2025 Subaru Forester Touring: Review

The Subaru Forester is the definitive all-wheel-drive family mover for those with safety as a top priority, and though the midsize CUV has been updated for 2025, it’s heart still shines that of the same old Forester that has helped define Subaru for the last few decades. So, do the changes for 2025 make a meaningful difference, and is the new Touring trim worth the financial jump? We spent a week with one and attempted to find out.

“New,” or is it?

Subaru says the Forester is “all new” for 2025, with revised interior and exterior design leading the show. It gets Advanced EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology standard on all trims, an available 11.6-inch Starlink infotainment screen, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Subaru also s that it has stiffened the chassis by 10% which results in improved dynamic performance and ride quality, and there’s a kick-activated hands-free power rear tailgate which, yeah, other models in the class have had for a long while.

On the road, the Forester feels, for a lack of a better word, “safe.” It’s poised and confident, but slow, easy, and unexciting to pilot. This reflects its general demeanor: Reserved and cautious. The 2.5-liter Boxer four-cylinder engine has 180 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque and is desperate for another dose of thrust to motivate the bigger-than-ever Forester but, again, it’s the right amount of power for a car that wants to get you there in one piece regardless of how long it takes.

As far as the “new” aspect goes, it’s truly hard to tell it’s new from a visual standpoint from anything other than the “floating” d-pillar and updated grille. Buyers will never notice the claimed 10% stiffer chassis, and though Subaru apparently included a version of the WRX’s dual-pinion EPS rack, it, too, is impossible to tell.

Forester is as Forester does

Not that it matters. The Forester is about being the jack of all trades and master of none, a tool for getting you and your kin over the river and through the woods, regardless of weather. It’s not and never will be exciting, but that’s a good thing in today’s world of so many vehicles trying to be everything to everyone.

There’s a lot to like with the Forester in its sixth generation. It’s very spacious and the visibility is excellent, and the fuel economy (25 city, 32 highway) is solid as well, especially for a vehicle with full-time all-wheel-drive. The panoramic moonroof is a nice addition, and the 8.7 inches of ground clearance is an impressive number that makes plowing through deep snow easy.

Downsides? The Lineartronic CVT is not good. It has an 8-speed “manual” mode, but driving the Forester would be an immensely better experience with a traditionally geared transmission. Starlink is also as bothersome as it always is, with a less-than-intuitive interface and slow response times. There’s also too many controls integrated into the infotainment center itself, but we won’t wax poetic on our wholehearted lament for touchscreens taking over buttons in this review.

Pricier, but better, than ever

The 2025 Subaru Forester starts at $29,695, with our top-trim Touring version carrying a $39,995 base price and this specific vehicle ticking in at $41,390. That’s a far cry from inexpensive, but in a world in which it feels like every vehicle is $50k, $41k feels comfortable and easily palatable. The Forester’s powertrain and touchscreen are perpetual frustration points for those who pay a lot of attention to these kinds of things, yet most Forester buyers likely won’t care, notice, or have a basis for comparison other than their prior Forester. This new Touring trim might not enhance the Forester’s driving experience in any way, but it does make the time spent driving it more enjoyable. Like safety, it’s almost impossible to put a price on that, and Subaru has a winner here even if the engine, transmission, and infotainment aren’t.


  • Spacious
  • Visibility
  • Safe as safe gets
  • Easy going and capable in all conditions
  • Comfortable interior, good ride quality


  • CVT works fine but is dreadful to listen to
  • Bland looks
  • Outpowered by the competition
  • Starlink is slow, can be difficult to use, and houses too many controls

The Takeaway

Those looking for a safe, reputable crossover with loads of space, all-wheel-drive, and all the safety tech one of the safest auto manufacturers offer will find a lot to like in the 2025 Subaru Forester Touring. Enthusiasts or those looking for an engaging driving experience need not apply.

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