Which 2025 Subaru Forester Should You Buy?

Over three days in the Montana wilderness, we sampled all the refreshed 2025 Subaru Forester lineup has to offer. While driving impressions are kept under wraps for now, we can tell you exactly which Forester is best, which trims to skip, and which options packages we think buyers have to have to make the Forester all it can be.

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: no one needs (or probably wants) a base Subaru Forester. Frankly, the base model doesn’t have enough features to justify its $31,090 price point, especially when higher trims are within reach for just a few thousand dollars more. The base Forester, simply called the Forester, comes with standard all-wheel drive and Subaru’s EyeSight driver assists, but not much else of note (though roof rails are now standard). The biggest reason to avoid the trim is the lack of content, in addition to the base SUV’s infotainment. It still uses a much more dated pair of 7-inch screens, while the rest of the lineup benefits from the larger and much-improved 11.6-inch screen.

Subaru says the Premium trims and above are where 90% of buyers will land. Frankly, it’s a good palace to start, with an MSRP of $33,390 and features like heated seats, wireless phone projection, and a moonroof. We’d opt for the $1,200 option package that adds a power rear gate with foot activation and blind spot detection for a total of $34,590.

The Sport trim ($35,890) adds more features like bronze accenting and the durable, wipe-down goodness of the StarTex faux leather from Wilderness models. Again, it’s best to get the options package ($1,700) for a total of $37,590. However, we’d skip the Sport model too. Its high-30s price point makes us think of the existing Wilderness model and its eventual successor. If a sporty off-roadable Forester is what you want, best to wait for that.

Let’s also go ahead and exclude the $41,390 Touring model from the running as well. It represents a solid entry-luxury value against competitors, but buyers aren’t getting that much more over our pick, the Limited model. While the Touring’s suede inserts and 360-degree camera are nice, about 80% of the SUV’s features are also found in the $37,390 Limited trim, and springing for the $1,600 option package with the Harman Kardon sound system, navigation, and reverse automatic braking only bumps the total to $38,990. This is not only undercutting other competitors like the CR-V and RAV4, but the Touring model. Unless the upcoming Forester Hybrid drastically changes the level of standard equipment and driving experience, we’d stick with a 2025 Forester Limited.

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Chase Bierenkoven
Chase Bierenkoven

Chase is an automotive journalist with years of experience in the industry. He writes for outlets like Edmunds and AutoGuide, among many others. When not writing, Chase is in front of the camera over at The Overrun, his YouTube channel run alongside his friend and co-host Jobe Teehan. If he's not writing reviews of the latest in cars or producing industry coverage, Chase is at home in the driver's seat of his own (usually German) sports cars.

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