A roomy cabin and good fuel economy make the 2018 Subaru Forester a solid choice for a compact SUV. But it's the standard all-wheel drive, powerful optional turbocharged engine and high ground clearance for off-road adventuring that set the Forester apart from the pack.
One year after receiving significant upgrades in styling, cabin comfort and safety aids, the Forester carries over into 2018 with only minor changes. Most notable is the new 2.5i Black Edition, which adds a black-out finish on wheels, body trim and grille and extends into the cabin with black cloth upholstery and black gloss dashboard trim.
Last year's update included features such as blind-spot monitoring and reverse automatic braking, enhanced sound deadening for a quieter cabin, and interior options such as Saddle Brown leather that help make the Forester more competitive in its class.
What hasn't changed, however, are the qualities that have made the Forester a top pick since its last major overhaul in 2014, and indeed since its introduction 20 years ago: standard all-wheel drive, extra ground clearance, a spacious cabin with excellent outward visibility, a large and versatile cargo area, and an optional turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Many Foresters come equipped with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which improves fuel economy, but you can still order a classic six-speed manual for controlling your own shifts. The Forester returns between 24 and 28 mpg combined, depending on which engine and transmission you choose.
Although the compact crossover segment is rich with compelling choices, the Forester stakes a legitimate claim to leadership.