7 photos
Subaru Forester S5 2.5i-S

Subaru Forester S5 2.5i-S (2018-2022)

Also referred to as: Subaru Forester S5 2.5i-S 2021 and Subaru Forester S5 2.5i-S 2023.
3.6 from 13 reviews · View Statistics
See the Best Midsize / Medium SUVs in 2022 as rated by Australians on ProductReview.com.au.
Listing monitored by Subaru Australia

Expert Review

Youtube Video Thumbnail
4.1 out of 5 stars

What is it?

This is the latest iteration of the legendary nameplate that is the Subaru Forester.

It’s been slightly refreshed for 2022 with some slight cosmetic changes and the inclusion of features like Active Lane Keep Assist.

It’s a popular choice for families here in Australia as an affordable, capable and safe daily driver.

There’s sharp competition in the form of the Toyota RAV 4 and the Mazda CX-5, however neither of these claim to be as offroad-focused as the Forester.

I wanted to find out whether this refreshed Forester was worth buying as a daily family runabout and whether it still lives up to its legendary overlanding status.


Build Quality

4.2 out of 5.
Subaru Forester new bumper

Subaru have traditionally always felt a little ‘tinny’. but the new Forester is changing that. No, it’s not Audi levels of solid in its overall feel, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Around the exterior trim, pieces look and feel tightly bolted to the body of this SUV. There isn’t a thread out of line along the stitching, and buttons have a satisfying spring to them when pressed. Although, don’t press too hard on the climate controls, as that whole panel in our test car moved a little too much for my liking.

Over coarse sections of road, the Forester doesn’t rattle like it used to in previous generations. It certainly feels like Subaru has upped the ante in its build quality process, and this is especially apparent in the new Forester.

How Much Does it Cost?

4.4 out of 5.
Subaru Forester off-roading up a hill

This is the second most expensive Subaru Forester you can buy, coming in at $44,190 before on-road costs. The hybrid variant sits at the top of the tree, sneaking in at just under $50,000 before on roads.

You receive upgraded wheels, interior trim, a 2.5L engine, a sunroof, creature comfort features like heated seats and an upgraded speaker system.

Sure, you can live without these upgrades, but this certainly does show the Forester in its best light. It makes daily driving feel like less of a chore, as you’re surrounded by a more plush version of this affordable family SUV. Not to mention, that Harman/Kardon speaker upgrade certainly is worth it if you love your music

Warranty and Servicing

4.5 out of 5.
Subaru Forester engine bay

All Foresters are covered by Subaru’s 5 year/unlimited kilometre warranty, and come with a capped price service program that again covers 5 years or 62,500km.

Here’s a breakdown of each service interval and cost over 62,500km or 5 years of driving:

IntervalCost
1 Year or 12,500 km$342.29
2 Years or 25,000 km$591.72
3 Years or 37,500 km$343.89
4 Years or 50,000 km$794.17
5 Years or 62,500 km$350.31
Total$2,422.38

Service intervals are a little short, and I would have liked to have seen coverage extend a little beyond 62,500km of driving. However, Subarus don’t have a reputation for being all too expensive to service out of warranty.

Noise Level

4.2 out of 5.
Subaru Forester Harman/Kardon speaker

Since there’s a lack of turbocharging and this is a petrol engine paired to a single-gear CVT automatic gearbox, this isn’t the quietest engine option.

At low rpms and under mild acceleration, the Forester is indeed a quiet car. However, step deeper into the accelerator and you can’t avoid the unmistakable drone of a single-gear, high-revving petrol motor straining to deliver all of its power.

What was a stand out was the upgraded Harman/Kardon speaker system. There’s even a speaker added to the boot for maximum immersion. I had a $100,000 Land Rover on test at the same time as this Forester, and I have to say that this speaker system absolutely outperformed the Land Rover’s speaker system by a country mile.

It came down to the clarity, power and bass that meant the Subaru’s speaker system could produce superior sound than that of a car double its price.

Braking

4.2 out of 5.
Subaru Forester exterior front three quarters

This isn’t a hefty SUV, so braking isn’t a chore for this particular family car.

I felt confident and comfortable bringing the car down to a stop. It’s certainly a vehicle that’s approachable and easy for a range of drivers - even first time drivers - to operate.

Subaru have fitted their ‘EyeSight’ camera safety system to the Forester, which automatically detects any obstacles that might pose a threat. It’s active and warns you before deploying the brakes autonomously, which is a nicer experience than just activating before warning you, a habit older versions of this safety system used to possess.

Acceleration/Power

3.4 out of 5.
Subaru Forester infotainment screen with telemetry data

At 136kW and 249Nm, this isn’t a powerhouse of an engine, but it is enough for daily driving and light off-roading needs. Like many other buyers, I would have liked to have seen the return of a turbocharger to the top-of-the-range petrol motor.

Despite feeling strong enough to allow the Forester to feel brisk, I could only imagine it feeling a little strained when faced with a school holiday-packed car.

Power is delivered instantly thanks to the lack of said turbocharger, however peak power is produced high up in the rev range. This means you’ll need to endure higher revs to squeeze maximum power when facing overtakes or long, steep inclines.

Gear Shifting

4 out of 5.
Subaru Forester X mode selector

There are no gears to shift through in the Forester, even if Subaru provides a set of paddle shifters on the steering wheel. There are artificially programmed gears to move through, however you can tell they’re not really there and that it’s just a way to manually adjust engine rpms.

Instead, this single-gear CVT gearbox finds the optimal rev range and holds that rev through to its top speed.

It’s a despised transmission purely because of its tumultuous reliability in other cars, however in the Subaru I found it to be the perfect pairing. I certainly enjoyed the lack of gear changes and the way the gearbox kept revs as low as possible, despite this being a petrol motor.

Suspension & Handling

4.3 out of 5.
Subaru Forester driving up a hill off-road

I was exceptionally comfortable during my time in the Forester. It’s not as plush as the more expensive Land Rover I had the same week, but the Subaru manages to avoid translating the worst parts of the tarmac through to the cabin.

A flat four engine has a lower centre of gravity than a traditional inline motor, which helps with cornering and handling. Add in Subaru’s ‘Symmetrical AWD’ system and you have a distinct grip that doesn’t skip a beat, even when being pushed.

Off-road, the Forester managed to behave extremely put together across sand, rocks and gravel. I’d love to see more ground clearance and grippier tyres to really enjoy these dirt trails.

Fuel Efficiency

3.5 out of 5.
Subaru Forester fuel door

Combined fuel efficiency is claimed to be 7.4L per 100km. I saw an average of around 10L per 100km during my time with the Forester.

It’s not the most efficient engine by comparison to the hybrid engine option, however it can return a low enough fuel consumption figure over long distance drives.

Interior Design

3.7 out of 5.
Subaru Forester interior

There hasn’t been a massive overhaul of the Forester’s interior for this generation. There’s still that three digital display set-up alongside the most amount of buttons I’ve encountered in a car’s interior.

Subaru has hesitated to implement that futuristic and forward thinking vertical screen found in the Outback, and instead have kept the multiple screen setup. I’m certainly more of a fan of the Outback’s interior over the Forester’s, however it means you don’t have a shortage of information or control over your car’s individual features.

Subaru Forester front seats and sunroof

There’s plenty of light that can enter this interior via a large glass sunroof and tall side windows. Analogue dials are still used in Subaru’s interiors, which are easy to read and aren’t a low point by any means.

I think Subaru could use a lesson in minimalism to reduce the number of buttons in here, however they could fall into the trap that VW has by eliminating all ease of use from their cars by doing so. Many of our Forester owners on Instagram mentioned they loved the interior design of this beloved SUV, so I’ll trust long term owners that this is a user-friendly setup enjoyed by the masses.

Boot Size & Comfort

4.3 out of 5.
Subaru Forester boot size

There’s 498L of boot space with all seats folded up and a total of 1740L space available when the second row is folded.

Part of the Forester’s appeal is its boxy, almost station wagon-like proportions. It allows for plenty of vertical space and a flat load floor to make ingress and egress a breeze. Add the fact that you can electronically fold the seats from the boot in a 60:40 split, and you’ll absolutely understand why families have been buying generations of Forester for their daily driving needs.

Subaru Forester rear seats

Front row seats provided plenty of comfort and support over long periods of time, and the same can be said for the second row.

Five adults can enjoy being carted around in the Forester, however it would be more comfortable for four adults as that middle seat can feel like a bit of a squeeze, thanks to a raised transmission and exhaust tunnel.

Features

4.5 out of 5.
Subaru Forester eyesight cameras

There are a lot of features included with the purchase of a 2022 Forester 2.5i-S. I certainly enjoyed everything from the heated leather seats through to that impressive speaker system.

Additionally, a suite of safety features and an all-wheel drive system headline the reasons why you’d consider buying a new Forester.

You can see the full list of features from this car in the list below:

  • 2.5L non-turbo flat-four petrol engine
  • 139kW and 249Nm
  • CVT automatic transmission
  • Symmetrical AWD
  • 6.3" touch screen
  • 4.2" driver's display
  • Multi-function display unit
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Harman Kardon speakers, subwoofer and amplifier
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Traction Control System (TCS)
  • Active Torque Vectoring system
  • Driver Monitoring System
  • Reversing camera
  • EyeSight® Assist Monitor
  • Blind Spot Monitor (BSM)
  • Lane Change Assist (LCA)
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
  • Reverse Automatic Braking (RAB)
  • Off-road drive modes
  • Paddle shifters mounted to steering wheel
  • 1800kg towing capacity
  • Full-size spare tire
  • Power tailgate
  • Power mirrors and windows
  • Smart key and push-start ingnition
  • Illuminated sunvisor vanity mirrors
  • Rear heated seats
  • Sunroof
  • CD player
  • Leather seats
  • x4 USB charging ports
  • X-Mode drive mode selector

Buy it, Consider it, or Leave it?

Subaru Forester side profile

There’s a strong reason why Forester buyers constantly upgrade their cars to the next generation. It’s for the same reason that Porsche buyers head for the next generation of 911.

There are no dramatic updates and no gimmicky attempts at innovating; it really is an example of automotive evolution.

It’s the combination of space, reliability, all-wheel drive and comfort that makes the Forester so appealing. Against the Toyota RAV 4 and Mazda CX-5, the Forester complements a more adventure-focused family simply because it’s a tried and tested vehicle many Aussies rely on to drive across a variety of terrain.

It’s not an aggressive off-roader, but you should definitely buy the Forester over its competitors if you’re someone who needs all of those previously mentioned qualities that make this Subaru so appealing. Consider it if you want a more tarmac-focused SUV, as a Mazda CX-5 for example will be more driver-focused with sharper driving dynamics and a turbocharged engine.

CameronPicture

About the author Cameron is our resident car expert. Aside being a source of knowledge about the automotive industry, he has also driven a wide variety of cars - from a Porsche 911 GT2 RS, through to a 1998 Toyota RAV4.

Reviews

  • Build Quality
    4.3 (7)
  • Value for Money
    4.4 (9)
  • Cleaning & Maintenance
    4.4 (8)
  • Noise Level
    3.8 (9)
  • Braking
    4.9 (7)
  • Acceleration / Power
    4.6 (7)
  • Gear Shifting
    4.7 (7)
  • Suspension
    4.6 (7)
  • Fuel Efficiency
    4.1 (7)
  • Handling
    4.6 (7)
  • Interior Design
    3.7 (7)
  • Boot Size
    4.4 (7)
  • Comfort
    4.6 (7)
  • Features
    4.4 (7)
Previous
Next
Shabbir A.
Shabbir A.Sydney, NSW

No beep sound while lock and unlocking door

published

Recent bought 2022 forester 2.5i-s and waiting for the delivery. Really disappointed while locking unlocking doors but no beeping sound. It just flashing a light at top of range model. I asked the dealership but they said already have factory fitted alarm on it and other dealer said $700 for alarm option. Who is right? Really confused.

Incentivised Review No
TransmissionAutomatic
BoughtNew
Subaru Australia
SubaruSubaru AustraliaSend a private message
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!

Sudden Acceleration and Jerking

published

Today is the fifth day that I got my new Forester 2.5i-S. Today when I was decelerating and near to stop, the car sudden accelerates itself, it makes me almost crash the car in front of me. Besides that, it also lurch and jerks very often during deceleration or slightly acceleration. I think it’s an engine or transmission programming issue, I’m not dare to drive it now, I have called the dealer’s service department and they replied that they have never heard this issue with my model before. I used to own other brands of cars but never experienced this before, it’s weird, especially for a new car. Totally disappointed and want to sell it immediately.

Incentivised Review No
BoughtNew
Year2022
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
Chloe G
Chloe GPerth, WA
  • 2 reviews
  • 1 like

Defective Seatbelts!

published

The rear passenger seatbelt has never retracted properly from when we purchased the new vehicle 15 months ago. As a result the belt is often left in the door reveal and much damage has occurred when passengers have unknowingly shut the door on the seatbelt. Subaru continues to blame us for the damage. Moreover we have been driving around with what are essentially defective seatbelts! Finally they have agreed to replace the seatbelts but will not repair the damage done to the door reveal (they say this would be too costly to the environment!) I look forward to having some safe seatbelts in my car Subaru. The vehicle itself is great, but we are very disappointed in Subaru who pride themselves as selling safe vehicles.

Purchased in for $50,000.

Value for Money
5/5
Cleaning & Maintenance
4/5
Subaru Australia
SubaruSubaru AustraliaSend a private message
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
SupaSam
SupaSamPerth, WA
  • 5 reviews
  • 2 likes

Two weeks in and very positive experience

published

Took a Forrester S5 2.5i-S for a test drive, Shannon from Gosnells Subaru was very helpful not pushy as some car people can be. Only had it for two weeks but I am really enjoying the fab features on the very impressed vehicle. We purchased the Black Vue cameras in the deal, camera was fitted at the dealership. It did slip out of place, took it back and they fixed it straight away. The seat warmers at this stage are my favourite thing. it sits beautifully on the road, handles the wet weather well.

Purchased in at Subaru Dealers.

Value for Money
4/5
Cleaning & Maintenance
4/5
Subaru Australia
SubaruSubaru AustraliaSend a private message
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
Midsize / Medium SUVs

Find out how Subaru Forester S5 2.5i-S compares to other Midsize / Medium SUVs

Know better, choose better.

Compare all
Squiggles
SquigglesCentral Queensland, QLD
  • 17 reviews
  • 8 likes

"IT'S A CHARASTERIC OF THE VEHICLE" - REALLY!!!

published
Subaru Australia
SubaruSubaru AustraliaSend a private message
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
Oldsalt
OldsaltMetropolitan Adelaide, SA
  • 18 reviews
  • 12 likes

Great Car, a few fixable issues that they will not fix?

published

Purchased in .

Build Quality
4/5
Value for Money
4/5
Subaru Australia
SubaruSubaru AustraliaSend a private message
Oldsalt
Oldsalt
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
Brendoon
BrendoonPerth, WA
  • 4 reviews
  • 1 like

The extras make it

published

After driving for a month in both city and higher speed have found the Forrester very comfortable. All the extras on the S model make it easy when you get going, auto seat & mirror reset are great. Warning alarms though some may think annoying are just a reminder we are human and make mistakes or misjudgments.

Fuel consumption is good and though driving in the fuel efficient mode has still fast pick up when required. Engine shutdown when stopped saves an amazing amount of fuel. Startup is less than a second so no delays

Room through out is good as have been passenger in front & back ,only thing missing is phone charger but has many USB outlets

Previous car was current model XTrail and Subaru wins hands down.

Purchased in .

Build Quality
5/5
Value for Money
5/5
Subaru Australia
SubaruSubaru AustraliaSend a private message
Brendoon
Brendoon

Subaru team, 7 months on and still love the Forrester, a few little quirks but that’s why every car is upgraded to improve on what is a good car.

Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!

Related Articles

Previous
Smart shopping tips to help you make the most of Black Friday sales

With Black Friday coming up on the 26th of November (and some deals starting well before), we’ve got some smart shopping tips to help you make the most of sales.

Clara V.
Clara V.
smart-shopping-tips-to-help-you-make-the-most-of-black-friday-sales
Christmas Gift Ideas for Mum

Since many mothers tend to spout selfless phrases like ‘please don’t spend any money on me,’ Christmas is a great opportunity to spoil your Mum. However, this can be a tricky feat if your mum hasn’t told you what kind of gift she’d be happy with.

Avleen M.
Avleen M.
christmas-gift-ideas-for-mum
The right to repair: which brands are making it easier for you to fix their products?

The right to repair movement in Australia is calling for companies to make it easier for their products to be repaired. Here are some electronics and appliance manufacturers who are starting to listen and make it more feasible for consumers to repair, rather than replace, their items.

Clara V.
Clara V.
the-right-to-repair-which-brands-are-making-it-easier-for-you-to-fix-their-products
Next
wes_l
wes_lSydney, NSW
  • 4 reviews
  • 1 like

Great family car

published

So far so good, though we've only had this car about 6 months, it's a fantastic vehicle to drive. No problems with driving in a bit of mud or snow either.

Purchased in .

Build Quality
5/5
Value for Money
5/5
Subaru Australia
SubaruSubaru AustraliaSend a private message
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
Ray
RayMetropolitan Adelaide, SA
  • 10 reviews
  • 4 likes

Dashboard rattle, dealer can’t fix

published

Dashboard is rattling crazily since new and already been to dealer 3 times. They can’t fix it.
When the weather is cold, it make one noise. When it is hot, it make another rattling noise!
Small rock got inside the driver side door panel every time I travel on gravel road!
The dealer removed the rocks but never fix it so rocks still get inside every time!
Passenger seat squeak!
Driver side mirror rattle!

The car drive smooth but all the crackling and rattling noise is driving me crazy!
Build quality on this car is equivalent to something you order from Wish website.
Happy to trade in my 8 months old car now at a lost!
Ohhh it will constantly beeping at you for no reason!

Purchased in for $47,000.

Build Quality
2/5
Value for Money
4/5
Subaru Australia
SubaruSubaru AustraliaSend a private message

Hi @ Ray, We're sorry to hear of your experience with your Subaru. Our Customer Relations Team is available on 1800 226 643 or feedback@subaru.com.au if you would like to discuss further. The Subaru Team.

Ray
Ray
Subaru Australia
SubaruSubaru AustraliaSend a private message
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
Midsize / Medium SUVs

Find out how Subaru Forester S5 2.5i-S compares to other Midsize / Medium SUVs

Know better, choose better.

Compare all
Jeanette
JeanetteGreater Melbourne (Outer), VIC
  • 4 reviews
  • 1 like

Very comfortable fabulous safety features,

published

Easy to get in and out of, very comfortable, great colour range, best of all the excellent safety features. Easy to read large infotainment screen. plenty of leg room in the back. Excellent visibility. Love it

Purchased in at Subaru Docklands for $45,000.

Build Quality
5/5
Value for Money
5/5
Subaru Australia
SubaruSubaru AustraliaSend a private message
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
Melmain
MelmainPerth, WA
  • 5 reviews

Incredible value for money

published

Purchased in for $43,000.

Build Quality
5/5
Value for Money
5/5
Subaru Australia
SubaruSubaru AustraliaSend a private message
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
Evonne
EvonneSydney, NSW
  • 7 reviews
  • 3 likes

It is great as a car, but not as a mobile entertaining tool.

published

Purchased in at Subaru Dealers for $37,700.

Build Quality
4/5
Value for Money
3/5
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
Midsize / Medium SUVs

Find out how Subaru Forester S5 2.5i-S compares to other Midsize / Medium SUVs

Know better, choose better.

Compare all
Martin
MartinSydney
  • 5 reviews
  • 1 like

Love our new car!

published

True, we are only 5 days into our new Forester 2.51 S but wow! Silky smooth to drive, plenty of power, amazing technology covering everything you could need. Real luxury car feel with soft leather and great finishes. Traded in an xc90 and loving our experience.
Did lots of research before buying looked at xc60, x3, discovery sport (awful reliability), Honda CRV, Mazda X5...the Subaru came out on top for us with plenty of space, awd, latest release and features, great price compared to all the others.
So far so great!

Badge2.5i-S
Engine Size2.5
TransmissionAutomatic
Date Purchased
DriveAWD
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
See all Subaru Forester reviews

Questions & Answers

Grime
Grimeasked
Forester S5 2.5i-S (2018-2022)

I have heard that the latest release coming in last quarter2020 is increasing the tow bar load to 1800kg, has auto door locking and front corner parking assist as standard on the S version.Is this true,should I wait for this release as we like to tow a van and the 1500kg is a bit light on?

1 answer
Subaru Australia
SubaruSubaru AustraliaSend a private message

Hi @ Grime, There is the possibility that there will be changes to the Forester but we do not have any confirmed specs as of yet. Please keep an eye on our website for any new vehicle announcements. The Subaru Team.

See all Subaru Forester questions

Get an answer from our members and Subaru Australia representatives

Subaru Forester S5 2.5i-S (2018-2022)

Details

Compare all 18 Subaru Forester
CategoryMidsize / Medium SUVs
Starting Price $47,958.00
TransmissionContinuously Variable (CVT)
Drive TypeAll Wheel Drive (AWD)
Fuel TypePetrol
Wheels18" Alloy
ANCAP Safety Rating5 Stars
Fuel Consumption7.4 L/100km
Fuel Tank Capacity 63 L
Engine4 Cylinder 2.5L
Max Power136kW @ 5800rpm
Max Torque239Nm @ 4400rpm
Country of ManufactureJapan
Maximum Towing Capacity (braked)1,500 kg
Maximum Towing Capacity (unbraked)750 kg
Manufacturer Warranty5 year(s)
Dimensions
Ground Clearance220 mm
Release date
Compare all 18 Subaru Forester
Visit official website

ProductReview.com.au has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence our content moderation policies in any way, though ProductReview.com.au may earn commissions for products/services purchased via affiliate links.