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A red 2021 Subaru Forester is driving on a tree-lined road with bikes on the roof.

Is The 2021 Subaru Forester A Good Car? Here’s The Consensus

Before anyone buys a car – or even before they even start shopping for one – one car catches their eye, whether it be from a television commercial, online ad, or recommendation. This usually has them wondering: Is it a good car? Does it get good mileage? Is it reliable? How safe is it? Does it perform well? How often does it need to be repaired? There’s a litany of questions that trickle out of the initial thought process, and with good reason. No one wants to buy a lemon. So maybe you’ve been eyeing the 2021 Subaru Forester, maybe you’ve found yourself asking if the Subaru Forester is a good car? Well, according to the general consensus, yes, it is.

We’ll break down some of the new features for the 2021 model year of the crossover SUV and explain what makes it a good car as well as the areas where some critics found it lacking. You’ll be able to decide for yourself if this is the sort of vehicle that fits your standards.

New Features For 2021 Subaru Forester

What are some of the new features of the 2021 Subaru Forester? Well, they include a lot of minor upgrades and updates to some convenience and safety features, keeping in line with Subaru’s aim to make the compact crossover SUV a lot more family-friendly and secure for the road.

The first thing you might notice is that the 2021 Forester carries a starting MSRP of $24,795, a slight hike in price compared to the 2020 Subaru Forester’s MSRP of $24,495. The $300 difference could be explained away with the inclusion of the new steering-responsive LED headlights that turn with the vehicle as part of the base trim instead of being reserved for the upper-tier trims.

Automatic high beam assistance is now standard, too, along with rear passenger seat belt reminders. The Sport trim makes a few other safety features standard, such as rear cross-traffic alert and detection of motor vehicles in blind-spots. The Subaru Premium trim also comes standard with a keyless start instead of it being optional.

Many of the other features of the 2021 Subaru Forester are carryovers from the original fifth generation run of the crossover, which include all the basic infotainment and connectivity fixtures. This includes the five main trims, which are the base Forester, the Premium, the Sport, Limited, and Touring.

A black 2021 Subaru Forester is driving past mountains at sunset.

What’s Missing From The 2021 Subaru Forester?

Some of the new and standard features may seem impressive to those eyeing a 2021 Subaru Forester, especially since the latest model year still sports some worthwhile fifth generation updates.These include Subaru’s DriverFocus distraction mitigation system that alerts drivers if it detects they’re no longer keeping focused on the road, or their trademarked EyeSight driver assistance technology, which monitors road conditions and nearby traffic to automatically help drivers in maintaining safe distances by automatically applying the brakes, optimizing cruise control, and minimizing lane-sway.

However, even with the fifth-gen additions of start/stop technology and an enhanced X-Mode, the 2021 Subaru Forester is missing one of its more prized options from the previous generation: the turbocharged 250 hp engine. All fifth generation models now have the same engine – a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 182 hp and has a towing capacity of 1,500 lbs. But the 2021 Forester of course continues to come standard with Subaru’s trademark all-wheel drive system.

Is The 2021 Subaru Forester A Good Car?

The consensus is that the 2021 Subaru Forester is a generally good car, even though not much has changed since the 2020 model or the 2019 model. The Subaru Forester is staying in this generation for its 2021 outing, maintaining much of what made the last couple of years of the fifth generation notable. However, the continued absence of a turbocharged powertrain has left some disappointed in Subaru’s decision to cut the more powerful option.

The Forester’s impressive fuel economy of 26 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway, and its top rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, make for a safe and affordable driving option. Subaru has further refined the standard safety features, including lane departure alerts and prevention, adaptive cruise control, and rear automatic braking. There’s a recurring theme among most reviewers and enthusiasts that continually note that the Forester is a very safe vehicle. Its evolution from a reliable wagon into a crossover SUV has also seen an evolution in keeping its drivers and passengers safe at all costs.

Still, some are holding out on buying the 2021 Forester, preferring to wait for the release of the 2022 model instead. Why? Because many hope that the turbocharged edition will make a return among the higher-end trims, along with improved variable torque distribution and drive modes.

Comfort, Safety, and Infotainment

The brown interior is shown in a 2021 Subaru Forester.

One thing to keep in mind is that while the critical consensus and analytical feedback regarding the 2021 Subaru Forester are somewhat disparaging regarding the lack of the turbocharged option for the latest outing, none of that really detracts from the qualities of the vehicle in itself. Most everyone still agrees that the Forester maintains a standard quality of luxury when it comes to infotainment, comfort, and convenience. You still have access to a 6.5-inch touchscreen control panel in the middle of the dashboard console, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity for your smart devices, as well as MP3 and Bluetooth support thanks to the built-in Subaru Starlink multimedia system.

The 2021 Forester has been noted to contain plenty of head, leg, and shoulder room for both the driver and passengers. The vehicle also comes with 73.1 cubic inches of total cargo space and 111.9 cubic feet of passenger volume, so comfort and storage is not an issue for the crossover. The X-Mode features return, being standard with the Premium trim of the Forester, while the dual-function X-Mode is standard on the Sport, Limited, and Touring editions. It enables drivers easy access to modify the Forester’s ability to apply wheel-specific traction control through the symmetrical all-wheel drive system for handling hills, slippery conditions, wet roads, and muddy surfaces.

Reliability vs Expectations

The 2021 model doesn’t make any drastic changes compared to recent previous year models, especially the 2019 and 2020 models. A few more safety features are now standard on all trims, while some slight rearrangement of options have taken place. So far, the lack of a beefier powertrain has more outdoor, off-road, and power-hungry drivers feeling as if their crossover SUV palate is left wanting. Even though some are disappointed with the lack of any drastic updates to the newest Forester, it’s only because of the standard of quality that Subaru set for themselves in the past.

Further to the point, the positive feedback on the vehicle’s reliability, comfort, driving, and safety shows that Subaru is still putting the important aspects of the Forester front and center above everything else. It’s true that the turbocharged 2.0-liter hasn’t been made available since the 2019 model refresh, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Forester is still a reliable vehicle. That is why the consensus is that the 2021 Subaru Forester is a good car.