Subaru Forester (2019) Review

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Subaru Forester (2019) At A Glance

Permanent four-wheel-drive. Very capable off road. Likely to be a reliable choice.

Expensive. Just one engine. Navigation only standard on top-spec XE Premium. Not as frugal as you might expect.

The Subaru Forester has always been a rugged rival to SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. It's a car that's popular with those who value capability over looks; bought by those who shrug off PCP finance cycles in favour of a car they will keep for a very long time. And that's equally true of the latest model, launched in 2019.

The brand's made a bold statement by only offering the latest Forester as a mild-hybrid. Badged the e-Boxer, this combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine with a small electric motor. In truth, you won't really notice the hybrid side of the e-Boxer. Subaru says it can run in electric mode at speeds of up to 25mph, but you'll probably find the engine kicking in as soon as you set off.

While traditional Forester buyers might be disappointed that it can no longer be sold with a diesel engine, the good news is that it's still a very capable four-wheel-drive. Snow poses no problem for the Forester, while its 220mm of ground clearance and permanent 4x4 means it can tackle a muddy farm track comfortably.

Like with many four-wheel-drives with an off-road focus, it's not as efficient as you might expect from a hybrid. Officially, it'll return 35mpg - which is pretty poor compared to the likes of the Toyota RAV4. 

On the road, its soft setup means it's a very comfortable SUV, soaking up bumpy roads well. It's sharper to drive than before, too - with considerably less lean in the corners compared to its predecessor.

The cabin isn't as premium as rivals like the Volkswagen Tiguan, but all the materials feel almost indestructible. It's practical, too - with a very generous 520-litre boot. 

Equipment levels are fairly generous, although we'd expect no less considering the Forester's heavy list price. If you want features like navigation, leather seats and a sunroof, you'll have to fork out for the XE Premium with its close-to-£40,000 price tag.

One of the Forester's big selling points is its comprehensive suite of safety features. Its EyeSight system acts a second pair of eyes, while Euro NCAP scores it five stars in its crash tests. Combine this with the Forester's excellent off-road ability and the Forester feels like it could tackle almost anything.

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


I'm having electrical issues with my new hybrid. What are my rights to return it?
I bought a new hybrid Subaru Forester at the end of March and did a 150-mile trip just before lockdown. Two weeks into lockdown, the low voltage alarm went off. My local garage came out and replaced battery. Three weeks later it has the same problem, so the garage took the car away for two days and replaced with a larger battery. On every journey, the lane assist turns itself off. Last week, I did an 18-mile trip. All the safety features turned themselves off. After stopping, the infotainment screen didn't come back on so I lost all my information. On reaching home and locking the car, it beeped repeatedly before the alarm went off. Upon reading handbook it seemed to be a problem with the bonnet switch so I opened and closed hte bonnet and it looked okay. I've always had Foresters and never had any problems but I mo longer trust the car. What are my rights on returning for a refund? Thank you.
Subaru usually has a very strong reputation for reliability, but this is the second battery complaint we've received for the hybrid Forester. Like you, the owner found the hybrid failed to recharge its 12-volt starter battery sufficiently because the car was used mainly for short local trips. If the dealer is unable to fix the car then you may be able to reject it. For your legal rights, see:
Answered by Dan Powell
Should I buy a petrol 4x4 to tow a caravan?
I'm due to change my 2008 diesel Honda CR-V and wanted another diesel 4x4 to pull my caravan with a laden weight of around 1250kg. I would now prefer a petrol 4x4, but cannot work out what I should look for.
Diesels are generally better suited to towing than petrols, but your caravan is relatively small so you should be able to find something suitable. A Subaru Forester could be a good option. It has a towing capacity of 1870kg and is a very robust 4x4 that should prove reliable. Also consider a Kia Sportage with all-wheel-drive and the T-GDI petrol engine, which provides a maximum towing capacity of 1900kg.
Answered by Andrew Brady

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