The Subaru Forester debuted in the late 1990s as an option for consumers interested in the emerging segment of compact SUVs. Subaru, long known for offering its seamless all-wheel-drive (AWD) system on all its vehicles, brought out the Forester to compete against the small sport-utilities from other Japanese automakers. Essentially a tall station wagon with AWD, the Forester offered buyers the rugged style of a traditional SUV along with carlike ride and performance characteristics. Based on the rally-proven Impreza platform, the Forester uses the same AWD system found in other Subaru models.
Thanks to its car-based foundation, the Subaru Forester has historically handled better than the average SUV. The trade-off, at least with the first two generations of the car, was lower ground clearance and less off-road capability. However, those “negatives” were typically not concerns, as most buyers in this segment are looking for a vehicle that can handle inclement driving conditions, ski vacations and the occasional trip to the trailhead as opposed to hard-core off-road boulder-bashing.
A new Forester has recently debuted. It’s roomier, less wagonlike and boasts a more upscale interior. New or used, the Forester offers buyers the strengths of easy maneuverability, sure-footed handling in slippery weather, solid build quality and different styling from the rest of the pack.