Subaru Forester review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

Longer and wider than its predecessor, the Subaru Forester is still a practical car for passengers and luggage

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

Practicality, comfort and boot space Rating

4.0 out of 5

Representative Example - Personal Contract Purchase: Cash Price £10,000.00, Deposit £1500.00, borrowing £8,500.00 over 4 years at 7.4% Representative APR (fixed). 47 monthly payments of £132.04 followed by a final payment of £4127.50. Total cost of credit £1833.38. Total amount payable £11,833.38. Based on 8,000 miles per annum. Excess mileage charges apply if exceeded. Finance subject to status 18+ only.

The latest Forester may look similar to the car it replaced but it’s actually longer and wider than before; the result is a family SUV with even more space inside. There’s a great view out from the the driver’s seat – a huge area of glass, narrow pillars and a high, squared-off bonnet mean the Forester retains a pleasingly old-school feel and is easy to place on the road. 

The cabin features some large doorbins on all for doors, plus a large storage cubby under the front centre armrest. In true Subaru fashion, everything feels built to last – it’s easy to see how so many Subaru owners can work their cars hard over a number of years. Despite its hard-wearing nature, the Subaru feels pretty luxurious.


The Forester is bigger than ever; at 4.6 metres long and just over two metres wide including mirrors it’s not too far off the SEAT Tarraco in its considerable dimensions. It’s a large SUV with all the space you’d expect – but there’s no seven seater option.

Leg room, head room & passenger space

The Forester’s slight increase in size has paid dividends inside its cabin, where front and rear-seat passengers have plenty of space. Headroom is huge and there’s more than enough legroom in the rear seats for adults to travel in comfort. 

Access to the rear seats is easy thanks to doors that open wide and the tall ride-height; those regularly battling with child seats will welcome this, along with the easily accessed ISOfix points. Big windows mean there’s an airy feel inside, further adding to the sense of space. 


The Forester’s boot is big – 520 litres of space with the seats up, or an impressive 1,779 litres with them folded flat. It’s a well-shaped load space with a low lip so it’s very practical and perfect for dogs. A Toyota RAV4 has more space with the seats in place (580 litres) but loses out with them folded (1,690 litres). The larger, similarly hardy Ssangyong Rexton is altogether more spacious, boasting 820 litres or 1,977 litres with the seats down. 


The Forester is rated to tow a braked trailer of 1,870kg. If you plan to tow heavier trailers regularly we’d still recommend opting for a diesel rival, though – the Ssangyong Rexton can manage an especially monstrous 3,500kg, for example.

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