Glaring weakness overshadows fine qualities
Roseville, Calif.- Performance is often located near the top of the list when car shoppers go searching for that just-right vehicle. With that knowledge as a guideline, why does Subaru continue to churn out cars with uninspiring performance?
We test drove the 2022 Subaru Forester for a week and the lingering complaint was performance. The Forester, like every Subaru we’ve ever driven in the past two-plus decades, comes up lacking when true acceleration is called upon. It’s a baffling thing from our perspective, certainly detracting from a manufacturer that is generally respected for its many fine qualities.
AT A GLANCE – 2022 SUBARU FORESTER
- Performance: 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 182 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 26-33 mpg
- Price estimate: $25,900 to $35,950
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 3 years, 36,000; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited
The Forester comes with one engine, a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that generates 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. It’s gutless on almost any hill. Even on flat surfaces the Forester travels a sluggish 0-60 mph in 9.3 seconds.
Despite being equipped with standard all-wheel drive, a signature of all Subaru vehicles for many years, the Forester can’t escape being a middle of the road compact SUV because it’s hampered by an underwhelming engine.
Addressing the engine problem is one glaring issue and another is improving the Forester’s driving acumen. It’s not very engaging and the fun factor is nonexistent.
Although acceleration remains frustratingly substandard, the Forester brand does possess some fine qualities, including fuel economy (26-33 mpg), roomy interior, good fuel economy, solid cargo area, and standard safety features that land near the top in that category.
The modestly priced Forester (starts at around $26,000) has an admirable sales history as well, surpassing 150,000 the past nine years. Sales hit a high of 180,179 in 2019, yet did slump to 154,723 last year, its lowest total since 2013.
Part of the Forester brand this year is the Wilderness model that’s ideal for off-road adventures. The Forester Wilderness has 9.2 inches of ground clearance (8.7 is standard for the Forester), an upgraded suspension, hexagon LED foglights, a reshaped bumper that provides greater protection, 17-inch black all-terrain tires, and sturdier roof rails.
The Wilderness model is more well suited for off-road journeys than practically any rival small crossover SUV. In addition, the Wilderness has a towing capacity of 3,000 pounds, twice the amount of other Forester models.
The Forester interior also receives high marks. The cabin design is highlighted by a sensible control system that doesn’t take a long to master. Climate control knobs are close to the driver and won’t require taking one’s eyes off the road, a frequent occurrence these days in far too many vehicles.
The SUV comes standard with a 6.5-inch center touchscreen that has crisp graphics and is easy to navigate. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are both standard equipment, along with multiple USB ports located in both the front and rear.
Seating is comfortable up front, and like most smaller SUVs, a little cramped with three adults in the second row. The cargo area measures 28.9 cubic feet of space and expands to 74.2 cubes by folding the rear seats.
What can’t be overlooked in summing up the 2022 Subaru Forester is its lackluster acceleration that needs addressing. Aside from that glaring weakness, the Forester has a lot to offer, including its ability to go off-road better than most competitors.