The Subaru Forester has long been one of the most competent players in its segment, nabbing our SUV of the Year award in its previous two generations.
And now that the compact crossover has been fully redesigned, the Forester is an even stronger entry—perhaps the strongest, in my opinion. Still, its niche status relegates it to the middle of the sales charts. Many people think you don’t need a Forester unless you live in a place with harsh weather or have two kids and as many dogs. But as a dogless, kidless California girl, the 2019 Subaru Forester is the SUV I would pick if I were in the market. Why? Because it makes life easier, even for us sun-indulgent SoCal folk.
Is it the quickest small crossover? No. Many MotorTrend editors complain it’s underpowered. The 2019 Forester runs from 0 to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds, behind the Honda CR-V’s 7.6 seconds. But I’m not buying an SUV for its 0-60 performance; its smooth powertrain carries more value. You’ll have no trouble merging with traffic or passing other vehicles on the highway.
The Forester is practical and well designed. Its upright greenhouse makes for the best visibility I’ve experienced in any mainstream compact crossover. The boxy styling contributes to generous amounts of headroom, too. Overall, the Forester boasts excellent interior space, with plenty of room for three adults to sprawl out in the rear seats. A cavernous cargo area—up to 76.1 cubic feet with the seats folded—makes it a great car for camping or road tripping, and the trunk opens wide so it’s easy to load. Folding down that second row is easy, as the seats are light and maneuverable.