Subaru crossover SUVs are a mainstay of Portland's automotive scene, and there are good reasons why these vehicles have strong sales in the Northwest. Subaru's symmetric all-wheel-drive system is well-suited to our variable weather conditions, and the compact SUV body style allows us to move people and cargo easily and efficiently.
The 2017 Subaru Forester is a continuation of the fourth-generation Forester line that arrived for the 2014 model year. This generation of the Forester is larger than older models, offering almost 75 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the rear seats folded down. The Forester is also a little taller than most passenger cars, offering a great view of the road from the driver's seat.
At the same time, the Forester offers handling that's more like a passenger car than most crossover SUVs. The suspension is smooth and steering is responsive, making the Forester easy to drive. The 2.5-liter engine offers 170 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque, which doesn't sound like a lot by modern standards, but the continuously variable transmission makes good use of the power, delivering more than reasonable performance.
Inside, the Forester offers plenty of headroom and leg room in both rows. Unlike many other automakers, Subaru has not tried to wedge a third row seat into the Forester, so no compromises had to be made. You can put plenty of cargo behind the rear seats and still carry four adults in comfort.
The top trim levels of the Forester include a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and Subaru's StarLink smartphone connectivity apps. Both front seats and the steering wheel are heated in the top Touring trim. Leather upholstery and an automatic liftgate in the back are included, along with a 440-watt Harman-Kardon sound system.
You can get into a new Forester for as low as $23,470, but that's without all the luxury features. But there are three upgrade trim levels, so it's easy to get the features you really want without going overboard. If you want more power, there's a Forester XT with a 250 horsepower turbocharged engine, and that model comes in a mid-trim level at $30,170 or the top Touring trim at $35,170.
One option you'll want to get with any Forester is Subaru's EyeSight driver assistance system. This includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure management and lane sway control, and pre-collision throttle management.
The bottom line on the 2017 Subaru Forester is that it remains a great choice for Portland. Subaru has a winning combination of price and features, and the Forester is pleasant to drive and it will carry just about anything your lifestyle requires.
2017 Subaru Forester 2.5i Touring
Base price: $32,170
Price as tested: $33,765
Type: Compact SUV
Engine: 2.5-liter horizontally opposed 4 cylinder (170 hp, 174 lbs-ft)
Transmission: Continuously Variable
EPA estimated mileage:26/32
Road noise: Average
Overall length: 182 inches
Curb weight: 3,382 pounds
Final assembly: Gunma, Japan