2022 Subaru Forester Premier: Into the Woods We Go

Strong points
  • Plenty of interior space
  • Great exterior look
  • Off-road capable
Weak points
  • Eyesight is awesome, but will cost extra
  • Can be heavy on gas with the all-time AWD
Full report

The Subaru Forester has been a staple in the lineup since 1997, and since then it has gone through both cosmetic and technological changes and advances. Always the more rugged of the family tree, the latest iteration of the Forester continues to impress in terms of design and capability and might just be the best one yet.

In it’s fifth generation now, the 2022 Subaru Forester is longer, wider and has a higher ride height than the out-going model, which should make it one of the best in terms of interior space and comfort as well as off-road capabilities.

While we didn’t take it anywhere overtly rugged, we did enjoy it in the suburban jungle and on highway drives. It’s clear that Subaru has refined its vehicles over the years, and the Forester is proof of that.

Photo: Miranda Lightstone

Forester in Forest Green

OK, let’s talk about the exterior design of this latest generation first: We love it. Subaru has kept the square look of the Forester, albeit softening the edges ever so slightly to modernize it. However, it’s kept its shape enough so there is no confusion as to what it is on the road. Somehow, the shape of the Forester remains unique and there is no confusing it with other crossovers on the road like the Honda CRV or the VW Tiguan - which is so important in a segment that tends to all blend together in terms of design trends.

Large, plastic-clad wheel wheels also set the Forester apart, giving it that rugged outdoorsy look, though not as rugged as the Wilderness version, just to make sure that one stands out even more. Roof rails and subtle chrome accents throughout the exterior design keep the Forest look up-to-date and on point.

And that green exterior colour? Absolutely perfect for the Forester, especially when coupled with the dark tan and black leather interior. The large center stack screen is easy to see and access for both driver and passenger, and while there is a touchscreen, there are (thankfully) buttons, too. The second upper-level screen can be dedicated to a few different things: calendar/clock, weather, off-road information (like hill descent/ascent angles) or fuel consumption. Large, chunky buttons and a comfortable gear shift allude to the Forester’s off-road nature.

Photo: Germain Goyer

Interior space is great for medium to small families with a large cargo space in the rear (and available rubber mat covering to ensure no matter what you get up to your Subie stays protected) suitable for weekend adventures away or a trip to the grocery store.

Into the Woods

Now, speaking of off-roading; as we said, we didn’t go too far into the wilderness with the Forester, but that’s not to say it couldn’t have done it. Equipped with Subaru’s renowned asymmetrical all-wheel drive system as well as X-Mode which gives the Forester even more traction and stability on less-than-ideal surfaces.

We had the pleasure of driving the top-tier Forester, the Premier. However, regardless of trim level, the Forester comes equipped with the same engine throughout: a 2.5L BOXER that produces 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. Power is handled via a CVT which normally would make my skin crawl, however, Subaru engineered their CVT to act like a normally geared transmission, which is so much better.

Photo: Germain Goyer

The drive feels planted, grounded and sturdy even on dry pavement. Having driven previous generation Foresters in much worse conditions, that same feeling behind the wheel exists.

Feeling that Subie Love

Every time I get behind the wheel of a Subaru I feel like they are headed in the right direction. The manufacturer continues to make improvements where they need to be made, while at the same time leaving well enough alone when it comes to doing what they do best. The Forester is proof of that. It might not be the most advanced SUV on the market right now or even the most aesthetically pleasing to all, but it performs where it is meant to, and that’s what counts.

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