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Subaru Forester Trim Options: A Guide to Sport, Wilderness & More

Long before the current CUV boom, Subaru’s Forester had been one of the most off-road-friendly crossovers one could get.

Subaru Forester Sport on Beach

Not only did it come standard with all-wheel-drive, but it also came standard with Subaru’s legendary symmetrical AWD system, and that’s always helped the Forester punch well above its weight when it comes to off-road capability.

Today, even despite added competition from more ruggedized versions of the Toyota RAV4 or newcomers like the Ford Bronco Sport, the Forester continues to hold its own.

Subaru Forester with Roof Rack

But what are the primary differences between the models, and does one version of the current Forester deliver the best value?

One Engine Only

You can have any engine you want in your Subaru Forester as long as it’s the 2.5L naturally aspirated flat-four that makes 182 horsepower and 176-pound feet of torque.

Subaru Forester 2.5 Engine

In the past, the Forester had an available turbo engine option, but that’s been dropped for the current generation, as has the available manual transmission. All Foresters are CVT only now.

Subaru Forester Wilderness Interior

As you’d expect, with those power numbers, Forester’s acceleration is merely adequate. It’s fine for daily driving, but many of its competitors offer more powerful engine options.

Subaru Forester Wilderness Rear View

From Base to Loaded

While it’s not the sportiest or most luxurious CUV out there, the Forester impresses with its capable AWD system, its spacious cabin, and an affordable price tag.

2023 Subaru Forester Rear View

If you are looking for an inexpensive AWD CUV with plenty of space for the family or outdoor activities, a base model Forester offers a lot for under $28,000.

Subaru Forester in Snow

Moving up the food chain, you can get up to nearly $38,000 for the fully loaded Forester Touring, but at the price level, we’d probably recommend moving to the Subaru Outback as it offers a more powerful turbocharged engine option.

Subaru Forester on Road

Sport & Wilderness Versions

The Forester Sport is one of the sweet spots in the lineup. With an MSRP just over $32,000 it adds a unique exterior treatment with different wheels, orange accents, and Sport-specific interior upholstery.

2023 Subaru Forester Side View

It also gets more advanced version of Subaru’s X-Mode terrain management system, which can come in handy during off-road exploration.

2023 Subaru Forester Sport Interior

Then there’s the recently added Forester Wilderness. It takes the upgrades even further with a raised suspension, chunkier fender flares, more aggressive tires, a front-view monitor and more.

Subaru Forester Wilderness on Trail

For 2023, the Forester Wilderness has an MSRP of just over $35,000, and it comes from the factory with a lot of the upgrades you’d previously need the aftermarket for.

Subaru Forester Wilderness Camping

No Wrong Choice

And speaking of the aftermarket, its full of options for those looking to improve the capability of the current generation Forester: lift kits, skid plates, lighting, racks, and of course, all-terrain tires to really make the most of the AWD system.

Nitto Nomad Grappler Tire

Ultimately, there are faster and more fuel-efficient CUV options out there, but the Forester is still one of the best when it comes to capability and value.

2023 Subaru Forester in Snow

As for the lineup itself, you can’t go wrong with any of the models, but it hitting the trails is one of your goals, either the Sport or Wilderness is a great pick.

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