mm x 86 mm
Compression ratio10:110.6:1
Horsepower170 @ 5,800 rpm250 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque lb.-ft.174 @ 4,100 rpm258 @ 2,000-4,800 rpm

Prices

Subaru Forester

Pricing for the Forester starts at modest and rises to middle class. A base 2.5i will set you back $23,045 while the range-topping 2.0XT Touring starts at $33,945, both including an $850 destination charge. Choosing the CVT in either the 2.5i or 2.5i Premium costs $1,000 or $500 respectively. Otherwise, the CVT’s cost is included in the other 2.5i trim packages.

Subaru has no shortage of options and accessories for the Forester; from battery warmers and engine block heaters, to trailer hitches and ski racks – all at their own price with some dependent on dealer instillation charges.

2015 Subaru Forester - Prices

Model/Trim Transmission MSRP MSRP + destination and delivery
2.5i6MT$22,195$23,045
2.5iCVT$23,195$24,045
2.5i Premium6MT$24,595$25,445
2.5i PremiumCVT$25,095$25,945
2.5i LimitedCVT$28,095$28,945
2.5i TouringCVT$30,095$30,945
2.0XT PremiumCVT$28,495$29,345
2.0XT TouringCVT$33,095$33,945

Options

Option Price
Alloy Wheel Package$600
All Weather Package$500
All Weather Package + EyeSight$1,295
All Weather Package+ EyeSight+ Navigation$2,395
Navi+ Audio w/Harman Kardon® Amplifier and Speakers$1,850
Navi + Audio w/Harman Kardon ®Amplifier and Speakers + EyeSIght$2,645
EyeSight + Navigation$1,895

Competition

2014 Ford Escape

Ford Escape

The Escape takes the more traditional SUV approach to the modern-day crossover. Its tall stance and more truck-like appearance makes it appealing to some buyers though it doesn’t offer any more utility than the Forester.

Three engines are available: a 2.5-liter, naturally-aspirated I-4, a 1.6-liter EcoBoost I-4, and the stout 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4. The engine of choice, of course, is the 2.0-liter EcoBoost with its 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque.

Pricing for the Escape starts at $22,700 and grows past $30,000 with the Titanium trim package and extra options.

2014 Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5

On the sportier side of things is the CX-5. Though even with its premium 2.5-liter I-4 engine making only 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque, the CX-5 seems to power past its numbers. Its 0-60 time is faster than that of the Escape and Forester at 7.8 seconds.

The base engine is a 2.0-liter I-4 making a measly 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque, though it does offer a manual transmission.

Pricing begins at $21,195 for a FWD manual CX-5 powered by the 2.0-liter while a decked out AWD Grand Touring model with the 2.5-liter starts at $28,870.

Conclusion

Subaru Forester

The Forester is arguably the most utilitarian crossover on the market today. It’s combination of AWD, loads of interior cargo room, and creature comforts make it a smart choice for someone needing an all-in-one vehicle. Its on-road dynamics are more car-like while it somehow does a really respectable job off road. It’s great that Subaru still offers a manual transmission, but it’s a shame it can’t be matched with the 2.0-liter turbo.

LOVE IT
  • Great all-around family hauler
  • 2.0-liter Turbo has respectable power
  • AWD and high ground clearance make it a usable crossover
LEAVE IT
  • 2.5-liter is a little asthmatic
  • Manual not offered with 2.0-liter Turbo engine
  • Lacks soul in its design language

Press Release

Subaru of America, Inc. has announced pricing on the carmaker’s award winning crossover the 2015 Subaru Forester. The Forester is a two-time winner of the coveted Motor Trend Sport/Utility Vehicle of the Year award.

Subaru Forester

The Forester 2.5i model will be available in base, Premium, Limited and top-line Touring versions. Pricing begins at $22,195 for the base model 2.5i with six-speed manual transmission. The turbocharged 2.0XT will be offered in the Premium and Touring versions, with the Premium starting at $28,495. The 2.0XT Premium now features a standard All Weather Package. All prices are MSRP and do not include $850 destination charge.

For 2015, the base model 2.5i gets rear vision camera and color multi-function display as standard equipment. Previously unavailable, the 2.5i Premium manual transmission model is now equipped with a moonroof standard. New for 2015, the 2.5i Touring models will receive standard high luster 18” alloy wheels. All Touring models feature Keyless Access & Start, HID lights and chrome rocker trim. Navigation is now optional on Touring models.

Subaru Forester

Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assist system earned the highest rating given by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a Superior rating, when IIHS conducted its first test of accidence avoidance technologies. The EyeSight system integrates Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning.

One of the most affordable such technologies available in the U.S. market, EyeSight uses a stereo camera design developed by Subaru to provide a detection angle wider than that of radar-based systems. EyeSight option packages are lowered $500 from the previous model year.

As with all previous Forester models, the 2015 comes standard with Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, a distinction from the competitive models that come with front-wheel drive as standard and offer all-wheel drive as an extra-cost option.

Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester’s continued sales success has helped Subaru achieve five consecutive annual sales records.


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