The Big Car Database

Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester
Subaru Forester 2.0 XS 2013 (14901208478) (cropped).jpg
Manufacturer Subaru (Fuji Heavy Industries)
Production 1997–present
Assembly Japan: Ōta, Gunma
Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur (TCMA)
Body and chassis
Class Compact crossover SUV
Body style 5-door Small SUV
Layout Longitudinal front-engine, four-wheel drive


The Subaru Forester is a compact crossover SUV manufactured since 1997 by Subaru.

Available in Japan from 1997, the Forester shares its platform with the Impreza It has been crowned Motor Trend's 2009 and 2014 SUV of the Year and The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2014


First generation (SF, 1997–2002)

First generation
1998 Subaru Forester (SF5) GX wagon (2011-10-25).jpg
Production 1997–2002
Body and chassis
Layout F4 layout
Related Subaru Impreza
Subaru Impreza WRX
Subaru Impreza WRX STi
Engine 2.0 L DOHC H4 EJ20 (Japan)
2.0 L DOHC H4 EJ20 Turbo (Japan) 250 hp (190 kW)
2.5 L DOHC 165 hp (123 kW) H4 EJ25D (1998)
2.5 L SOHC 165 hp (123 kW) H4 EJ251 (1999-2002)
Transmission four-speed automatic
five-speed manual
Wheelbase 2,525 mm (99.4 in)
Length 1998–2000: 4,450 mm (175.2 in)
2001–2002: 4,460 mm (175.6 in)
Width 1,735 mm (68.3 in)
Height 1,650 mm (65.0 in)
Curb weight 1,430 kg (3,152.6 lb)
Pre-facelift Subaru Forester Limited (Australia)
Facelift Subaru Forester Limited

The Forester was introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show in November 1995 as the Streega concept, and made available for sale February 1997 in Japan, and to the US market in 1998. The Forester was one of the first emerging crossover SUVs. It was built in the style of a car, but had a taller stance, higher h-point seating, and an all-wheel drive drive train. Subaru advertising employed the slogan "SUV tough, Car Easy". It used the Impreza platform but with the larger 2.5-liter DOHC EJ25D four-cylinder boxer engine from the Outback, making 165 hp (123 kW) at 5600 rpm and 162 lb·ft (220 N·m) of torque at 4000 rpm.

In Japan, the Forester replaced the Subaru Impreza Gravel Express, known in the USA as the Subaru Outback Sport. However, the Outback Sport remained in production for the U.S. market. The Forester appeared after the introduction of the Nissan Rasheen in Japan with a similar appearance, and the Forester's Japanese competitors include the Toyota RAV4, Mitsubishi RVR, and the Suzuki Grand Vitara. Due to the Forester's low center of gravity, it meets the United States federal safety standards for passenger vehicles, and does not require a risk of rollover warning label on the driver's visor. Size and price-wise, it fits between the shared Impreza platform, and the larger Legacy.

The automatic transmissions used on AWD equipped vehicles will normally send 60% of the engine's torque to the front wheels and 40% to the rear wheels, using a computer-controlled, continuously variable, multi-plate transfer clutch. When the transmission detects a speed difference between the front and rear axle sets, the transmission progressively sends power to the rear wheels. Under slip conditions it can achieve an equal split in front and rear axle speeds.

When accelerating or driving uphill, the vehicle's weight shifts rearward, reducing front wheel traction, causing the transmission to automatically send torque to the rear wheels to compensate. When braking or driving downhill, the vehicle's weight shifts towards the front, reducing rear wheel traction. The transmission again compensates by sending torque to the front wheels for better steering control and braking performance. If the automatic is placed in reverse or first gear, the transmission divides the torque 50-50 to both front and rear wheels.[citation needed] The manual transmission cars are set up with a near 50/50 torque split as a base setting, and it varies from there. Essentially, the manual cars are set up with more bias towards the rear than the automatic cars.

The trim levels were the basic model "L" and the fully equipped "S" for the USA versions.

Forester L came with a high level of standard equipment, including ABS, air conditioning, power windows, power locks, cruise control, digital temperature gauge, multi-reflector halogen headlights, fog lights, roof rack, rear window defogger, trailer harness connector, reclining front bucket seats with adjustable lumbar support, tilt steering, tinted glass, AM/FM/cassette stereo with its antenna laminated in the left-rear quarter window. Notably new in 2001 were the three-point seatbelts for all five seating positions, including force limiters in front and height-adjustable shoulder belt anchors for front and rear outboard positions, plus rear seat headrests for all three seating positions.

Forester S adds a viscous limited-slip differential, rear disc brakes, 16 × 6.5-inch alloy wheels with 215/60R16 tires (the L uses 15 × 6-inch steel wheels), upgraded moquette upholstery, heated front seats with net storage pockets in back, dual vanity mirrors, heated sideview mirrors, heated windshield wipers, and keyless entry. New equipment for 2001 included Titanium pearl paint for the bumpers and cladding; six-disc in-dash CD sound system; leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and handbrake handle; variable intermittent wipers with de-icers and driver’s side fin; and the five-spoke alloy wheels. Some models were equipped with the $1000 optional premium package on the Forester S, including monotone paint (Sedona Red Pearl), power moonroof, front side-impact airbags, and gold accent wheels. Other options were the $800 automatic transmission, $39 chrome tailpipe cover and $183 auto-dimming rear-view mirror with compass, bringing the sticker price to $25,412 including $495 delivery (USA dollars quoted).


The Forester had four main models available in Australia:

There was a change in body styling for all 2001–2002 models, and the 2001/2002 GT spec also had a change in engine management and power output was increased from 125 to 130 kW (168 to 174 hp).

  • GX - naturally aspirated 2.0 L flat-4, 92 kW (123 hp)
    • Engine size 1994 cc (2.0)
    • Compression ratio 9.7:1
    • Dual range gearbox - manual only
    • Acceleration 0–100 km/h 10.7 secs
  • Limited - naturally aspirated 2.0 L flat-4, 92 kW
    • Engine size 1994 cc (2.0)
    • Compression ratio 9.7:1
    • Dual range gearbox - manual only
    • Acceleration 0–100 km/h 10.7 secs
  • Special Edition - naturally aspirated 2.0 L flat-4, 92 kW (123 hp)
    • Engine Size 1994 cc (2.0)
    • Compression Ratio 9.7:1
    • Dual range gearbox - manual only
    • Acceleration 0–100 km/h 10.7 secs
Facelift Subaru Forester GT (Australia)
  • GT (1998–2000) - turbocharged 2.0 L flat-4, 125 kW (168 hp)
  • GT (2001–2003) - turbocharged 2.0 L flat-4, 130 kW (174 hp)
    • Engine size 1994 cc (2.0)
    • Turbo TF035
    • Compression ratio 8.5:1
    • Acceleration 0–100 km/h 10.1 secs


The U.S. Market was offered the car starting in 1998 with either the 2.5 DOHC (1998 only) or 2.5 SOHC naturally aspirated engine (no turbocharged engines). In 2001 Subaru updated the exterior with a modest facelift to the front, rear and sides, and the interior's dashboard.

1998 - 2000 versions sold in the United States:

  • Base -Naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 165 hp (123 kW)
  • L - Naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 165 hp (123 kW)
  • S - Luxury model, with naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 165 hp (123 kW)

The 2001-2002 versions carried over adding the S Premium model, albeit with the aforementioned mild-redesign:

  • Base -Naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 165 hp (123 kW)
  • L - Naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 165 hp (123 kW)
  • S - Luxury model, with naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 165 hp (123 kW)
  • S Premium - Luxury model (upgrades over the 'S' model), Leather optional in 2002, with naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 165 hp (123 kW)

Second generation (SG, 2002–2008)

Second generation
2002-2005 Subaru Forester XT wagon (2011-11-18) 01.jpg
Also called Chevrolet Forester (India)
Production 2002–2008
Body and chassis
Layout F4 layout
Related Subaru Impreza
Saab 9-2X
Subaru Impreza WRX
Subaru Impreza WRX STi
Engine 2.0 L 137 hp (186 Nm) H4
2.0 L 219 hp (309 Nm) H4 turbo
2.5 L 173 hp (225 Nm) H4
2.5 L 224 hp (319 Nm) H4 turbo
Wheelbase 2,525 mm (99.4 in)
Length 2003–2005: 4,450 mm (175.2 in)
2006–2008: 4,485 mm (176.6 in)
Width 1,735 mm (68.3 in)
Height 1,650 mm (65.0 in)
Sports 2.5X: 1,590 mm (62.6 in)
Sports 2.5XT: 1,585 mm (62.4 in)
Curb weight 2.0 L: 1,320 kg (2,910.1 lb)
2.0 L turbo: 1,410 kg (3,108.5 lb)
2.5 L: 1,424 kg (3,139.4 lb)
2.5 L turbo: 1,474 kg (3,249.6 lb)
Pre-facelift Subaru Forester
Facelift Subaru Forester

The second generation was introduced as a 2003 model at the 2002 Chicago Auto Show, based on the new Impreza platform, featuring several fine-tune improvements over the past model. The 2003 Forester features weight-saving refinements such as an aluminum hood, perforated rails, and a hydro-formed front sub-frame. The most noticeable change was the offering of 2.5 L versions (normally aspirated and turbocharged) and in the U.S. the introduction of the turbo charged 2.5-liter model.

In the U.S., the naturally aspirated (non-turbo) X (previously L) and XS (previously S) were released in 2003. In 2004, the turbocharged XT version was released. However, the same model had been available since the late 1990s elsewhere in the world. The X and XS models feature a 2.5 L SOHC engine, while the XT model features a 2.5 L turbocharged DOHC engine. Both engines have timing belt driven camshafts. The XT model uses the same Mitsubishi TD04 turbocharger used in the Subaru Impreza WRX. The engine in the 2004 to 2013 Forester XT is the EJ255. The '04 and '05 version was essentially the same engine used in the Impreza WRX STi, with a few differences, including cylinder heads. Those seeking additional power for their Forester XT can replace the turbocharger and intercooler with used STI components which are readily available. All Forester 2.5 L engines are of the interference engine type.

In 2004, Subaru launched an STI variant of the Forester, the Forester STI, for the Japanese Market. It shared the same engine as the 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX STI, but thanks to different tuning generated 320 bhp (240 kW). Starting with the 2004 XT, the turbocharged version had active valve control system AVCS cylinder heads. The i-AVLS active valve lift system became standard on the naturally aspirated version of the Forester in 2006. This increased horsepower and torque figures to 173 HP and 166 ft-lbs. The 2006 XT received a higher compression ratio to 8.4:1 from 8.2:1. This increased the XT's power to 230 HP and 235 ft-lbs.

For the 2006 model year, Subaru gave the SG a facelift, using redesigned headlights, tail-lights, bonnet, grille, front bumper and side-moldings.


MY03-04 Models has a 4-Star ANCAP safety rating MY05 Forester Model had a mid-life update, the update increased its ANCAP safety rating to 5 Stars.

In 2006, the turbocharged engine (powering the Forester XT) was awarded International Engine of the Year. This engine is also used in the Subaru Impreza WRX, as well as the re-badged Saab 9-2XAero.


All of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engines have a timing belt made of rubber and cord. This belt must be replaced at 105,000 miles (169,000 km). These engines are interference engines, meaning that if the timing belt breaks or stretches, the pistons will hit the valves, resulting in an engine teardown, and a likely rebuild. Also, if this belt is replaced around 105,000 miles, it is a good idea to change the water pump, thermostat, belt tensioner and all the idler pulleys for this belt. The water pump and thermostat are behind this belt. In Australia for the Series II (MY06) cars, Subaru changed the recommended service interval for the timing belt replacement from 100,000 kilometers to 125,000 kilometers. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine in the first-generation Foresters featured head gaskets which were prone to premature failure. For 2003 and later, this issue was addressed with a revised, higher performing design, but is still an issue.


2006–2008 Subaru Forester XT Sports (US)

The U.S. Market was offered the car with either the 2.5 SOHC naturally aspirated engine, or the 2.5 DOHC turbocharged version added in 2004.

2004 versions sold in the United States:

  • 2.5 X - Base model, with naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 165 hp (123 kW)
  • 2.5 XS - Luxury model, with naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 165 hp (123 kW)
  • 2.5 XS Premium - Luxury model with sunroof and leather seats, with naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 165 hp (123 kW)
  • 2.5 XT Turbo - turbocharged 2.5 L flat-4, 210 hp (160 kW)
  • 2.5 XT Turbo Premium - Leather seats, sunroof, Automatic Transmission only, turbocharged 2.5 L flat-4, 210 hp (160 kW)

In 2005, the L.L. Bean edition is added:

  • 2.5 X - Base model, with naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 165 hp (123 kW)
  • 2.5 XS - Luxury model, with naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 165 hp (123 kW)
  • 2.5 XS w/Moonroof - Luxury model, with naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 165 hp (123 kW)
  • 2.5 XS L.L. Bean edition - Rear self-leveling suspension, leather seats, unique wheels, 2-tone paint, wood steering wheel/shift knob, auto trans only, naturally aspirated 2.5 L 165 hp (123 kW)
  • 2.5 XT Turbo - turbocharged 2.5 L flat-4, 224 hp (167 kW)
  • 2.5 XT Turbo Premium - Leather seats, sunroof, turbocharged 2.5 L flat-4, 210 hp (160 kW)

In 2006, styling is updated, Active valve lift system is added to non-turbo engines to improve power and efficiency, XS model deleted, Premium model added:

  • 2.5 X - Base model with naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 173 hp (129 kW)
  • 2.5 X Premium - Similar to L.L. Bean, with cloth seats, different wheels, leather steering wheel/shift knob available with manual or auto trans, naturally aspirated 2.5 L, 173 hp (129 kW)
  • 2.5 X L.L. Bean edition -Luxury model with L.L. Bean package, naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 173 hp (129 kW)
  • 2.5 XT Limited Turbo - Leather seats, sunroof, turbocharged 2.5 L flat-4, 235 hp (175 kW)

In 2007, a bottle holder was added to front door panels, the 'Sports' trim level was added, which changed some interior and exterior features and added the VDT/VDC transmission to the XT Sports turbo Automatic model:

  • 2.5 X - Base model with naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 173 hp (129 kW)
  • 2.5 X Sports - Base model with updated interior and exterior features, with naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 173 hp (129 kW)
  • 2.5 X Premium - Luxury model with naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 173 hp (129 kW)
  • 2.5 X L.L. Bean edition -Luxury model with L.L. Bean package, naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 173 hp (129 kW)
  • 2.5 XT Limited Turbo - Leather seats, sunroof, turbocharged 2.5 L flat-4, 235 hp (175 kW)
  • 2.5 XT Sports Turbo - Different interior and exterior features (cloth seats, no fog lights, etc.), sunroof, turbocharged 2.5 L flat-4, 235 hp (175 kW)

In 2008, TPMS was added, L.L. Bean model deletes rear load-leveling suspension, but gains radio upgrade, the XT Turbo Limited models gets the VDT/VDC Auto transmission as well:

  • 2.5 X - Base model with naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 173 hp (129 kW)
  • 2.5 X Sports - Base model with updated interior and exterior features, with naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 173 hp (129 kW)
  • 2.5 X Premium - Luxury model with naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 173 hp (129 kW)
  • 2.5 X L.L. Bean edition -Luxury model with L.L. Bean package, naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 173 hp (129 kW)
  • 2.5 XT Limited Turbo - Leather seats, sunroof, turbocharged 2.5 L flat-4, 235 hp (175 kW)
  • 2.5 XT Sports Turbo - Different interior and exterior features (cloth seats, no fog lights, etc.), sunroof, turbocharged 2.5 L flat-4, 235 hp (175 kW)


The Forester had three main models available in Australia until July 2005:

  • X - naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 112 kW (150 hp)
  • XS - naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 112 kW (150 hp)
  • XT - turbocharged 2.5 L flat-4, 155 kW (208 hp)

The Forester at the time had three main models available in Australia from August 2005 Series II:

  • X - naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 121 kW (162 hp)
  • XS - naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 121 kW (162 hp)
  • XT - turbocharged 2.5 L flat-4, 169 kW (227 hp)

The Luxury Pack edition was an option on all models - allowing for leather seats and a sunroof. These options were also included with the Columbia edition. The Weekender edition included fog lamps, roof racks and alloy wheels. Standard with the Manufacture Year 2006 (MY06) Forester came with larger side mirrors with indicator lights, curtain airbags giving a 5 star safety rating, remodelled centre console and exterior with a new look nose, lights and bumpers and the rear lost the large Subaru badge under the rear window.

  • X - Air conditioning, CD player, power windows, ABS and cruise control.
  • XS - Auto levelling rear suspension, 16-inch Alloy Wheels, Fog lamps, Climate Control and Cd Stacker - 6 Disc in Dash.
  • XT - As the XS but with 17-inch Alloy Wheels, high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, Momo steering wheel and 7 Speaker Stereo.


The Forester was sold in India as a Chevrolet alongside other unique Chevrolet models sold there. However, since General Motors no longer holds an ownership stake in Subaru's parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries, sales in India of the Chevrolet-badged Forester have ended.


A look-alike was produced by Yema and known as the Yema F99 in China. It was a similar design to the pre-facelifted model. Production ran from 2012 to 2014. The engine was a 1.5l 4 cylinder mated to a 5 speed manual gearbox. The car was not related to the Forester even though they look very similar.

Third generation (SH, 2008–2013)

Third generation
2008 Subaru Forester (SH9 MY09) XS wagon (2011-11-18) 01.jpg
Production 2008–2013
Layout F4 layout

2.0 L H4 (Japan)
2.0 L H4 turbo (Japan)
2.5 L 170 hp (130 kW) H4
2.5 L 224 hp (167 kW) turbo H4
2.0 L H4 turbodiesel

2.5 L 263 hp H4 turbo(S-edition)
Transmission 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual (Petrol)
6-speed manual (diesel)
Wheelbase 2,616 mm (103 in)
Length 4,559 mm (179.5 in)
Width 1,781 mm (70.1 in)
Height 1,674 mm (65.9 in)
1,742 mm (68.6 in)
(2010-2012 2.5X/XT)
Curb weight 1,470 kg (3,250 lb)

Subaru unveiled the model year 2008 Forester in Japan on December 25, 2007. The North American version made its debut at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Pre-facelift Subaru Forester X (Australia)

The third generation Forester was styled by Subaru Chief Designer Mamoru Ishii. The dimensions derive from engineers using the basic body structure of the Japanese-spec Impreza wagon with the rear platform of the U.S.-spec Impreza sedan. The Forester's wheelbase has increased 3.5 inches (89 mm), with overall increases of 3.0 inches (76 mm) in length, 1.8 inches (46 mm) in width and 4.3 inches (110 mm) in height. Notably, the third generation Forester forgoes the frameless side windows used on Subarus since the early 1970s. The third generation embraces the car based SUV, and leaves behind the older wagon design; it's larger in nearly every dimension and features a sloping roof line with more cargo space.

The independent double wishbone rear suspension has been redesigned for better handling and a smoother ride over the previous generation. "Sportshift" has been included with the four-speed computer-controlled automatic transmission. The in-dash, touch-screen satellite navigation system is Bluetooth compatible, and has the premium stereo integrated. Subaru also offers the six-speaker premium stereo, with surround sound enhancement, separate from the navigation system.

The new model adds 3.5 inches (89 mm) to the Forester's wheelbase, thereby improving interior space and cargo room (31 cu ft (0.88 m3) expandable to 69 cu ft (2.0 m3)). Ground clearance for the Forester is now 8.9 inches (230 mm).


The Forester is available in Europe with the 2.0-liter EJ20 petrol engine with Active Valve Control System (AVCS) matched to either five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox, and the all-new diesel-powered horizontally opposed (boxer) engine, called the Subaru EE and six-speed manual gearbox, which was introduced at the 2008 Paris Motor Show in October. The diesel engine produces a power output of 147 PS (145 hp; 108 kW).

In the UK, the petrol-powered Forester is offered in the popular X and XS models, while trim level for the diesel models are X, XC, and XS NavPlus.

In Russia, Belarus and Ukraine 2.5 and 2.5 Turbo engines are also available.



There are seven specifications with various trim and performance levels:

  • X: Base model - naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 126 kW (169 hp) 229 Nm (169 ft-lbf)
  • XS: Lower luxury non-turbo model - naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 126 kW (169 hp) 229 Nm (169 ft-lbf)
  • XS Premium: luxury non-turbo model - naturally aspirated 2.5 L flat-4, 126 kW (169 hp) 229 Nm (169 ft-lbf)
  • 2.0 Diesel: turbo-diesel 2.0 L flat-4, 108 kW (145 hp) 350 Nm (258 ft-lbf)
  • 2.0 Premium Diesel: Premium - turbo-diesel 2.0 L flat-4, 108 kW (145 hp) 350 Nm (258 ft-lbf)
  • XT: Lower luxury turbo model - turbocharged 2.5 L flat-4, 169 kW (227 hp) 320 Nm (236 ft-lbf)
  • XT Premium: luxury turbo model - turbocharged 2.5 L flat-4, 169 kW (227 hp) 320 Nm (236 ft-lbf)
  • S-Edition: - turbocharged 2.5 L flat-4 193 kW (259 hp) 347 Nm (256 ft-lbf)

Summary of standard trim and equipment over different Australian models.

  • Wheels and tyres – The X model comes with 16-inch steel wheels. The 2.0 diesel model comes with 16-inch alloy wheels. All other models come with 17-inch alloy wheels.
  • Suspension – The X model comes with double wishbone type, independent suspension on the rear of the car. All other models come with self-levelling double wishbone type, independent suspension on the rear.
  • Miscellaneous – The Premium versions of the 2.0 diesel, XS and XT models come with leather seating and an electric sunroof. These items are not available as options on other models.
  • Transmission. The X manual comes with a dual range,five-speed manual transmission. The X auto comes with a four-speed automatic transmission. Both diesel models come with a six-speed manual transmission only. All other models come with either a single-range, five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.
  • Entertainment – The XT Premium comes with a multi-information in-dash satellite navigation system and single CD/DVD player (7-inch touch screen). The X and 2.0 diesel come with an AM/FM radio, CD player (MP3 and WMA compatible), four-speaker stereo (tweeters and subwoofer optional extra). All other models come with an AM/FM radio, six-stack in-dash CD player (MP3 and WMA compatible), and a six-speaker SRS stereo system with subwoofer. The system from the XT Premium is optional on all other models, but costs A$4851.50 (fitted).


Facelift Subaru Forester 2.5 XT (US)
Subaru Forester XT (US; facelift)

The Forester trim levels are the 2.5X, the 2.5X Premium, the 2.5X Limited and the 2.5XT and 2.5XT Limited both with turbo. The interior color is either black or light gray with three upholstery selections, including leather. Nine exterior colors are offered, with four colors offered with a pearlescent appearance.

Starting July 2008, Subaru no longer offered a special-edition L.L. Bean trim level on the Forester.

The USA 2.5X model has been certified PZEV emissions (Rated 175 hp (130.5 kW) instead 170 hp (126.8 kW)), and a badge has been attached to the rear of the vehicle on the bottom left-hand side of the tailgate. All other USA models have been certified LEV2. The PZEV Forester is available for sale in all fifty states, unlike other manufacturers who only sell PZEV-certified vehicles in states that have adopted California emission standards. The engine without the turbo runs on unleaded gasoline rated at 87 octane, and the turbo engine (EJ255) requires premium fuel rated minimum 91 octane.

Safety equipment includes front airbags with side curtain airbags and front passenger side airbags (for a total of six airbags) and brake assist that detects panic-braking situations and applies maximum braking force more quickly.

The five-speed manual transmission is equipped with Incline Start Assist which, on an incline, holds the brake for a second after releasing it to allow for time to depress the accelerator.

Some of the standard equipment found on the 2.5X include Subaru's VDC (Vehicle Dynamics Control), 16 inch steel wheels, and an auxiliary audio jack for MP3 players. Optional equipment includes 17 inch alloy wheels, panoramic moonroof, heated front seats and heated side-view mirrors. The L.L. Bean edition adds automatic climate control, leather upholstery, an upgraded stereo with six speakers and a six disc in-dash CD changer over the four-speaker stereo with single disc CD player, and an in-dash navigation system, as well as L.L. Bean signature floor mats and rear cargo tray.

The 2.5 XT comes with the premium stereo standard, as well as 17-inch alloy wheels, and the panoramic moonroof. The 2.5 XT Limited adds leather upholstery with heated front seats, in-dash navigation, a rear spoiler, and automatic climate control. For 2009, XT models come only with a four-speed automatic with Sport Shift.

Forester XTI concept

The Forester XTI concept vehicle uses the 2.5-liter intercooled turbo engine from Subaru WRX STI, six-speed manual transmission, 18 × 8-inch S204 forged alloy wheels with Yokohama Advan Neova 255/40R18 performance tires, adjustable coil-over suspension, Brembo brakes with four-piston front calipers, 2-piston rear calipers, Super Sport ABS and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), leather and Alcantara sport seats, a special instrument cluster, front dash and center console and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Engine is rated 315 hp (235 kW) and 300 lb·ft (410 N·m) torque.

The vehicle was unveiled in 2008 SEMA show.

Mountain Rescue Vehicle

Subaru produced a specialized vehicle for the National Ski Patrol based on 2.5XT turbo. It includes diamond plate floor, rear steel walls, a 9,500-pound winch and a roof-mounted toboggan. The vehicle was unveiled in 2008 SEMA show.


In 2010 for the 2011 model year, the Subaru Forester received a new grille insert. With an optional roof-rack the Forester is also raised 2.5 inches from its base model-height. The naturally aspirated Foresters are equipped with an all new third generation motor with DOHC 2.5l FB25 and 2.0l flat four FB20.


Fourth generation (SJ, 2014–present)

Fourth generation
2014 Subaru Forester (MY14) 2.5i Luxury wagon (2016-05-14) 01.jpg
Production 2012–present
Layout F4 layout
Engine 2.0 L H4
2.0 L H4 turbo
2.5 L H4
2.0 L H4 turbodiesel
Transmission six-speed manual
Lineartronic CVT
Wheelbase 104 in (2,640 mm)
Length 181 in (4,595 mm)
Width 71 in (1,796 mm)
Height 68 in (1,732 mm)
Curb weight 1,495 to 1,686 kg (3,296 to 3,717 lb)

Changes to the fourth-generation line-up include:

  • Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and decreased towing capacity. Maximum towing capacity was reduced to 1,500 lb (680 kg) across all trim lines (in the United States, overseas the towing capacity is double that). XT (turbo) variants use a high-torque CVT with steering wheel paddle shifter controls.
  • Revised, sport-oriented suspension, wheels (18-inch) and chassis bracing for XT (turbo) variant, providing flatter cornering in turns and better handling overall with little impact on ride.
  • Increased fuel economy, up to 32 mpg highway (EPA rated)
  • 1.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider, 1 inch longer wheelbase
  • Increased interior volume: rear seat legroom is 41.7 inches (1,060 mm) and rear cargo volume (with seats folded down) is 74.7 cubic feet (2.12 m3).
  • New option on higher end only models is "X-MODE" AWD control system, which was developed for driving on uneven or slippery road conditions. Engine, Transmission and VDC are controlled cooperatively.
  • New option on top of the line 2.5i and 2.0XT Touring models only: EyeSight Driver Assist System
Subaru Forester

The vehicle was unveiled in 2012 Guangzhou Motor Show, followed by the 2013 New York International Auto Show.

Japan models went on sale in November 2012. Early model includes 2.0i, 2.0i-L, 2.0i-L EyeSight, 2.0i-S EyeSight, 2.0XT (280 PS), 2.0XT EyeSight (280 PS). 2.0i engine models include six-speed manual (2.0i, 2.0i-L) or Lineartronic CVT transmission; 2.0XT (280 PS) engine models include Lineartronic CVT transmission.

Asian models went on sale in March 2013 as 2014 model year. Early model includes 2.0i-L, 2.0i Premium and 2.0XT. ASEAN production of the Subaru Forester began in February 2016. Malaysia-based Tan Chong Motor Assemblies (TCMA) will assemble approximately 10,000 Forester units annually for Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia respectively.

US models went on sale in March 2013 as 2014 model year vehicles. Early models include 2.5i in base, Premium, Limited and top-line Touring versions; 2.0XT (253 PS) in Premium and Touring versions. Base and Premium model 2014 Foresters can be equipped with the manual six-speed transmission or the Lineartronic CVT. All other models are equipped with the Lineartronic CVT. An option on Limited/Touring 2.5i and Premium/Touring 2.0XT is new X-Mode control and Hill Descent Control(HDC) features. These are not available on other models.


According to IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) the 2014 Forester achieved Good crash test ratings in Small Overlap Front, Moderate Overlap Front, Side, Roof Strength, and Head Restraing & Seats categories. The Forester had not been rated Good in the Small Overlap Front test until modifications were made for the 2014 model year. The small overlap test, introduced in 2012 by the IIHS, simulates a frontal collision on 25 percent of the driver's side front corner. Since its adoption, the IIHS has noticed several automakers making non-symmetrical modifications to their vehicles. Another small overlap test was conducted on a number of vehicles, including a 2014 Forester, but was conducted on the passenger side instead. The crash test showed substantially more intrusion into the passenger side than into the driver's side of the Forester.

X Mode

The 2014 Forester has a new feature called X Mode that allows owners to go through more extreme conditions both on the road and off. The concept is that any driver, regardless of skill level, can drive safely on wet roads or muddy areas. It works by distributing torque evenly to all four wheels and, should one or more wheels begin to slip, X Mode kicks in, and the vehicle moves forward without losing traction (in mud or snow). This means no free-spinning tires. After it is engaged by a simple push button, X Mode stays engaged up until the vehicle's speed is about 25 mph (40 km/h) then disengages itself.

EyeSight Driver Assist System


The 2014 top-of-the-line Touring model Forester offers Subaru's EyeSight driver assist technology that uses stereoscopic CCD cameras mounted on either side of the rearview mirror. Eyesight offers several driver assist technologies/features which include:

  • Pre-Collision Braking System
  • Pre-Collision Throttle Management
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Lane Departure and Sway Warning

The system can be manually turned on or off. Being an optical, instead of radar, based system, it has limitations in limited visibility situations; driving into the sun, fog, or where the windshield is not cleared (snow, mud, etc.) may cause the system to disengage.


Petrol engines
Model Years Type/code Power/rpm, Torque/rpm
2.0i 2012- 1,995 cc (121.7 cu in) H4 (FB20) 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp) at 6,200, 20.2 kg·m (198 N·m; 146 lbf·ft) at 4,200
2.5i 2013- 2,498 cc (152.4 cu in) H4 (FB25) 172 PS (127 kW; 170 hp) at 5,800, 24.1 kg·m (236 N·m; 174 lbf·ft) at 4,100
2.0XT (253 PS) 2013- 1,998 cc (121.9 cu in) H4 (FA20) 253 PS (186 kW; 250 hp) at 5,600, 35.7 kg·m (350 N·m; 258 lbf·ft) at 2,000-4,800
2.0XT (280 PS) 2012- 1,998 cc (121.9 cu in) H4 (FA20) 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp) at 5,700, 35.7 kg·m (350 N·m; 258 lbf·ft) at 2,000-5,600

The 2014 and 2015 models had a major revamp of interior comfort. The passenger seat is higher, the sound system has been upgraded, the rear bench seats are higher and the console is re-positioned for the person riding in the center. The manual transmission models were also upgraded to a six-speed transmission instead of the previous generation's five-speed transmission. Engines during these year models do have an issue[clarification needed] with oil consumption, along with numerous other automotive manufactures at the time. Subaru has a lawsuit due to it; some experience over 1.5 quarts of oil consumed between change intervals with low-level dash lights coming on. Some speculation on this is the use of different style piston rings on the engine style change and synthetic oil.

For 2017, the Forester interior gained additional noise suppression (acoustic windshield, thicker side glass, additional noise insulation) and improved trim. Its suspension was tweaked with quicker steering ratio and revised shocks (lower friction, less harshness). Its CVT transmissions gained subtle shift points to more closely emulate automatic transmissions. The 2.5 engine was made slightly more efficient to improve fuel economy. The audio head unit was revamped with a newer version of STARLINK and larger icon display to provide better connectivity and user interaction.


As part of the US market launch of 2014 Subaru Forester, the 'Dog Tested. Dog Approved.' campaign returned, featuring an all-new cast of canines making their television debut during Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl IX, which included Grant Weber, a Subaru canine Sales Associate, who sells Subaru vehicles to dogs. New commercials for the campaign included 'Lint Roller', 'Tailgate', 'Let's Talk Financing', 'On the Lot'. A new Facebook application was launched, which included Dog Matchmaker, Ask a Dog - Live, Four-Paw Drivers Club, Put Your Dog in a Subaru. Subaru also partnered with MapMyFitness to continue the MapMyDOGWALK mobile application. During Puppy Bowl IX, Dog Tested fans can interact with the campaign content on Facebook or Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl Co-Viewing Application.


  • Car and Driver's 5Best Trucks 2004
  • Car and Driver's 5Best Trucks 2005
  • Car and Driver's 5Best Trucks 2006
  • Winner of Wheels Gold star cars award for best compact SUV 2008
  • Winner of Motor Trend magazine's Sport/Utility of the Year Award in 2009
  • Best Small Utility in MotorWeek's 2009 Driver's Choice Awards
  • Winner of Motor Trend Magazine's SUV of the Year Award in 2014
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick+
  • Subaru Forester Claims Top Honours as AJAC's 2017 Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year