2025 Subaru Forester reveal: Less drab, but very familiar

2025 Subaru Forester reveal: Less drab, but very familiar

The redesigned 2025 Subaru Forester has received a major cosmetic makeover and a wide range of interior changes. It’s not really “all new,” but it certainly has a cleaner look than its previous incarnation. Alex Kwanten

Subaru is evolving slowly. Very slowly, it is sometimes difficult, at a glance, to distinguish one generation Outback or Impreza from the last. That won’t be the case with the 2025 Subaru Forester, which was revealed ahead of the 2023 Los Angeles Auto Show, but Forester fans will find the recipe very familiar. The 2025 redesign will offer plenty of small upgrades and a new, less bland casing, but the best is yet to come. At the unveiling stand, Atsushi Osaki, Subaru’s global CEO, revealed that the Forester hybrid will arrive in 2026.

The hybrid, Subaru’s first of its kind, answers a major void in the Forester lineup, as consumers often compare the crossover to rivals with hybrid options like the Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Tucson. The model is part of Subaru’s global electrification strategy, which Osaki says will include four battery-electric vehicles (like Subaru’s current Solterra) by 2026 and four more by 2028, which will fit in with most of the automaker’s current lineup.

Meanwhile, the big improvements for 2025 are new styling, an updated interior, and several tech upgrades. No doubt the ads will say ‘all new’, but under the skin the redesigned Forester is mostly an evolution of the outgoing model. It will ride the same platform as before and use the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which is shared with a few other models in the lineup. This will be the only engine until the hybrid arrives. Subaru hasn’t offered a Wilderness Edition, but one should arrive within a few months.

Subaru Forester 2025: What’s new?

The Forester’s new look is the single biggest change. Although it’s not an entirely new car, the styling, which is slightly influenced by Ford and Nissan designs, is much cleaner. This model is still tepid compared to vehicles like the Tucson, but it looks more interesting, with head and taillight arrangements that blend more cleanly into the body and black fender flares that mimic those of the WRX. It’s not bold, but it’s handsome and clearly telegraphs the name “Subaru” from a distance. There are also new 17-, 18- and 19-inch wheel designs.

Underneath, Subaru says the frame and body have been strengthened by 10% by creating more welds and using more synthetic adhesives. There will also be more soundproofing materials. Subaru says this will reduce cabin noise by up to 39%, and the changes will also give a more controlled ride and slightly sharper handling. The crossover will also get the WRX’s electronic dual-pinion power steering, another feature that will likely improve the Forester’s sometimes stodgy feel on twisty roads.

Inside, there are new heated and ventilated front seats in the top Touring trim. Speaking of cooling, the climate control system is designed to focus on occupied seats rather than the car’s blind heating or cooling zones. These front seats are also slimmer, improving access to the already spacious back seat.

2025 Subaru Forester
The 2025 Forester’s cabin doesn’t look all that different from the ’24, but the huge 11.6-inch screen previously seen in some other Subaru cars is now standard on all but the base model, and the front seats have been redesigned. Subaru

Design-wise, the cabin is a close evolution of what came before, but is dominated by the 11.6-inch Starlink display found in other Subaru models. The base Forester will still use a strange arrangement of two 7.0-inch screens, a layout seen in some other base Subarus models like the Legacy, but other versions will get the big screen and its own optional navigation system.

Luggage space hasn’t really changed, but there’s now a sensor under the bumper that can activate the optional power liftgate. Roof rails, a feature often used by Forester fans for a variety of outdoor equipment, now come in low-profile or high-profile shapes.

On the active safety front, an area where Forester has long been a market leader, there’s a new emergency stop assist feature. If the driver becomes unresponsive, they can work with other features in Subaru’s Eyesight safety suite, including lane keeping and automatic braking systems, to pull the vehicle to a safe stop and contact emergency services. Many other EyeSight systems are the same, but they are still very useful, and often market-leading, security systems.

Not very new? Under the hood, the Forester’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine continues to operate, although it loses two horsepower. For 2025 it will make 180 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. Subaru says it has toned down the car a bit overall, so there’s little chance drivers will notice any real difference in speed. The continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which is Subaru’s standard on nearly all of its vehicles, also continues unchanged.

Subaru Forester 2025: when and how much?

Subaru didn’t reveal pricing at the show, but it displayed a nice lineup. Like the engine, it’s also very familiar. The base Forester will remain complete with its exotic displays, and above that will be Premium, Sport, Limited and Touring, with each model’s equipment levels remaining roughly the same, although some models will get some new features (such as Touring heating and ventilated seats).

Since this isn’t a fundamental reinvention of the car, it seems fair to predict that the price increases won’t be huge, but they will cost more than the 2023 or 2024 models you can find on sale now. Expect a starting price around $30,000, including destination fees, and ranges from about $40,000 for the Limited. The hybrid, when it arrives in 2026, is sure to add a premium over non-hybrid models. The upcoming Wilderness model will likely be around the same price as the Limited model.

We expect 2025 Subaru Foresters to start arriving in dealerships sometime this next spring, and for the Wilderness to be announced by the second quarter of 2024.

2025 Subaru Forester
The Forester’s new look echoes some of the details seen in Ford and Nissan designs, but it’s clearly a Subaru. Styling isn’t always a primary consideration for Subaru buyers, but an improved appearance won’t hurt. Alex Kwanten

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