2022 Subaru Forester Premier – Utilitarian Choice

2022 Subaru Forester is one of the first options that come to mind if you need a versatile compact crossover.

It’s not easy to find the right crossover, when you have so many choices. There is a reason why Subaru Forester is still one of the best selling compact crossovers in North America, as it offers one of the most well-rounded package and great value.

Subaru recently updated the Forester, which is their top selling model by a small margin in 2021. Though there aren’t any drastic changes, Subaru fine tuned the platform to make it more competitive. Let’s go through those details:

Exterior and Interior

The biggest update is the new headlight design that make the Forester look more modern and dynamic, but overall it is a mild refresh in terms of an exterior design. You still get corporate Subaru design, with a big grille, sharp lines and industrial look.

2022 Subaru Forester looks modern with the new headlight design

Though the body lines are the same for all trims, Premier trim offers more chrome pieces in the front bumper, side mirrors, door handles, and side skirts for more premium look, and have to admit it looks pretty good with extra chrome pieces and 18″ wheels.


The rear design is mainly unchanged, Subaru decided to keep the controversial taillight design. You still get the fundamental features such as big wide trunk opening, large windows all around the car which also means great visibility.

The rear design isn’t changed that much

Overall, exterior design isn’t changed much, and the Forester may not win any beauty contest, but it is definitely a utilitarian design focused on families and people looking for practicality. You would see same utilitarian design in the interior as well.

Like the rear design, the dashboard looks exactly the same

2022 Subaru Forester’s interior isn’t changed at all, and there is no reason to re-invent the wheel as everything just works perfectly fine for a family oriented crossover. Material choice is great, except the amount of piano black plastics and their placement is just not a good choice.

Leather seats are exceptionally comfortable for long trips

The seat comfort is excellent with good adjustability, I just wish there was 4-way adjustable lumbar support from a top trim crossover. Other than that, center stack has 2 cupholders and an armrest that you cannot move forward.

Subaru Forester has class leading rear legroom space

Like the front seats, rear seats are also very comfortable and it offers class leading rear legroom and headroom space. The rear doors can open almost 90 degrees for extra accessibility to the rear seats, which can be useful if you install child seat.

Forester has 762L of cargo space with very wide trunk opening

2022 Subaru Forester also comes with impressive cargo space, which is 762 L behind the second row, and 1957 L when you fold down the rear seats. What’s more impressive is that how wide the trunk opening is, you can easily place large items.

Engine and Drivetrain

2022 Subaru Forester comes with only one engine and transmission option, which is a naturally aspirated 2.5L boxer engine that produces 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. This is probably one of the only areas where it falls behind especially when there are turbocharged entries in the competition.

2.5L naturally aspirated boxer engine puts out 182 horsepower

Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) offers quite smooth driving experience and helps getting great fuel economy numbers. You can choose gears by using paddle shifters, but CVT itself is pretty responsive.

As expected from a Subaru, it comes with the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system that always sends power to all wheels, meaning that it is a full time AWD system. Higher Forester trims comes with Dual X-Mode for additional off-road capability.

Driving Impressions and Features

Behind the steering wheel, it feels like any other modern Subaru as it has many parts that are used in pretty much all other Subaru models. Premier trim has small differences like extra leather wrapped in the dashboard, and extra stitching that makes it look more premium and upscale.

Steering wheel button layout looks confusing at first glance

Steering wheel itself though, it looks complicated. You need to get used to the button layout especially if you are someone coming from another brand. Steering wheel feeling is on the heavier side, which means it gives a lot of confidence, though it feels a little bit numb as expected from a family SUV.

Dual X-Mode is a great addition for extra off-road capability

2022 Subaru Forester is not an off-road vehicle, but it is very capable compared to other compact crossovers, as it offers class leading ground clearance, and with the help of Symmetrical AWD and Dual X-Mode, it performs quite well.

Forester may not have panoramic sunroof, but it is quite large

There are some features that are excellent additions for a family crossover. First one is the very large sunroof that almost feels like a panoramic glass, but Forester has always offered a very large sunroof pretty much in every generation, and this one is no exception.

Subaru’s 6.3 inch infotainment screen is simple, easy to use and lag-free

When screen gets bigger, manufacturers just try to shove more stuff and make it more complicated and laggy, whereas Subaru still keeps their infotainment screen relatively simple, user friendly and lag-free and that’s something we started to see less often.

Upper 4.2 inch screen makes things a little bit more complicated

Where it gets more complicated though is having second TFT screen on top of the dashboard. Good thing is, it is not as essential as the infotainment screen so that you should be fine even if you don’t ever use it. Once you get the hang of it, it can be quite useful. It falls short in terms of overall resolution and rear view camera quality.

Rear seat passengers get nice features such as extra USB ports and heating option

It may be a compact crossover, but don’t let the name fool you. It has tons of rear passenger space, and higher trims come with extra comfort features such as the heated seats and extra 2 USB ports for the rear seat passengers.

Pricing and the Verdict

Subaru Forester may not win any type of beauty contest, or win any type of a drag race, but it does everything that you expect from a family oriented crossover exceptionally well, plus a great AWD system and a good track of reliability history makes the Forester one of my top choices in this segment.

2022 Subaru Forester is the most well-rounded compact crossover

2022 Subaru Forester starts just under at $30000 CAD and that’s what makes the Forester a great value with standard AWD, especially with the lower trims. Other entries may have similar price range, but most of them come with Front Wheel Drive versions where you have to pay extra for AWD.

2022 Subaru Forester starts at $29,495 CAD

The value proposition diminishes with the higher trims, as the price tag gets a lot higher. Our tester with the top Premier trim is priced at just under $43,000 CAD. Once you pass $40,000 threshold, you start to expect more, and personally I just wish Subaru offered the 2.4L turbo engine for the top trim.

For more details – please visit www.subaru.ca