The best generation yet? [First Drive]

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The Subaru Forester is one of those cars that I have recommended my mother buy. So, you should know that I am a fan. I like the safety, handling and driving – and so do the current owners. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the concept is a new generation, the 2025 Subaru Forester is not a complete reboot. It somehow manages to take what's good and make it even better.

2025 Subaru Forester Overview

While the 2025 Subaru Forester is a styling evolution, it's a next-generation vehicle, and almost everything is new. If it's not new, it may have been updated.

For example, the engine, although not completely new, delivers more torque and a better torque curve. EyeSight, Subaru's strongest safety feature, gets a wider field of vision. The frame is solid, and there are some noise deadens.

Also, there are several new Forester-first technology features.

But the 2025 Subaru Forester maintains a straight stance and doesn't grow. So, the end result is a nimble car with excellent visibility and cool technology. It still hasn't got a digital driver display, and that doesn't bother me. In fact, it won't bother Subaru acolytes either.

As with any car, there are pros and cons, so let's take a quick look at both sides of the equation.

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The 2025 Subaru Forester Sport gets brass interior accents and a larger 11.6-inch screen. (Photo by Jill Ciminillo)

Good stuff

Let's start with the new technical features. I always thought the Forester needed a 360-degree view camera, and now you can get one on the top-level Touring trim. You can also get a rear camera mirror on that trim. So, if you pack stuff on the roof, you still have a way to see the back of the car. Another nice piece of optional technology on the Sport trim is a hands-free kick activated, easy-to-operate liftgate.

The infotainment system is also on the good list. For 2025, the Forester uses an 11.6-inch touchscreen and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. While most HVAC controls are also embedded in the screen, I appreciate the fact that most touch-sensitive temperature controls are hard buttons instead of touchscreen operation.

During the press preview, we spent about 7 hours in the car, which is definitely enough time to see if the car is comfortable. Thankfully, the 2025 Forester is. The seats are firm and supportive without being overly firm. Not to mention, the adjustable seats combined with the tilt/telescoping steering wheel combine to create a great driving position for both tall and short drivers. Although I can speak with a bit of confidence, my driving partner was over 6 feet tall, and had the same good and comfortable posture.

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The 2025 Subaru Forester Limited adds many nice standard features like leather seats, a kick-activated power liftgate and a heated steering wheel. (Photo by Jill Ciminillo)

The handling of the Forester is also quite good. Whether you are on the paved road or on marked gravel roads, this small SUV performs very well. There was little body roll and the smoothness over the bumpy bits was a pleasant surprise.

Finally, the best thing about the 2025 Subaru Forester (IMHO) has to be the price. In a world where $48k is the average price for a new car, you can get the Touring trim all for $40k. The total prices, including destination, and key features are as follows:

Base ($31,090): It comes with AWD, EyeSight driver assist system, dual-zone climate control, 7 inch infotainment touchscreen, 17-inch alloy wheels, raised roof rails, LED steering lights, XM Satellite radio, USB port and 60/40. folding rear seats.

Premium ($33,390): This adds a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat, panoramic moonroof, 11.6 inch vertical infotainment touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, wireless charger, 4 USB ports, heated front seats, entry, push-button start, rear seats with armrests, fog lights and X-Mode. An options package is available with a power liftgate with foot opening sensor, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.

Sport ($35,890): This adds 19-inch alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension, gloss black accents and exterior, leatherette seats with bronze accents, lower roof rails, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, paddle shifters, side mirrors that indicate turns. and a dual-function X mode. The options package is available with Harmon Kardon premium audio, power liftgate with foot sensor and automatic braking.

There is a limit ($37,390): This adds 18 inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, power liftgate with foot activation sensor, power passenger seat, heated steering, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and roof rails. The options package is available with Harmon Kardon premium audio, navigation, automatic brake reverse.

Tour ($41,390): This model adds 19 inch alloy wheels, suede leather seats, Harmon Kardon premium audio, heated/ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, 2 memory driver seat, DriverFocus driver distraction minigation system, 360-degree view surround camera. , rear camera mirror, roof rails, reverse auto braking.

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The 2025 Subaru Forester doesn't have a digital cluster, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. (Photo by Jill Ciminillo)

Bad things

I'll be honest, I had to stretch to find bad things in the 2025 Subaru Forester. But if I had to pick nits, I would start with speed. The 2.5 liter Subaru Boxer engine is fine. But I've always thought the Forester could benefit from a little turbocharging, and that remains true for the 2025 model. I understand why it's not (the price), but it doesn't stop me from wanting it anyway. With 180 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, the Forester just feels like the skosh is running out of power. But take that with a grain of salt from an aggressive Chicago driver.

Another thing that struck me as unusual was the lack of vegan options. For a low-tread car, I would have thought there would be more than just the base model with no leather, but no. If you're vegan, the base trim is the only model available to you. From Premium, you'll get a leather-wrapped steering wheel, even without leather seats.

Other than that, my other big beef is the (surprisingly) wireless charger. I'm a firm believer that if a car manufacturer can't do it right, they shouldn't install it. And the wireless charger in the 2025 Subaru Forester doesn't work well. My phone kept moving around in space, so it didn't charge. Always. No matter where I put my phone, it would slip and stop charging. I know it's nice to say you have a wireless charger, but if it doesn't work, it adds cost for no reason. I'd rather have a 360 camera or a rear camera mirror as an option on the lower trim than a non-functional feature. But maybe that's just me.

An important point

Overall, the 2025 Subaru Forester is still a top pick in my book. It's safe. It is free. It's smooth. The price is right. It's designed for the active lifestyle, yet has great features that bring it into the 2020s.

Can I recommend it to my mother? Yes. So, I can recommend it to you, too.

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