Subaru gives its Forester SUV a midlife update for 2017 with styling changes and new safety, convenience and performance features. All models have a restyled front bumper, grille and headlights as well as new rear lights.
The optional EyeSight Driver Assist safety system now includes lane departure prevention. The Limited and Touring models add as standard a blind spot warning system and rear cross-traffic alert. Those features are included on the Premium trim with the EyeSight package. Limited and Touring models with EyeSight also get adaptive headlights that turn in the direction of travel and reverse automatic braking, designed to prevent low-speed collisions when backing up.
Touring models add as standard a heated steering wheel (a first for Foresters) and keyless access with push-button start. In addition, Subaru says all models have added soundproofing, thicker door glass and new door seals to reduce wind noise.
Models designated 2.5i have a 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, and the 2.0 XT Premium and Touring models have a 250-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the base 2.5i and 2.5i Premium, and a continuously variable automatic is optional. The CVT is standard on other Foresters. 2.0XT Touring models equipped with EyeSight now have standard Active Torque Vectoring that's designed to reduce understeer.
A capable all-wheel-drive system is standard on all Foresters, which have 8.7 inches of ground clearance, so any model is ready for winter or light off-road duty. Though it is listed as a compact SUV, tall, wide doors make the Forester easy to get in and out of for youngsters and oldsters alike, and the spacious interior can accommodate five people and their stuff.
The EyeSight Driver Assist system provides collision-avoidance braking and has earned high ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and you don't have to buy the most expensive model to get it. It is available on the 2.5i Premium, though in a package that requires the automatic transmission, and that adds up to $2,195 extra.
The Forester isn't the sexiest or most refined five-passenger SUV but ranks as one of the more practical.