Redesigned 2024 Subaru Forester reaches for horizons, but pack your patience

CASEY WILLIAMS | Auto Reviewer

Have you ever been to Montana? As I found on my first visit recently, it’s a big place — the kind of wide-open-horizon-to-horizon-nestling-mountains-wide-open-interstates kind of place where you just want to drive, drive and drive.
Turns out, it was the perfect place to meet the redesigned 2025 Subaru Forester.


You’re not imagining it; lesbians DO drive Foresters

If you think a disproportionate number of lesbians in your gayborhood drive Subaru Foresters, you’re not imagining it. Forester sales tend to skew female anyway, but combine that with a propensity for our tribe to embrace the authentic values of Subarus, and there tends to be a happy marriage.

Back in the ’90s, Subaru was scouring its sales demographics and discovered a disproportionate number of lesbian customers in the Northeast. Apparently, lesbians just liked the cars — appreciating their all-weather capability and versatility for weekend adventures and finding them a durable value. So, Subaru embraced the LGBTQ community by contributing to causes that matter like HRC and PFLAG. It was one of the first automakers to offer same-sex partner benefits to employees and was a pioneer in advertising through gay newspapers.

“Subaru owners have always been our biggest source of inspiration, and there is nothing more authentic than real people sharing how their vehicle enhances their life,” said Diane Anton, corporate communications manager for Subaru of America. “Subaru is also authentic in our own corporate spaces. Subaru of America, Inc. was named a 2022 Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality by the Human Rights Campaign.”


Handsome upscale style
Given that backdrop, the new Forester looks on the nose, with a more wind-swept face wearing squinty headlamps that run from grille to fenders. It’s further distinguished by deep fender sculpting over available 19-inch wheels and tail lamps that extend across the liftgate. It’s difficult to make a box look sleek, but designers did their best, and it’s a more handsome vehicle for the effort.

There are two exhaust coves, but there’s only one tailpipe, so contain your excitement.

No matter your aesthetic, there’s a trim level with the right vibe. Drivers who just want a durable crossover with all-wheel-drive buy the Base. But those craving more progress through Premium, Sport, Limited and Touring trims.

I especially like the Sport that’s enhanced by bronze accents and wipe-down faux leather seats. Touring editions conjure all the kit: Brown leather, Harman Kardon audio, digital rearview camera, wireless phone charging, foot-activated power rear gate and heated seats all-around.

Unless you go Base, passengers confront an 11.6-inch tablet-style screen. Easily connect phones wirelessly through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Proper knobs for volume and tuning are appreciated.

Dual-zone automatic climate control, power sunroof, ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel are optional. It’s probably time for Subaru to offer a digital dash, at least in Sport and Touring models. But there’s no beating the clarity of big analog gauges.

Smooth, capable and patient
Enjoy the scenery because it’ll be in your view awhile. On paper, the 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed “Boxer” four-cylinder engine produces 180 horsepower and 178 lb.-ft. of torque — plenty for a crossover this size. Yet the continuously variable transmission requires patience to send power through the standard all-wheel-drive system. Clicking paddles to shuffle through eight pre-set gear ratios helps. Expect 25/32-MPG city/highway

Even on wide open Montana highways, I looked for straight downhill segments with plenty of space before passing. Pulling into traffic going uphill takes nerves, as may accelerating onto freeways back home where highways are as flat as a griddle. I will say, though, that once up to speed, the ride is serenely comfortable. There’s very little wind noise, and only under hard acceleration do you hear more than a murmur from the engine.

It is remarkably capable too, given 8.7 inches of ground clearance and X-Mode that adjusts for terrain conditions and can even creep down steep includes. Enjoy a smoother ride and less steering vibration over rough roads. I spent most of my time in the Touring with softer suspension but choose the Sport for a more engaging feel.

Subarus ace crash tests, but the new three-camera EyeSight system provides adaptive cruise, automatic braking and lane keep assist and can even steer around objects in an emergency. Rear cross path detection, safe exit assist and blind spot warning systems are available too. It can even slow the vehicle should the driver become incapacitated.

Happy trails
Subaru didn’t have to redesign the Forester, as the nameplate posted its best-ever sales month during March. Since the automaker knows its customers well, I think people are going to be very happy with the new Forester, whether crossing wide-open Montana, taming Dallas traffic or slicing Indiana cornfields. To keep it affordable, Base models start at just $29,695, rise through the Sport at $34,495 and tap out with the Touring’s $39,995.