As one of the best-selling SUVs on the market, the Subaru Forester has a loyal cadre of fans who appreciate its practicality, efficiency, and capability. The automaker doesn’t plan to change that with the redesigned 2025 Forester, but repeat customers and conquests alike should still appreciate the stiffer structure, larger cargo area, and added in-car technology. Subaru devotees might even find the heritage-slash-homely design appealing, too.
Mechanicals are a mixed bag of carryover bits and new engineering. The engine is Subaru’s familiar 2.5-liter flat-four, and in the Forester it makes 180 horsepower and 178 pound-feet – losing two horses but gaining two torques relative to the previous generation. A continuously variable transmission is standard, as is the latest version of the automaker’s all-wheel-drive system that’s been revised for faster response and active torque vectoring on the rear wheels. Like the old Forester (and current Crosstrek and Outback), the X-Mode system is standard on all but the base trim, helping improve performance off-road.
Gallery: 2025 Subaru Forester
Those features aside, the Forester’s structure has been updated rather significantly. Although it still rides on the modular Subaru Global Platform, the 2025 Forester features full inner frame construction. Subaru attaches the unibody’s side panels to the floor first, then the crossover’s outer skin joins the party. Other unibody construction methods assemble the side panels and outer skin together, then mate them to the floor, but Subaru’s way improves access to key points, allowing production facilities to add strategic welds and use more structural adhesive. The result is 10 percent greater rigidity, to the benefit of safety and handling.
Duck Boot Beauty
The revised design borrows liberally from Subaru’s existing lineup, with a face that recalls the larger Ascent crossover and wheel arches cribbed from the WRX. The angular greenhouse is modern and perhaps a bit fussy, but the Forester’s low beltline recalls the first-generation model and its man-with-a-hat tall wagon design. The doors and hatch have wider, squarer openings for better entry and exit, and the rear of the Forester leans into the faux-lightbar trend with a gloss black trim strip connecting the taillights.
Air outlets on the trailing edge of the front wheel openings help reduce lift under the front of the car to improve driving stability according to Subaru, and true to its outdoorsy reputation, every Forester will get roof rails and lower body cladding, the color of which will be dependent on trim level. On the Sport model seen at the crossover’s public debut, that means dark copper, while the flagship Touring gets a combination of gloss black and silver.
Inside, the Forester has a redesigned interior that now features the automaker’s 11.6-inch vertical touchscreen and wireless smartphone mirroring on all but the base trim level, which gets a pair of 7.0-inch screens for infotainment and climate controls. Beyond the Subaru-familiar center stack, the rest of the cabin has a Forester-specific design that moves the dashboard up for greater knee room and takes advantage of the lower beltline for better outward visibility. A black headliner and unusually textured trim pieces on the dash and door panels help hide the scuffs and scrapes that come with everyday use, ideal for a family SUV.
Soft-touch plastics predictably appear on the armrests, but they also extend to the front knee bolsters, a nice touch given a higher percentage of Forester owners take ther crossovers off-road. The 2025 Forester also has the most spacious cargo area ever seen on the nameplate, with 29.6 cubic feet with the seats up or 74.4 with them down. There are also screw-in mounting points for a variety of accessories, including a cargo board that divides the luggage area in two, and models equipped with the power liftgate now get a proximity kick sensor.
On The Safe Side
Every Forester trim level – base, Premium, Sport, Limited, and Touring – will come standard with an updated version of the Subaru EyeSight suite of active safety tech. In addition to existing stereo cameras, there’s a new wide-angle monocamera up high on the windshield to provide more detailed information to the system, improving pedestrian and cyclist detection as well as monitoring cross traffic more accurately. These changes should help maintain the small crossover’s status as an IIHS Top Safety Pick darling.
The Forester also gets an emergency assist feature that will activate the hazard lights, stop the car in its lane, and contact emergency services if the driver becomes unresponsive to the active safety prompts. Some trims will get blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection, as well as a new Automatic Emergency Steering system. If the Forester detects a hazard on the side of the lane and the driver doesn’t take appropriate action, it will automatically cheat to the other side of the lane to avoid the obstacle.
Subaru hasn’t confirmed the existence of a new Forester Wilderness, but that trim seems like a foregone conclusion given the success of the current family of ruggedized crossovers. The 2025 Subaru Forester will hit dealers next spring, and the automaker is withholding pricing information until then. Still, retail creep is a real thing, so don’t expect it to be any cheaper than the 2024 Forester’s $28,390 starting price.
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