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2025 Cars

2025 Subaru Forester Test Drive + Full Review

Today, I’m excited to bring you a detailed review of the all-new 2025 Subaru Forester Limited.

2025 Subaru Forester Overview

2025 Subaru Forester Overview
2025 Subaru Forester Overview

For those who may not be familiar, the Forester has been Subaru’s go-to compact crossover SUV since 1997. This sixth-generation Forester is completely redesigned for 2025, featuring updated styling both inside and out. It comes with a retuned 2.5L classic Subaru boxer 4-cylinder engine.

Although it’s down by 2 horsepower compared to 2024, the torque curve is broader, giving you 2 more lb-ft of torque than last year. Now it stands at 178 compared to 176. Additionally, there’s a new steering rack shared with the WRX and an available foot-activated liftgate.

There are five trims for the 2025 Forester, ranging from the $30,000 base model with all-wheel drive up to the $40,000 Touring model.


Today, we’re looking at the Limited trim, which sits just below the Touring and starts at $36,000. Let’s explore what you get for your money.

Exterior Features

2025 Subaru Forester Exterior Features
2025 Subaru Forester Exterior Features

The sixth-generation Forester boasts a completely new exterior design. The grille has a gunmetal gray finish with a bold Subaru badge up front.

The black headlight housing features LED projectors and LED daytime running lights above. You’ll find side marker turn signals and LED fog lights below, ensuring solid airflow for the radiator of the naturally aspirated 2.5L boxer 4-cylinder engine. There’s no functional airflow in the corners, but with the engine’s power, it’s not a major concern.

You’ll notice a bit of plastic cladding around the bumper, wheel wells, and rocker panel skirt area, which helps protect against rock chips.

The Limited trim comes with upgraded wheels and tires, featuring dark gunmetal gray and silver contrast 18-inch rims wrapped in Falken Ziex all-season tires (225/55 R18). This setup ensures a plush ride quality for a compact SUV.

The wheel wells have functional heat extractors, giving an aggressive look, and there’s color contrast in the rocker panel side skirt area.

The black metallic paint pairs well with the gray metallic mirrors, which include LED turn signals and blind-spot monitoring with the Subaru logo on the glass. The window trim, pillars, and roof rails are all black, and there’s a large sunroof up top, which we’ll explore further inside.

Interior Features

2025 Subaru Forester Interior Features
2025 Subaru Forester Interior Features

Smart access is provided for the driver and front passenger. The window sticker for this 2025 Subaru Forester Limited shows a loaded model: $35,995 for the base price, plus $1,600 for the option package 42, which includes an 11.6-inch multimedia navigation and Harman Kardon audio system with a subwoofer out back. There’s also a $1,373 popular package.

Additional features include an auto-dimming mirror with compass, Homelink, LED upgrade, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, rear bumper cover, rear seatback protector, all-weather floor liners, cargo tray, $167 for splash guards, $124 for a cargo net, $110 for a cargo sidewall protector, and $1,395 for destination.

This totals $4,764 before dealer-added options. The exterior has symmetrical all-wheel drive badges, LED taillights, and halogen turn signals.

Sound and Performance

2025 Subaru Forester Sound and Performance
2025 Subaru Forester Sound and Performance

Thanks to Subaru of Port Richie for making this review possible. The Forester has rear parking sensors, a single exhaust cutout, and a dual gunmetal gray trim if dual exhaust was included. Now, let’s fire up the updated 2.5L boxer 4-cylinder to hear how it sounds.

The 2.5L boxer 4-cylinder produces 180 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque, paired with a CVT transmission. You can expect a 0-60 time in the mid-high 8-second range. It’s not the fastest SUV, but the standard all-wheel drive and spacious interior make up for it.

Fuel Economy and Handling

2025 Subaru Forester Fuel Economy and Handling
2025 Subaru Forester Fuel Economy and Handling

You’ll appreciate the fuel efficiency and the low placement of the engine, which improves handling. This Forester has one of the best rides among compact SUVs.

Even without hydraulic struts on the higher Limited trim, the hood is light and easy to manage. Fuel economy is impressive at 29 combined MPG, especially given the SUV’s size.

The Limited trim features soft-touch materials, suede Alcantara, blue contrast stitching, and leather accents. Storage is ample, with space for a full-size drink and a 24 oz water bottle. The Harman Kardon audio system adds to the luxury feel. The leather-trimmed seats are heated but not ventilated – you’ll need the Touring trim for that.

Interior Design

2025 Subaru Forester Interior Design
2025 Subaru Forester Interior Design

Inside, the Forester feels spacious and well-equipped. The steering wheel is thick and solid, with paddle shifters for the CVT. Controls for volume, skip, AM/FM, Sirius, mute, phone calls, and voice commands are all within reach.

The 5-inch LCD display shows auto start-stop, fuel remaining, tire pressure, compass, GPS, music, clock, and outdoor temperature.

The tachometer goes to 6,000 RPM, and the speedometer to 160 – not that you’ll hit those speeds. Auto headlamps, high beams, fog lights, and rain-sensing wipers are all standard. The dashboard features soft-touch materials and faux leather stitching, with a mix of hard plastic.

The 11.6-inch touchscreen includes navigation, heated seats, and physical controls for temperature adjustments. The home screen offers access to the map, radio, media, phone, apps, Subaru Starlink, MySubaru, settings, car info, and more.

You can adjust various settings, including vehicle dynamics control, X-mode, cruise control acceleration, and driver assistance.

Technology and Features

2025 Subaru Forester Technology and Features
2025 Subaru Forester Technology and Features

Up top, you can monitor the song, GPS, water temperature, oil temperature, and average speed. The drive modes include normal, snow/dirt, and deep snow/mud.

The touchscreen response is decent, although a bit outdated. The heated seats and vent adjustments are easy to access, and you have USB A and C ports, an AUX port, and a wireless phone charging pad. The backup camera offers high resolution with guidance lines and trajectory.

Convenience and Storage

There’s plenty of storage, including a soft leatherette armrest with blue stitching. The glove box is damped and large enough to hold 30 license plates or two pairs of shoes.

The frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror includes a compass and Homelink settings. LED interior lights and an SOS button are also included. The panoramic moonroof is manually operated but opens quickly and provides a large opening.

Rear Seat Comfort

2025 Subaru Forester Rear Seat Comfort
2025 Subaru Forester Rear Seat Comfort

Moving to the rear, the hard plastic panels are complemented by Alcantara and faux leather. The power windows, additional Harman Kardon speaker, and perforated leather seats add comfort. At over 6 feet tall, you’ll find plenty of knee and headroom, even with the moonroof.

The rear seats don’t recline but fold flat for extra cargo space. Air vents, USB ports, and map pockets are also included.

Exploring the Cargo Space

2025 Subaru Forester Exploring the Cargo Space
2025 Subaru Forester Exploring the Cargo Space

Let’s dive into the cargo space of the 2025 Subaru Forester Limited. We’ll see how much room is available and then take this SUV for a test drive. Although it features a foot-activated liftgate, I won’t demonstrate it because I don’t have the keys with me.

You’ll notice the low stepping height, even lower than a Honda CRV, making it ideal for older or smaller pets. At 6 feet tall, my knee is at the exact same level as the floor, which is impressively low, and the roof is high, providing ample space in the cargo area, especially for a compact SUV.

The Forester includes convenient latches to fold down the second-row seats and hooks to secure grocery bags, ensuring they don’t move around.

The Harman Kardon speaker system adds to the appeal, delivering excellent audio quality. A cargo cover keeps your belongings out of sight, and there’s also secret storage under a heavy latch, which reveals the spare tire.

Closing the Trunk

To close the trunk, there are two buttons: one simply lowers the liftgate, while the other lowers and locks the SUV. For our purposes, we’ll just press the first button. It gives you about two seconds to step away, so you don’t have to worry about getting hit if your hands are full.

Final Thoughts

This all-new sixth-generation Subaru Forester Limited stands out as an excellent value trim. For about $6,000 more than the base model, and $4,000 less than the top trim, you get leather seats, the same power plant, stylish wheels, all-wheel drive, a panoramic moonroof, and an impressive audio system. It’s a compelling choice for those looking to save money without sacrificing key features.

Driving Impressions

2025 Subaru Forester Driving Impressions
2025 Subaru Forester Driving Impressions

Now, let’s take the 2025 Subaru Forester Limited for a drive. My first impression is that the new steering rack is well-weighted, with a sharpness and directness reminiscent of the WRX, though lighter, which many buyers will appreciate. We’ll test its performance at different speeds and see how it handles.

At higher speeds, the Forester remains quiet with minimal wind noise, although the windows are slightly thinner than some luxury competitors. The tires do an excellent job of minimizing road noise.

Turning Radius Test

Performing a real-world turning radius test, the Forester impresses with its responsiveness, especially in sport mode. The throttle becomes more sensitive, and the steering gains weight, enhancing the driving experience. The power plant is well-tuned, providing solid torque, though it lacks top-end power.

Mode Options

Switching to intelligent mode, the throttle becomes less sensitive, and the steering lightens, making it ideal for daily driving and maximizing fuel economy. The ride quality is exceptional, potentially surpassing the Honda CRV in this regard.

More Test Drive Observations

Another turning radius test in intelligent mode confirms the Forester’s agility. The brakes are solid, and the ride remains smooth. Off the line, the Forester exhibits good torque, with intelligent mode offering quicker acceleration than sport mode, despite holding revs longer.

Final Recommendations

If you’re seeking a spacious, feature-loaded SUV with excellent ride quality under $40,000, the 2025 Subaru Forester Limited is a top contender. It’s an excellent value compared to the Touring trim, which costs $4,000-$5,000 more without offering significantly more benefits. This Forester model is a must-checkout for its space, features, efficiency, and comfort.

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