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Subaru Forester Sport Plays Well In The Dirt, Wins Best AWD Compact At Mudfest

The new 2019 Subaru Forester Sport is designed to get dirty.


The Subaru Forester has always been an all-wheel-drive vehicle you can take and play in the dirt. Subaru unveiled their new Forester Sport trim last year with a few goodies for outdoor enthusiasts and it’s getting awards for its off-road abilities. The Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) announced their 2019 Mudfest winners and the 2019 Subaru Forester Sport takes best all-wheel-drive SUV in the Subcompact and Compact Family vehicle in the contest.

Media professionals spent two days driving 22 vehicles through a mix of on-road handling and off-road courses at The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Wash to come up with the best all-wheel-drive vehicles. In the Subcompact and Compact Family vehicles category, the 2019 Subaru Forester Sport wins. The runner up was the 2019 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk.

NWAPA evaluated the vehicles on an off-road course that simulated rough Forest Service roads, loose dirt, deep ruts, steep climbs, and dramatic descents, challenging each vehicle’s four- or all-wheel drive systems. The venue allowed the vehicles to showcase state-of-the-art technologies, including 360-view cameras, hill descent controls, and active traction management systems.

Sport is right at home

The new Forester Sport with its Dual-function X-MODE with Hill Descent Control, SI-DRIVE with Sport Sharp mode, 8.7-inches of ground clearance and of course, Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive thrived in the competition.

Forester Sport’s Dual-function X-MODE is for more extreme adventures. Subaru enhanced the system for the Sport trim and it’s Subaru's solution to improving off-road capability. X-MODE works by altering 5 key areas of the vehicle, starting with the engine and working it's way out to the brakes. Throttle mapping, transmission mapping, center clutch torque distribution, and brakes are all utilized to improve the off-road ability of the vehicle. The new dual-function X-MODE has settings for snow, dirt, and mud and is the latest addition to X-MODE for the fifth-generation Forester.

Outside appearance upgrades on the new Forester Sport include 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with a black finish, roof rails with integrated tie-downs, front, rear and side under guards with orange accents, and gloss black and orange exterior accents. If you need the best all-wheel-drive compact SUV, the 2019 Subaru Forester Sport will take you far away from civilization.

You May Also Like: All-New 2019 Subaru Forester Sport vs. Forester 2.0XT Comparison

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Photo credit: Northwest Automotive Press Association


Digitaldoc (not verified)    May 14, 2019 - 3:48PM

In reply to by Steve Black (not verified)

Totally agreed. The 2.0t was the one part I really liked about the car, and when it was dropped, my purchase switched to another manufacturer, and no love for Subaru.

Even Hyundai has plans to make N versions of each car, so perhaps Subaru will follow their lead, although with their sales continuing to go up, there is little pressure to do much of anything except airing the commercials.

LJM (not verified)    September 2, 2019 - 8:05AM

In reply to by Steve Black (not verified)

I wish it had the turbo engine also. But it still came in first place here! I wouldn’t buy a second place car with an inferior AWD system just for extra horsepower. There’s the Outback XT if power is a decisive factor for you.

Dalton Crook (not verified)    August 29, 2019 - 4:15PM

I can't believe the whining about the Turbo being dropped. The new Forester is a champ off road for what it brings to the table and gets decent gas mileage. Only 7% of customers opted for the Turbo. It isn't the most powerful motor in the block but it's not a total sled either. It's plenty fast enough unless you're determined to constantly brake the speed limit.