For The Forester offers genuine off-road capability, plenty of space and a generous standard equipment list. It rides also well on faster roads.

Against It’s more expensive to buy than rivals, and uses more fuel and emits more CO2. The entry-level petrol engine is weak and the turbocharged version is very thirsty.

Subaru Forester 4x4
22 5stars

The Subaru Forester makes most sense if you’re after something rugged and reliable. It’s also good off-road, roomy and well equipped. Rival SUVs are cheaper to buy and run, though, and more refined, so will make more sense for more people.

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The full Subaru Forester review

There are 6 Subaru Forester versions available

4x4 2.0d X 5dr £24,995
What Car? says:3 stars out of 5
4x4 2.0i XE 5dr £25,495
What Car? says:2 stars out of 5
4x4 2.0d XC 5dr £26,995
What Car? says:2 stars out of 5
4x4 2.0i XE Premium 5dr £27,495
What Car? says:2 stars out of 5
4x4 2.0d XC Premium 5dr £29,495
What Car? says:2 stars out of 5
4x4 2.0i XT Turbo CVT 5dr £30,995
What Car? says:1 stars out of 5

Buyer's notes

Target Price team says:

The Subaru Forester is available with a 148bhp non-turbo or a 237bhp turbocharged petrol engine, or a 145bhp diesel.

The non-turbo petrol feels weak, and is noisy at high revs (it’s even worse when coupled with the CVT automatic gearbox), while the turbocharged version is quick but extremely thirsty. The diesel is the best bet – it’s strong, smooth and you rarely have to work it hard.

Entry-level X trim is available only with the diesel. It has plenty of equipment, including air-con, heated front seats, alloy wheels, Bluetooth and a USB socket. It’s our pick of the range, although it’s a shame the manual-only diesel doesn’t come with the sophisticated off-road aid X-drive, which includes hill-descent control and is included on automatic petrol Foresters.

XC and XE cars get an electric driver’s seat, automatic lights and wipers and a rear-view camera, while XC Premium and XE Premium models add sat-nav and leather seats.

Reader test team says:

Subaru Forester 4x4 2.0d XC Premium 5dr

this is a great car. Solid, reliable, comfortable, corners beautifully, handles potholes really, really well, economical-ish, and massive inside I…

Mike Taylor

5 out of 5 stars

Subaru Forester 4x4 2.0i XT Turbo CVT 5dr

This is my 4th Subaru in the last 14 years and my first Forester. It is by far and away the best car I have owned. Bought it in June 2014 only 5…

Michael Sanderson

5 out of 5 stars

Subaru Forester 4x4 2.0d X 5dr

Like other readers I am at a loss to your two star rating, the Forester is excellent in just about all the important areas, Safety is top of it's…

Tony Bromley

5 out of 5 stars

Subaru Forester 4x4 2.0i XT Turbo CVT 5dr

This is a great car. I have only owned one for several weeks, so bear that in mind, but it is fantastic on first impressions. I was looking,…

Fergus Glenapp

5 out of 5 stars
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Subaru Forester 4x4

Read the definitive Subaru Forester 4x4 review from the expert What Car? team. Check specs, prices and compare with similar cars.


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