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Subaru Just Improved Forester’s Worst Feature

The 2025 Subaru Forester, a significant leap forward from its 2024 predecessor, has successfully addressed a major concern of the previous model. This pioneering revision, a first for any Subaru model, is certain to be warmly welcomed by all customers.

Hate the old one? I bet you'll like the new one.

Ok, hate is a strong word, but I'm not far off. The Subaru Forester is still the top-selling model in Subaru of America's lineup, and the next-generation 2025 Forester just got better. The Auto Stop/Start is a fuel-saving feature that owners of the fifth-generation model disliked the most. 

Forester owners say they despise the compact SUV's stop/start system more than anything else, so much that they turn it off. Subaru says it's improved. Read my most despised Auto Stop/Start feature story here.

Subaru has made significant improvements to the Auto Stop/Start feature, a change that is sure to please potential buyers and current owners.

The 2025 Forester is powered by an updated version of Subaru's 2.5-liter, four-cylinder Boxer engine. It now produces 180 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. 

Subaru says the engine produces more power at lower rpm, making it quicker off the line. Essential engine parts have been updated to make the engine more efficient, reliable, and lighter—the auto-stop/start is one of them.

However, the most significant upgrade could be Forester's new automatic stop/start system, which is designed to save fuel. The feature was added to many Subaru vehicles starting in 2020 and 2021. You know how it works if it's on your Subaru model. 

Subaru isn't alone.

Many automakers use a system that automatically stops the engine when the car comes to a complete stop for more than a few seconds. This system saves fuel whenever the vehicle stops at a stop sign or waits at a traffic light. It does work. Read my report here

In previous Forester and Outback models, Subaru's stop/start system shakes the car more than any other automaker's. A recent San Diego Union-Tribune column says Subaru is among the worst for engine vibration on restart. They say Subaru's Boxer engine design, in which the horizontally opposed pistons create more significant side-to-side movement and more vibration.

While Subaru has not publicly announced the improvement of Forester's new auto stop/start system, a report from Automotive News reassures us, stating that "The stop-start system is barely detectable." This news will surely bring relief to current owners. 

There's more.

But the improvements don't stop there. The 2025 Forester boasts a range of additional upgrades that will surely pique potential buyers' interest.

On Sport trim levels and up, paddle shifters on the wheel allow them to simulate eight fixed transmission ratios, up from seven on the outgoing Forester. Other changes include revised tuning to the standard all-wheel-drive system for better stability while cornering.

A hybrid version of the Forester comes with a power and fuel economy that will be officially announced later. Stay tuned. 

Other notable new Forester upgrades

Automotive News says, "Subaru buyers have long coveted the ability to go anywhere. But they increasingly want more creature comforts and connectivity, a major focus of the latest Forester."

Automotive News says there are additional notable new Forester updates. They are:

  • Improvements in the engine's noise, vibration, and harshness
  • Forester's new electronically assisted steering rack provides more direct response natural steering dynamics and is more comfortable to drive.
  • Forester features an upgraded crash structure to meet future crash tests.
  • Forester gets new convenience tech: A 360-degree overhead camera view, a smart rear-view mirror, and a new kick sensor-activated hands-free power rear liftgate.
  • The next-generation Forester receives all-new, more comfortable seats.
  • Roof racks and rails are standard across the Forester lineup for the first time.
  • The more extensive rear cargo area has new mounts and utility hooks for securing accessories.
  • Hidden outdoor references.

Automotive News says, "Subaru engineers and designers know their customers and have tucked references to outdoor life throughout the latest Forester. There are paw prints, boot prints, a lantern, a telescope, a compass, and the outline of a mountain range embossed on interior door panels. The silhouette of a bird is featured in the corner of several glass panels."

Subaru Corporation listened to its customers and improved its worst feature, the auto stop/start system. Thank you, Subaru.

Let us know your opinion on Subaru's auto stop/start feature. Do you dislike it or live with it? Click the red Add New Comment link below and let us know.

I am Denis Flierl, a top Torque News reporter since 2012. I’ve invested over 13 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role, working with every major car brand. I am an experienced Rocky Mountain Automotive Press member. You'll find my expert Subaru analysis here. Follow me on my X SubaruReportAll Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierlFacebook, and Instagram.

Photo credit: Competition Subaru


Frank D Conroy (not verified)    July 7, 2024 - 2:54PM

Have they fixed the parasitic drain on the battery.? My car been with a Subaru dealer since last Wednesday a week On a car that I had for exactly 4 weeks. Although I have a loaner, which is wonderful my Subaru Forester is still in with the dealership. I believe Subaru to fess up to the problem, considering there was a lawsuit in the past.
I believe I need a different car. I think I need to switch to the outback which doesn’t seem to have as many problems. The last Subaru I had was 15 years never had this problem. Regular service I had almost 200,000 miles Naria problem except for those tires And the fact that they hadn’t yet on the 2009 models showed which tire was losing air that’s it

Emilio Pradere (not verified)    July 7, 2024 - 6:47PM

Hate the on & off fuel saving system, I wish they could come up with some upgrade to fix that problem that you could decide weather you want that feature or not.

Beerdudnurd (not verified)    July 7, 2024 - 7:02PM

Unless I buy a hybrid or EV I will disable this feature with third party devices every time. The saving money wise is miniscule. Environmentally you are going to be tossing away 12V batteries faster. Research has shown this. Battery manufacturers admit to working to extend longevity in batteries on stop/start vehicles because they realize this too. A horrible feature the world could have done without. I spent a few years in EV and battery R&D.

Bev (not verified)    July 7, 2024 - 8:25PM

I have a 2021 Subaru Forrester. It is my dream retirement car and I absolutely Love it! However, the start stop is a little annoying. I usually turn it off when I have my air conditioner running and I also turn it off if I’m on an incline.

Jane (not verified)    July 7, 2024 - 9:00PM

I own the 2020 forester and I do turn it off every time I start the engine. The car shakes to much. Rather not loosen anything in the process.

Bob Vuckel (not verified)    July 7, 2024 - 9:21PM

So dislike the auto start/stop on my 23 Forester but not willing to pay $100 for a reported cable that will disable this function. Wish the function was reversed where you could activate to use it and not to disable it like now.

Mike (not verified)    July 7, 2024 - 9:24PM

The worst feature is it's appearance. I really like it otherwise. But this thing is a potato or late model Outlander at best.

Kim Vest (not verified)    July 7, 2024 - 10:55PM

I have a 2023 Forester and have not been happy with the engine vibration. I feel it in the brake pedal, steering wheel, and seat when stopped. I even took it back to the dealer because I thought something was wrong but they said that was normal for a Subaru. The auto stop/start is very annoying because of how much it shakes the car so I often turn it off. I just wish that switch was easier to access. This will be my last Subaru, would much rather have my Honda Odyssey back.

rw (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 1:08AM

The stop start system should be setup to allow the driver to choose when to activate it by the amount of pressure applied to the brake pedal. This still requires some amount of skill from the driver but can eliminate the unwanted (unintended) engine shutdowns which are so annoying.

Charles Guenther (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 2:07AM

I own a 2018 Forester with the turbocharger. I will not buy a new Forester unless it also includes a turbo- charger. I absolutely hate the start/stop feature. I dislike all of the road noise I hear inside my Forester with all windows up. Could you let Subaru Bosses know of my dislikes please. (1) Turbocharger (2) Insulation against road noise (3) start/
stop feature. Thank you.

AC (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 5:17AM

Every time the auto stop/start activates I am reminded of my concern for the wear and tear on the starter motor as well as the engine itself. When an engine stops the oil pump isn't pressurizing the lubrication system. On start up I wait for the center screen prompts to complete before shifting into a gear to avoid loading the engine without adequate oil pressure lubricating moving parts. Saving a little fuel at the expense of wear on major mechanical assemblies doesn't seem like a good plan. Subaru owners buy long term, not lease or short term purchases and start/stop systems are concerning for vehicle longevity

Peter Hunt (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 5:27AM

Another major update to this power unit is that they have eliminated the TCV and gone back to a conventional thermostat,the TCV being another major deterrent in buying anything which has this setup.

TERESA (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 6:51AM

Auto stop/start wears out your engine. Just ask a mechanic. Doesn't save enough gas to make a difference. Very bad idea.

Bharat Patel (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 7:30AM

Subaru Forester needs to improve wheel bearings. I'm using subaru since 2002 along with other brand cars. Somehow, my both Subarau Forester model 2002 and 2017, I changed wheel bearings after 100k. On other brand cars still going without required to change bearings.

Mike J (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 8:56AM

How about back seat air vents? Did they ever add those or complimentary driving school lessons for the terrible Subaru drivers?

Chuck (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 9:37AM

Do not like the stop/start feature on my 2020 Forester. If I remember I turn it off when I start the engine. I asked the tech if there was setting to disable and they said no.

Mickey Levey (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 9:46AM

I live with it.
Don't know how much fuel I save with this feature.
I love my 2019 Forester.
Looking into a 2025.
Keep up the good work.
Look forward to your Subaru info.

Ed Larger (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 9:53AM

My 2018 Forester 2.5 premium has a very sensitive gas pedal Subaru tells me there’s nothing they can do to remedy the situation Any suggestions?

Gary Zimmeam (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 10:58AM

I didn't like the Auto Stop feature from the first day I bought my new Forester in 2021. The jury is out as far as I'm concerned, on whether or not the fuel saving is worth it but it causes premature wear on expensive batteries and worse, in certain situations it is a HUGE safety Factor that on one occasion almost cost me my life. One of the first things I did was to purchase an electronic device that enabled me to permanently shut off this feature. That was the happiest day of my ownership of this otherwise very nice vehicle. I think Subaru outsmarted themselves with this feature and I wish they would I dispense with the Auto Stop feature altogether.

Kurt Kaufman (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 11:01AM

This is good news. Now, if Subaru could offer the option of a dash with analog-style knobs for audio and climate control, I would be very happy. I know there are plenty of people like me who don't want to deal with a large touch screen and multiple menu levels when driving.

Kevin (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 12:24PM

For me, the shaking I don’t really notice, or doesn’t bother me. ‘24 Forester Sport. What does really annoy me is how sensitive it is, if you increase or decrease ever so slightly your foot on the brake, it starts back up.:(

Pat Leathers (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 1:21PM

I don't like it.
Mine stalls out periodically, leaving me sitting in traffic or at lights and I have to put the car in park and restart the vehicle brefore I can drive. People get angry and it causes anxiety.
I turn it off when I remember to.

Sacha (not verified)    July 13, 2024 - 10:00AM

In reply to by Pat Leathers (not verified)

Are you sure it's stalling out. If this only happens when you come to a stop and have your foot on the brake..... try lifting some pressure off of the brake pedal, your car should start back up without having to put it in park and restarting the car..... when the car "stalls out"
I'm thinking this is the auto off feature. The car will start back up if you release the pressure on your brake pedal.

Sacha (not verified)    July 13, 2024 - 10:02AM

In reply to by Pat Leathers (not verified)

Are you sure it's stalling out. If this only happens when you come to a stop and have your foot on the brake..... try lifting some pressure off of the brake pedal, your car should start back up without having to put it in park and restarting the car..... when the car "stalls out"
I'm thinking this is the auto off feature. The car will start back up if you release the pressure on your brake pedal.

DaveK (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 2:36PM

I don't think the "smooth-start" feature is going to much change the customer attitude toward the auto-stop/start feature. Yes, there are times when that feature is possibly desirable, such as when stuck in a traffic jam where you have very slow stop-and-go traffic. Otherwise, the fuel savings are so minimal as to be laughable, while at the same time you are adding to the wear and tear of the starter system and also degrading the battery (yes, only slightly).

This was the very first thing I changed on my 2024 Forester Wilderness. I purchased an aftermarket replacement auto-stop/start button, which causes the system to restart in the state it was in when the ignition was turned off. Since I normally drive with it "off", the engine normally starts up with it "off". If I want it on, I push the button and the auto-stop/start is engaged and works as advertised. If I left it engaged when I shut off the ignition, the vehicle restarts with the feature engaged.

There are several aftermarket fixes out there for the auto-stop/start, and I found the replacement switch to be best for me. Other fixes work pretty much the same way, but are installed differently. The cost of these fixes can run from around $25 to $100, but I have to say that the reduction in aggravation caused by the auto-stop/start is well worth the price.