The Subaru Forester two-row SUV has been a leader in its segment more than 22-years for good reason – it delivers.
The fifth generation 2019 Subaru Forester – on the all-new larger Subaru Global Platform – is more robust in every way – offering more space, features and capability in the highly competitive compact segment and now, delivers more.
Recently, Subaru sent us a brand-new Forester Sport for drive test. The Forester Sport is a new trim level – in the middle of the lineup – with distinctive exterior and interior features that will get your attention as it did ours.
Our 2019 Subaru Forester Sport (MSRP $28,795) came in a glimmering Crystal Black Mica with gloss black trims and discrete metallic Orange accents. Running on 18-inch Gloss Black alloy wheels clad with Falken Ziex ZE001 R/S tires, the new Forester Sport is both a looker and a performer – plus it is affordable.
Fully equipped with a single package plus a couple of extras, the delivered price for our test Forester Sport was just $31,815.
Forester for 2019 maintains its iconic rugged profile with prominent shoulders, wheel arches and signature protective under cladding elements front, side and rear.
Unique to the Forester Sport are a distinctive Front Grille w/Gloss Black frame, LED Fog Lights w/Gloss Black trim, foldable heated side mirrors w/integrated Turn Signals and Welcome Lighting, bodycolor Rear Roof Spoiler with Black end panels, Black Roof Rails with Orange mounts and the under guards in Black with Orange accent front, rear and sides.
Other new elements include LED headlights (both low and high beams) with auto On/Off and High Beam Assist, Windshield Wiper Deicer, Panoramic Power Moonroof and a wider Power Tailgate with a LED flood light built in for nighttime loading/unloading.
Inside, the 2019 Forester with small profile outside, is roomier in every way, including seating front and rear and cargo space.
Our Forester Sport’s premium-like interior was in a unique Dark Gray/Gray fabric with Orange stitching and accents to match the exterior.
Notable was the artful blending of material types and surfaces throughout the cabin.
The cabin offers automatic climate control with filtration and rear seat HVAC ducts. We loved how quick and effective the AC was – given the dark vehicle exterior and interior – in the summer heat of Central Texas.
The driver seat is 10-way power with all seating providing generous head, shoulder and legroom. In particular added legroom in the rear seats. Front seating is heated and rear seating is 60/40 split fold down with a recline feature.
Subaru has fitted the new Sport with a new 2.5L Boxer engine that that produces 182 horsepower with 176 lb.-ft. of torque. The CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) in Sport features a 7-speed manual mode with paddle shift switches. The powertrain combination delivers responsive performance for Forester. We found our Forester Sport quick to accelerate from stop – as well as at speed – with the transmission quickly and smoothly finding the right ratio for the speed and rpms in every condition.
Sport is also equipped with their SI-Drive Engine Performance Management system with INTELLIGENT, and SPORT SHARP settings. Intelligent adjusts throttle response to favor fuel efficiency over performance. When in Sport Sharp, the adjustments favor performance over fuel economy.
The Intelligent mode is more than adequate for daily driving by most folks. The Sport Sharp mode gave our Forester Sport ‘punch’ that we preferred both around town and on the highway.
And, of course, the new Sport comes with Subaru’s legendary Symmetrical full-time All-wheel Drive with Torque Vectoring.
Sport also features a new Dual X-Mode with Hill Descent Control that offers driver selectable terrain options Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud for additional capability.
Fuel economy ratings for the Forester Sport are 26/33 mpg city/highway and 29 combined. With this driver favoring Sport Sharp, we still averaged about 30 mpg on one longer road trip to Columbus Texas and back.
Rough Terrain Protection Option
Forester has long been known for getting easily into the outback. With its Boxer Powertrain and AWD with Torque Vectoring, 8.7-inch ground clearance plus Angle of Approach/Departure and Ramp Breakover Angles of 22.9/24.6 and 19.6 degrees respectively – a Forester can comfortably handle most challenging terrain.
But, just in case you want some added protection from more challenging terrain like rocks – Subaru has a solution. They offer an available Differential Guard ($99.95) and Engine Guard (Aluminum $199.95 or steel $129.95) that can be installed after purchase.
Multi-media and Technology
Subaru Sport offer plenty of convenient technology including the Subaru Starlink 8.0-inch Multimedia Plus system and Harman/Kardon 576-watt 9-speaker Premium Audio in the optional package.
The Multimedia Plus featured a high-resolution touchscreen, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Aha, Pandora and Starlink Cloud Apps. Also included were Bluetooth connectivity and streaming, single disc CD, AM/FM and HD Radio plus SiriusXM All Access Radio and Travel Link.
Other technology elements included WI-FI Hotspot, 12-volt power outlets in dash, console and cargo area and multiple USB charging and connectivity ports.
Subaru offers an optional Starlink Entertainment Anywhere Kit that includes two 9.7-inch iPad 32GB WI-FI tablets, Harman/Kardon Bluetooth Headphones and OtterBox Defender Series iPad cases..
Using the in-vehicle WI-FI hotspot or a hotspot anywhere, the kit enables multiple user connectivity activity wherever their travels take them. Price – $970 through the dealer.
Our 2019 Subaru Forester Sport came standard with the Subaru Eyesight Driver Assist Technology suite of safety elements plus Tire Pressure Monitoring by individual tire, Rear Vision Camera and (with the package) Blind Spot Detection with Rear-Cross Traffic Alert and Reverse Automatic Braking.
We noted a couple of features in particular. The new LED single projector steering responsive headlamps (with High Beam Assist) delivered sharp bright lighting at night on the dark roads of Central Texas at night.
Blind Spot Detection warning signal lights on the side mirror unites were located on the side of housing (instead of the mirror edge) for better visibility.
They glowed bright orange when a vehicle was alongside and – if you turned your signal on – blinked rapidly to further alert you.
2019 Subaru Forester Lineup
There are five Forester trim levels for 2019. They are: Base, Premium, Sport, Limited and Touring. Prices (MSRP) range from $24,295 to $34,295. All are equipped with the 2.5L Boxer engine and the Subaru Symmetrical AWD system.
- Make – Subaru
- Model – Forester
- Trim – Sport
- Class – Small SUV
- MSRP – $28,795
- As Tested – $31,815
- Engine – 4-liter Boxer Direct Injection 4-Cylinder
- Horsepower – 182 @ 5,800 rpm
- Torque – 176 lb.-ft. @ 4,400 rpm
- Transmission – Lineartronic CVT
- Fuel Economy – 26/33 mpg and 29 Combined
- Drive Train – Symmetrical AWD