2025 Subaru Forester Doesn't Stray Far From the Formula

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

The Subaru Forester is a vehicle that has never strayed far from a formula, and the new sixth-generation SUV is no exception. A perennial high-volume seller for Subaru in both Canada and the United States, we understand why the manufacturer is reluctant to overly alter the vehicle.

That stated, a vehicle can’t remain complacent in today’s market, and for the 2025 model year the Forester is all-new. Although all-new is a relative term here, parts of the Forester do indeed see major changes while other areas are less drastically altered. Below is a summary of what to expect in Subaru’s heavily updated compact SUV.

It’s In the Details

2025 subaru forester doesn t stray far from the formula

On the outside, the Forester has a familiar overall look. Retaining the same general greenhouse shape, it’s easy to identify as a Forester. But take a closer look at the details and a lot has changed on the exterior.

Most obvious are the lights. Gone are the C-shaped elements. Up front, they’re replaced by thin headlights featuring a LED daytime running light strip on top. At the back, it’s the same story as there are now more conventional taillights connected by a trim piece running the width of the rear hatch.

2025 subaru forester doesn t stray far from the formula

Another departure is the grille that no longer features the typical Subaru design elements. The brand also claims the Forester is the first to wear an updated Subaru star cluster emblem. As well, the side cladding, front bumper, and rear bumper feature new design elements.

There are new wheels on tap, with the Base and Premium trim levels coming standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, while the Limited is equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels. For the first time on a Forester, the Sport and Touring trims now have 19-inch alloy wheels.

Bigger Changes Inside

2025 subaru forester doesn t stray far from the formula

Step inside and the most obvious change is the addition of Subaru’s 11.6-inch tablet-style touchscreen. It’s standard on all models except for the Base which uses dual 7-inch screens. The larger screen now includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with a full-screen display.

While on the topic of wireless, the Forster can also be had with a wireless phone charger. Other feature highlights include ventilated front seats on the Touring Trim, and a dual-zone climate control system that focuses on occupied seats instead of just blasting around the entire cabin.

2025 subaru forester doesn t stray far from the formula

Most of the trim pieces inside are new and made of materials Subaru claims are designed to avoid visible damage from daily use, which is a terrific idea. The dark headliner should also hide scuffs better and has improved insulation that should reduce approximately 39% of outside noise making its way into the cabin, according to the manufacturer.

At the back, the Forester continues to have a steep rear glass which allows for 29.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up, or 74.4 cubic feet with them folded. Compared to the current Forester, that’s . There’s one more party trick for loading cargo as well, as the Forester is the first Subaru vehicle to be available with a kick-activate sensor to open the power rear hatch.

Hello, Old Friend

2025 subaru forester doesn t stray far from the formula

Under the hood of the 2025 Subaru Forester continues to be a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It trades in two horsepower for two pound feet of torque compared to the 2.5-liter found in the current Forester. That pegs output at 180 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. We were hoping for a return of the turbo Forester with this new generation, but it does not seem to be in the cards.

Like the last generation, all Forester models come standard with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Subaru claims the CVT has been updated with smoother and quieter performance. Opting for the Premium, Sport, Limited or Touring trims will include a set of steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters that can control the CVT through eight pre-set ratios.

Chassis and Suspension Tweaks

2025 subaru forester doesn t stray far from the formula

Subaru points out that the air outlet at the edge of the front wheel opening is designed to allow air to exit from the wheel freer. This should help reduced lift on the front tires for improved driving stability. Combined with a 10% increase in torsion rigidity, a smoother ride, as well as the quieter cabin, and the 2025 Forester should be more pleasing to drive. Of course, due to its boxy shape and thin pillars, sightlines remain terrific.

Those yearning for a little excitement behind the wheel will be happy to hear the Forester now has a version of the WRX’s dual-pinion electronic power steering rack. Of course, it also continues to feature Subaru’s brake-activated torque vectoring system and the SI-Drive modes.

Finally, what’s a Subaru SUV if it can’t handle moderate off-roading? The Forester continues to have 8.7-inches of ground clearance and standard full-time all-wheel drive. Premium models include driver-selectable X-MODE with Hill Descent Control, while Sport and higher trims get the two-stage X-MODE.


2025 subaru forester doesn t stray far from the formula

As should be expected in Subaru’s by now, the Forester comes standard with the latest version of the brand’s EyeSight system. The manufacturer claims it now operates smoother, quicker, and under a greater range of conditions than prior versions.

The Forester also includes a Subaru first - Emergency Stop Assist. This system activates if a driver becomes unresponsive to warnings while using the adaptive cruise control. Once engaged, Emergency Stop Assist will stop the vehicle, activate the hazard lights, and unlock the doors. The SUBARU STARLINK® Connected Services telematics system will then place a call to emergency services.

Furthering the safety equipment, Subaru’s driver distraction mitigation system, DriverFocus comes standard on Touring trim. Also now available is the Surround View Monitor that includes a 360-degree overhead view of the vehicle and its surroundings.

Trims and Launch Date

2025 subaru forester doesn t stray far from the formula

In the United States, the 2025 Forester will be available in Base, Premium, Sport, Limited and Touring trim levels. In Canada, trims will include

Subaru expects the new 2025 Forester to arrive on dealer lots sometime during the spring of 2024.

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2 of 4 comments
  • Pbug56 Pbug56 on Nov 17, 2023

    Foresters are good except for one thing - the perpetually anemic engine. On ramps where I live are super short, and for a car this underpowered it makes it hard to accelerate quickly enough. Subaru, most of us are not asking for a turbo, but hey, would 20 HP more be so hard to do?

  • DON DON on Nov 17, 2023

    I would buy one except for all the transmission failures I keep hearing about. Subaru used to have bullet proof transmissions but not anymore.