The original Subaru Legacy Outback helped transform the little Japanese automaker’s image, particularly in snowbelt country. But, as its first SUV, the Forester took things to the next level — and has remained one of the brand’s bestsellers since 1997.
The sixth-generation 2025 Subaru Forester is making its debut at the LA Auto Show this week. The automaker is betting that it could gain even more momentum, even in an increasingly competitive market for compact crossovers.
The 2025 makeover brings a new look inside and out, new safety, comfort and convenience, technology, and modest powertrain improvements. Perhaps the biggest news, however, is the fact that Subaru is teasing the upcoming addition of Forester’s first hybrid drivetrain.
What Subaru Isn’t Saying
What Subaru isn’t talking about, yet, is where it plans to go with the next-gen version of the Forester Wilderness. I was told by a Subaru representative that the most serious off-road trim package currently accounts for about a fifth of all Forester sales in the U.S.
For now, Subaru is focusing on the most mainstream version of the 2025 Forester. More soon on the more adventurous versions, we hope.
Forester’s New Look
What we do know is that the crossover gets what Subaru refers to as “an all-new, sleek, contemporary design.” The new look won’t shock those already familiar with the Forester. As earlier leaks and teaser images suggested, the automaker has updated virtually all of the 2025 model’s sheet metal.
A more upright and aggressive grille now blends into Forester’s updated LED headlights. New shoulder lines are meant to emphasize Forester’s overall dimensions. There are a number of aerodynamic improvements, as well, including air curtains that help channel air through the front wheel wells to reduce lift, improve stability, and enhance fuel efficiency.
Ground clearance comes in at 8.7 inches for mainstream versions of the 2025 Subaru Forester. We can expect at least another inch from the next-gen Wilderness, based on the current line.
Depending upon the trim, the 2025 Forester is offered with 17-, 18-, or 19-inch wheels and tires.
Forester: Redesigned Cabin
The interior also gets a new look, with more soft-touch materials, a dark headliner, and larger glass to improve visibility. Dark-tint privacy glass is standard for the rear windows.
Forester features 60:40 split-folding rear seats, and Subaru claims there’s 74.4 cubic feet of storage space with both seats down.
For those who need more cargo-carrying capacity, the crossover comes with standard roof rails. It can also tow up to 1,500 pounds.
The instrument panel has been updated to better integrate Subaru’s multimedia system. Base models come with twin 7.0-inch high-resolution touchscreens, the upper display handling audio settings, a rear vision camera, and other functions. The lower one is dedicated to climate control operations. An 11.6-inch upper display is optional and adds wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as navigation.
Subaru’s latest version of its EyeSight advanced driver assistance system comes standard in the 2025 Forester. It features a number of different smart safety technologies, including forward collision warning with pedestrian and cyclist detection.
Additional functions like blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert are available. Other options include a Surround View Monitor.
The DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System is standard and will alert a motorist who might be growing drowsy, or who might take their eyes off the road for more than a few seconds. It also incorporates a gesture-control system that allows the driver to raise or lower the vehicle’s cabin temperature with a wave of the hand.
2025 Forester: Powertrain Options
All versions of the 2025 Subaru Forester come with a 2.5L boxer engine making 180 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. Power is directed through a CVT gearbox to all four wheels using the automaker’s familiar Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system.
“Forester Premium comes standard with driver-selectable X-MODE with Hill Descent Control, which maximizes wheel control on slippery surfaces and steep inclines,” Subaru noted ahead of the 2025 crossover’s debut. “Forester Sport and higher trim levels upgrade to dual-function X-MODE for increased capability in a wider range of adverse conditions.”
All versions come with active torque vectoring to push torque where needed, especially in tight corners.
No information has been released about launch times or performance.
There had been some expectations that the automaker might expand the powertrain lineup for the new crossover, but we just get the one powertrain option at launch. I learned from Subaru sources that a hybrid will be added to the lineup in the next couple of years, however.
2025 Subaru Forester: Pricing & Availability
Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, and Touring trims will be first out of the box. They are expected to reach U.S. showrooms by the spring of 2024.
Pricing for the 2025 Subaru Forester has yet to be released. The current crossover starts at $27,080, including delivery fees.