2021 Subaru Forester review

Research, photos, specs, and expertise
7 photos

Subaru Forester highlights

Customer rating


  • Standard all-wheel drive enhances traction
  • Comprehensive set of driver-assist features
  • Spacious cargo capacity


  • Engine lacks sufficient power
  • Modest tow rating limits overall utility
  • Child seat anchors are inconveniently placed

Mileage (EPA estimate)

26 city, 33 highway, 29 combined

Pricing for current inventory

(no current inventory)

7 photos

Add adventure to your daily drive

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.

All Subaru Forester years

What is new for the 2021 Subaru Forester?

  • The Base trim now comes with Automated Cruise Control as standard equipment.
  • The Premium trim now comes with Smart Key as standard equipment.
  • The Sport trim now comes with Blind Spot Monitor as standard equipment.

2021 Subaru Forester trims

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






Subaru Forester photos

5 reasons to buy the 2021 Subaru Forester

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.

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.

 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.

2021 Subaru Forester video review

In this video, Desola Balogun from Edmunds reviews a 2021 Subaru Forester. Desola talks about everything that makes a used Subaru Forester one of our favorite compact SUVs. From its rugged attitude to its comfortable interior, the Forester has something for everyone to enjoy. Is a used Subaru Forester a good choice for your next used small SUV purchase? We're here to help answer this question and more in our review of the 2021 Subaru Forester.

Similar vehicles

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

Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 is a ruggedly handsome crossover SUV with seating for five passengers and is available with all-wheel drive (all models and years). Outdoor enthusiasts will especially like the Adventure trim package that debuted in 2018; it comes exclusively in all-wheel drive and includes a tow prep package. The RAV4 received a redesign in 2019 and includes five trim levels: LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, and Limited. For 2019, the Toyota RAV4 LE includes:

  • LED headlights

  • Rear View Camera

  • Bluetooth® connectivity

  • Apple CarPlay

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Ratings & reliability

Customer ratings

4.7 out of 5

7 customer reviews
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

Limited 4WD/AWD 4D Sport Utility

Standard Features

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

Drive Wheels

All Wheel (4WD/AWD)

Engine size




Torque (ft-lbs)


Engine type


Fuel capacity




Overall length






Leg room

F 43.3"/R 39.4"

Head room

F 40.2"/R 37.7"

Front tires


Rear tires


Seating capacity


Max towing capacity

150/1500 lbs.



2021 Subaru Forester FAQ

More about the 2021 Subaru Forester

Color options

Exterior 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

NHTSA Safety Ratings

The 2021 Subaru Forester received an overall 5/5 rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Find out more about this rating and how NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings program evaluates the crash protection and rollover safety of new vehicles.

Keep in mind that certain vehicles may have unrepaired safety recalls. Click here to look up a specific vehicle.

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