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The Legend of the Subaru Forester


We personally know so many people who have a Subaru Forester. Have you ever talked to an owner and asked them about their Forester? Their eyes light up and they excitedly rush through the reasons why they love it. The truth is that this vehicle has an impressive history and incredible specs. Let’s take a second and talk about the legend of the Subaru Forester, explaining what makes it so great and getting into a little history about it.

Introducing the Forester

The Forester is a small SUV made by Subaru. It was one of the first-ever crossover SUVs, and it was definitely the first to make an impact on the world.

It was introduced in 1995 and hit the roads in 1997. Today, it’s the brand’s top-selling model. That’s been the case for a while, and it’s all thanks to the specs and pricing.

Specs and Pricing

The base model starts just under $25,000, and the Touring model adds another 10 grand to that sticker. If you focus on the base model, you’ll quickly fall in love.

It features AWD as standard, has a ton of tech upgrades, has massive cargo volume for its size, and has safety features that can’t be found at this price point. On top of that, it advertises a fuel efficiency value of up to 33 MPG.

Subaru didn’t design the Forester on the Nürburgring. You won’t find a jaw-dropping top speed, 0-60, or horsepower. What you get is an incredibly drivable machine that works in the real world.

Subaru Forester

What Makes the Forester So Special?

The key difference with a Forester is how versatile it is. There’s nothing like it on the market. You’ll find other manufacturers that can compete with the safety, drivability, or off-road ability, or price, but never everything at once.

Since its first release, this has been the case. Many brands are simply trying to catch the Forester and keep up with it, but there’s no hope of passing it. The Forester has cemented its name into the industry for a few reasons.

The Size

The size of the Forester is a little surprising. From the outside, it looks unassuming and boxy. Inside, everyone in the family can enjoy legroom and headroom.

It’s a small SUV, but that doesn’t mean that passengers in the back have to be contortionists. Even so, it can pass as a compact car in the right situations. The size is a beautiful balance of both sides.

The Power

This car wasn’t built for the track, as we mentioned earlier. With that said, it’s worth noting that you get a surprising amount of power.

This is especially true off-road. They have an X Mode that is their off-road driving solution. On top of that, AWD is a standard option. All of this is put onto a lightweight frame, making it even easier to glide over rough terrain.

Comfortable Ride

This car is the perfect example of a commuter’s vehicle. The ride couldn’t be more comfortable thanks to its active suspension and a finely-tuned performance package.

The driving position feels higher than you’d expect, giving you great visibility of the road around you. As we mentioned, the size also helps you feel more comfortable as you chug along.

Super Safe

When you see the Subaru badge, you can take a long sigh of relief. Their brand was built around the idea of keeping everyone in the car safe, no matter what.

You’ll find a ton of different safety features and added tech to keep you safe. Across the board, their safety ratings are always near perfect.

The newer Foresters have an EyeSight assistance system. This takes a look at the traffic around you, optimizes cruise control, and lets you know if you’re getting outside of your lane.

Incredible Quality

Above all, you’ll notice the substantial quality of these vehicles. It’s built in Japan in a factory that puts quality above everything else. In fact, there are a ton of ’98 Foresters still on the road today. This was their first batch of production Foresters, and they’re cruising along 14 years later like it’s nothing.

Subaru Forester

Why They’re So Popular in Tough Climates

All of the reasons above play into why you’ll see so many Foresters in tough climates. Where there’s “impassable terrain”, the Forester finds a way.

Its Cross-Country Tour

What happens if you want to visit your aunt in Florida but you have a lovely home in Alaska? Load some clothes into your Forester and take them to the roads, according to Gears and Gasoline.

For those of you following along at home, that’s a 10,000-mile journey. These guys set out in 2018 and finished their journey in one piece. They brought along spare parts for the journey and chronicled their trip in a three-part series right on their YouTube.

For a trip like this, there aren’t a lot of vehicles that can stand up to the non-stop pressures quite like a Forester can. It has off-roading capability, is lightweight, and has great fuel economy to keep them going.

We don’t want to spoil all the fun of their series, so we’d suggest you take a look at their videos and see for yourself, but it was really well done.


The Forester was the trailblazer for its class. Every single one should be sold with a big “beware of imitators” sticker on the side because that’s exactly what the world of crossovers has become. Everyone is trying to be a Forester, but only one brand can achieve it. The legend of the Subaru Forester is impressive, and there’s no wonder why it’s so popular.

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Ernest Martynyuk

An automotive enthusiast who's been tinkering with vehicles since I was 15-years old. Repairing automotive electronics has been my main job for over a decade now and have a passion for everything technical regarding cars.

4 thoughts on “The Legend of the Subaru Forester”

  1. You failed to mention how little room for passengers in the back seat ! Did this improve in the latest models ?
    And the nightmare headgasket issue !?
    I love my Suby but realize the reality of ownership. Still the feeling of safety while they are running !

    • Yes, they definitely improved the engines in the later models especially 2005 and up. The models that were most affected were primarily from 1999-2004 2.5L. If taken care of in time, it’s just another thing to watch out for. In terms of lack of room for the rear passengers, what year is yours?

    • Congrats on the purchase! The 2020 Subaru Forester has great headroom space, good cargo storage, and great gas mileage. It’ll serve you well.


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