Subaru’s 2017 Forester is still one of the best crossover SUVs you can buy

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

The Subaru Forester may not have made Business Insider’s Car of the Year finalists list, but it’s still at the top of mine.

After some spirited discussion, my colleagues dubbed the Acura NSX the Car of the Year. Business Insider considered 15 cars total, from the 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB to the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace.

Even though the 2017 Subaru Forester didn’t make the cut, it’s still one of the best cars you could buy. So here I am, giving it some of the glory it deserves.

I have a lot of experience with the Subaru brand, as my first and only car is the 1998 Subaru Forester.

The Forester is arguably Subaru’s most important car. The crossover was Subaru’s best-selling vehicle in the US last year and still holds that title in 2016 so far.

As always with the Forester, the Subaru’s main perk is that it’s a practical and sturdy ride with all-wheel drive. But the 2017 model comes with some semi-autonomous features that take it to the next level. These kinds of steady improvements are important considering how competitive the crossover segment is, with players like the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4.

Here’s what it’s like to drive Subaru’s latest Forester:


Behold, the 2017 Subaru Forester. The car arrived on a relatively rainy weekend, but I had the chance to take it on a longer trip to Fort Lee Historic Park in New Jersey once the sun came out.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

At a time when most cars are getting bigger, Subaru still has a loyal following with its small crossover.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

Subaru’s Forester made its US debut in 1998 with the model pictured here. It was one of the first compact crossover SUVs to hit the market at the time. It’s actually pretty remarkable how little the size of of the compact SUV has changed, though it’s lost its original boxy shape.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

For a crossover, the Subaru Forester has always offered a ton of interior space, especially in the trunk…

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

… And that still holds true today.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

As a pleasant surprise, the 2017 Forester still comes with a beautiful, big rear window.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

This is probably a strange thing to harp on, but one of my favorite features of my 1998 Forester was how much visibility it got in the rear. It had a perfect line of sight for long trips involving heavy highway maneuvering, and that feature hasn’t changed.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

From a design standpoint, the 2017 Subaru Forester offers the same creature comforts that many Subaru loyalists have come to know and love, with some added improvements.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

Interestingly enough, the 1998 Subaru Forester started under $20,000 for the base model. Nineteen years later, the 2017 Subaru Forester begins at $22,595 — a pretty small price increase. But the Touring Version that I drove starts at $31,295 because it’s available with features like a touchscreen infotainment system and semi-autonomous driving aids.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

Source: Motor Trend


The original Subaru’s seats were covered in this grey-and-blue cloth material that can only be described as insanely ’90s. Because I drove the premium version of Subaru’s Forester, the seats was decked out in plush, brown leather.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

Here’s another look at the backseat’s set-up.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

All versions of the Forester come with a center console that offers a neat and clear app selection. There’s also a digital clock above the console that will transform to show you how much gas you have left when your car is shutting down.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

Subaru’s STARLINK connected infotainment system is also standard. It’s not the most detailed map you’ll ever see, but it’s easy to see your route and the relevant information when you’re glancing down quickly while driving. It also gives solid directions. For example, it will tell you “turn at the next light” instead of tossing out a road name you may not be familiar with.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

The Touring line comes with features like adaptive cruise control, an alert system that will ping you if it detects lane drift, emergency braking, blind spot detection, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. It also comes with steering responsive, LED headlights.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

I appreciated how fine-tuned the Rear Cross Traffic Alert was on the Forester — it didn’t beep unless you were truly getting close to an object behind you. Subaru altered its Rear Cross Traffic Alert for this model so the colored cameras provide a longer field of vision, and it’s definitely an improvement. The camera view is crystal clear, and the different colored brackets provided accurate assessments of spacing.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

I was also a big fan of the key fob that will automatically unlock the door for you when you approach the car. With keyless access you simply put the fob in the center console and push the start button to get the car going.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

But the blind spot detection feature was lacking. It’s supposed to light up if a vehicle is driving in your blind spot. But I drove the car on the highway and didn’t really notice it, so it’s certainly a minimalist feature that’s easy to miss.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

You can control a lot of the car’s functions using the steering wheel alone, from changing the volume to entering cruise control. There’s also paddle shifters if you want to enter manual mode. All of these controls were easy to access and adjust on the highway without spending too much time looking down.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

And as a fun bonus feature, the Touring line comes with a heated steering wheel, which is the first for a Forester.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

For fun, here’s a look at the original Subaru Forester center console. Feel free to revel at my cassette tape adapter hook-up. You won’t be seeing a cigarette lighter in the new model…

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

Overall, my experience driving the Subaru Forester was pleasant. It had great pick-up on the highway and the braking was consistently smooth.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

The car offers the perfect amount of lift around the road, and it’s easy to control when changing lanes.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

Its compact size and Rear-Cross Traffic Alert system made parallel parking this car a breeze.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio

Overall, the 2017 Subaru Forester remains a solid bang for your buck option if you’re looking for a sturdy crossover.

source
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio