2012 Subaru Forester

The 2012 Subaru Forester is a top ranked affordable small SUV/wagon, offered in standard AWD and at a low base price.

This SUV offers many standard features; sporty, car-like ride, spacious cabin, and a respectable cargo hold, enabling it to compete against it many rivals. The Forester has been a popular choice even for families who are active outdoors.


General Info
Vehicle Type: SUV Base Price: $20,595.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 16.9 gallons (64l) MPG: 21 city / 27 hwy
Length: 179.5 in. (455.9 cm) Wheel Base: 103 in. (261.6 cm)
Height: 65.9 in. (167.3 cm) Width: 70.1 in. (178 cm)
Curb Weight: 3250 lbs (1474 kg) Ground Clearance: 8.7 in. (22 cm)
Luggage Capacity: 33.5 cu ft Maximum Seating: 5 people
Engine: 4 Cylinder DOHC Subaru Boxer® Displacement: 2.5 Liter
Horsepower: 170 HP Max RPM: 5800 RPM
Torque: 174 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
Max Towing Capacity: 2400 lbs (1088 kgs) Maximum Speed: NA
Available Trims & Engine
Option:2.5X PZEV M/T MSRP: $20,895; MPG: 21 city / 27 hwy
Option:2.5X Premium A/T MSRP: $23,295; MPG: 21 city / 27 hwy
Option:2.5X Premium PZEV MSRP: $23,595; MPG: 21 city / 27 hwy
Option:2.5X Limited MSRP: $26,595; MPG: 21 city / 27 hwy
Option:2.5X Limited PZEV MSRP: $26,895; MPG: 21 city / 27 hwy
Option:2.5XT Premium MSRP: $27,095; MPG: 19 city / 24 hwy
Option:2.5X Touring MSRP: $27,895; MPG: 21 city / 27 hwy
Option:2.5X Touring PZEV MSRP: $28,195; MPG: 21 city / 27 hwy
Option:2.5XT Touring MSRP: $29,895; MPG: 19 city / 24 hwy

Engine & Performance

The 2012 Forester is offered in 6 trim levels which include: 2.5X, 2.5X Limited, 2.5X Premium, 2.5X Touring, 2.5XT Premium and 2.5XT Touring. Just like other Subaru’s, all 2012 Forester trims are available in standard AWD. 2.5X trims are fitted with a 2.5L flat 4-cylinder engine, that produces 170 hp and 174 lbs-ft of torque. XT models on the other hand, get a turbocharged engine that generates 224 horsepower and 226 lbs-ft of torque.

The 2.5X and the 2.5X premium models come with a standard 5-speed transmission, although can opt for the 4-speed automatic transmission. The 2.5XT Premium, the 2.5XT touring, the 2.5X Touring, and the 2.5X Limited, are available in just the 4-speed automatic transmission.

All in all, the 2.5X models net a fuel economy estimate of 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on a highway with either the automatic or manual transmission. The 2.5XT trims have a fuel economy estimate rated at 19/24 mpg city/highway. The XTs are capable of moving from standstill to 60 mph in remarkable 6.8 seconds, while the X trims does the same in 10.1 seconds.

The 2012 Forester receives praise because of the sporty handling, thanks to the AWD system that performs very well in slippery, snow conditions and even off-road.


The exterior is attractive with a ground clearance of 8.9 inches, for better performance especially in off-road scenarios. Standard features for the 2.5X models include: 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, and keyless entry and roof rails.

The 2.5X Premium and 2.5XT Premium are upgraded with extra features that include: 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails and a panoramic sunroof. On the other hand, 2.5X Limited models add fog lights, windshield de-icer and heated mirrors are features found on the Premium trims. The 2.5X Touring and 2.5XT Touring are equipped with Premiums features, but adds bi-xenon headlights.


The Subaru Forester is spacious and has a pleasantly styled cabin fitted with many standard features. To start, it offers a seating capacity for five in two rows, with the rear seat getting a lot of praise because of all that extra room. Other notable standard features are: sliding armrest, tilt steering wheel, and stereo system. The base model is fitted with several standard features like: air conditioning, auxiliary input jack, rear window wiper and a single-disc CD player.

The 2.5X Premium is upgraded with a premium stereo system, Bluetooth and a navigation system. The 2.5X Touring comes with rearview camera and dual-zone climate control in addition to features found in the 2.5X Premium. The 2012 Forester offers a cargo space of 33.5 cubic feet, which can be increased to 68.3 cubic feet after folding the rear seats.

Safety & Reliability

Safety is important to Subaru. It begins with the standard rollover sensor that deploys the side curtain airbags to prevent the occupants from ejection and also for added protection. Other standard safety features include: driver and front passenger airbags, 4-wheel disc brakes, child safety locks, side head airbags, traction control, electronic stability control, daytime running lights and brake assist.

The 2012 Forester is backed with a 3-year or 36,000 mile limited warranty as well as 5-year or 60,000 mile engine warranty.


  • Sporty handling
  • Standard AWD
  • Spacious rear seat
  • Affordable base price


  • Mediocre interior quality
  • Outdated 4-speed automatic transmission

The 2012 Subaru Forester is an affordable SUV that most people will go for, due to its ability to perform on-road and off-road, offer comfortable rides, its ability to maneuver tight turning circles easily and its crisp steering.


The Forester has many rivals, as mentioned earlier, these include the Mazda CX7 (MSRP $22,190; 20 city / 27 hwy), the Honda CR-V (MSRP $22.695; 23 city / 31 hwy), and the Ford Escape(MSRP $22,470; 22 city / 31 hwy).

Overall Rating
74 out of 100

What others say:

“The 2012 Subaru Forester is tough, all-weather-capable, and one of the best-handling compact crossovers–plus, a blast to drive in XT turbo form–but an old-tech automatic transmission and econo-caliber interior remain letdowns.”Car Connection

“Forester has a car-like demeanor. Steering is direct with sporty heft. Lean in corners is kept well in check, though some testers complain of a slightly top-heavy feel.”Consumer Guide

“With perhaps the most comfortable ride of any small SUV, the Forester handles well in everyday driving. The spacious cabin has straightforward controls and a great view out.”MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“Off-roading in the Subaru Forester showcased the vehicle’s firmer suspension, direct steering and notable ground clearance, all of which came into play when traversing rocks and ditches.”KBB

“Thanks to plenty of interior room and available turbocharged power, the 2012 Subaru Forester is a top pick in the highly competitive small-crossover-SUV segment.”Edmunds