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In-Depth Review of the 2025 Subaru Forester Limited Trim

We’re in the redesigned 2025 Subaru Forester. This is one of Subaru’s best-selling Vehicles. This is in the limited trim coming in at almost $39,000. Today I’m going to tell you if it’s worth that chunk of change.

2025 Subaru Forester Review
2025 Subaru Forester Review

Under the Hood

2025 Subaru Forester Under the Hood
2025 Subaru Forester Under the Hood

Let’s start under the hood. Currently, there are no updates for the 2025 model regarding the boxer setup. Subaru continues to use opposing engines, featuring a 4-cylinder, 2.5-liter engine with 180 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. What I really love is how low this engine sits, which is a classic Subaru trait, unless we’re talking about the fully electric Solterra.

This engine is paired with a CVT. Subaru is planning to introduce a hybrid system co-developed with Toyota, likely within the next year or so, which should address some of the powertrain’s current limitations. The hood itself is worth mentioning; it’s made of aluminum, making it quite large but surprisingly light.

Exterior Styling

2025 Subaru Forester Exterior Styling
2025 Subaru Forester Exterior Styling

So let’s close down the hood and talk about the exterior styling. Many people say the new front end looks like a Ford Explorer or something similar. When I first saw it, I thought it resembled an old Ford Edge. But Subaru offers different grille designs based on the trim levels.

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In this limited trim, we have a sparkly gray color, and I love the Subaru badge here. It looks really premium. The daytime running lights are very minimal and super small, almost like the grille extends into the daytime running light.

Down here, we have the nighttime lights, fog lights, and more accents at the bottom, featuring a honeycomb pattern. We’ll see this pattern on the inside as well. The gray paint that matches the grille is also found on the side mirrors in this limited trim.

We also have a beautiful roof rack, and like the WRX, check this out—there are slots here. The new Impreza has this feature too, as I noticed during its review. Maybe even the new Crosstrek has it. The honeycomb design appears again at the bottom of the vehicle.

I like it; it adds a nice touch and breaks up what would otherwise be a lot of matte black plastic. These wheels are exclusive to the limited grade, measuring 18 inches. The base two grades have 17-inch wheels, which could provide a slightly better ride quality.

One of the most impressive features Subaru has retained is the size of the windows. The Forester always had large windows, and the 2025 model is bigger than ever. It’s a large-looking vehicle from the outside, but it maintains that identity of an upright, boxy wagon with tons of window visibility and lots of light entering the cabin.

2025 Subaru Forester Colors

  • Autumn Green Metallic
  • Crystal Black Silica
  • Crystal Black Silica
  • Crimson Red Pearl
  • Sapphire Blue Pearl
  • Horizon Blue Pearl
  • Horizon Blue Pearl
  • Ice Silver Metallic
  • Magnetite Gray Metallic
  • Crystal White Pearl

Liftgate and Cargo

2025 Subaru Forester Liftgate and Cargo
2025 Subaru Forester Liftgate and Cargo

Forester typed out into the liftgate here, kind of like that silver again on the Subaru badge that we saw in the front. Let’s go and lift this up. Oh, before we got to talk about cargo, which there’s plenty of, we do have parking sensors on the back.

What is going on? We just have a single-tip exhaust and then a cutout here, so maybe for the hybrids we’ll have dual exhaust. It’s kind of hard to say, but it looks like it’s set up for potential dual exhaust. I love this Forester mat back here.

Also, for this limited trim, we have these ejectable seats. Now I’m not going to do this one because I have a child seat back there. But nice retractable tunnel cover. This has the optional Harman Kardon sound system that comes bundled with automatic rear braking as well as navigation in that GPS 11-inch screen.

So very, very impressed with the cargo capacity in here with just how boxy this vehicle is. And look, I have some nice lights all the way back here to illuminate the cargo at night. You’re also going to have this 12V here, 120W of additional accessory power.

And of course, we have an automatic, oh another tail light here, a liftgate light, and another for the first time as well. Little compass, a little Easter egg for Subaru.

Love that attention to detail. Was not expecting that. Subarus are known for the practicality and their symmetrical all-wheel drive. I didn’t mention that already. That of course comes standard. Subaru and all-wheel drive are peanut butter and jelly.

Interior and Seats

2025 Subaru Forester Interior and Seats
2025 Subaru Forester Interior and Seats

So let’s go ahead and talk about these leather seats. I love this gray, light gray and dark gray contrast. They’re very, very nice. The limited and the touring trims have leather seats, and I like how they’re perforated, so you’re not sticking to them in this hot Florida sun.

It’s probably about 85° at about 7:55 right now. Okay, so this limited has this nice suede with stitching on it. Very, very premium. This back door now, you do have hard touch at the top, but I do like this soft accent back here. Now this seat is set up for me at 6’1, and look at the amount of leg space I have.

It is monstrous. Not only do we have map pockets on each side, but we have several map pockets. One, two, and then there’s a little stitching here to partition this one. Closing the door, you can get optional heated rear seat USB-C, USB-A.

Love the rear vents back here. And check this out, this panel roof is fantastic. Absolutely impressive. It doesn’t go all the way back, but I like how it’s so far forward that the front passengers can really enjoy this massive square. And I just noticed another Easter egg. You can’t really notice it from the driver’s seat, but you got a cute hummingbird right there. Love it, Subaru.

Rear Seats and Adjustability

2025 Subaru Forester Rear Seats and Adjustability
2025 Subaru Forester Rear Seats and Adjustability

Folding this down, uh, we have some cup holders. Now these seats I believe were supposed to be reclining. The problem is I think they only have one station here. If I try to push it back, it doesn’t do anything. Um, and so these are actually reclined a little bit too much for my children.

Uh, standard I wish that you could set them up a little bit more vertical, but they really lean back, and I can’t find a way to adjust them. So maybe the touring model has some adjustability with these rear seats. I just wish it was much more upright.

I don’t know if it’s showing on the camera, but these seats are reclined quite a bit. For adults, they probably don’t mind it, but for the kids, I’d like it to be a little bit more upright.

Build Quality

Want to talk about the build quality in this vehicle. Made in Japan, and how the doors slam and how the door handles feel and the fitment of everything is impeccable. This is luxury quality build quality. Maybe even better than a lot of the luxury automakers out here.

So just really impressed with the solidity of this vehicle and how everything fits together so perfectly. Well done Subaru. Uh, we do not have auto folding mirrors here, but we do have auto down and up windows and a little glossy black here. Wish this was not glossy black.

I think that’s one of the few instances of glossy black here on this car. We do have soft touch here unlike the top of the back door. Blue stitching on the seats. These leather seats, they are not ventilated in this limited trim. They are heated only, and I do have a heated steering wheel. The heated steering wheel buttons are right here, and the heated seat buttons are built into the screen.

Infotainment System

2025 Subaru Forester Infotainment System
2025 Subaru Forester Infotainment System

We’ll talk about the screen here in a little bit. This has the newest eyesight technology, safety technology from Subaru. Baseball stitching on here is impeccable. No surprise. Often times, they are wizards or elves with their stitching over in Japan.

This is a little bit too old school for me. I feel like when you’re paying this much for a higher trim Subaru, you should have a little bit nicer screen than this little 4-inch, tiny, tiny screen behind or in between these analog gauges. Now personally, I love analog gauges, and it doesn’t bother me because I can just look at my MPGs. That’s really all I care about. I also have a digital speedometer here right in the middle.

So for me, it doesn’t bother me, but the competition is leaving it behind with much larger digital screens. That’s going to be up to the buyer to determine if that is a ding or not. Hard touch on the dash. Wish it was a little bit softer. Actually, this piece is soft. So this piece that goes around the back is soft, hard here, hard here, hard here.

Middle screen, 11-inch screen. Now there is a base screen on the base model, then you upgrade on the next model. I think that’s called the premium model. That gives you an 11-inch screen that looks just like this, but it doesn’t have navigation built in.

This one has the optional navigation built in, but I’m just using my Android Auto wirelessly here, and I like how it takes up a large vertical portion of the screen instead of just locking me into kind of like a 16 by 9 aspect ratio. Love the volume knob.

Love the tuning knob. I wish the climate control knobs or I wish we had climate control knobs. And you can see just how reflective this area is on the touch screen, and it does collect a lot of reflections in the sunny weather that we have here all the time.

So touch screen is responsive for the most part. Uh, I got in here when it was the car was sitting in the sun all day, and it was not enjoying my fingers touching it. It was very laggy. But that’s extreme cases when the car is probably about 120° on the inside.

Interior Features

2025 Subaru Forester Interior Features
2025 Subaru Forester Interior Features

Here’s that honeycomb pattern that I mentioned when we started with the exterior walk around. You have different exterior bits that have this same honeycomb pattern. I really like it. It looks very premium. It feels premium as well. It is technically hard touch, I would say, but it doesn’t feel like cheap plastic like this up here.

This feels like a higher quality plastic. And we have some faux wood below it. I like that. Armrest feels very, very quality. Feels like it’s going to be durable as well over years of use. And on the inside, we have like a felt to deaden any noises.

We have a topography map, little rubber insert there for some additional belongings, maybe like keys or stick of gum. And these cup holders are rubber padded at the bottom, but the drinks kind of just flop around in here even though you have this little piece. So I wish they were a little bit tighter.

120 watts again up front, just like we had in the cargo area. Now this does have auto brake hold, but it’s not a button out in the car or auto vehicle hold as what Subaru calls it. And so it pops up right there. It applies the brakes every time you come to a stop.

Back to the screen here, you can have some metrics up here. I like how outer temp and time is always there. And yeah, you can have your radio stations up here on top of your Android Auto. To finish up, we have this nice shifter here, traditional shifter and a wireless charger and an aux port. Long live the aux port.

You also have a USB-C and a USB-A there. Now this fancy limited model has auto windshield wipers, and we also have the fog light control over here. But that’s enough of me talking about the inside. Let’s go ahead and start driving. Put it into drive. Auto brake hold is currently holding me in place, so you just press the gas pedal, and it starts going.

Driving Experience

Maneuverability here is impressive. Now, I don’t have a 360 camera, but parking this thing is a breeze because the turning radius is super tight. The backup camera looks pretty good, and it even has bicyclist detection. For instance, when I was backing up to start this video, a bicyclist rode behind me, and the system detected it and gave me a warning. That’s a nice safety feature built right in.

And gosh, I’m thrilled that we have a traditional shifter here because it sits perfectly. You can rest your arm on the armrest and your hand just fits perfectly on the shifter. This vehicle is super comfortable. The seats are great—these leather seats had better be comfortable since you’re paying extra for them in this limited trim. They also come in the touring trim.

The interior is super wide and tall. If you don’t get the panel roof, which I believe is standard on the second trim level, the premium, you actually get a bit more headroom. But unless you’re an NBA player, I don’t see why you’d need extra headroom. There’s already so much space in here.

Handling and Performance

2025 Subaru Forester Handling and Performance
2025 Subaru Forester Handling and Performance

Now the handling on here is super quick. Or should I say the steering on here is super quick. Every little input, it just wants to go right into it. The last vehicles I felt like that were that eager to dive in were actually some Alfa Romeos. So Subaru has some turn happy steering here.

Now it doesn’t handle like an Alfa Romeo, but for an SUV, it’s actually pretty fun to drive. The brakes in here, it’s not the initial bite that I’m looking for, but they are very progressive. Very progressive. That’s what you want to see. And I’ve never had any feelings that the brakes are not safe in here.

So I’m going to torque brake. We’ll do a little 0 to 60 with 180 horsepower. We’ll get there. Okay, we made it. We made it. So 0 to 60 in 9.4 and 0 to 100 km per hour in 9.8 seconds. So about an, and now slightly uphill 2% grade. It’s slow. However, when you’re at a stoplight and at low speeds, it’s really perky and happy to take off. So it’s geared really well with the CVT at low speeds.

If I need power, I’m going about 45 right now. Pedal down. It’s pretty responsive, but nothing happens. So the engine boom picks the max RPM. The CVT acts fast, but there’s just no top end to this powertrain at all. And that’s to me the only thing that kind of throws me off about this Subaru Forester. The ride quality is unbelievable. It’s luxury quality. The handling is really fun.

They’ve made it super quiet. I love the visibility in here. There’s nothing that really annoys me with this setup except for the lack of top-end power. Now Subaru in the past has put turbochargers in the Foresters, but if you want better top-end power, better response overall, and just a better experience, you’re going to have to wait for the hybrid.

That will not only give you more power but will give you better fuel economy as well and even a quieter and smoother experience. Now despite this not having acoustic glass on the windows, it doesn’t seem to bother it that much.

Now I do hear cars go by, but in terms of annoying wind buffeting or air leakage going on, I don’t have any of that. Don’t have any of that going on. So it just seems like it’s super well-built. It feels very isolated. I’m getting luxury levels, like I said, of ride quality, noise suppression. I just wish I had semi-luxury levels of power here.

Fuel Economy

Now, it doesn’t have a lot of power, but you might be wondering about the fuel economy. For me, I’m getting about 20 mpg in town, but keep in mind, I’ve been idling a lot. Most people should see at least 25 mpg in city driving. On the highway, you should expect over 30 mpg.

We’re about to hit a really rough patch of road, which can highlight the weaknesses of many cars if they’re not well-sealed. However, the Forester just glides over this rough terrain like it’s nothing. So, I have nothing but great things to say about the ride quality of the new Subaru Forester.

Sound System

What about the Harman Kardon sound system? Uh, it’s pretty good. I had to turn down the treble. That’s pretty rare, but yeah, it was just over-trebled from the factory. The bass is a little lacking, but overall the volume, I haven’t maxed out the volume because it does get super loud, but I’d probably say it’s worth it. And it comes bundled, like I said, with pedestrian brake emergency braking setup here.

Trim Level Recommendations

When deciding which trim level of the Subaru Forester to get, you don’t have a lot of choices right now because there are hardly any 2025 models on the market. Personally, I’d be fine with the cloth seats. I really like the big screen and the panoramic roof or oversized roof, whatever you want to call it. It’s huge.

I believe all of that is available in the premium model. For around the low $30k, approximately $33k or $34k, the premium model is the way to go. It even includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel, which the base model does not, and that’s important to me.

So, go ahead and get the premium model if you can find one. The limited model is very nice, but I feel like you’re getting 99% of that for about four grand less with the premium. Let me know which trim level you think is the best buy!

Wilderness and Comparison to Outback

Also, let me tell you about the Wilderness. I drove the Wilderness Forester from the last generation, and it was an amazing vehicle. The ride quality was probably even better than what we have here. However, the new Wilderness Forester build isn’t available online yet, so I’m not even sure if they’re shipping those to dealers right now.

Now, this Forester provides such great value within the Subaru lineup. It has so much space and really feels big. Honestly, I don’t see why you would need the Outback unless you specifically want the turbocharged 2.4L setup. That power boost might be the only reason to choose the Outback.

If you’re driving in high altitude areas, then yes, the Outback with its forced induction would be a better choice. It will have significantly better power in the mountains and similar challenging terrains. Especially if you plan on loading the vehicle heavily or doing a lot of uphill driving, you would want all the power you can get to make those climbs.

However, considering this Forester is already a bit underpowered at sea level, I can’t imagine how it would struggle with elevation. But if you’re not dealing with mountainous regions regularly, I just don’t see the need to opt for the Outback over the Forester.

Crosstrek Comparison and Conclusion

When considering the price, yes, the Forester is a bit more expensive than the Crosstrek, but you get a significantly larger vehicle with much more space. I understand that not everyone wants a big vehicle. Some people prefer the smaller size of the Crosstrek.

Here’s the thing: I’m not too disappointed by the Forester’s lack of power and shove because it’s designed to be an everyday car. And I believe it provides enough power for most people’s daily needs.

There’s a little fly buzzing around in here that I couldn’t get out, and it’s starting to bug me. But I have to wrap this up. If you enjoyed this article, please hit the like button and turn on notifications for more Subaru updates.

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