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New Subaru Forester Isn’t Perfect-Two Areas Where The SUV Needs Help

The 2020 Subaru Forester is the brand’s best selling vehicle but it’s not perfect. Check out two areas it does really well, and two it needs some work.


The Subaru Forester was on a roll as the brand’s top-selling model before the coronavirus epidemic hit and it will stay a big hit with compact SUV shoppers. If you are shopping for a new SUV here’s why you should have it on your list, and some things to be aware of. No vehicle is perfect and neither is the Forester. Consumer Reports take cars and puts then through a gauntlet of tests and here are some results.

CR rates all cars from 1 to 5 and then they get a score based on how well they perform in areas like road tests, owner reports, and reliability. Forester succeeds or excels in two areas that may surprise you. In road tests, the Forester gets a 5/5 for Braking performance. The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.

2020 Subaru Forester2020 Subaru Forester excels in rear-seat comfort

Also in the road tests, the 2020 Subaru Forester excels in rear-seat comfort. CR says it’s in their judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit. Your passengers will be most comfortable riding longer distances which is unusual for compact SUV.

Where the Forester falls short

The Forester is a very good all-wheel-drive SUV but it isn’t perfect. Also in driving performance road tests, Consumer Reports say the Forester needs a bit more power. They give it a 3/5 for acceleration. Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at CR’s test track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer. This is important if you need to get up to speed quickly as you get on the highway.

2020 Subaru ForesterThe 2020 Subaru Forester isn't perfect

The Forester gets a 3/5 for interior cabin noise. CR says its expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level is measured in everyday driving. This is not surprising given the fact automakers are cutting down on noise-reducing materials to reduce weight to improve the vehicle’s fuel mileage.

The 2020 Subaru Forester received a complete remodel last year and needs a few improvements. Look for Subaru to give the compact SUV a bit more power in year three of its life-cycle. As for interior noise, it will continue to be an issue because fuel mileage wins out over adding noise-reducing weight.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Subaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates at Torque News!

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


Samuel W Nuss (not verified)    April 23, 2020 - 6:01PM

I own '19 Forester Sport. I concur with the findings in your article. Subaru's boxer "growl" is always there while accelerating; but not so at highway constant rpm. I had an '11 Outback & '17 Impreza and believe 25 hp more would be useful for all.

Ian Mccloy (not verified)    April 23, 2020 - 9:08PM

i know a bit about how car makers have excelled since '14 or '15 re interoir noise, and use of sound deadening mat/materials. I find it hard to believe that Sub is keeping that effort or use of those materials to a level that makes ANY meeaningful differnece in mpg-- do u understnad the numbers in question? we r talking usualy way less than 1mpg, maybe a bit over 1, IF that. I am baffled by points like in this piece-- and dispapointed

Spud McNutt (not verified)    April 23, 2020 - 11:54PM

I have a 2014 Forester and I will run it till it dies, hands down most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. Still able to do the maintenance on it, user friendly.

Debbie (not verified)    April 24, 2020 - 1:13AM

My 2019 Forester is great. The only issue we have is it constantly getting rocks stuck in the brakes, causing horrendous noise. People stop and tell me something is terribly wrong. Been to Subaru numerous times and just am told it's an issue. I do live on a dirt road, but hey, this is an SUV, right? Also, i have had 4 other subarus and never had this happen, ever.

Georgia S (not verified)    April 24, 2020 - 9:00AM

My complaint about my 2019 Forester is the placement of the cup holders. They are too close to the console and when you put a large cup in the holder the lid comes off which could cause a huge mess. Needs better placement!

Peter Musoke (not verified)    May 6, 2020 - 3:18AM

I agree with the wind noise problem. Music and conversation go out with the wind(pun intended) at Freeway speed. Outside Air leakage into the car is evidenced by dust collecting despite locked windows, difficulty heating up the car in cold weather, dealer advised turning up the temperature way up to 27°c or higher.
No one ever contacted me re satisfaction after purchase or service, not even the dealer!

Deborah Atchley (not verified)    June 26, 2021 - 4:01PM

In reply to by Peter Musoke (not verified)

I am having a horrible issue with the wind or road noise! I cannot use my Bluetooth because the noise is so loud the caller on the other end cannot hear me! It does not seem to be a reasonable amount of noise, it is a ridiculous amount of noise. My salesman told me to turn up the radio louder! Seriously! This is a 2021 vehicle. I am not happy with my purchase at all!

Peter Musoke (not verified)    July 8, 2021 - 11:17AM

Same to me. My first Subaru and the wind noisiest and wind unstable car I have ever driven. This is not a cheap run about. Apart from being short on power, the horrible CVT! NO one at Subaru, not even the dealer I bought it from ever contacted me about a satisfaction survey or anything at all, even after contact with the dealership for any reason.