The fourth generation of the Popular Subaru Forester was launched as an all-new vehicle in 2014, which continues into the 2016 model year. The first generation Forester appeared in Japan in 1997, making its debut here in the U.S. in 1998. The second Gen bowed in 2003 and the third Generation was introduced in 2008. Forester has been and is still one of the best selling small SUVs in the marketplace. It is extremely popular in geographic regions of the country where inclement and extremely cold weather prevail. Visit, for instance, the Northwest and Northeast, and the Forester appears to be the poster SUV or Crossover – a category that it helped to pioneer.
The 2016 Subaru Forester is available in six trim levels: the base 2.5i; the 2.5i Premium; a 2.5i Touring; a 2.0XT Premium; and a 2.0XT Touring.
2.5i models are powered by a 2.5-liter (2,498 cc), DOHC, 16-valve, naturally aspirated, horizontally opposed BOXER® four-cylinder engine with sequential multi-port fuel injection, cylinder head-mounted injectors and Electronic Throttle Control. The 2.5i engine produces 170 horsepower at 5,800 rpm, while developing 174 pound feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. 2.0XT models draw their energy from a 2.0-liter (1,998 cc) turbocharged/intercooled, horizontally opposed BOXER® four-cylinder engine with Gasoline Direct Injection and Electronic Throttle Control.
Transmission choices include: a 6-speed manual for 2.5i powered models and a Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), with the 2.0XT versions featuring 6 gear steps in automatic mode and 8-speeds in manual shift mode. Every Forester delivers power to all four corners via one of two AWD systems: Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel drive – a Continuous AWD system with viscous-coupling locking center differential for manual transmission vehicles, or an Active AWD with electronically managed continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch; featuring an enhanced AWD control system with X-Mode on high-line models (Limited and Touring). X-Mode delivers increased performance capability in low friction scenarios at the touch of a button. The XT lineup features Si drive – an adaptive CVT control with three settings – “I” – intelligent; “s” – sport; and “s+” sport sharp. Hill Descent Control is also added.
2.5i models start at $22,395; a Premium model; a Limited model; and the top-of-the-line Touring model priced at $30,795. 2.0XT model Foresters are only available in Premium and Touring trim levels. with Premium pricing set at $29,195 while the Touring model is priced starting at $33,795. Add an $850 Destination and Handling charge for all.
This latest iteration Forester retains its utilitarian properties in a large, useful package. The doors and openings are large, allowing for greater ease of entry and exit. Door window frames add necessary structural integrity but I miss the frameless window advantage of earlier Foresters realized in tight parking situations.
In terms of its appearance, the 2016 Forester is not dramatically different from its predecessors (why mess with a winning formula?). The “A” pillars are set forward, with the front end and hood low and flat, displaying a tall grille that reflects the rest of the Subaru line’s DNA. The new Forester showcases a more SUV-like look, rather than the image of a wagon. Wheel wells are pronounced creating a fender effect. Low door edges extend below the inner sills, protecting one’s apparel or legs from accumulated road grime when exiting or entering the vehicle. The new Forester essentially blends evolutionary design themes with sharply defined details.
Moving to the interior, the front space and shoulder room is ample and the dash is deep with IP and graphic video displays. There is a height programmable, power liftgate and Subaru’s optically controlled EyeSight adaptive cruise control and guidance system are among the feature upgrades and enhancements.
New for the 2016 model year SUBARU STARLINK™ Safety and Security debuts in two packages: STARLINK Safety Plus, including SOS Emergency Assistance, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Automatic Collision Notification, Maintenance Notifications, Monthly Vehicle Health Report and Diagnostic Alerts (standard Premium and Limited trims). STARLINK Safety Plus & Security Plus adds Stolen Vehicle Recovery Service, Vehicle Security Alarm Notification, Remote Lock/Unlock, Remote Horn and Lights and Remote Vehicle Locator (available Premium and Limited trims). 6.2” STARLINK multimedia system with touchscreen (Standard on 2.5i). The system includes: AM/FM Stereo HD radio with single disc CD player, Bluetooth® streaming audio, Bluetooth® hands-free phone capability, iPod® control with iTunes tagging, rear-vision camera, smartphone integration (Aha™, Pandora® and STARLINK Cloud applications – Calendar, iHeart® Radio, Stitcher™, Music Player, News and Weather). 7.0” STARLINK multimedia system with multi-gesture touchscreen (Standard on 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Touring and all 2.0XT models). The system includes: AM/FM Stereo HD radio with single disc CD player, SiriusXM® radio (subscription required), voice activated controls, Bluetooth® streaming audio, Bluetooth® hands-free phone capability, iPod® control with iTunes® tagging, rear-vision camera, smartphone integration (Aha, Pandora and STARLINK Cloud applications – Calendar, iHeart® Radio, Stitcher™, Music Player, News and Weather).
Steering responsive fog lights are added to models equipped with EyeSight®, Steering wheel control switches revised, Dual USB ports are standard for Premium, Limited and Touring trims, a new silver metallic finish is added to the center stack, the Keyless access remote fob design has been changed, a PIN Code Access allows driver to lock key fob in vehicle or access vehicle without fob on Touring trim models, a One touch lane changer function added to turn signal stalk, Welcome Lighting is added to 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Touring and all 2.0XT models and a new Crystal White Pearl exterior color option is available.
My test 2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i came in Limited trim, finished outside in Venetian Red metallic, with a Black interior. The base sticker read $28,795 while the final tally came to $31,790 after factoring in option packaging and Destination and Handling charges.
SUMMARY: The 2016 Subaru Forester is genuinely “SUV Tough and Car Easy”. The off-road prowess of this latest Forester is indeed impressive, as is the on-road experience. Climbing and descending hills is child’s play and freeway stretches all showcase quiet, comfort and stability. Washboard ridden and rutted gravel surfaces with 35 mph designated speeds could be negotiated at 60 mph and above with total confidence and control, thanks to the four-wheel independent suspension componentry and the Forster’s low center of gravity.
Outward visibility is outstanding as is interior functionality and versatility. The 2.5i-liter four-banger responds quickly when prodded, and the CVT performs with the effect of a conventional gearbox, simulating stepped gear changes – particularly in the manual mode with paddle shifters. The turning radius is remarkably tight, especially for an AWD vehicle.
Bottom-line, the 2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited not only gets the job done as one would expect, but it gets it done quickly and in total comfort.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited
|Price as Tested:||$31,790.|
|Engine Type and Size:||2.5-liter (2,498 cc), DOHC, 16-valve, naturally aspirated BOXER® four-cylinder engine with sequential multi-port fuel injection, cylinder head-mounted injectors and Electronic Throttle Control.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||170 @ 5,800 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||174 @ 4,100 rpm|
|Transmission:||Standard 6-speed manual or Lineartronic® CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission).|
|Drive Train:||Forward flat mounted horizontally opposed / Subaru Symmetrical AWD – (Continuous AWD with viscous-coupling locking center differential for M/T – Active AWD with electronically managed continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch; features X-Mode enhanced control system on high-line models (Limited and Touring).|
4-wheel independent; sport-tuned on 2.0XT with higher-rate springs than 2.5i models (10% higher in front, 20% rear), plus special chassis reinforcements
Front – MacPherson-type struts, lower L-arms, coil springs and stabilizer bar.
Rear – Double wishbone with subframe, coil springs and stabilizer bar.
|Brakes:||Power-assisted 4-wheel discs (vented front) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and 4-channel / 4-sensor ABS and Brake Assist. Vehicle Dynamics Control with all-wheel, all-speed traction control.|
|Tires:||Yokohama Geolander G-51 225/60 R17 M+S All-Season mounted on 5 – “can-opener” – spoke alloy wheels.|
|Length Overall:||180.9 inches|
|Height:||68.2 inches with roof rail – 66.4” without|
|Curb Weight:||3,366 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||15.9 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||24-mpg city / 32-mpg highway|
|0 – 60 mph:||6.2 seconds.|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.