The Forester is an aging member of the compact SUV segment, where top rivals are heavily armed with hybrid powertrains and cutting-edge equipment designed to appeal to North Americans thirsting for versatility in a small package. After seeing a few photos of the new Forester earlier this week, the public finally got to see the 2025 version of this compact SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The Forester has sustained a minor aesthetic and technical overhaul designed to keep it relevant, but besides the new looks, it essentially sticks to its original recipe. It now boasts more robust looks, a popular (and profitable) attribute these days in the manufacturer’s lineup, but also elsewhere in the industry. The Forester also looks more modern, and despite its more rugged appearance, it is a little less "boxy" than it once was, with more rounded lines complemented by elements tasked to improve its aerodynamics.
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No Major Changes Under the Hood
Beyond styling, buyers in the compact SUV game are always looking for new substance rather than style. The Forester essentially stays put in terms of powertrain tech for 2025.
The old 2.5-liter, flat-four engine is back and outputs 180 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque, 2 hp less and 2 lb-ft more. According to the manufacturer, its internals have been reworked, as have those of the CVT transmission, which is described as less noisy. As is customary, the efforts of this powertrain are sent to all four wheels via Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel drive. The WRX's rack-and-pinion steering system has been adopted, as with the new Impreza, to ensure more precise steering. Chassis and suspensions have received their share of iterations, and a sport suspension is now offered on the Sport model. Finally, the chassis has been reworked to deliver better rigidity.
Small Changes in the Cabin
In the cabin, the layout remains essentially the same. The Commodity base model is still equipped with the 7-inch dual-screen infotainment system. However, the new, 11.6-inch screen is available on all trims and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wireless suites. Forester owners will now be able to enjoy ventilated front seats and a 360-degree camera, but only on the Premier model.
On the safety front, the Forester now features Emergency Brake Assist as standard. If the driver becomes unresponsive at the wheel, the Forester will safely pull over on the side of the road and activate hazard lights. However, the adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist systems must be activated simultaneously for this to work.
Information regarding fuel consumption ratings of the reworked engine has not yet been revealed, nor have details on the pricing of the various models.
Subaru has sold 200,000 Forester models in Canada since its launch in the 1998 model year. Models such as a possible, more robust Wilderness variant, but above all the long-awaited hybrid variant due next year, which will use Toyota's hybrid technology, should help increase its popularity.