2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Outback
Denis Flierl's picture

New Subaru Forester Just Failed Consumer Reports’ Latest Safety Testing

The 2022 Subaru Forester and 2022 Outback with DriverFocus just fail a new evaluation study in recent Consumer Reports' testing. See why they say it doesn't do enough to prevent distracted driving.

Subaru's DriverFocus, which detects signs of distraction or drowsiness at the wheel, is available on the 2022 Subaru Forester compact SUV, 2022 Outback midsize SUV, and 2022 Legacy sedan. A new study from Consumer Reports (by subscription) says Subaru's DriverFocus system fails to meet their new safety requirements.

CR's upcoming February best car rankings will add two points to a vehicle's overall score if it features a system that encourages safe driving as part of the model's active driving assistance package. They will also deduct two points if a vehicle lacks adequate driver monitoring or fails CR's evaluation.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Outback

So far, CR says only Ford's BlueCruise and GM's Super Cruise will earn these additional points. What is wrong with Subaru's DriverFocus?

CR defines an adequate driver monitoring system as one that reliably detects driver inattentiveness and alerts the driver to pay attention while vehicle automation is in use, says Kelly Funkhouser, manager for vehicle technology at CR.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Outback

According to Consumer Reports, the 2022 Subaru Forester compact SUV, 2022 Outback midsize SUV, and 2022 Legacy sedan with DriverFocus fail its new evaluation study. CR says, "We tested Subaru's DriverFocus camera on a Subaru Outback equipped with the company's EyeSight active driving assistance feature. It can detect driver distraction in some scenarios. Still, it can be completely shut off via the menu, and it is not required to be activated to use a vehicle's driver assistance systems."

CR also reserves the right to withhold points depending on an automaker's privacy practices. Subaru's DriverFocus system uses facial recognition technology, "although the automaker tells CR it does not record any information." A Subaru spokesperson told CR that requiring the camera to use adaptive cruise control "is something we would not rule out in the future."

How DriverFocus works

The 2022 Forester, 2022 Outback, and 2022 Legacy come with Subaru's DriverFocus providing support by warning the driver when it detects signs of distraction, drowsiness at the wheel, driver fatigue, or driver distraction signs. The system uses proprietary facial recognition software.

The Subaru DriverFocus, used since 2019 in the Forester, can distinguish between family members driving the vehicle with facial recognition using five parameters; the relation between eyes, nose, mouth, and chin–and then it automatically adjusts the driver's seat and mirrors to suit that driver. Subaru says that the infra-red camera can even decipher identities when wearing sunglasses.

Because the driver can turn the system off in the 2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Outback, and 2022 Legacy, Consumer Reports says it fails to meet their new requirements. Because the failure affects overall scores, the three models may not be among CR's 2022 autos Top Picks, announced on February 17. Stay tuned.

You Might Also Like: A New Subaru Lawsuit Says Forester DriverFocus Violates Your Privacy

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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This is a story about Consumer Reports not Subaru. If I wanted to read their garbage I wouldn’t come here.
You are idiot.Thanks for the people who whonna sel American junk Dodge or Jeep Cherokee.
Your bias towards the Outback is more than present in most of your writings. It's clear that you hate the Forester but love the Outback. Your headline today: “New Subaru Forester Just Failed Consumer Reports’ Latest Safety Testing”. The article that you refer to from CR mentions Subaru and also the Outback. It doesn't even mention the Forester. But yes, Driver Focus is available on upper end Subaru's. And it's not good - got it. But to even hint that the Forester failed the latest safety testing is wrong and just plain bad journalism. The reality is CR rates the Forester as one of safest small SUVs. Period! But you often include mistaken information in your articles.
My takeaway from this - Consumer Reports grading system is pointless. Detracting from a vehicles safety score because a system can be turned off? May as well detract from a vehicles score because a driver could ride on bald tires, or run with worn out brake pads, or burnt out headlights. What, should the vehicle refuse to be driven if any of those conditions exist? At what point is the DRIVER going to be responsible?
Exactly! At some point we have to start requiring drivers to actually pay attention to the task at hand - driving - and to stop texting, posting on social media, etc.
Subaru sucks! They treat their associates that build their terrible cars like ass! It must be a small dick thing with the management. Especially small dick McTaggert and Doss:)
Subaru sucks! They treat their associates that build their terrible cars like ass! It must be a small dick thing with the management. Especially small dick McTaggert and Doss:)
I read the CR article and it doesn’t say anything about Forester or Legacy failing; just the Outback. Can you clarify where you read this information from? Thanks.
The sensationalism from Torque News is quite obvious. This article is nothing more than click bait, and is more of an biased opinion than it is journalism or actual news. Consumer Reports is reaching, and lose credibility in my opinion. They want to become the authority of safety but, they're quickly becoming a nuisance and annoying. It doesn't matter if the feature can be turned off. It's there for those that choose to use it. I'm glad Subaru gives the owner that purchased the car options, unlike manufacturers that force auto start/stop down your throat. I'm not buying anymore CR magazines and I just removed Torque News from my feed.
I can turn stability control off and drift in the snow. Does it get deducted points for that as well?
Well, I personally see advantage in having a chance to shut intrusive apps and systems off.
Hello, Long time Subaru Customer and Employee. Where has freedom gone? CR is punishing Subaru for giving the ability to the consumer for the car THEY OWN that they shouldn’t be able to turn off the (DMS). First off it was really about safety and not control they wouldn’t dock them. That’s stemming into taking away control of your own features and forcing manufacturers’ to do so. With the DMS system sometimes when wearing a mask or beanies or such the system can confuse you for looking away even when you are not… giving you an audible tone and visual to “stay alert” which could potentially get annoying. This is the reason Subaru has given the ability to their clients. Subaru has always been great for giving the consumer the ability to have a very raw driving experience or have all your safety systems on. Point being CR has lost a lot of respect when that report came out. Manufacturers and dealers will boy cot. Forester is still the safest compact SUV on the road with its ring shape reinforcement and SGP body. CR is pushing manufacturers to give consumers LESS options when it comes to disabling things like Driver mitiagation which could very well make a lot of buyers very very uncomfortable. The system essentially is watching your every movement. OF COURSE it should be an option its not the manufacturers car is the OWNERS !!! Why is CR basically putting Subaru in a corner to take away ability from customers because lord knows Subaru will do anything to be the “safest” on the road. DONT GIVE IN SUBARU WE STILL LOVE YA! Screw these Liberal/Dictator agenda’s.
I generally agree with you about Subaru however, that doesn't apply to that goddamn stupid, dumb waste of time, waste of energy, engine destroying start-stop system. Sure, it can be disabled, but you got to go through a multi-level menu system every time you start your car to do so
Why would you bring politics into this discussion? I just bought a Forrester and was lucky to get it. No new cars available, searching all dealers within 100 miles. Luckily for me another unlucky person ordered a 2020 Forester “touring” , waited 8 weeks for it and didn’t qualify for a loan. I was in the right place at the right time. I have not had the tech training yet, but I believe this car has the facial recognition and I will probably turn it off as I think it would be annoying but there is Nothing political about it’s done
Are you high? Who is talking politics? My comment that the subaru start-stop system sucks is in no way political.. Wait, are you saying that Brandon has something to do with the system? That tracks.. He has screwed up everything he has touched. There, now THAT is how you make it political
I couldn't have said it better myself! And shame on this guy for utilizing a misleading headline. This world has become a joke anymore.
Punish CR. Boycott them and spread word about their dislike of freedom.
So they lose points for letting the owner shut off a system that isn't even available on most vehicles. Doesn't sound like a fail for customers. More like a zonk for cr and torque news. Being top rated from cr will soon mean nothing.
Subaru has always sucked .no man would buy one .and besides that I can share my own love .I don't need phony charity scammers to sell cars . if Subaru could just build decent cars that were good .and forget tree hugging and phony emotional sales schemes they might actually get some respect.
Have you actually owned any? I do and it's a very well put together vehicle.
The system works just fine. Subrau didn't pay the bribes necessary to make the grade issued by a proven biased group of thieves. This is an advertisement for consumer reports. An aged, useless "review" organization that is the precursor to the YouTube and TicTok influencer. Your hesitancy to report that or your inability to print it due to either ignorance or being on their payroll is a testament to the state of journalism today You fit right in. You can't expect folks to hang their head in shame when they have none to speak of.
Agree completely. Great clickbait headline. So not getting the 2 magical points in this new category means it failed.
Subaru sucks! They treat their associates that build their terrible cars like ass (Subaru of Indiana Automotive). It must be a small dick thing with the management. Especially small dick McTaggert! Your shit stinks assholes ;)