Even though I review cars for a living, I’m always in a constant state of shock when I see the sticker price. For some reason, it seems that everything as of late costs close to, or upwards of $40k, a number that, for me at least, is a huge chunk of change.
Sometimes, however, a bright spot comes along in the form of a vehicle that not only satisfies, but that’s priced in a way that’s perfect for the value it offers. And that’s the case with the all-new 2019 Subaru Forester Touring I recently tested. Not only was it beautifully constructed, but it also offered levels of comfort, utility, and technology that made me feel like its $35k* asking price was well worth it.
2019 Subaru Forester Touring Exterior
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that the 2019 Forester Touring should win any design awards. Nor am I going to tell you that it’ll stand out in a parking lot or make you look back at it with desire when you turn and walk away. Instead the Forester simply goes about its business with the dirty little secret that, while not a looker, that its outward appearance only helps to make it one of the most practical and user friendly vehicles on the road today. And while some folks may classify the Forester as a CUV, I’m going to stay old school and simply refer to it as a wagon.
The Forester sits on a 105.1” wheelbase with a total length of 182.1”. It’s got 8.7” of ground clearance for weekend trail runners, comes shod with 18” x 7” alloy wheels wearing 225/55-series all-season rubber, and has a personality that’s befitting of anyone who has ever worn a down vest or owned a Labrador retriever. Our tester, equipped with the Touring Package and covered in Jasper Green Metallic paint, is arguably the best looking variety of Forester as it combines an air of urban ruggedness with a hint of five-o’clock shadow.
Up front LED steering responsive headlights, LED fog lamps and a burly lower fascia give the Forster an all-season presence. While a low beltline and large windows mean a cabin with a bright and airy feel. Out back the rear tailgate sees an increased lift height of 5.3” over previous models and makes accessing the rear cargo area a snap. Other unique cues come in the form of blacked-out trim on the rockers and wheel wells, along with a polished single exhaust tip.
2019 Subaru Forester Touring Interior
Well designed and thought out, the interior of the Forester Touring comes to us with features and amenities that rival others in the segment. No joke, this is one very pleasant place to be. Covered in Saddle Brown leather, the front and rear seats offer heated surfaces and comfort for both driver and passengers alike. The heated steering wheel is of a nice thickness and utilizes a variety of intuitive controls for the in-dash information screen that’s located between large analog gauges. Then there’s Subaru’s large STARLINK 8.0” multimedia navigation system that allows access to such features as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, hands free devices and more.
Positioned above the STARLINK system is a smaller screen that provides ancillary information such as vehicle angle and pitch when off-road, internal temperature and diagnostics, weather, as well as access to any one of the Forester’s safety systems. HVAC controls are quite traditional in terms of layout and are a snap to use. A rotary knob is also located behind the shifter and allows one to toggle between the Foresters’ different drive modes. Switches for the heated front seats and AVH System (Automatic Vehicle Hold) are located here as well.
A low rear deck means the loading and unloading of cargo can be done with ease once the automatic rear hatch is opened. For a vehicle of this size the interior space is cavernous with 33 cubic-feet of storage available with the rear seats up and 70.9 cubic-feet available when folded flat. Panel embedded rear seat drop switches are also a nice touch and further expand on the Foresters ease of use factor.
2019 Subaru Forester Touring Performance
With standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, EyeSight Driver Assist Technology and SI-DRIVE engine performance management; the Forester Touring comes to us very well equipped for just over $35k. Under the hood lives a 2.5L Boxer 4-cylinder engine that produces 182bhp and 176 lb-ft of torque through Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT transmission. As one who is generally not a fan of CVT transmissions, it must be said that the simulated shift points incorporated into this unit do help to mask what would otherwise be a very buzzy transmission. Step on the gas and the Forester hops off the line with authority, but it’s not fast, as 60 mph will take around nine seconds to reach.
Cruising along at 80 mph in California traffic was a snap, with passing power being a non-issue. Great outward visibility was the result of a large windshield and windows while the liberal use of sound insulation aided in keeping the cabin quiet. The Forester also delivers good ride quality that’s only complimented by even better handling and breaking manners. Not only did it gobble up road imperfections with ease, but it was also surefooted regardless of the road conditions we encountered. Mileage was decent as well with EPA rated numbers coming in at 26 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg** during combined driving.
For those looking to go off-road, the Forester is also quite capable. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a full-fledged “off-roader”, but thanks to 8.7” of ground clearance and what Subaru calls X Mode, the Forester is capable of controlling everything from the overall power output, to actually shifting power and torque throughout the all-wheel drive system to maximize traction and efficiency. This is especially useful in rain, snow and mild off-road conditions.
2019 Subaru Forester Touring Safety
One of our favorite features of the 2019 Forester is the imperceptibility of the safety technology that’s been used here. Subaru utilizes a system they call EyeSight that monitors traffic movement, utilizes lane keep assist, pre-collision braking and it’ll even tell you when you take your eyes off the road. In many new vehicles these systems can be overly intrusive, however, here, in the Forester, they’re almost invisible.
To read more about the safety features on the new 2019 Forester, click here.
2019 Subaru Forester Touring Overall
If you haven’t guessed by now I like this car — a lot. Not only is it confidence inspiring on the road, but it offers amazing features, luxury and utility for just over $35k. In the looks department, it doesn’t over deliver in my opinion, however when it comes to everywhere else, it does so in spades. People, this is a really good vehicle that’s definitely worth a look.
Drop by your localAutoNation Subaru dealer today to check one out!
*Fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition.
**Vehicle MSRP of $35,270.00 (base Touring is $34,295.00) excludes taxes, title, transportation, options, and dealer fees.