The Subaru Forester compact SUV brings the heat, and it’s getting hotter as the 2021 Forester arrives now at retailers. Consumers want a small SUV that’s both rugged and soft, and the redesigned Forester brings both. The sales tape tells the story this year. Subaru of America has delivered 101,173 Forester models to customers through July. The next-best selling model is the Outback with 74,467 sales so far this year.
Why is Subaru Forester the hot model?
The Subaru Crosstrek compact SUV may be the most challenging Subaru model to find, the Outback was the number one selling model last year, but the Forester is the one most customers are choosing now. The hot all-wheel-drive model for the Japanese automaker offers small SUV buyers a right mix of rugged and soft. It’s one of the Nine Best Small SUVs for 2020, and Consumer Reports says it’s one of the most satisfying SUVs under $30,000.
The Subaru Forester is rugged on the outside because it offers standard all-wheel-drive, it has a “go-anywhere” attitude with all-weather capability, and will get you away from it all. It’s soft because it provides a comfortable cabin, excellent fuel mileage, affordable, and easy to drive and live with every day.
The 2021 Forester is soft, with a starting price of $25,845. The Premium ($28,845) and Sport ($30,445) trims offer the best value and get softer with heated seats and a 10-way power driver’s seat. It’s also soft because of its improved driving characteristics and ride quality with the new Subaru Global Platform and new infotainment technology.
Forester is easy to live with an EPA-estimated 33 mpg highway fuel economy and rated with the best outward visibility of any compact SUV.
The Forester compact SUV is rugged by offering 8.7-inches of ground clearance, dual-function X-Mode for deep snow and mud settings for a broader range of road conditions, and getting active buyers away it all. It’s also rugged if you get in an accident. Forester has the top IIHS crash scores.
Where does the Forester need to improve?
The 2021 Subaru Forester offers customers good value, but it could be better. We would like to see the compact SUV get softer by providing a head-up display. We’d like to see it get more rugged with a new turbocharged engine option with more horsepower than the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque.
Even with its deficiencies, the 2021 Subaru Forester is a right mix of rugged and soft, and it’s why the compact SUV is the hot model in the Japanese automaker’s stable of all-wheel-drive vehicles.
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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 and the founder of 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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