Regardless of trim, the 2020 Subaru Forester is well-equipped and an exceptional value among compact crossovers.
Like last year, the 2020 Forester is available in base, Premium, Sport, Limited, and Touring trim levels. It costs $25,505 to start, including destination, for a 2020 Forester base version with an automatic transmission. The top 2020 Forester Touring costs $35,605.
Every Forester gets a suite of active safety features (that we cover above), automatic climate control, a split-folding rear seat, 17-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen for infotainment including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, and at least one USB port.
We give the Forester one point above average for its good base equipment and another for its value across the range. It’s a 7 for features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The 2020 Forester Premium is our recommended version thanks to a few comforts that make a big difference. The Forester Premium adds to the base version heated front seats, alloy wheels, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a panoramic moonroof, and an off-road drive mode. The Forester Premium costs $28,405, including destination. Two packages can add blind-spot monitors and keyless ignition ($795) or a power liftgate, blind-spot monitors, and keyless ignition ($1,395). The 2019 Forester Premium was our Best Car To Buy 2019.
At the top, the Forester Touring costs $35,605 and includes leather upholstery, paddle shifters, power-adjustable front seats that are heated and cooled, a driver-attention monitor and recognition system, 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, Harmon Kardon premium audio, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and 18-inch alloy wheels. It adds another level of safety with rear cross-traffic braking.
Subaru’s infotainment system in the Forester, called StarLink, blends together the automaker’s software and telematics systems together.
The base screen is 6.5 inches, measured diagonally, and supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone software. It’s a good-sized screen, but narrowly misses a point on our features scale because many other competitors have bumped up to larger screens—even on base-model cars.
The standard touchscreen pinches and swipes relatively well, although we’ve noticed some lag in the software. The StarLink apps and icons are big and bright, and the screen resists washing out in direct sunlight.
Touring versions add native navigation, but that’s not the reason to consider that trim level. In most cases, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are better for navigation and include more reliable maps (provided you have a reliable cellphone data signal).
Other Subarus on dealer lots can be equipped with a large, tablet-style touchscreen (Legacy and Outback, for now) but bigger isn’t always better—those systems can be laggy and hard to use.
Review continues below