New 2020 Subaru Forester SUV
Subaru Forester SUV
The 2020 Subaru Forester is quite simply a superb compact-crossover SUV with a long and well-rounded list of attributes.
2020 Subaru Forester Pricing
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2020 Subaru Forester KBB Expert Review
#3 in Best Compact SUVs of 2020
Get into a 2020 Subaru Forester and take it for a drive. It will quickly become apparent why the Forester has been one of Subaru’s most popular vehicles year after year.
While retaining a relatively small footprint (an especially welcome attribute when driving around town), the Forester still offers useful interior space. Out in the wild, dirt roads and rough weather cause no consternation for the Forester driver, thanks to its 8.7 inches of ground clearance and permanent all-wheel drive.
High safety scores are yet another plus point. As is a generous amount of standard equipment for prices that stack up well against rivals like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape and Kia Sportage. Resale values are also healthy.
RELATED: Best Compact SUVs of 2020
You'll Like This Car If...
- Roomy for a compact-crossover SUV
- All-wheel drive is standard
- Plenty of safety features as standard
- Can achieve 33 mpg on the highway
- Tough construction
You May Not Like This Car If...
- The only transmission is a CVT
- Continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) tend to blunt engine responses
- Styling is somewhat rustic
- Maximum towing capacity is only 1,500 pounds
What's New for 2020
- Every 2020 Forester gains the Rear Seat Reminder feature
- LED license-plate lights become standard
- Upgraded tire-pressure-monitoring system with individual wheel ID
- EyeSight driver-aid array now includes two new functions (see Safety section below)
- Previously optional All Weather package now standard in Premium trim
- Touring trim adds LED cargo-area lighting
Motivated by an adequate 182 horsepower, the 2020 Forester can make it up mountain roads without too much effort. The ride quality is well judged, providing comfort that’s balanced by enough control to keep the Forester from leaning too much through quick curves. That’s impressive, given the almost nine inches of ground clearance.
Cornering talents are enhanced by a torque-vectoring system that attenuates individual wheel speeds for optimum stability. The electrically assisted steering might seem a little heavy at first, but it only takes a few minutes to become acclimated.
Although few potential Subaru buyers will be deterred, a CVT is never the transmission of an enthusiast’s dreams. They tend to drone and react slowly. That said, the unit in the new Forester is about as good as a CVT gets. It’s quiet in operation and will shift between its simulated ratios in accordance with throttle action.
We’ll save our gripes for two other items. The lane-keeping assistance feature is a little too eager to set off its warning sound; the shut-off switch is above the rearview mirror. And the engine stop/start action is not that smooth. This can also be disabled.
ENORMOUS CARGO OPENING
At 51.3 inches wide, the Forester’s rear aperture is huge, a full six inches better than the nearest competitor. Golf bags don’t need to be tilted to fit.
Standard in the Touring model, it employs infrared sensors and facial recognition to identify driver distraction or fatigue. If the driver has looked away from the road for three seconds, DriverFocus will sound an alert and even slow the vehicle to a stop if necessary.
Some rivals are wider, but the 2020 Forester still manages to incorporate plenty of front-seat shoulder room. Legroom is also generous; a 6-foot-tall passenger can sit comfortably behind a 6-foot driver.
The quality of materials is more than acceptable. The center console houses either a 6.5-inch infotainment display (the base model) or an 8-inch touch screen in the higher trims.
Behind the rear seats is a commodious 35.4 cubic feet of luggage space. Fold those seats down to reveal a maximum cargo area of 76.1 cubic feet. The optional moonroof chops a minor chunk out of those figures.
Instead of complaining that Subaru styling is not the most, um, stylish, let’s applaud the Forester’s lack of affectation. The large glass areas and thin pillars all contribute to excellent outward vision. Front, side and rear underguards are standard, as is lower-body cladding to protect against mud, rocks and salt.
Roof rails are standard on all but the base model. Sport trim is distinguished by a gloss-black exterior trim, plus orange accents on the black underguards and roof-rail mounts.
Notable Standard Equipment
The base 2020 Forester comes with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, plus an array of driver aids under the EyeSight banner. Other features include automatic climate control, LED headlights, 6.5-inch infotainment display, satellite radio, CD player, selectable driving modes, active grille shutters (for optimum fuel efficiency), 60/40-split/fold rear seats, plus a washer for the rearview camera.
That’s good, but going up to Premium trim brings a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, 17-inch alloy wheels, hill-descent control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Wi-Fi, heated front seats/side mirrors, and windshield-wiper de-icer (those last three items were 2019’s All Weather package).
Notable Optional Equipment
The main options for the base 2020 Forester are roof rails and alloy wheels. Premium trim is eligible for blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, keyless entry/ignition and a power tailgate.
The Sport trim may be ordered with a 9-speaker Harman Kardon audio upgrade, and an 8-inch touch screen, while Limited trim offers a heated steering wheel, navigation, and reverse automatic braking.
Touring trim has all these features as standard, plus driver-attention monitoring and an 8-way power-adjustable front-passenger seat and memory settings for the driver’s seat.
Under the Hood
A flat-4 engine, also known as a “boxer,” has two opposing pairs of cylinders rather than four in a row. It’s a Subaru hallmark. A 2.5-liter version provides the 2020 Forester with 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. This energy is sent to all four wheels through a CVT developed and built by Subaru.
The Forester has driving modes of Intelligent for a smoother experience or Sport for sharper responses. In Sport and Touring variants, the CVT features a manual mode that simulates a 7-speed automatic transmission via shift paddles.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates combined (city and highway) fuel consumption at 29 mpg.
182 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
176 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/33 mpg
The base 2020 Subaru Forester starts with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $24,495. Add destination charges of $1,010 and the figure is $25,505.
Premium is the next level, from $28,405. Sport comes in at $30,005. Limited is priced from $32,105. And the top Touring trim starts at $35,605. At this level, any optional equipment in the lower models becomes standard, so there won’t be much else to bolster the bottom line.
Only the Kia Sportage is noticeably less expensive. Other rivals are priced similarly, while coming with front-wheel drive as standard.
Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Forester. In terms of resale values, Honda normally tops the tables, but Subaru is never too far off.
RELATED: Best Compact SUVs of 2020
Subaru Forester Consumer Reviews
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2020 Subaru Forester Photos and Videos
2020 Subaru Forester Specs
2020 Subaru Forester Safety Ratings
How does it compare?
|#1||2020 Honda CR‑V||190|
|#2||2020 MAZDA CX‑5||187|
|#3||2020 MAZDA CX‑30||186|
|#4||2020 Volkswagen Tiguan||184|
|#5||2020 Subaru Forester||182|
|#1||2020 Buick Encore||31|
|#2||2020 Honda HR‑V||30|
|#3||2020 Hyundai Kona||30|
|#4||2020 Subaru Crosstrek||30|
|#7||2020 Subaru Forester||29|
|#1||2020 Volkswagen Tiguan||4.9 / 5|
|#2||2020 Kia Sportage||4.8 / 5|
|#3||2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross||4.8 / 5|
|#4||2020 Hyundai Kona||4.7 / 5|
|#16||2020 Subaru Forester||4.2 / 5|
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