The 2021 Subaru Forester remains a sterling choice among compact crossovers. The new Forester is essentially unchanged, but it now comes with more standard features, albeit at higher base prices this time around.
I have to admit; the Forester name commands respect. It was one of the first “crossover” vehicles available. It literally shook the market and became one of the frontrunners in the CUV category, and it’s not hard to figure out why. The first-gen Forester was known for having usable interior space, a comfortable ride, a proven all-wheel drive platform, and a raucous Boxer engine.
Somehow, the 2021 Subaru Forester is more of the same, and it still delivers the goods.
2021 Subaru Forester: What’s New
The base Forester is well-equipped from the start, but the 2021 model adds more. Standard on every trim is steering-responsive LED headlights (magnificent!), high beam assist, and a rear seat belt reminder. Although the 2021 Forester is officially a compact SUV, it can still tow up to 1,500 lbs. It even comes with standard trailer stability assist to keep it nice and tidy when lugging heavy loads.
All trim models come standard with Subaru EyeSight technology. The package includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision throttle management, pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway warning, and lead vehicle start alert.
2021 Subaru Forester: Trim Levels
Even though the 2021 Forester is available in five trim levels, only one engine is available. I’m talking about the 2.5-liter Boxer unit with direct injection. Like most Subaru fanatics, I’m still pining for a proper Forester STI with a turbocharged Boxer engine in World Rally Blue paint and gold alloy wheels, but the 2.5-liter Boxer offers sufficient grunt with 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft. of torque. A Lineartronic CVT automatic and symmetrical all-wheel drive keeps all four wheels in the right direction.
The base model has dual USB ports, remote keyless entry, and a decent multi-function display for $25,845 (price includes the $1,050 delivery charge). You also get a 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and SiriusXM. Not bad considering you get symmetrical all-wheel-drive standard and plenty of room for the family.
For the money, we prefer the 2021 Subaru Forester Premium. It starts at $28,845 and includes 17-inch black alloy wheels, fog lights, roof rails, privacy glass, and a cool panoramic moonroof. At this trim level, Subaru throws in the All-Weather Package, which comes with thoughtful features like heated exterior mirrors, heated front seats, and a windshield wiper de-icer.
The Forester Premium also has an X-Mode feature with hill descent control to conquer the rough stuff. Inside, the cabin has a leather tiller, a high-grade combination meter with color LCD, and a mild sprinkling of chrome accents to seal the deal.
Starting at $30,445, the 2021 Forester Sport includes 18-inch alloy wheels, gloss black exterior trim, a black rear spoiler, and orange accents including orange stitching for the seats. The Sport also comes with Dual X-Mode to offer more traction when needed. Subaru has a special option package, which includes a Harman Kardon premium audio system, an eight-inch infotainment system with Subaru Starlink, and a power rear gate for an additional $1,645.
The 2021 Forester Limited starts at $32,445. It has 18-inch black machined alloy wheels, body-color side mirrors, chrome exterior accents, and a seven-speed manual mode for the standard Lineartronic CVT. Also standard is an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, perforated leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control with voice controls, and a power rear gate. The Limited also receives standard blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane changing assist.
Highest up the trim ladder is the 2021 Forester Touring. With base prices starting at $35,945, the Touring comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED fog lights, chrome exterior trim, perforated leather upholstery in Black or Saddle Brown, and a 10-way power driver’s seat.
2021 Subaru Forester Availability
The 2021 Subaru Forester won’t be too far behind the 2021 Crosstrek when it arrives at dealerships in October. If you need something larger than the Forester or Crosstrek, but still want to stay with a Subaru, we recommend the new Ascent. We also have a detailed guide on the Subaru factory warranty to help you when you are shopping.
Alvin Reyes is the Associate Editor of Automoblog. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.