2018 Subaru Forester review

Research, photos, specs, and expertise
7 photos

Subaru Forester highlights

Customer rating


  • Turbo engine available
  • Comfortable and roomy interior
  • Great for off-road driving with standard AWD


  • Average interior materials
  • Not great for pulling big campers or trailers
  • Unattractive styling

Mileage (EPA estimate)

22 city, 27 highway, 24 combined

Pricing for current inventory

(no current inventory)

7 photos

All Subaru Forester years

What is new for the 2018 Subaru Forester?

  • Forester trims have been upgraded with Parking Sensors, Automated Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, and 8508 as standard equipment this year.
  • Leatherette & Cloth and Kicker Speaker System features are now available as options on select trims.
  • The 2.5I Touring trim now comes with Navigation System as standard equipment.

2018 Subaru Forester trims

Curious how Subaru Forester trims differ? Use our side-by-side vehicle comparison to see the differences and similarities


2.5I Premium:

2.5I Limited:

2.5I Touring:

  • Includes all features available on the 2.5I Limited
  • Parking Sensors
  • Smart Key
  • Automated Cruise Control
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Memory Seats
  • Harman Kardon Sound
  • Navigation System
  • View our Subaru Forester 2.5I Touring inventory

2.0XT Premium:

2.0XT Touring:

Subaru Forester photos

5 reasons to buy the 2018 Subaru Forester

1. Off-road credentials as standard

The 2018 Subaru Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive, making it great in inclement weather. When you combine this with a ground clearance of 8.7 inches, it's also handy on rockier dirt roads. The available X-MODE® terrain feature with hill descent control (only CVT models and not available on the base 2.5i trim) adds further off-road ability. Look out for this if you regularly venture off the pavement for camping trips.

2. Great engine options

The base 170-hp 2.5L engine is perfectly capable and is a great choice if you're looking for thrifty performance. It'll achieve an EPA-estimated 28 mpg combined with the standard AWD and automatic gearbox.

If you'd prefer a six-speed manual, the EPA-estimated combined mpg drops to 24 with the 2.5L engine.
If you're after a bit more power, there's an optional 250-hp turbocharged engine (2.0XT trims) that'll do an EPA-estimated 25 mpg combined.

3. Spacious cabin

The 2018 Forester is nicely laid out to maximize passenger space. In the front, you'll benefit from 43 inches of legroom while rear seat passengers can enjoy up to 38 inches. Cargo volume is decent too with 34.4 cu-ft available behind the back seats (this drops to 31.5 cu-ft with the moonroof). You've also got sensible places to store small items, as well as generous door bins that can accommodate large drink bottles.

4. Well-equipped interior

All base models come with handy features such as Subaru's STARLINK multimedia system with a 6.2-inch screen. This includes a USB port and Bluetooth® streaming capability with hands-free phone connectivity. You'll also get a standard backup camera to ease those reversing maneuvers. For more features, such as a six-speaker sound system, you'll need to climb to the Premium or Limited trims. If you're after maximum convenience and driver-assistance features — including pre-collision braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control — take a look at the Touring trims.

5. Flexibility for adventuring

If you're making the most of the Forester's AWD and high ground clearance, you'll want interior flexibility too. If you're not carrying passengers in the back, you can fold the rear seats to open up a maximum of 74.7 cu-ft of space — though this drops to 68.5 cu-ft with the moonroof. This means you can load up camping gear or sports equipment for a weekend of adventure. There are also some great optional extras available to make life easier such as a power liftgate and removable cargo tray.

Shop with your budget in mind

Getting pre-qualified lets you shop with personalized monthly payments, and it doesn't impact your credit score.Get Pre-qualified

Ratings & reliability

Customer ratings

The 2018 Subaru Forester is a car that is great for families. It's comfortable and easy to handle. It also has many accessories and features, plus gets good gas mileage for long weekend trips.
Above Average

RepairPal gave the Subaru Forester an overall reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as Above Average. This rating ranks Subaru Forester 22nd out of 29 among Compact SUVs.

View RepairPal's full rating of the Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester features and specs

2.5I Touring 4WD/AWD 4D Sport Utility

Standard Features

  • 4WD/AWD
  • 8508
  • ABS Brakes
  • Air Conditioning
  • Alloy Wheels
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Automated Cruise Control
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • CD Audio
  • Front Seat Heaters
  • Harman Kardon Sound
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Leather Seats
  • Memory Seat(s)
  • Navigation System
  • Overhead Airbags
  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • Parking Sensors
  • Power Hatch/Deck Lid
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirrors
  • Power Seat(s)
  • Power Windows
  • Rear Defroster
  • Rear View Camera
  • Satellite Radio Ready
  • Side Airbags
  • Smart Key
  • Traction Control
  • 8508
  • Full Roof Rack
  • Kicker Speaker System
  • Remote Start
  • Tow Hitch

Drive Wheels

All Wheel Drive (4WD/AWD)

Engine size




Torque (ft-lbs)


Engine type


Fuel capacity




Overall length






Leg room

F 43"/R 38"

Head room

F 40"/R 37.5"

Front tires


Rear tires


Seating capacity


Max towing capacity

150/1500 lbs.



2018 Subaru Forester FAQ

Research other vehicles

* Price excludes taxes, title, registration, and fees. Applicable transfer fees are due in advance of vehicle delivery and are separate from sales transactions.

We hope you found this information helpful. This content is intended to inform and is not meant to indicate that a particular vehicle is currently available or recommended for you.​

Unless otherwise noted, information related to 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.​

We make every effort to provide accurate information, but please verify before purchasing.