The third iteration of the Subaru Forester is now much closer in size and shape to its conventional small SUV rivals – cars like the Honda CR-V and Nissan X-Trail. It’s 45mm wider, 75mm longer and a whopping 110mm taller than the old car. But while you do sit 30mm higher than in the old Forester, the experience is still very saloon-like. 

Despite the new proportions, the design is still Subaru. Which means it’s simple, conservative and well proportioned, but hardly exciting.

Matt Burt

Matt Burt

Executive Editor, Autocar
The Forester is simple, conservative and well proportioned

The base Forester’s side skirts, bumper corners, door mirrors and even door handles are tough grey plastic. This fits perfectly with the Forester’s no-nonsense attitude.

The Forester’s innards are protected from mud, water or rocky encounters by a plastic/metal engine guard, enhancing  the car’s off-road credentials.

The slightly gaudy cheese-cutter grille is reminiscent of the one on the Subaru Legacy Outback. Unfortunately for Subaru, this is the only truly distinctive part of the Forester’s exterior design.

Twin exhausts seem like a nod to performance that really isn’t there. Considering the Forester’s Impreza genes, it’s a little strange that it doesn’t use that car’s modest single exhaust. At least Subaru doesn’t clad them in chrome, unlike manufacturers of some of the more showy SUVs.

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The way the rear light clusters wrap around the sides of the car helps to inject some visual interest into an otherwise very boxy profile.

There are no alloys on the Forester 2.0X. But since the 16-inch steel items are covered with perfectly attractive plastic wheel covers, that’s no great loss. Half-close your eyes and you could even believe they were alloys. Almost.

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