Changes, Improvements, Updates 

2017 Forester

Planet-exclusive 2017 Subaru Forester gallery.  Click to enlarge.


Looking at pre-owned?
Compare current Forester (2014 and up) with previous generation (2009 to 2013).


2017 Foresters are arriving at Planet Subaru now! 

Subaru introduced this generation of Forester in 2014.  The 2017 Forester represents the fourth model year in Subaru's five year product cycle.  Rather predictably, Subaru waits until this fourth year to offer a visual "facelift" and to update some mechanicals.  This fourth-year refresh is also humorously known as the BMC or "big minor change." 

Highlights of the changes:
  • New front fascia, taillights, and wheels;
  • Modest tweaks to the interior with more upscale trim pieces;
  • Quieter cabin thanks to thicker door glass and more soundproofing at engine firewall and wheel wells;
  • More natural shift sensation by adding subtle "steps" in the continuously variable transmission;
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Keep Assist, High Beam Assist, and Reverse Automatic Braking optional for the first time on Forester;
  • Improved, latest generation Eyesight with cameras that see farther and wider;
  • Revised steering ratios and suspension geometry for better handling.
  • Torque vectoring now standard on XT Touring with Eyesight model.


2017 Forester changes:

2017 Forester gets the
next generation of Subaru's award-winning driver assistance "Eyesight" system.
Known internally as Generation 3, it includes many enhancements, including smaller color cameras and radar technology.  This generation system was introduced on the 2015 Outback and Legacy.  Earlier Foresters rode with the second generation system. (The first generation was never offered in the United States). 

Eyesight cameras.

Also included on 2017 Forester Eyesight system are steering responsive headlights, lane keep assist, high beam assist, and reverse automatic braking.

More Driver Assist Technology

Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are standard on all 2017 Forester Limited and Touring models (with or without Eyesight package).  See them in action on an Outback. 

Radar unit, shown here on an Outback with the bumper cover removed. 

Blind Spot Detection (BSD) uses radar to locate other vehicles and then illuminates a light in your outside mirrors when a vehicle occupies your blind spot.  Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) uses radar to warn you when backing up in a parking lot that a vehicle is headed your way.

Standard Engine remains but fuel economy improves on 2017 Forester. 
City economy on automatic transmission models goes up 2mpg.  Highway remains the same but combined rating goes up 1mpg.  

170 hp standard engine:

Continuously variable
automatic transmission:

26 city, 32 highway

Six-speed manual:
22 city, 29 highway

250hp turbo engine:

23 city, 28 highway
automatic trans only

Subaru improved fuel economy on the 2017 Forester by revising the transmission.

Manual transmission continues to be available on the 2017 Forester. 

Subaru did away with a manual transmission option on the Outback in the United States with the 2015 model year, so the 2017 Forester is the largest Subaru with a handshake.

New Wheels. 

Black inserts look more upscale.

2017 XT wheel

The new wheels are more aerodynamic, helping with fuel economy. 

There are subtle interior changes on the 2017 Forester.
A heated steering wheel is be offered for the first time ever on a Subaru.    Fancy versions also see driver side power seat memory.


Still lots of cargo space.  Dog not included.  Meet our Greeter, Blue.


Overall cabin layout and size will remain the same, but trim pieces drive uptown in luxury territory.

Prices only increase a few hundred dollars. 
See 2017 Forester pricing.
2017 Forester 2.5i (base model)


Take a deep dive into the 2017 Forester:

For 2017, Forester received an update to Subaru's highly-rated EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology, incorporating color cameras that provide a wider, longer field of vision.  The revised system also includes Lane Keep Assist, which can gently guide the vehicle back to the center of its lane if sway is detected.  All Forester Limited and Touring models now include Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which warn of potential danger from a vehicle entering the driver's blind spot or approaching from either side when backing up. Premium models equipped with EyeSight also get Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
For added night time visibility, newly available High Beam Assist works in conjunction with the EyeSight driver assist system and automatically switches the headlights between the high and low settings based on driving conditions.  Also new for driver assistance at night is Steering Responsive Headlights which aims the headlight beams in the direction of vehicle travel to provide improved illumination around curves.  Both features are standard on all 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Touring and 2.0XT Touring models equipped with EyeSight. 
With a goal of "all-around safety," 2017 Limited and Touring models equipped with EyeSight include Reverse Automatic Braking.  This new preventative safety technology is designed to assist the driver by detecting large objects and to help avoid a possible collision when the vehicle is moving in a low speed reverse direction.  The system uses four ultrasonic sonar sensors located in the rear bumper cover, and can automatically stop the vehicle if the driver does not respond.
Refined Design  
The exterior of the 2017 Forester receives several updates including a refined front bumper cover for naturally aspirated models and a new hexagonal grille.  The redesigned headlights have a sleeker look with Subaru's signature C-shaped motif and a black inner bezel, while the rear combination lights also feature a prominent C shape with LED illumination. Combined, these new styling and lighting elements provide excellent forward visibility along with a more robust and distinctive look. To further enhance the style, a body color matching rear spoiler is now standard on all Premium models in addition to the previously equipped Limited, Touring and XT Premium models.  Exclusive to the 2017 Touring models is Sepia Bronze Metallic exterior color.
Inside, the revised Forester Touring offers an all-new Saddle Brown perforated leather-trimmed upholstery option with contrast stitching on Touring trim levels. This exclusive choice also brings matching brown leather trim to the door panels, center console storage box lid and other interior details. All 2017 Forester models now feature an updated steering wheel design with intuitive audio, Bluetooth® and cruise control switches.
Two new aluminum alloy wheel designs have been added to certain trims, each featuring a high-contrast black and machined finish. The new 17-in wheels are standard on 2.5i Premium and Limited models, while the new 18-in wheel design is standard on 2.0XT trims. 
Convenience and Comfort
The 2017 Forester offers new features and added soundproofing to provide a more comfortable experience for drivers and passengers. Thicker door glass and restructured door seals reduce wind noise, while added underfloor insulation and an acoustic windshield contribute further sound deadening to create a quieter, more refined interior. A heated steering wheel - a first for the Forester line -  is now standard on 2.5i Touring and 2.0XT Touring models, as well as Keyless Access with Push-Button Start. Additional convenience features such as two-position memory seats, auto up/down on both driver and front passenger windows, and automatic climate control are now standard across multiple trims, and a power liftgate is now offered on the 2.5i Premium model.
Performance and Handling
The 2017 Subaru Forester builds on the reputation for responsible engineering, sure-footedness and all-conditions performance firmly established by the previous-generation models. Revisions to the powertrain resulted in improved to fuel economy for 2.5i CVT models which now achieves EPA fuel economy rating of 26 MPG city / 32 MPG highway / 28 mpg combined versus 24 city / 32 highway / 27 combined for the outgoing model.
Active Torque Vectoring, first introduced on the WRX and WRX STI, is now standard on Forester 2.0XT Touring models with EyeSight. The fuel economy for the Forester 2.0XT remains at 23 city/ 28 highway / 25 combined. The system helps reduce understeer and keeps the vehicle on the driver's intended cornering path. A quicker gear ratio in the steering gives the new Forester better handling and response to driver inputs, while Subaru's X-Mode traction assist system is now standard on all Premium, Limited and Touring models with CVT and incorporates Hill Descent Control.
Standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with Off-Pavement Control Systems 
The 2017 Forester line offers two versions of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, each of which continuously powers all four wheels and can transfer more torque to the wheels with the best grip. Both versions integrate Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) to further enhance all-weather stability and traction but do not rely on VDC to distribute torque.
In Forester models with the Lineartronic® CVT, an electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch - proprietary Subaru technology -- actively manages torque distribution based on acceleration, deceleration, cornering and available traction. This Active All-Wheel Drive system automatically transfers more torque to the wheels with the best grip should slippage occur. Taking input signals for steering wheel angle, yaw rate, and lateral acceleration from the VDC system, Active AWD responds to the vehicle's slip angle when turning. The gear ratio in the CVT has be updated to optimize engine control resolving in a smoother, more linear acceleration. 
In all Forester Premium, Limited, and Touring models with CVT, driver-selectable X-Mode engages to optimize control of the engine, transmission shift pattern, Active AWD front/rear clutch force, brakes, VDC and other critical systems to provide better wheel control on slippery surfaces and steep inclines.
Models and Equipment
The 2017 Forester 2.5i is available in base, Premium, Limited and Touring trims and is powered by a 170-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder BOXER engine.  A 6-speed manual transmission is standard for the 2.5i and 2.5i Premium, with optional CVT. 
The Forester 2.0XT is available in the Premium and Touring trims and powered by a 250-hp 2.0-liter intercooled, turbocharged 4-cylinder BOXER engine. All 2017 Forester models come standard with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, a distinction from competitive models that come with front-wheel drive as standard and offer all-wheel drive as an extra-cost option.
Subaru has continued advancing the outstanding features of this model line with safety, comfort, durability and drivability as the top priorities.  The 2017 Forester will begin arriving at retailers in early July. 
STARLINK Multimedia Systems
All Forester trim lines for 2017 feature SUBARU STARLINK Multimedia systems that provide hands-free connectivity and entertainment services. The in-vehicle platform provides owners with more sources of entertainment and information through seamless smartphone integration. 
For 2017 The Forester 2.5i base model features the STARLINK 6.2" Multimedia system with a 6.2-inch single-touch gesture display and the Premium, Limited and Touring trims have a standard STARLINK 7.0" Multimedia Plus system with a high-resolution 7-inch LCD screen.  In addition, STARLINK 7.0" Multimedia includes Bluetooth® hands-free SMS text messaging and dual USB ports and adds SiriusXM Travel Link®. The optional STARLINK 7.0" Multimedia Navigation system features voice-activated controls and comes with three years of complimentary map updates as well as a 3-year subscription to SiriusXM Traffic® and SiriusXM Travel Link® along with four months of SiriusXM All Access audio service. 

2017 Forester Colors and Interiors


Subaru made big changes when it introduced the current Forester generation as a 2014 model.  Compare last generation to current generation.

Foresters through the years:

Slightly larger inside and out than the generation it replaces, Subaru literally cannot build enough to satisfy demand as their factories are running extra shifts.  Introducing a continuously variable transmission lifted fuel economy to 32 mpg from 27.  Other new features include the Eyesight driver assistance system, power tailgate, and X-Mode traction control.  It's our best-looking Forester ever, and outward visibility remains tops in the industry.  

2009 through 2013

Prior Foresters felt a little cramped, but sales took off with this larger Forester, bigger than its predecessor in every dimension. 
Subaru poured on the technology, with standard Vehicle Dynamics Control and six airbags.  Optional equipment included touchscreen navigation and Bluetooth.

2003 through 2008

Size remained the same, but Subaru modernized everything.  Side air bags became standard on every model, the interior moved upscale, ride quality improved, and appearance moved from utilitarian to stylish. 

1998 through 2002

Subaru created the Forester on the Impreza platform, installing a square body and bigger engine.  Along with the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V (both introduced in 1997), Subaru pioneered the "Small Crossover" segment.  It combined the  ride height, style, and versatility of a truck-based SUV without the poor fuel economy and sloppy handling.

Forester Links:
  • See current pricing and trim levels.
  • Visit our Forester Center with pics and links.
  • Watch Nate's Three Favorite Things about the Forester. 
  • Watch a Forester pulling out of a glacier.
  • See our humanely-treated free-range Foresters.
  • Peruse a fancy dynamic Forester Brochure. 
  • Read about how Forester is one of top ten cars for shorter drivers.
  • See Forester's number one outward visibility ranking.

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