Subaru Forester (2013 – 2019) Review

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. 

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

Need a reliable 4x4 that isn't afraid of mud

"I live in a rural location where the roads are rather rough and can be quite muddy. It is an eight-mile drive to the nearest town. If ever there was a need for a 4x4 it's here. Can you make a suggestion - I have £10,000ish to spend and need something rugged and reliable."
A Subaru Forester could be a good option. They're very capable in challenging conditions and also tend to be very reliable. The challenge might be finding one... they don't sell in huge numbers and people tend to hang onto them. If you need something that's more of a workhorse, we'd recommend a pick-up truck like a Toyota Hilux.
Answered by Andrew Brady

The clutch has burnt out on my car. Will it be covered under warranty?

"I have burnt the clutch out on my Subaru Forester of 45,000 miles. With the engine running, it won't go into any gear. The warranty is for 5 years and runs out in September. Will I be fobbed off with it as fair wear and tear for a 5-year-old vehicle? I really don't want the dealer to repair it as they charged me £800 for a 40,000-mile service."
The clutch will be considered a wearable item and it unlikely to be covered by the manufacturer warranty after four years. It may be cheaper to have it fixed by an independent Subaru specialist. You should be able to find one with our Good Garage Guide:
Answered by Dan Powell

What's the best big SUV with 4-wheel drive?

"What the best SUV for a low mileage user who wants AWD/4x4 and a big boot? I have a 2016 diesel Subaru Forester and a £10k budget. Many thanks."
A hybrid Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V could be a good replacement for your Forester. Both are very efficient, reliable and suit regular short journeys.
Answered by Andrew Brady

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
More Questions

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