Add adventure to your daily drive.

2021 Subaru Forester Review: Hero | CarMax

Adventure awaits you in the 2021 Subaru Forester. Powered by Subaru's famous symmetrical AWD, the Forester is ready to take you wherever roads may not. Practical touches like roof rails, split-folding rear seats, and durable materials make the 2021 Subaru Forester ideal for active living. Innovative technology and driving aids, combined with a peppy engine, can also make the 2021 Subaru Forester an ideal around-town vehicle. If you're looking for an SUV that's built for adventure and comfortably fits five, then check out what the 2021 Subaru Forester has to offer.

While we currently do not have many 2021 Subaru Foresters on our lots, we look forward to selling more in the future. If you love the 2021 model, you should also consider prior model years of the Subaru Forrester with similar features.

Here's what you'll learn in this 2021 Subaru Forester review:

Key Specs and Features


  • The 2021 Subaru Forester gets an EPA-estimated 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway for an EPA-estimated 29 mpg combined.1

Cargo Space

2021 Subaru Forester Review: Trunk | CarMax
  • There is an impressive 28.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats of the 2021 Subaru Forester
  • When all seats are folded, there is a maximum of 76.1 cubic feet of cargo space.

Towing Capacity

  • The 2021 Subaru Forester with a 2.5L four-cylinder engine can tow up to an estimated 1,500 lbs, when properly equipped.2

Seating Capacity

2021 Subaru Forester Review: Front seats | CarMax
  • There is seating for up to five passengers.
2021 Subaru Forester Review: Backseats | CarMax

Engine Options

  • All 2021 Subaru Foresters come equipped with a 182 hp 2.5L four-cylinder engine.

Tech Features

2021 Subaru Forester Review: Cell | CarMax
  • EyeSight® driver assists included standard on all trims
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay®
  • Nine-speaker Harmon Kardon® sound system (Touring trim)
  • Panoramic sunroof (Premium trim and higher)
  • Rearview camera


The Subaru Forester has a strong sales history at CarMax. It has been featured in these ranking lists:

5 Reasons to Buy

1. Legendary All-Wheel Drive

2021 Subaru Forester Review: Exterior | CarMax

When the weather becomes less than ideal, having an intelligent AWD system on your side is a must. The 2021 Subaru Forester rides on the Subaru symmetrical AWD system, a gold standard in the industry. Power is automatically directed to the wheel with the most traction, giving you a confident grip in various situations. On the 2021 Subaru Forester Premium and higher trims, Subaru X-Mode® lets you fine tune the traction control to conditions like mud and snow.

2. Standard Driving Assist Features

2021 Subaru Forester Review: Dashboard | CarMax

The 2021 Subaru Forester offers the driver assists you're looking for standard on every trim. Called EyeSight, this suite of systems includes forward pre-collision braking, throttle control, adaptive cruise control, and alerts. You'll stay centered on the road with lane centering, too.

3. Ready for Any Activity

You live an active life, never letting off the gas, and the 2021 Subaru Forester is designed to keep up. Raised roof rails are available or standard on several trims, giving you a quick and comfortable place to store longer items such as a surfboard or skis. A 60/40 split-folding rear seat lets you configure interior storage in many ways for other awkward items. An impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance means the 2021 Subaru Forester can get you to your favorite trail, too.

4. Efficiency for the Long Run

2021 Subaru Forester Review: Engine | CarMax

As capable and adventurous as the 2021 Subaru Forester is, you've also got everything you need for daily errands, weekend vacations, and lengthy road trips. Moving the 2021 Subaru Forester forward is a 2.5L four-cylinder engine producing 182 hp. The engine gets paired to a CVT with paddle shifters. All this technology combines to give the 2021 Subaru Forester an impressive fuel economy of an EPA-estimated 29 mpg combined.1

5. The Latest Smart Technology

Stay connected through the power of technology with your 2021 Subaru Forester. A smartphone app lets you remotely start and set the temperature on select trims.3 Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity is standard on the base-level 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system. A second 6.3-inch screen is standard on Sport and higher trims. It provides a rearview and trip information display, keeping the central infotainment screen open for your navigation or audio information. If you love to turn up the sound, an available nine-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system boasts 576W of power.

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What You Need to Know

Available Trims

  • Forester – Includes EyeSight driver assist technology, LED headlights, automatic climate control, 17-inch steel wheels, and more.
  • Premium – Adds X-Mode selectable drive mode, fog lights, raised roof rails, heated exterior mirrors, and more.
  • Sport – Adds LED fog lights, orange underguard accents, orange seat stitching, dual rear USB charge ports, and more.
  • Limited – Adds to the Premium trim with 18-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, leather-trimmed seats, an eight-inch touchscreen, dual-zone automatic climate control, and more.
  • Touring – Adds to the Limited trim with LED fog lights, driver seat memory seat, navigation, reverse automatic braking, LED interior lights, and more.

Available Colors

  • Crimson Red Pearl
  • Crystal White Pearl
  • Crystal Black Silica
  • Dark Blue Pearl
  • Horizon Blue Pearl
  • Ice Silver Metallic
  • Jasper Green Metallic
  • Magnetite Gray Metallic
  • Sepia Bronze Metallic


  • Seating for up to five with a 60/40 split-folding rear seat
  • 28.9 cubic feet of storage, or 31.1 cubic feet for models without a sunroof
  • 107.8 cubic feet of passenger volume
  • Selectable drive mode for various surface conditions (Premium and higher trim)
  • Dual USB charge ports

Average CarMax Prices

The 2021 Subaru Forester is a newer model year and we currently have a limited number in our inventory. See below for average CarMax prices for previous model years of the Subaru Forester.4

  • 2012 - Average prices less than $14,0004
  • 2013 - Average prices less than $15,5004
  • 2014 - Average prices less than $16,0004
  • 2015 - Average prices less than $17,5004
  • 2016 - Average prices less than $19,5004
  • 2017 - Average prices less than $21,5004
  • 2018 - Average prices less than $23,0004
  • 2019 - Average prices less than $25,5004
  • 2020 - Average prices less than $32,5004

Similar Model Years

If you like the 2021 Subaru Forester, check out some previous model years of this vehicle with similar features:


The 2021 Subaru Forester received an overall 5/5 rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Certain vehicles may have unrepaired safety recalls. Click here to look up a specific vehicle.

Similar Vehicles

If you're interested in the 2021 Subaru Forester, you should also check out these similar vehicles from previous model years.

Toyota RAV4

A capable and practical five-passenger SUV, the 2017-2018 Toyota RAV4 is ideal for families and groups of friends. Updated and energized, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 is ready to take on whatever adventure you fancy, with all the previous generation's practicality. The 2017-2018 Toyota RAV4 is available in five trims, with options for FWD and AWD, or a Hybrid platform. The 2019 Toyota RAV4 also adds a trail-ready Adventure trim, which is great if you love camping off the beaten path.

Standard features on the 2017-2018 Toyota RAV4 include:

  • A 176 hp 2.5L four-cylinder engine
  • Roof rails
  • Entune audio system with Bluetooth®
  • 38.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row

Highlights added on the updated 2019 Toyota Rav4 include:

  • A 203 hp 2.5L four-cylinder engine
  • A suite of select driver assists

Volkswagen Tiguan

Turn up the technology in the 2017-2019 Volkswagen Tiguan. There are seven trims to choose from, letting you pick the right Tiguan for your needs. 4MOTION® AWD is available on all trims, standard on SEL Premium and R-Line, and offers five terrain modes to optimize your traction. A digital gauge cluster is included on SEL and higher trims, giving you control over the gauge layout. A seven-passenger version is available if you regularly carry lots of passengers.

Standard features on the 2017-2019 Volkswagen Tiguan include:

  • A turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic climate control
  • LED daytime running lights
  • A rearview camera
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Power side mirrors with memory feature

Honda CR-V

If you're looking for a five-passenger SUV with fun driving dynamics, modern styling, and lots of functional touches, the 2017-2019 Honda CR-V is one to consider. The top-end 2017-2019 Honda CR-V Touring trim gives you a touch of luxury, thanks to soft leather seats, rain-sensing wipers, and a kick-activated power liftgate. LED headlights, Bluetooth audio, and a rearview camera come standard on all 2017-2019 Honda CR-Vs.

The popular mid-level 2017-2019 Honda CR-V EX trim comes equipped with a long list of standard features. Highlights include:

  • A 190 hp turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder engine
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Honda Sensing suite of driver aids
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Remote start3

The Bottom Line

If you need a five-passenger SUV that can keep up with your adventurous life, the 2021 Subaru Forester is purpose-built to tackle whatever roads or adventures you have in mind. A powerful engine, lots of ground clearance, spacious interior, and intelligent AWD give the 2021 Subaru Forester the tools it needs. No matter what terrain you need to conquer, the 2021 Subaru Forester is a great way to do it.

Do you want to learn more? Check out some of these useful additional resources:

1Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates for when vehicle sold as new. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. Unless specified, figures are for vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. See fueleconomy.gov.
2Various factors may impact towing capacity, including weight of passengers, cargo, and options/accessories.
3Remote start functionality may require the purchase of a subscription plan and/or a compatible device like a smart phone. See the owner's manual or manufacturer website for more information.
4Based on prices on carmax.com from May 1, 2020, through October 1, 2020. Actual prices may vary based on your selected model year, features and trim packages. Prices do not include taxes, tags, titles, and any applicable fees."
Unless otherwise noted, information related to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.