Subaru Forester (2013 – 2019) Review

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Subaru Forester (2013 – 2019) At A Glance

Well-equipped as standard. Impressive roadholding even in poor weather. Spacious interior.

Cabin has some low-budget details. Pricier than some better-finished rivals.

Insurance Groups are between 16–34
On average it achieves 94% of the official MPG figure

The Subaru Forester isn’t likely to appeal to many buyers. It lacks the plush, luxurious feel of rivals from European manufacturers like Audi or Volkswagen - but for rural drivers who need a sturdy, reliable car that works well on and off the road it’s a decent choice.

All-wheel drive is standard and it’s effective, providing great confidence both in adverse weather and on muddy tracks or fields. There are three engine choices – an auto-only 241PS 2.0-litre petrol, a 150PS 2.0-litre petrol and a 2.0-litre diesel.

Alongside the manual gearbox, there's also an impressive automatic available. Called Lineartronic, it is quieter than most CVTs under hard acceleration, but is just as smooth and relaxing at low speeds around town. It’s probably the best fit for the Forester, since the manual variants aren’t quite as relaxing or as easy to drive smoothly, especially when pulling away from a standing start.

The Forester has a good braked trailer rating of between 1800-2000kg depending on the variant, which is enough to tow a medium sized caravan or a small horsebox – but it’s capability is down significantly on something like a SsangYong Rexton, which can tow a braked trailer of up to 3500kg.

Practicality is good. The back row of seats is spacious enough for adults, while the raised driving position gives a good view above overgrown verges and hedgerows. The boot is big enough for typical family needs – its capacity of 505 litres is plenty for shopping trips, pushchairs and suitcases, which will all fit without any trouble.

The cabin is sturdily built but it lacks the flair and plush, luxurious feeling of a Volkswagen Tiguan or Audi Q3 – but it comes with all the essentials as standard. Air conditioning, cruise control, auto lights, auto wipers, a touchscreen, a reversing camera, heated seats and Bluetooth come with all versions. Upper trims gain luxuries like leather and a power tailgate.

The Forester lacks the flair and style of many of its rivals – but with genuine off-road capability and a reassuring five-year, 100,000-mile warranty it will make sense to rural buyers. It's not cheap with list prices starting at around £25k and so for many, something like a Volkswagen Tiguan will make more sense – it’s more refined, more comfortable and more luxurious. 

Looking for a Subaru Forester (2013 - 2019)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

Real MPG average for a Subaru Forester (2013 – 2019)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

28–56 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

My windscreen has a waxy resin left on it after using a car wash - how to I clean it off?
"My Subaru Forester has been hand washed in a commercial car wash that has left a film of wax/resin on the screen. I've tried several means of cleaning, including vinegar and Mentholated spirit - but to no avail. It's severely obscures my vision in bright sunlight. How do I clean it?"
Mer windscreen cleaner that goes on as a liquid but dries to a mildly abrasive powder.
Answered by Honest John
What are the differences between the small claims court in England and the equivalent in Scotland?
"Less than six months ago I bought a Subaru Forester from a franchised dealership in Scotland. Although I love the car, it's been plagued with problems from the outset. The dealer principal is being less than helpful and sadly it looks like we're heading for the court. I live in England and I'm familiar with the Small Claims system here, but the Scottish system is different. Can you give me any advice about using the Scottish equivalent of the Small Claims Court?"
It's the Sheriff's Court. This tells you: For more information, Google <Small Claims in Scotland> But I don't know if you can get a High Court Sheriff's order in Scotland. This is much more effective than simple County Court bailiffs in the UK.
Answered by Honest John
Which tyres are best for the Subaru Forester?
"I'm due a tyre change shortly and the Michelin Crossclimate will be available in my Subaru Forester's size 225 60 17 from July. I'm aware that the Nokian Weatherproof is also very highly rated and is likely to cost around £120 less across 4 tyres. Which of the two is likely to serve me better?"
No idea because though I spend a couple of day with the excellent people at Nokian last year when Weatherproof was launched we were not able to drive it. I can tell you that Michelin Cross Climates are outstandingly brilliant because I've been on a set of 215/55 R17s for eight months and 9000 miles. They're comfortable, quiet, absorbent, grippy, give good steering feel, seem to last okay and don't affect fuel economy.
Answered by Honest John
HID headlight adjustment when driving abroad?
"I have a Honda CR-V EX with HID lamps. With these lights I do not need to make an adjustment when driving in Europe. My friend has Subaru Forester XT in which we will be driving to Italy next month. He has been unable to find out from the dealer or the manual whether deflectors will be needed. Are you able to advise?"
Tell him to point the car at a wall at night and check the dip pattern. If it dips down he does not need deflectors. If it dips to the left, he does.
Answered by Honest John

What does a Subaru Forester (2013 – 2019) cost?