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5 Ways Subaru Forester Thumps the Competition; One Way it Doesn’t

The 2018 Subaru Forester puts distance between itself and the competition. Forester is the go-to SUV for those wanting to get off the beaten path.

Subaru Forester gets a refresh for 2018 and it’s still a good value for adventure enthusiasts and the best off-road vehicle in its class. Here’s how it puts distance between itself and the competition. Forester has been the go-to SUV for those who want to get off the beaten path, and it’s reputation as a go-anywhere vehicle still fits today and has a specific purpose in the lineup. Forester competes with the “more civilized” Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, and Ford Escape models.

The refreshed Forester comes with 75 cubic feet of cargo space if you have lots of gear to carry, standard roof rails for cargo carriers, mountains bikes, snow boards, or kayak. It’s one deficiency is it only comes with a max towing capacity of 1,500 lbs, so you can only tow a small trailer. Other competitors do offer a higher tow rating. RAV4 Hybrid (1750 lb.), Mazda CX-5 (2,000 lb.), Ford Escape (1500-2000 lb.).

Highest ground clearance and most-capable off-road small SUV

Forester comes with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and when equipped with X-MODE, the system offers added control when you need max control of the vehicle. A 6-speed manual gearbox is available for those wanting additional control in off-road situations. You can also get new LED steering responsive projector headlights for better visibility looking around blind corners (Limited Trim).

Leading accident avoidance

The Technology Package adds the industry leading accident avoidance system called EyeSight. It features Adaptive Cruise Control with pre-collision braking, Lead Vehicle Start Alert (pre-collision throttle management), Lane Keep Assist, Reverse Automatic Braking, new Side Vehicle Detection and new High Beam Assist.

The 2018 Forester gets the highest possible 2017 safety rating (Top Safety Pick+) from IIHS when equipped with EyeSight and Steering Responsive Headlights. Forester also features superior visibility than most small SUVs with large greenhouse windows, a high-seating position for the driver and standard backup camera.

Best in-class fuel economy

The Forester also features best in-class fuel economy among all small SUVs with full-time all-wheel-drive, and even beats some part-time all-wheel-drive and front-drive competitors. Forester gets EPA/DOT fuel economy estimates of 26/32 city/highway mpg with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine.

What is PZEV?

Subaru rates Forester “pzev” which doesn’t have anything to do with EV (electric vehicle). PZEV means it’s classified as the cleanest-running gasoline-powered car on the market and was developed to meet the air quality standards of California, the most stringent in North America. A PZEV must meet the Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) tailpipe standard and have zero evaporative emissions.

The 5 reasons the 2018 Subaru Forester puts distance between itself and the competition are, high ground clearance, excellent visibility, advanced safety features, best-in-class fuel efficiency and its superior all-wheel-drive off-road recreation abilities. Forester will get you away from civilization.

Photo credit: SubaruCanada


Ed B (not verified)    December 8, 2017 - 8:50AM

Good article and break down of key differences against competitors. My hope is the 2019 update will no lose any other this difference makers as it moves to the new global platform. I have an XT and love the drive selection option - I didn't see that on the new Ascent, so that worries me - are they moving away from that option on the new turbo engine? Two of my greatest pet peeves are: automatic foldable mirrors and ambient lighting (at night for cup holders and glove compartment). I don't believe the Ascent addresses these issues. Lastly, the panoramic sunroof is fine but they have got to tint that window - I bake in my Forester when I want to let the sun shine in and exposure the whole panel. I also fear that they won't offer an STI version of the new Forester and just ditch the XT for the same trim levels that are using with the Ascent. Although I'm sure the base model Foresters won't get the turbo engine. I love Subaru's substance, they've just got to work on the style piece - they still haven't found that balance which truly makes a great car. I guess I can't question their sales, just my personal thoughts. I'll still keep buying them. As enthusiasts of the brand we can all hope...