Ace of Base: 2019 Subaru Forester

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2019 subaru forester

Until this model year, the Subaru Forester was a homely-looking beast, eminently practical but always looking like that kid in grade school whose slacks were too short. With its narrow body and tip-toe stance, the old Forester had the appearance of its pants cuffs stopping well above its ankles.

Subaru has fixed this for 2019, creating a crossover that doesn’t appear as if it’s about to get stuffed into a locker. The price has been kept at bay, too.

Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat: it does hurt this quirky car-loving author that the Pleiades binned their turbocharged XT trim and manual transmission with this new model. Sure, there’s a chance for boost under the new Forester’s hood sometime in the future, but I do believe the stick shift is gone for good.

Nevertheless, Subaru’s effort in the cogless transmission arena is the lesser of all CVT evils, a unit that’s better than most others in the marketplace that drone on like a soon-to-be-retired high school civics teacher. The box is lashed to a 2.5-liter boxer four making 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. While this will not set the world on fire, it’s more than enough power to allow the Forester to get out of its own way. The 30-plus mpg highway mileage is a bonus.

As it’s a Subaru, all-wheel drive is standard in its $24,295 price, one of the cheaper ways for buyers who want a car with power going to all four corners. A big plus in my book is the inclusion of Subaru’s EyeSight safety technology as standard equipment on this base model. Packing adaptive cruise, pre-collision braking, and lane keeping, the brains and eyes of the system are tucked inside the car behind the rearview mirror. This reduces the chance of having to repair costly gear in a minor fender bender compared to cars which have these cameras and sensors on their snout.

It is not a barren wasteland or penalty box inside the 2019 Forester, given its level of standard kit. Automatic air conditioning, tilt/telescope wheel, a brace of USB ports, and sturdy cloth seats that will likely outlive the car itself are all part of the deal. A generous 35.4 cubes of storage await behind the rear seat, 76 cu.ft with it folded down. For comparison, the Mazda CX-9 (even though it’s a class larger) holds 14 cu.ft behind its third row, 38 behind its middle chairs, and 71 with everything folded down.

Despite its relatively low overall height compared to monster SUVs like the Suburban, the Forester has 8.7 inches of ground clearance, ensuring Fun Times(TM) when the snow flies. In fact, the Forester outstrips the Suburban’s ground clearance by nearly an inch. Remarkable undercar packaging is responsible for this feat.

Speaking of ground clearance, check out the type of rig Forester owners can build after a visit to LP Adventure up in Quebec. They’re already cranking out product for the 2019 Forester, and I confess to being utterly besotted by this black and red example shown here.

Take the money saved by selecting the base model and go buy some tall, knobby tires for your new Forester. Sure, its cuffs might still be above its ankles, but at least it has a cool pair of boots.

[Images: Subaru, LP Adventure]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

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2 of 42 comments
  • Redapple Redapple on Nov 08, 2018

    My 18 Forester has Yokohama Geolandar tires from the factory. These are highly rated dual purpose tires.

  • Rengaw Rengaw on Apr 26, 2019

    Subaru’s are as thick as flies on watermelon where I live on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. For good reason. We have rough roads, both paved and unpaved going back into the mountains. The Forester enthusiasts don’t hesitate in turning on to these bad roads for an entertaining ride. The Subaru suspensions do shine at taking much of the roughness out of your drive. It isn’t just a cult club, they are purposeful.

  • Cprescott The pandemic changed the sales game. No longer do dealerships need inventory. After two years people are accustomed to having to order what they want and then extorted on the price by the dealer for that privilege. Now used cars with 75k are selling for $5k more than I paid for my 21k, 2016 model back in January 2019. I pray my car won't get totaled and I have but 13 payments left to make on it. I may never buy another car again.
  • Grein002 I hope you meant "take the Ranger out behind the *barn*" rather than "bar". I think something completely different happens "behind the bar".
  • Cprescott Suddenly there is no reason to buy ugly anymore. The Silverdodo is dead. Long live the less hideous Colorado.
  • Cprescott Portable BBQ's for everyone!
  • Lou_BC The 2023 ZR2 is burdened with GM's 8 speed. It's been allegedly "fixed" so it doesn't gear hunt and shudder. I still won't trust it. The turbo 4 cylinder should address the lack of torque found in the V6. I test drove a full-sized Trail Boss. I could make it gear hunt. The turbo 4 didn't seem to be lacking in power, at least for an empty crewcab with a 6.5 box. It lacked anything resembling character. It had next to zero compression braking even with tow/haul engaged. Chevy should have continued offering the VM Motori based inline 4 diesel that's in the older Colorado trucks. I do like the fact that the 2023 comes with 33's standard and IIRC the wheel hubs/axles etc. have been beefed up to handle the larger rubber. The bolt pattern (IIRC) is shared with fullsized 1/2 tons opening up one's choice for aftermarket wheels.