2018 Subaru Forester Walk Around

The Forester is anti-swoopy. It’s uncompromising It’s a tall, short, square wagon with the ride height of an SUV. Its design priorities include easy entrance and exit.

We’re not saying it’s ugly. It does step out a bit, with character lines on the hood and sculpting on the sides. The taillamps come from the edgy Impreza. Not everything is neat. On the turbo models there’s an aggressive airdam that looks like dewlaps on a lizard.


One of the Forester’s strengths, and one reason it’s so popular, is that it’s simple and intuitive. You can climb in the car and operate everything for the first time, without having to refer to a thick manual. Unlike, say, a German car or two.

The instrument panel, shared with the Legacy sedan and Outback crossover, is clean. The audio and climate controls are logical and easy to use. The information screen is mounted over the center console that flows back over bins and cupholders to an armrest.

The interior materials are a mix of matte and soft-touch surfaces with matte metallic trim, including a handsome Saddle Brown perforated leather with contrasting stitching for the Touring model. The 2017 Forester got more sound insulation in the floor, an acoustic windshield, and thicker glass in the doors, all intended to reduce interior noise while underway.

The driving position is high and the window line low, so there’s an unsurpassed feeling of space in front, for a compact car. The dash is located forward and low, to give front occupants more room. But the front seats have short flat cushions and slim bolstering. Tall drivers will find their knees contacting the center console and door panels, which aren’t soft.

The rear seats have a better contour. There’s ample headroom and legroom, with a low driveshaft tunnel, as well as rear doors that are wide enough for easy entry and exit. Every model but the base has a 60/40 rear seat that folds nearly flat with a one-touch mechanism, creating a generous cargo capacity of 74.7 cubic feet. And there’s still a good 34.4 cubic feet behind the rear seat.

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