2025 Subaru Forester Preview: Not quite new, but should be thoroughly improved


On paper, the 2025 Subaru Forester is brand new, but compared to the legitimately overhauled Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson of recent years, this generation didn’t exactly start with a clean slate. That said, there were a wealth of changes and updates made that should amount to a Forester better able to keep up with those newer rivals while maintaining most of the unique attributes that keep Subaru loyalists so loyal.

While very little has changed under the skin, the looks are certainly different enough to cue double takes in the REI parking lot. There will be no mistaking the 2025 for a 2024, unless of course it’s a Wilderness model, in which case, well, it is totally the same as 2024. The outgoing off-road variant will continue to be produced alongside the new Forester until a replacement Wilderness is ready to roll.

But there is big news: A hybrid is coming! Just not soon and with details TBD. We have yet to drive the new 2025 Subaru Forester, but look for our first drive review coming in late April.

Interior & Technology   |   Passenger & Cargo Space   |   Performance & Fuel Economy

What it’s like to drive   |   Pricing & Trim Levels   |   Crash Ratings & Safety Features

What’s new for 2025?

The 2025 Subaru Forester is being labeled as “all-new,” but that’s really stretching the definition of “all.” It uses the same Subaru Global Platform and 2.5-liter boxer-four as the outgoing model. It has the same wheelbase, height and track width, while only adding 0.6 inches to the length and 0.5 inches to its width. The cargo area expands by a whopping 0.7 cubic feet behind the raised back seat. Yes, that was sarcasm.

Despite the carryover platform, there are mechanical updates. The process of putting together the underlying chassis was improved, and it now utilizes more structural adhesives, making it stronger and stiffer than the outgoing Forester’s. Handling, ride and interior noise levels benefit, Subaru says. The steering is also enhanced with a version of the WRX’s dual-pinion electronic steering rack.

2025 Subaru Forester Touring touchscreen2025 Subaru Forester Touring interior

What are the Forester interior and in-car technology like?

The interior design may be new to the Forester, but it’s virtually indistinguishable from what you’ll find in the Outback, Crosstrek and Ascent. Apart from some dimpled surfacing on the passenger-side dash, you really can’t tell the difference. Admittedly, the included 11.6-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen (and the weird dual 7-inch screen setup of the base model) doesn’t leave designers much room to work with. Both of the available touchscreen infotainment systems are indeed new to the Forester, but again, old-hat for the Subaru lineup. Which means they’re pretty old-hat, period, at this point. For a new generation, “all” or not, the Forester probably could’ve used something to better stay relevant for longer.

This generation also gets a wireless phone charger, ventilated seats and hands-free power liftgate. The seats are also more supportive, according to Subaru, and have been slimmed down for better visibility and access to the rear seats. Little hooks have been added throughout the cargo area, including two in the roof at the base of the liftgate – those were introduced for, and had been exclusive to, the Wilderness.

2025 Subaru Forester Touring back seat from front2025 Subaru Forester Touring cargo seat down

How big is the 2025 Subaru Forester?

Since not much has changed in external dimensions, the 2025 Forester’s cabin is virtually the same size as its predecessor’s, lining up nicely with the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Tucson. Backseat space differs more between them, but they’re all generously spacious and well within the realm of “family friendly.” Since it was already one of the most spacious compact “SUVs,” we can see why Subaru didn’t bother messing with the formula. The 2025 also retains the old Forester’s generous rear side windows (visibility is exceptional) and the ample recline of its seat back.

In terms of cargo space, the Forester’s 29.6 cubic feet (or 26.9 with its jumbo sunroof) seemingly falls nearly 10 cubic feet short of the Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. But curiously, the Forester has consistently outperformed its specs in the real world. When we load it with bags, the Forester tends to keep up just fine.

It’s also worth noting the Forester’s class-leading ground clearance. At 8.7 inches, nothing can match it now that the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk has been discontinued, although the Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road and Adventure comes close at 8.6. Remember, this is the base Forester, not a special off-roading trim; that’s where Wilderness comes in. The Forester’s own special off-roading trim cranks things up to 9.2 inches and shaves off some bumper to further improve its approach angle.

2025 Subaru Forester Sport D pillar AWD badge

What are the Forester’s fuel economy and performance specs?

A 2.5-liter naturally aspirated boxer-four carries over from 2024 and now delivers 180 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. That’s a decrease of two apiece — bummer. It’s still connected to a standard CVT, albeit with smoother and quieter performance, according to Subaru. Most trim levels have paddle shifters to select eight simulated ratios.

While we’d still like to see the turbo engine return, Subaru has not given us any indication that it’s going to happen. A hybrid version is on the way for certain, though. Expect more on that in early 2025 — one year after the gasoline model’s launch.

The standard all-wheel-drive system has been revised to react quicker, improve handling and provide better control both on- and off-road. An X-Mode off-road driving mode is included on the Forester Premium, while the Sport and higher trims get two mode options based on terrain and traction.

What’s the 2025 Subaru Forester like to drive?

We haven’t driven the 2025 Forester yet, but we will soon. We’ll update this as soon as we do.  

In the meantime, the Forester Wilderness, is a known quantity. The off-road-focused trim offers grippier all-terrain tires, and we were truly impressed with how adept it was at responding to last-second steering corrections. And when we failed to avoid things, the Wilderness’ extra suspension travel and retuned dampers did a sensational job of cushioning the impacts, and in general did a tremendous job sopping up bumps and ruts off the beaten path. For the type of off-roading its owners are likely to do, the Forester Wilderness is absolutely perfect. The regular Foresters are obviously not at the same level in this regard, but are still better-suited than the Honda CR-Vs, Nissan Rogues or Mazda CX-5s of the world.

What other 2025 Subaru Forester content can I read?

2025 Subaru Forester gets fresh style and latest tech; hybrid coming next year

Definitely new, not sure about the ‘all’ bit.

2025 Subaru Forester Touring profile1

 

2025 Subaru Forester priced from $31,090

And the current Wilderness model will be sold alongside the 2025.

2025 Subaru Forester Sport rear three quarter

 

Subaru Forester Wilderness First Drive Review | Take a hike

The more rugged Forester is a better and more interesting Forester.

2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness with Mt Jefferson3

 

Subaru Forester Luggage Test | How much cargo space?

Since the cargo area has barely changed, the 2025 Forester should be able to carry the same amount of stuff as the previous-generation model.

2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness all bags1

What is the 2025 Forester’s price?

In keeping with its strong value proposition, the updated Forester will start at $31,090 (with destination) — a few hundred dollars cheaper than the least-expensive, front-wheel-drive 2024 Honda CR-V.

That said, we’re not too enthused about the standard Sport model or its dual 7-inch screens. You’ll find the 11.6-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen (with its wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay) on the Premium ($33,390) and up; the Limited hits the sweet spot for equipment — including a heated steering wheel and power hands-free liftgate — without breaking the $40,000 barrier.

Here’s a breakdown of starting price for each 2025 Forester trim including destination charge ($1,395):

  • 2025 Subaru Forester CVT:  $31,090
  • 2025 Subaru Forester Premium CVT: $33,390
  • 2025 Subaru Forester Sport CVT: $35,890
  • 2025 Subaru Forester Limited CVT: $37,390
  • 2025 Subaru Forester Touring CVT: $41,390

The outgoing Forester Wilderness will remain in production alongside the new model. It checks in at $36,265 including destination.

What are the 2025 Forester’s safety ratings and driver assistance features?

The latest version of Subaru’s EyeSight driver assistance suite comes aboard the Forester, promising smoother and quicker reactions under a greater range of conditions. The cameras have a wider field of view, the control software has been updated and an electric brake booster added; cyclists and pedestrians will be detected sooner.

One bit of safety gear that’s actually new to the Subaru family: Emergency Stop Assist, which automatically brings the vehicle to a stop, activates the hazard lights and unlocks the doors should the driver become unresponsive while using adaptive cruise control. That’s a pretty big caveat but it’s still a good idea.

Subaru anticipates the Forester will retain its IIHS Top Safety Pick status for 2025; neither of the third-party safety organizations has tested the new model yet.

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