2019 Subaru Forester Driving Impressions

A revised foundation gives the 2019 Forester a smoother, quiet, more composed ride than its predecessor. Handling remains lively and precise, with quick steering responses.

Comparatively light in weight for an all-wheel-drive compact, the Forester accelerates adequately, though it’s not quite spirited. Subaru’s CVT is tuned to provide brisk responses in urban driving. Performance is helped by the well-behaved transmission.

Only when passing or climbing upgrades does power feel a bit shy. Engine noise isn’t absent, but the CVT strives to keep engine revs down while accelerating.

An Impressively-isolated feel makes the Forester a welcome companion even after the pavement ends. Subaru’s torque-vectoring system acts upon the inside wheel’s brakes in hard cornering, for a more nimble feel. A soft suspension and relatively tall tire sidewalls translate to more body lean in corners than Mazda’s CX-5, but a more compliant ride. The Forester can absorb deteriorated pavement with considerably greater composure. Cruising on the highway, it’s impressively stable and quiet.

With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and selectable traction-control modes, the Forester beats most competitors in off-road capabilities.

By crossover SUV standards, Forester is fuel-thrifty. It’s EPA-rated at 26/33 mpg City/Highway, or 29 mpg Combined. Under certain conditions, the standard, mostly unobtrusive stop/start system can cut the engine when idling.

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