The 2019 Subaru Forester has been completely redesigned from the wheels to the roof, and yet you don’t really notice that when you’re behind the wheel. You kind of notice it when you step inside the first time or when you look at it in your driveway, but even there the changes can best be described as evolutionary despite this being a new generation.
That’s not to say the new Forester has missed the mark. Quite the opposite actually. It’s still comfortably seated in the compact SUV segment’s middle ground where comfort meets driving pleasure. Is it as comfortable as a Honda CR-V or Nissan Rogue? No, but it’s a lot more fun to drive. Is it as agile and sporty as a Mazda CX-5 or Volkswagen Tiguan? Not quite, but it is more spacious overall.
What that means is that the Forester tends to come up more often than most when someone asks us what SUV they should buy next. Here’s a quick example.
So, Friday was our annual Christmas party at the office, and it didn’t take very long before a car-related question came up. The thing you have to understand about our company is that we have a ton of divisions and over 200 employees across these divisions. Among the lot, my colleagues and I are known as the “guys who know cars”. Whenever the divisions come together, it’s inevitable that a question about which car to buy or not buy will come up.
The first question of the day concerned the Tiguan. A colleague had owned three Volkswagen products in the last 10 years and had problems with all of them. Now, he needed an SUV and preferred not getting another VW product, but didn’t know what else to buy.
He didn’t want a Mazda because they were too common, and he didn’t want a CR-V because it was too bland.
“Buy a new Forester”, I said, without missing a beat. It’s not common sight on the road, it’s fun to drive, it’s spacious and you’ll never have to worry about reliability.
Why You Should Buy a 2019 Subaru Forester
1) Subaru simplified the Forester’s engine lineup for 2019, offering only the 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine with a CVT automatic gearbox. It generates more power while also being more fuel-efficient. With 182 horsepower, the Forester is right up there with other compact SUVs in terms of power, while also burning less fuel than most in the segment.
2) It has arguably the best all-wheel drive system in the segment. Every wheel gets power at all times which means the Forester doesn’t have to “react” to slippery road conditions. It just drives through them. Most compact SUVs send power to the forward wheels and then will adjust when a loss of grip is detected. That adds an extra split second before you regain full control. That doesn’t happen in the Forester.
3) You’ll find better-than-average rear seat room in the 2019 Forester. Overall, Subaru’s compact SUV does very well when it comes to interior space and is among the best in the segment.
4) The new-generation Forester has added quite a bit of features including Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. There’s also a new active safety system called DriverFocus that monitors the driver’s attention level and sends a warning if he or she appears tired.
5) The dashboard is more modern and elegant. The design won’t blow anyone away, but it’s ergonomic and easy to use, and puts the important functions and controls where you want them.
6) Subaru vehicles tend to have lower depreciation than most comparable cars and SUVs, and the 2019 Subaru Forester won’t be an exception.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2019 Subaru Forester
1) It’s a bit unfortunate the Subaru pulled the plug on the turbocharged engine and the 6-speed manual gearbox. The Forester was the only compact SUV with all-wheel drive to offer a manual transmission, but no longer.
2) The Sport version isn’t any sportier. It’s a bit tacky to be honest, and those added orange trims will probably get old real quick.
3) The top-of-the-line Premier model is only available with a single interior color, brown. That’s fine if you like brown, but a problem if you hate brown.
4) The 2019 Subaru Forester is more expensive than its direct competitors. Yes, it offers all-wheel drive as standard equipment, but even when compared to AWD-equipped compact SUVs, the Forester is more expensive. It’s also more expensive to finance with higher interest rates than most.
You won’t get a deal on a 2019 Forester, but it gives you your money’s worth. Perhaps the most balanced compact SUV you can guy, it ticks all the boxes. Sure, the turbo is gone and so is the manual gearbox, but there are no other alternatives in this segment. You’ll just have to accept that most buyers want an automatic and don’t need a turbo. Overall, Subaru has given us one of the best SUVs you can buy in its class.