The Best Subaru Forester Year

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There are many SUVs on the current market in various sizes, but the Subaru Forester suits most drivers' needs. Although it's a compact SUV, it has plenty of room for passengers to stretch out comfortably. It also comes with standard all-wheel drive, making it an even better value for those who live in Eastern climates.
Like many other Subarus, the Forester is known for its above-average reliability ratings. Still, even a crowd-pleaser like the Forester has had some bad model years. Here are the Subaru Forester's best and worst years, according to Consumer Reports (CR).
A gray Subaru Forester parked in a pine forest
The Subaru Forester has seen some highs and lows over the years.

Which Subaru Forester model years are the best?

Subaru Forester vehicles from the 2018 model year and newer have had the best reliability ratings.
The Forester was completely redesigned for 2019, fresh with more standard driver-assist technology and a bigger interior. CR’s surveyed drivers only experienced minor issues on these models, most notably smartphone connectivity problems. A few drivers said that the 2018 Subaru Forester has a defective, easily-cracked windshield.
If you want to save some extra cash, the 2016 Subaru Forester is also a safe bet. It still has the old design but comes equipped with a touchscreen and a turbocharged engine. But it’s prone to more problems than the redesigned models, and some consumers needed frequent alignment adjustments.

Which Forester models have the worst issues?

Most of the older Foresters have below-average dependability ratings on Consumer Reports, and anything beyond 2011 is even worse. According to CarComplaints.com, the 2014 Subaru Forester is notorious for high oil consumption. The problem typically starts around 26,150 miles, but some owners reported problems as early as 2,000 miles.
Subaru released a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) about the issue and fixed some of the cars for free. However, owners reported that they still had problems even after the new components were added. Some drivers needed to add a quart of oil to their Forester every 1,000 miles. A few owners had to deal with major engine damage, costing an average of $2,000.
Excessive oil consumption was still a problem for the 2015 Subaru Forester but not as many vehicles were impacted as the previous model year.
The engine on this model was also prone to accelerate or stall suddenly. The problems often couldn't be replicated at the dealership, so no official fix was ever provided. The 2015 Subaru Forester also has numerous technical issues, including Bluetooth and voice recognition malfunctions.
The 2011 Subaru Forester uses a lot of oil, costing most drivers around $1,600 in damages. This was well before the TSB was released, so most drivers were out of warranty and had to pay for repair costs themselves. Although the engine was the biggest problem, drivers also reported touchy brakes and electrical issues.

Which Forester should you buy?

Ultimately, you’ll want to go with a model that suits your needs and budget.
The 2020 Subaru Forester is one of the most reliable, but it’s a bit pricier than other SUVs. It starts at around $27,000 used according to CR. The 2016 model still has decent reliability ratings and retails for an average of $15,825 on the low end.
No matter which used model you buy, it’s a good idea to review the car's vehicle history report for oil consumption or engine problems. If you’re trying to stick to a budget, you’ll want to factor in the Forester's annual gas, maintenance, and insurance costs before buying one.
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